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Sepang, 21-23 March 2008
The Chequered Flag podcast



Results after 56 laps of 56-lap race:

1. Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2. Kubica (BMW Sauber)

3. Kovalainen (McLaren)

4. Trulli (Toyota)

5. Hamilton (McLaren)

6. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

7. Webber (Red Bull)


Sunday: Race 0700 GMT

LATEST NEWS (all times GMT)

By Sarah Holt

To get involved in all the pre-race chat, text us on 81111 (UK users only)

0840: The result in Malaysia means Hamilton still leads the drivers' standing but by just three points from Raikkonen, with Heidfeld third also on 11 points. McLaren lead the constructors' race on 24 points from BMW Sauber and Ferrari.

Lap 56: Here comes Raikkonen as he records a straightforward win in Sepang. Kubica comes through for his best-ever finish while Kovalainen takes third. Hamilton tries to get past Trulli down the home straight but the Italian holds on to take fourth for Toyota ahead of Hamilton. Heidfeld brings the second BMW Sauber home in sixth ahead of Mark Webber and Renault's Fernando Alonso.

"A true world champion's performance and the ball back in Ferrari's court now. Massa looks like he made a mistake and questions could be asked about his future now."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 55: Raikkonen still has a 22.2 second lead over Kubica as he enters the last lap. Hamilton has another little look at Trulli while Button ploughs off into the grass and then rejoins the race.

Lap 54: Hamilton is still gaining on Trulli but Webber looks to have put his foot down to pull further away from Alonso. By the way, Raikkonen is all set for victory in Malaysia, as he motors along at the front of the field.

Lap 53: Alonso is right in Webber's slipstream as he closes the gap on the Australian to 0.5 seconds. Some exciting battles for the minor points out there. Hamilton is 2.3 seconds behind Trulli but he looks like he has enough to hold the Briton off.

Lap 52: Hamilton is still pushing the Toyota man now, he seems to be much faster on the harder tyres. The pair are laying down personal best laps out there now.

"There's nothing he likes more than a chase like this and Trulli just has to stay calm."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 51: Hamilton is 3.6 seconds behind Trulli now so the Italian has to keep his head into the last five laps now.

Lap 50: Alonso is chasing Webber in seventh as the pair snake through the bends.

Lap 48: Hamilton sets the fastest lap of his race so far of 1:35.942 as he seems to be getting the best out of the hard tyres now.

Lap 47: Okay, things look pretty settled out there now. Raikkonen holds a 19.9-second lead from Kubica. Hamilton is now 6.3 seconds behind Trulli.

Lap 45: Kovalainen comes into the McLaren pits in 7.2 and he comes back out in third ahead of Trulli.

Lap 44: Button comes in and out for his second pit; and it's been a fairly uneventful race for the Briton. Hamilton comes in for a clean pit stop this time and he comes back out in front of Heidfeld, who after a couple of wobbles could not take advantage. "He's been quite pleased with the progress the team have been making."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 43: Kubica comes into the pits to hand the lead back to Raikkonen.

Lap 42: Heidfeld returns to the BMW Sauber pits for the softer tyres and Alonso comes in to the Renault pits too.

"Hamilton looks like he is struggling but he needs to keep it up to keep Heidfeld at bay."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 41: Trulli pits. More bad luck for Toro Rosso as Vettel trundles out of the race with smoke pouring from his back end.

Lap 40: The Red Bull pits receive Webber and he gets out on some soft tyres. Hamilton should really be laying down some fast times while Webber is out but actually he is not travelling any faster.

Lap 39: Hamilton is still pushing Webber but he just cannot get past at all. Heidfeld powers to a personal best lap of 1:36.523 behind Hamilton in seventh.

Lap 38: The Ferrari pit crew are ready to receive Raikkonen and in he comes from the lead. He gets out in 8.5 and on the set of soft tyres.

Lap 37: Sato makes a second stop.

Lap 36: If things continue going as they are, Kubica is on course for his best-ever race finish.

Lap 35: Raikkonen now has a 23-second lead over the rest of the field.

Lap 34: Massa looks glum as he answers a question about his early exit. Here's what the pole sitter had to say: "I don't know what happened I just lost the car. There was strange behaviour in the rear so I just don't know."

