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Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Sunday, 5 April 2009 12:23 UK

Malaysian Grand Prix as it happened



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By Caroline Cheese

1220: I'm off for a cup of tea and a sit-down. My heart won't take much more of this drama. Jenson Button will go for a scarcely believable hat-trick of wins in Shanghai in 19 April. You'll be here won't you? Course you will. See you then.

1216: Ferrari are still yet to get off the mark this season. They made a bold gamble putting Kimi Raikkonen on full wets early doors, but it failed.

1213: Button's team-mate Rubens Barrichello, fifth today, is the first driver to mention the change in timing of the race. It was put back to 5pm local time for European audiences but that meant that darkness also came into play as the rain fell today.

Race winner Jenson Button: "Usually when it rains here it pours, but it didn't happen like that today so tyre choice was very difficult. It was a very interesting race. I still haven't seen a chequered flag this year without a safety car in front.

1206: Even world champion Lewis Hamilton is bemused by the race standings. He is asked how it feels to finish seventh. "I was fifth wasn't I? Wasn't I fifth?" responds Hamilton, before he is corrected by one of his colleagues. "Oh, seventh. I heard I was fifth."

Williams' Nico Rosberg: "I was going 30km/h on full wets and I couldn't keep the car on the road. It was ridiculous."

1202: Pint-sized Nick Heidfeld has to stand on his tippy-toes for the podium photos as he stands flanked by Jenson Button and Ross Brawn. The BMW Sauber driver will pick up four points for his second place today.

1200: After a jaunty burst of Britain's national anthem, Jenson Button lifts the trophy high above his head, celebrating the third race win of his career. Truly heady days for the boy Button.

1157: And the drama isn't over. The officials take the standings from the end of lap 31, and that means the top eight are: Button, Heidfeld, Glock, Trulli, Barrichello, Webber, Hamilton, Rosberg. Confused yet?!

1154: Jenson Button climbs back out of his car to begin some rather damp celebrations at Sepang. The Brit will pick up five points to take his tally to 15 for the season. When will Button's dominance of F1 become boring I wonder? Not just yet...


1151: The BBC's television team reckon this race has run, with less than 10 minutes remaining until the two-hour time limit. Still no official word, but it looks like Jenson Button will soon be celebrating his second win of the season. Remarkable.

1148: Jarno Trulli climbs back into his car - but still, there has been no 10-minute warning so if it is going to start, there will be precisely two minutes until the two-hour time limit is up. I smell a farce.

1145: The race might restart, but Kimi Raikkonen doesn't look he will be. The not-so-flying Finn is munching on an ice-cream as he lounges at the back of the garage. He was lying a miserable 14th when the race stopped. Ferrari say he hasn't definitely retired but Kers has failed on the car.

1139: Looks like we will go again. Amazing. All the drivers from third downwards will start behind the safety car to unlap themselves before Jenson Button and Timo Glock join. But how will they do all that within the two-hour time limit? I'm going to eat a muffin, see if that makes thing look a little clearer.

From anon via text on 81111: "Brawn pulled off a great gamble on Jenson's first stop looks like they only gave him a splash of fuel to get him out in front knowing he would be back for wet tyres."

1134: McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh reports that they haven't been given a 10-minute warning yet for a restart. However, the FIA has ordered the cars to line up on the grid. Curious.

1132: Cheers from the grandstand as Jenson Button's car is pushed to the front of the grid. Will they try to finish another 10 laps behind the safety car so they can award full points?

Williams director of engineering Patrick Head: "If it restarts, it'll be behind the safety car for quite a long time. The conditions are very difficult."

Chris, Bristol, via text on 81111: "We're all talking about half points now... But how would this translate under Bernie's 'race wins' system? Half a win for Jenson??!"

1122: If we don't restart, positions will be taken from the penultimate lap, meaning the one-two-three will be Button, Glock, Heidfeld. Behind them: Trulli, Barrichello, Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber. Mark Webber will receive a mere half a point for eighth position, the amount by which Alain Prost lost the world championship in 1984. The Monaco Grand Prix was stopped at half-distance while the Frenchman was leading.

Fernando Alonso on the BBC: "The visibility is nothing. With the amount of water on the track, it is now really dangerous. We could have a serious accident if we start. Fingers crossed we don't start again."

