Top 5 Malaysian GP Moments
Malaysia was such an eventful Grand Prix it was difficult to pick just 5 individual moments, but I’ve given it a go. Here they are:
5. More points for Di Resta
Here’s an interesting stat: Di Resta is only the third person in the last 30 or so years to have scored points in his first two Grands Prix. The other two? None other than Alain Prost and Lewis Hamilton. Ok so things have changed a bit – points now go down to tenth, the cars are more reliable blah blah blah, but it’s still an impressive achievement. So far this year Di Resta has started to somewhat overshadow his team mate, Adrian Sutil, who is by no means slow.
While Di Resta may be a rookie in F1, he has lots of experience in a variety of other categories and his measured approach has served him well so far, but he is still aggressive on track when he needs to be. Watch out for this Scot, I’m sure there’s more to come from him throughout the season.
4. Heidfeld’s podium
Ok, so it wasn’t quite as impressive or as out of the blue as Petrovs podium in Melbourne, but it was a timely reminder of how valuable an asset Heidfeld is to a team. He looked after his tyres better than most whilst still keeping up a decent pace, and was ready to capitalise after Alonso’s error and Hamilton’s lack of speed towards the end. He also defended well from the much quicker Red Bull of Mark Webber at the end of the race and he calmly held on for his first podium in two years.
On an unrelated note; Heidfeld wearing his gold race suit on the podium totally made him look like a member of the Bee Gees, or ABBA, or any other generic late 1970′s disco group. Awesomeness guaranteed.
3. Schumacher gets double teamed
Of the many overtaking moves that occurred at the Sepang Circuit, perhaps my favourite came on lap 28 when Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Buemi -on fresh tyres – came up against Michael Schumacher – on worn tyres. Coming on to the back straight, Lewis went to the right of Schumacher, Buemi went to the left. They entered the final corner three abreast, but Schumacher braked early and made a beeline for the pits while Hamilton managed to get past both of them.
Perhaps Michael now knows how Ricardo Zonta felt some 11 years ago…
2. Petrov flies
After his heroics of two weeks ago Petrov had a comparatively quiet weekend and was on course to score a small handful of points. On lap 53 however, he ran wide on the exit of turn 8. In his haste to lose as little time as possible in getting back on the track, Petrov chose to drive slightly onto the grass. Unfortunately, this area of grass was preceded by a rain gutter and Petrov was launched into the air.
The landing was so violent that the steering column freed itself from it’s mountings, leaving Petrov sitting in an uncontrollable toboggan heading for the wall. Luckily the wheels had more or less stayed on and he stopped the car beforehand, hitting only a brake marker board, but it was a spectacular exit.
Post race the photoshoppers went berserk, and soon all sorts of amusing images featuring the flying Russian were knocking around. This is my favourite, courtesy of Tom of WTF1.
1. The opening laps
A lot went on in the first couple of laps; it was one of the most exciting starts for years. Anyone who watched the 2004 season will remember Renault’s epic starts week in, week out, and Malaysia saw a return to them. Heidfeld and Petrov went from 6th and 8th respectively to be challenging Vettel for the lead into turn one. Heidfeld eventually slotted in second with Petrov a few places behind. No-one expected that, least of all McLaren, who’s race was somewhat compromised by Heidfeld getting between Hamilton and Vettel.
Further down the field, a KERS-less Webber got a bad start and found himself battling down the field with Kobayashi. They passed and repassed each other every lap – Webber even sent a great move down the inside at the tricky turn 14. Alonso, who had also made a tardy start, managed to put a nice move on the fast starting Schumacher around the outside of turn 5. Where to look?!
Malaysia was a great race…until the stewards ruined it with needless penalties for Hamilton and Alonso. Grrrrr!
Bring on China, and lets hope its a race where the order at the finish line is the same as the order on sunday night.
Image (c) Getty Images