Sepang overview -F1

Sun 4 Apr 2010

A fascinating weekend of rain, and no rain !

Qualifying was swamped after the first five minutes by a persistent downpour, and unfortunately some of the big names didn’t come out to place a couple of quick laps whilst the track was dry.  This meant that Massa, Alonso, Hamilton and Button got knocked out in the first session of qualifying, whilst the Lotus (Loti ?) and Virgin drivers managed to make it through.  Who would have thought it ?

Now, normally these back markers then gain some advantage by getting to choose which tires they would start the race with, whilst the front runners have to stay with what they had for the last session qualifying.  However things didn’t quite work out that way…

As the race was officially classified as a ‘dry start’ it meant everyone could change from the tires they used the day before and choose what they wanted… bang went the Ferrari and McLarens team expected advantage.  The radars were showing rain was on its way about 30 minutes after the start, so with all the rain in qualifying it came as a bit of surprise to everyone that it didn’t eventually come, so the tyre changes were thrown into disarray.

Excited by the previous races early change advantage, Jenson was the first to come in.  Lewis stormed through the field from twentieth to a final sixth.  At one point he looked like he would take the lead at the tire changes, but after his own change he came back out further down the field.  He could have done better if he’d not got stuck behind Sutil for far too many laps.  Jenson was not far behind, with Massa stuck to his diffuser for an age, who then eventually managed to make it past, but Alonso who was struggling with his down-changes managed to squeeze through, only for his engine to give up the ghost a few laps later.  Button managed to hold on to eight by the finish.

Further down the field, Schumacher had a loose wheel nut and had to retire, whilst Kubika continued his good results with a commendable fourth.  Nearer the back, Sauber were again struggling and neither of their cars were able to finish the race… where Lotus had one finisher with Trulli, but Kovalainen was not classified after struggling with his hydraulics.  HRT had both drivers finish and Virgin managed to get di Grassi home in 14th – the best of the new teams.

So due to the nature of this sport, Massa now heads the drivers points even though he’s not won a race yet, but Lewis looks confident and capable and is surely one to watch, if he can sort out his damn qualifying !

Oh yeah, almost forgot to say (well the cameras hardly pointed at them) that Vettel won with Webber in second and an impressive third for Rosberg.  If Red Bull have managed to overcome their reliability woes, then they could go onto be serious challengers for the team and drivers titles.

Remaining postions went to Kubica, Sutil, Hamilton, Massa, Button, Alguersuari and Hulkenberg.  Out of the points but on the same lap was Buemi.  The other finishers, who were all lapped, were Barrichello, di Grassi, Chandhok, Senna, Trulli and Kovalainen.  Non-finshers were Alonso on lap 54, Petrov on lap 32, Liuzzi on lap 12, Schumacher on his 9th lap, Kobayashi on the 8th and Glock on the 2nd.  de la Rosa did not start the race.

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