David Croft on BBC 5 Live: "I think the roof of our studio has been hit by lightning, I have never seen anything like this - the photographers on the roof are running for cover, rather me than you here today believe me!"

1114: "This is not racing, this is a t-bone job on the back straight," says Mark Webber, who also reveals it is getting dark out there too. His Red Bull boss Christian Horner reveals the forecast is for the rain to continue for 20 minutes. Not looking good for a re-start at the moment.

1110: If this is race is re-starting, it's only going to do so behind the safety car in these conditions. They have a two-hour window in which to complete the race, and we're currently at just over an hour.

1106: Rain still tipping down. Felipe Massa sends an urgent message to his Ferrari team, asking for a white visor because he "can't see anything". "Felipe baby, stay cool," he is told. Mechanics are tearing out of the pits to attend to the cars. They can change tyres but can't refuel.

1105: If they can't start again, teams and drivers will only get half points because less than 75% of the race was completed.

1103: The race is suspended. The cars will line up on the grid in race order and we will have to see if we can go again. Unbelievable drama.


Lap 32: Boooo. I was enjoying that. However, I grant you it is quite difficult to actually see through the rain. Jenson Button leads from Timo Glock and Nick Heidfeld.


Lap 31: Edge of your seat drama. It's absolutely throwing it down. Sebastian Vettel is out of the race - not sure if it's mechanical or rain-related.

Lap 30: Oh my word. And now Timo Glock - who was first to move to intermediates - now takes on full wets. Lewis Hamilton follows. Dramatic thunder and lightening all round at Sepang.

Lap 30: Timo Glock now leads the Malaysian Grand Prix, but he is being chased hard by Jenson Button. This is exhilarating stuff now.
Lap 29: "It's perfect intermediate territory at the moment," reckons the BBC's Martin Brundle. Jenson Button agrees - he's in for a change of shoes now, as is Mark Webber. If there is a downpour though, leaving standing water on the track, they could be struggling.
Lap 29: Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have both joined Timo Glock on the intermediates. Jarno Trulli and Rubens Barrichello do likewise.
Lap 28: Nico Rosberg is back to the pits. Jarno Trulli is really struggling in these conditions - tip-toeing around the track - and is passed by Toyota team-mate Timo Glock.

Lap 27: Run for your lives! Fork lightening now as the gloom continues to descend on the track. Not sure Timo Glock and his intermediates will be flying for much longer.

Lap 25: Mark Webber pulls away from Lewis Hamilton and now easily takes Nick Heidfeld for fifth. The BBC's pit man Ted Kravitz tells us BMW's Timo Glock is on intermediates and he is absolutely flying - currently eighth.

Lap 24: Drama in sixth and seventh as Lewis Hamilton gives it some Kers magic to get past Mark Webber. The Red Bull driver comes back at Hamilton but then slides off the track briefly. Webber currently in sixth...

Lap 23: Kimi Raikkonen tells his team he's in bother. Not surprising. It's an epic fail from Ferrari - but a brave gamble.

Lap 22: Queuing up in the pits now as the wets come out. Kimi Raikkonen still out but his tyres must be suffering after a few laps in the dry.

Lap 22: Tipping it down now - and Fernando Alonso is the first to suffer, sliding off the track at turn seven but recovering nicely to rejoin.

Lap 20: Jenson Button has a four-and-a-half second lead as Rubens Barrichello visits the pits. Kimi Raikkonen - on his full wets - is crawling around in 16th, but Lewis Hamilton has just told his garage the rain is definitely coming.

Lap 19: Jenson Button, after two flying laps, pits and still comes out in second! Incredible stuff. He's essentially the race leader now because Rubens Barrichello in front is yet to pit.

Lap 18: Massive, massive gamble from Ferrari as they bring Kimi Raikkonen in and put him on full wets as the rain begins to fall. The track is still very dry though. Jenson Button is now lapping a second quicker than anyone else. No wonder he's staying out for now.

Lap 17: Jarno Trulli takes another pair of softs as he pits from the lead, leaving Jenson Button out front. Trulli comes out behind Nico Rosberg.

Lap 16: Red Bull's Mark Webber is the latest man into the pits, and is now 14th. Timo Glock has also pitted.