"It was an 85mph right hander so should have been pretty straightforward but he just lost it. So whether he applied the power too early I just don't know."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 33: Hamilton is still 0.5 seconds behind Webber and is really putting his foot down but his car just does not seem to be finding the extra edge in Sepang. Webber asks for some information on what's going on behind him over the radio and receives a little pat on the back from the team for his tough driving so far.

Lap 32: The race is surely Raikkonen's to lose now as he is now 22.3 seconds ahead of Kubica, who is up to second in his BMW Sauber. Massa's mistake lifts Kovalainen up to a podium place, but Trulli is still pushing him hard.

Lap 31: Disaster for Massa. He spins coming off turn seven and into turn eight and gets trapped in the gravel. He gets out and walks away from the car. Uh-oh, so no points for the Brazilian so far this season.

Lap 30: Rosberg comes into the pits from 17th.

Lap 29: Webber is just half a second ahead of Hamilton now and the Briton is breathing down his neck again; a bit reckless though as he is having to break really hard now. Things get worse for Sato as he bumps over the gravel before rejoining the race.

Lap 27: Raikkonen looks really, really comfortable at the front as he has amassed a 4.5 second lead over Massa. Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson are trundling along in their Super Aguris and they've been lapped by the rest of the field.

Lap 26: The closest battle out there is between Hamilton who is chasing Webber in sixth while Trulli is also hustling Kovalainen for fourth.

"It's interesting that the tyre choice is not clear cut at all. Hamilton has had two sets of soft tyres while just ahead of him Webber is still on the hard tyres."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 25: Raikkonen has a 1.88 lead over his team-mate Massa at the front of the field and, breathe a sigh of relief, as everyone has done their first round of pits. And that's good news.

Lap 24: Coulthard pits from fifth. Picquet also makes his way back to the Renault pits.

Lap 23: "It's still all about the two Ferraris and Raikkonen is really setting the pace now and is absolutely on the charge. He only had one chance to make it count and he did just that."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 22: Hamilton is down in 11th place and is once again hustling Webber's Red Bull in 10th and the Renault pit crew are out and Alonso comes into the pits. Button also comes in the Honda pits for this first stop.

Lap 21: Race leader Kubica comes in and Raikkonen takes the lead for the first time.

Lap 20: Kovalainen comes in and gets a lot of fuel in his McLaren and a new set of harder tyres.

Lap 19: Hamilton comes in but there is a disaster as the team cannot get the right from tyre off and he spends a huge 19.9 seconds in the pits.

"They just couldn't get the nut off his wheel and that is very costly indeed."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 18: Raikkonen comes in at the end of lap 18 and is all done in 7.9 seconds, putting on a second set of harder tyres. The Finn comes out just ahead of Massa and that could well be the turning point of the race there.

Lap 17: Race leader Massa comes into the pits and he is in and out in 8.5 seconds and at the same time Raikkonen sets the new fastest lap of 1:35.679.

Lap 16: Webber is the first man into the pits.

Lap 15: "You can see that Hamilton is really having to work hard now to close down Webber."
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Maurice Hamilton

Lap 14: The Ferraris are really finding some pace out of their hard tyres, as Raikkonen sets a fastest lap of 1:35.871. Hamilton continues to loom large behind Webber. But spare a thought for Williams's Nico Rosberg who is a minute and a half behind Massa now.

Lap 13: Hamilton is continuing to harry Webber for fourth place. He's really breathing down his neck now. It's worth noting though that Hamilton is 18.703 behind race leader Massa.

Lap 12: It's Massa's turn to set the fastest lap of the race now as he lays down 1:36.108. By the way Robert Kubica is pretty much stranded as he ploughs his BMW Sabuer along in third.

Lap 11: Massa running well at the front, he's 1.8 seconds ahead of Raikkonen and the Brazilian is expected to come into the pits first.

Lap 10: Hamilton is grinding it out in his McLaren trying to close down Webber and there's just one second between them now.

Lap nine: Raikkonen is certainly the fastest man out on the track but Hamilton is really closing in on Mark Webber's Red Bull in fourth. He's 1.4 seconds behind now.

"That's the second lap in a row that Hamilton has eaten into Webber's time. Maybe we are see the softer tyres coming into their own now."
BBC Radio 5 Live commentator David Croft

Lap eight: And the fastest lap of the race so far goes to . . . Raikkonen, who records a flyer of 1:36.707. Meanwhile, Bourdais sounds ever so miserable as he reports he simply lost grip with his Toro Rosso.

