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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Sepang - 8 April, 2007
The Chequered Flag podcast



Final race positions in Sepang.

1. Alonso (McLaren)

2. Hamilton (McLaren)

3. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

4. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

5. Massa (Ferrari)

6. Fisichella (Renault)

7. Trulli (Toyota)

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

By Sarah Holt

Lap 56: Alonso comes round the final turn and weaves left to right to claim his first win for McLaren. Hamilton hangs on to second by the skin of his teeth ahead of Raikkonen with Nick Heidfield in fourth. Alonso comes over the radio and says: "It's been a tough weekend but thank you very much. We did it."

"Things went Alonso's way at the start and this has been McLaren's race no question. Massa messed up and Ferrari will be disappointed with that. It is a dream result for McLaren and for Formula One as a whole."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Hamilton comes over the McLaren team radio now too and says: "I definitely want to win, some time this season, I'm going to have one."

Lap 55: Raikkonen is just 1.2secs behind Hamilton, but it looks as though the British rookie will hang on.

Lap 54: By the way, Alonso is still running majestically at the front of the field with a 22-second lead.

Lap 53: Raikkonen closes the gap on Hamilton to 1.5secs. Heidfeld gets the message from Massa and puts his foot to the floor to pull away from the Ferrari man.

Lap 51: Hamilton is only in his second race in Formula One and he is under real pressure now. He will have to dig deep to hold off the Ferrari breathing down his neck - as Raikkonen is now 2.8secs behind.

"It is a great job by Hamilton so far as he can see the red car in his mirrors now. The adrenalin should carry him through and all he will think about is keeping the car on the road."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 50: The two Ferraris are trying to push their way through the field. Raikkonen is now 3.3secs behind Hamilton while Massa is half a second behind Heidfeld in fourth.

Lap 49: Hamilton continues to lose more ground to Raikkonen, who is chasing him in third. The gap is now down to 3.8 seconds - will there be a final twist in the tale? Kovalainen runs onto the grass but is ok and maintains his eighth place, with his first point in his sights.

Lap 48: An awful race full of bad luck for Kubica, he grates through the gravel as he trundles at the back of the field.

Lap 45: Things are looking pretty good for Alonso to record his first win of the season and to end McLaren's winless streak. The Spaniard holds an 18-second lead over Hamilton. Is the young Briton struggling physically?

"I am a bit worried about Hamilton's lap times as they are not what they should be, and this track is so cruel and so difficult."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 44: Rosberg's steady run in Sepang comes to end as Williams are once again undone by reliability problems. He is forced to pull off the track from seventh place with smoke pouring from his engine.

"That is a huge huge disappointment for Williams."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 41: Raikkonen comes into the pits and re-emerges in third.

Lap 40: Alonso comes in to pick up his required set of hard tyres and gets the job done in 7.2 seconds.

Lap 39: The McLaren pit crew are out to receive Lewis Hamilton, who comes in for the second time to pick up his hard tyres. He is out in 7.6 seconds. Rosberg and Trulli are also in the pits while Coulthard is back in the Red Bull garage but his race appears to be over.

Lap 36: Raikkonen has picked up McLaren's pace as he plugs away in third place but it just looks as though Ferrari have got their tactics wrong in Sepang.

Lap 35: David Coulthard comes over on the Red Bull radio saying: "I'm not comfortable, I think we should retire the car." The Scot, who is running in 12th, appears to be struggling with a brake problem, but for the moment he stays out there.

Lap 32: Out at the front, the two McLarens continue to push each other on with Alonso and Hamilton trading lap times. There is better news for the Renaults, after a disappointing opener in Melbourne, with both cars into the top 10.

Lap 30: Hamilton continues to nibble at Alonso's lead, which is now down to eight seconds.

"Hamilton's performance is exemplary and unbelievably good for a novice. I think he is better than Jenson Button, and I still stand by the theory that Jenson came in to the sport too soon."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 29: Alonso may give the impression of being Mr Calm and Collected behind the wheel but he raises his hand at Vitantonio Liuzzi and shows him exactly what he thinks of him as he laps him. The McLaren driver thinks he may have lost a little bit of time getting caught behind the Toro Rosso.

Lap 27: Coulthard finally pulls into the Red Bull pits, and looks like he is on a one-stop strategy.

Lap 26: The McLarens seems to have the edge on Ferraris at the moment with Alonso holding a 10-second lead over Hamilton - who is chasing all the time. The Ferraris just do not seem to have their race together at the minute, Massa could have sealed his fate after his reckless error while Raikkonen has been getting caught behind traffic.

Lap 24: Giancarlo Fisichella brings his Renault into the pits and he the last of the front runners to come in. Coulthard has sneaked up to seventh but that is because he has yet to stop having started on the harder tyres.

Lap 23: Hamilton is running another confident race and is now trying to eat into Alonso's lead as he sets the fastest lap of 1:36.701.