Lap 16: Jarno Trulli leads Jenson Button at the Malaysian Grand Prix - and still no rain! Where's Michael Fish when you need him? The gap between one and two is less then a second.

Lap 15: Leader Nico Rosberg comes in to the pits for another set of softs. He returns to fourth.

Lap 13: Red Bull's Seb Vettel is the first man into the pits, coming in from ninth to refuel. Jenson Button, still third, posts the fastest time of the day.

Lap 12: Liquid racing! A right royal ding-dong between Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, the two taking and re-taking before the Aussie settles in sixth. This is terrific stuff.

Lap 11: Mistake from Fernando Alonso - his first of the day I would think - allows Kimi Raikkonen to sneak though to fifth.

Lap 11: Still dry as Nico Rosberg sets a new fastest lap out front, his lead now up to three seconds.

Lap nine: Nick Heidfeld in ninth wanders off the track, allowing Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel past. Ferrari tell Felipe Massa - strolling along in 12th - to use his adjustable front wing flaps more.

From akaPhantom on 606: "watch out for Ferrari - steady as she goes - bring on the rain and rolling thunder."
Join the debate on 606

Lap seven: As we near rain o'clock, Jenson Button is right behind Jarno Trulli in second, as Renault's Nico Rosberg leads by 2.7 seconds.

BBC Sport pundit Anthony Davidson on 5 Live: "We are seeing specks of rain on Felipe Massa's helmet."

Lap five: As thunder is heard overhead, Sebastien Vettel overtakes Lewis Hamilton for 10th place. Strange times. Rain in 12 minutes, say the weather people. Bring it on, I say.

Lap four: Rubens Barrichello takes Fernando Alonso at the start of the lap for fourth. Jenson Button is on the charge in third.

Lap two: Robert Kubica got left at the start and that funny sound in his engine was apparently terminal. He's out, flames licking from his car.

Lap one: Ridiculous start. Fernando Alonso - on a heavy fuel load - races through the field up to third, using his Kers button to fabulous effect. Jenson Button goes back to fourth, but then re-takes Alonso. Heikki Kovalainen is off the track on turn six and out already.

1003: WE ARE GO.

1002: "Strange noise in the engine," a gloomy Bob Kubica tells his BMW Sauber team over the radio.

1000: Black clouds and sunshine at Sepang as the cars get the formation lap under way.

Adam in Manchester via text on 81111: "Is it wrong that I have a man crush on Jenson? I think it's the beard."

Jenson Button on BBC 5 Live: "It's a massive bonus not having any Kers cars right behind us. There's a long straight here and they would have a good chance to go past, if that happens you would be stuck in the melee and then anything could happen especially with these big front wings…"

Barron, Durham, via text on 81111: "Hope it's a good race, should be fun with some of the heavy hitters like Massa and Hamilton fighting from the back."

0953: The clouds are gathering, reports DC. Yikes...

From Chris via text on 81111: "Just opened the store in Washington for the day's trading, now I'm cooped up in my office to watch the online commentary, come on Lewis!"

0949: The BBC's Martin Brundle is stalking the pit lane in his own inimitable fearless style. He tries to sneak a peek at the underside of the Toyota but is ushered away by concerned mechanics - do they think that will stop our intrepid explorer?! He gives them the slip and approaches from a different angle for another look. "Is it going to rain?" he ask an officious Toyota spokesman. "Yes we are expecting some" is the curt response. "OK, cool." says our unflustered hero.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Sepang: "I've been burning rubber on my way back from the paddock to bring you the latest tyre news. As always, how the slick tyres performance will be crucial to the 56 laps ahead. What we know about the Sepang track is that it will improve as the race goes on; because the surface is so hot - 38C right now - the rubber melts nicely into the surface and that increases the grip. The flip side of that, however, is that the hotter it gets the less downforce there is because of the change in air density. The Bridgestone chaps also say the soft tyres will last 10-15 laps. I hope that satisfies you rubber fetishists out there."

0943: And as Button is speaking, Lewis Hamilton is spotted in the background performing a rain dance. Not really, but the Wizard of the Wet, starting 12th on the grid, will surely be willing the rain to fall to create some chaos.

0940: Pole sitter Jenson Button - who has never driven his Brawn car in the rain - tells a grid-walking Martin Brundle that a shower is forecast for precisely 5pm local time - that's bang on start time, folks.