Lap seven: Hamilton still running well in fifth but 13.713 seconds behind leader Massa.

Lap six: Adrian Sutil skids his Force India car over the blue gravel and off onto the grass. He tries his best to find some grip on the grass and get it back on track but that's it, he's out. So that's three retirements in Sepang so far; Bourdais, Glock and Sutil.

Lap five: After that excitement, things are going smoothly for the Ferraris at the front as they are half a second a lap quicker than the rest of the field.

Lap four: Coulthard gets caught up in a battle with Alonso and Heidfeld down the field. The Scot ran wide on turn 12, and when he comes back on to the track he blocks Alonso. He then finds himself caught between the two and eventually sees Heidfeld move past him for eighth and Alonso for ninth.

Lap three: Massa leads from his Ferrari team-mate Raikkonen by 1.699 seconds at the front.

Lap two: Timo Glock is back in the Toyota pits but there's some good racing going on through the field with David Coulthard up to eighth.

Lap one: So Massa leads from Raikkonenn and Hamilton has moved up to fifth ahead of Trulli while Mark Webber is up to fourth. Meanwhile a Toro Rosso spins off into the gravel. It's Bourdais and his race is over now. Nico Rosberg has lost his front wing and he has to go back to get it changed.

0703: And we're off! Massa comes across to defend from his team-mate Raikkonen and he manages to hold him off. The McLarens get caught up in the middle of the pack but Hamilton comes through for fifth

0659: The tyre covers come off and the cars stream away for the formation lap in Sepang. The drivers zig-zag across the track's new surface to warm up their tyres, both the McLarens have gone for the softer option with the Ferraris on the hard compound.

0656: Oooh the sun has come out in Sepang where the track temperature is 44 C, and as the drivers sit in their cars ready for their parade lap they are taking on last slugs of water and making good use of the ice packs.

0654: A bit of an added bonus for you on the live. Michael Schumacher came from the back of the grid on his motorbike racing debut in Hungary to claim third. The seven-time world champion finished third in Saturday's Skoox Cup race and said afterwards "I only did it for fun."

0652: "Come on Lewis, just be amazing!"
Elizabeth via text

0651: The rain never materialised during qualifying but the forecast for the race is a 20% chance of rain.

0647: The ever-present Anthony Hamilton reports that his son Lewis is in good spirits despite being demoted five grid places and is prepared to play the hand he's dealt with. In fact, before the race in Malaysia the Briton's lowest grid position was fourth.

Another Dad spending Easter in Malaysia is John Button, who is showing his support for son Jenson by wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "Today is going to be a better day".

The drivers are coming out on to the grid now and it looks a bit overcast in Sepang.

0645: "If it rains I tip Alonso to claim a SHOCK win. He's a specialist at Sepang and 7th on the grid so don't count him out."
King_lfc786 on 606

0635: This time on Saturday it all looked straightforward in Sepang as Ferrari duo Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen locked out the front row.

Massa was on pole after a flying lap of 1:35.748 ahead of the defending world champion while McLaren duo Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton loomed large on the second row.

BUT after complaints from Nick Heidfeld and Fernando Alonso both McLarens were demoted five grid places for impeding.

So that means Hamilton starts ninth on the grid just behind his Finnish team-mate.

Last season the McLarens quickly got on top of the Ferraris at the start and Hamilton will want to make another lightning start in Sepang.

During qualifying, however, he complained about the car's set up and appeared to be struggling with the handling.

Ferrari could have it all their own way; and after a disastrous season opener that's exactly what they'll be hoping.

And you can follow all the action on the BBC Sport website and listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live.



SEE ALSO
Live F1: Malaysian Grand Prix
10 Mar 06 |  Motorsport
McLaren duo punished for impeding
22 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Massa on pole as Ferrari dominate
22 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton on top form in Malaysia
21 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Formula One to return to BBC TV
20 Mar 08 |  Formula One
MP's question over BBC's F1 deal
20 Mar 08 |  UK Politics
Hamilton wary of heat in Malaysia
20 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Ferrari will be back - Raikkonen
19 Mar 08 |  Formula One


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