Lap 22: Race leader Nick Heidfeld comes into the pits and that means Alonso retakes the lead.

Lap 21: Hamilton pits from the lead. He stays on the soft tyres and has a little wing adjustment, but he is in and out pretty quickly. "I wonder if that short fuel stop was just to keep him ahead of the Ferraris? Hamilton comfortably holds his position."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 20: Nico Rosberg pits from fourth place.

Lap 19: Kimi Raikkonen follows suit at the Ferrari garage, and he stays on soft tyres. Britain's Lewis Hamilton leads in Sepang.

Lap 18: The McLaren pit crew are waving their board and are ready to receive but who? There appears to be some confusion as neither of the drivers are coming in. Over at the Ferrari garage Felipe Massa comes into the pits. Alonso finally comes in and gets out smoothly. He only took on board six seconds of fuel though which means he is probably coming back in soon to switch tyres.

Lap 15: Back at the front, Alonso records another fastest lap and breaks through the one minute, 36 second barrier. He has a 14-second lead on the rest of the field. The Spaniard is driving very, very consistently out there as he plots his first pit.

Lap 14: The Williams are running well in Sepang, Rosberg is driving smoothly in sixth while Alex Wurz has overhauled David Coulthard and climbed up to 11th, some going considering he started down in 19th.

Lap 12: Robert Kubica is the first to pit and has a difficult stop - he has dropped right off the pace.

Lap 11: Alonso is building a useful 10-second lead at the front for McLaren.

"The two Ferraris are stuck behind cars with Raikkonen behind Hamilton and Massa trapped behind Heidfeld and interestingly both have dropped back, and I suspect that is because of rising engine temperatures."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 10: A quick check on the Brits - Hamilton is up in second, David Coulthard is 12th for Red Bull, Anthony Davidson is 16th for Super Aguri and Honda's Jenson Button is dismally down in 19th.

Lap nine: It is game over for the Ferrari-powered Spykers as Christijan Albers clambers out of his car with smoke pouring from the bonnet.

Lap seven: The scrap behind him is playing right into Alonso's hands and the double world champion sets a new fastest lap of one minute 37.550 seconds as he continues to pull away.

Lap six: A moment of impetuousness from Massa sees him try to overtake Hamilton again but he gets it all wrong as he skids out onto the grass and loses ground to fall to sixth.

"That is a black mark against Massa no question. He has lost his cool.
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap five: Hamilton continues to come under pressure from Massa while at the front Alonso is building up a six-second lead.

Lap three: There is an intriguing battle between Hamilton, Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. Massa tries to come round Hamilton at Turn One and briefly overtakes him but the Briton moves beyond him again. Then a frustrated Raikkonen tries to roar past Massa and Hamilton only to run out of room and fall back again.

Lap two: Alonso pulls away from the field as the race settles down a little bit in Sepang.

Lap one: A daring start by the two McLarens as Fernando Alonso slips round Ferrari's Felipe Massa and then Lewis Hamilton comes round the outside to do likewise . Heikki Kovalainen moves past Mark Webber up into 10th in his Renault while Adrian Sutil is out after his Spyker finds the gravel.

0800: The cars are whizzing round on their parade lap.

0759: Most of the front runners have opted to start with soft tyres, with Robert Kubica in his BMW Sauber, Toyota's Jarno Trulli and the Red Bulls starting on hard tyres in the Toyota.

Rubens Barrichello starts from the Honda pit after an engine change saw him penalised.

0757: It is getting pretty humid in Malaysia and there are some grey clouds hanging over the Sepang circuit where the palms trees are blowing in the breeze. As usual in Malaysia, there is a threat of rain - and that could play havoc with the race tactics.

0755: The drivers are squeezing into their cars now, and there is a real sense that we could witness an exciting race in Sepang. The McLarens seem to be closing the gap on the Ferraris.

"The battle is drawn between the two Ferrari drivers, nevermind everyone else."
BBC Five Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

0751: David Coulthard, who starts back in 13th for Red Bull, gets ready for a sticky race ahead by putting on his helmet - which has been nestling in an ice box, the brave man.

0745: There are 15 minutes to go before the race gets under way in Sepang and there is a hive of activity in the Honda garage, where the team are still struggling for pace and stability.

As expected it is pretty hot in Malaysia, with temperatures in the mid-30s. Massa, who is involved in an intense team-talk beside his car, responds by pouring water down his neck.

0730: Felipe Massa is on pole for the second race of the season in Malaysia and the Ferrari man is expecting a competitive race.

Massa delivered a flying last lap in qualifying to edge out Fernando Alonso with his Ferrari team-mate third.

Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who is on a different fuel strategy to Alonso, starts alongside Raikkonen on the second row and will be looking to follow up his brilliant debut for McLaren when he finished third in Australia.



SEE ALSO
Massa pips Alonso to Sepang pole
07 Apr 07 |  Formula One
Barrichello wants Honda overhaul
07 Apr 07 |  Formula One


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