0938: BBC analyst Eddie Jordan reckons most cars will be two-stopping today. Of the top 10 on the grid, only Fernando Alonso and Nick Heidfeld look to have enough fuel on board for one stop.

From emjaylambert on 606: "I have a sneaky feeling about Lewis today - he's the sort of person to put everything from the last week behind him and do some serious driving."
Join the debate on 606

0932: BBC man David Coulthard struggles to make himself heard as the pit lane opens and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton roars out.

From Ed, Hemel Hempstead, via text on 81111: "I'm laying in the marital bed of my honeymoon suite the night after my wedding and I can honestly say I'm more excited about today's race than yesterday's events."
Former team owner and BBC Sport analyst Eddie Jordan: "I'm much more confident about Brawn GP this weekend, they are strong and Jenson is so confident I'm sure he will win the race. I'm not surprised Jarno Trulli is on the front row as he is naturally quick but whether the Toyota is good enough to last the distance remains to be seen. The only question mark is with Jenson not knowing if he had a drive over the winter, will he have the stamina to get through the race? If he is going to suffer from fatigue it will be here. However, the car is so gentle to handle that I do not think he will have a problem."

0926: We, the humble F1 fans, may be excited about this race, but are the drivers? "Not really," reckons Kazuki Nakajima. "I'll be amazed if any driver looks forward to it. It's more like endurance."

Adam, on the A303, via text on 81111: "Missing the race on TV as I'm stuck in the back of a car on my way to Devon. Relying on your commentary to make it bearable CC."

0920: Just 40 minutes remaining until the start and it's currently 28C at Sepang. Toasty. Lewis Hamilton is all smiles as he high-fives all his mechanics in the McLaren garage. Cool as a cucumber apparently.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone: "If somebody had written a script for the start of the season, you wouldn't even dream of it being like this."

From MurraycarriesGB on 606 "It's time, Jarno"
Join the debate on 606

BBC Sport's pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie "Jenson Button for President! I'm predicting Button to make it two-out-of-two in Malaysia for Brawn. He is desperate for a sunny race so he can put his foot down and get on with it. On the other hand, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel would love it to rain. He starts down in 13th because of his 10-place grid penalty and will be out to pick his way through the field. When Vettel won the Italian Grand Prix last season the circuit was absolutely flooded so he is not afraid of driving in the wet. As for me, I would like it to be slightly overcast, with a slight breeze and no rain!"

0907: For once in my life, I'm not exaggerating when I say: I can't remember a time when I was this excited about an F1 race. I bet Nigel Mansell was involved though. But I'm going to be lost without your contributions: get involved on 606 or drop us - and BBC 5 Live - a text on 81111 . Do it now, or regret it forever. Well a little while anyway.
Join the debate on 606

0900: Look alive everyone. BBC1's coverage is under way, and is also available for all you UK dwellers on this 'ere website, along with Red Button coverage. Smashing.

0857: Sweating it out at steamy Sepang is BBC Sport's Sarah Holt . Her first missive reads thus: "Wipe your beaded brows, things are really hotting up again, says my BBC colleague - and we are still an hour away from the race. Malaysia has been blowing hot and cold all morning. At 1130 local time, Nick Heidfeld was spotted scurrying back to the BMW Sauber garage to escape the 32C temperature. But by 1300, when world champion Lewis Hamilton arrived at the track, everyone in the paddock was running for cover from the huge plops of rain. The heavy shower lasted an hour. They say it only rains once a day in Malaysia - so we could be in for a dry race. On the flip side, other sources say there is still an 80% chance of showers during the Grand Prix. Malaysia is refusing to make up its mind like a non-commital sweetheart. So prepare yourselves for any eventuality. "

0854: Honestly, you leave the country for a couple of weeks and return to find the F1 grid has been turned on its head and the world champion has been disqualified from the first race in absolutely sensational circumstances… You people should pay me to go away more often.

0850: Hello you. I've just been on my holidays for a couple of weeks. Nothing happened in my absence did it?

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see also
Classy Button wins abandoned race
05 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Malaysia Grand Prix photos
05 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Rapid Button beats Trulli to pole
04 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Malaysia GP qualifying photos
04 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
I am not a liar, insists Hamilton
03 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Raikkonen tops Malaysia practice
03 Apr 09 |  Formula 1

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