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Malaysian GP 2009

APRIL 5, 2009

Race Notes - Button wins rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix

Red Flag, Malaysian GP 2009
© The Cahier Archive

Jenson Button won the Malaysian Grand Prix in his Brawn-Mercedes, in a race which was shortened by a torrential downpour. Nick Heidfeld in the Sauber BMW finished in second place, timing perfectly his switch to full wet tyres, while Timo Glock finished third in the Toyota, a decision to run intermediates wet tyres when most of the field switched to full wets allowing him to rocket up through the field.

The victory is the second in a row for Button - his third career victory. The race was called after 31 laps, and with less than 75% of the total distance completed half points are awarded.

Jarno Trulli in the Toyota finished fourth, followed by Rubens Barrichello in the Brawn-Mercedes in fifth, Mark Webber in the Red Bull-Renault in sixth, Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren-Mercedes seventh, and early leader Nico Rosberg in the Williams-Toyota finishing in the final points position in eighth.

As the field came to the starting grid, rain was threatening on the horizon, and most drivers started on the soft tyre option.

At the start Kubica stalls on the grid but finally gets away after the field. On the run down to the first corner Nico Rosberg passes Trulli in front of him and then runs side-by-side with polesitter Jenson Button, Rosberg taking the lead into turn one, Button giving way allowing Trulli and Alonso to get by as well.

Rosberg leads Trulli, Alonso, Button, Raikkonen and Barrichello.

On the first lap Kovalainen spins off into the gravel trap, Button then Barrichello passing Raikkonen.

On lap 3 Sebastien Buemi pits and changes his front wing, while out on the track Kubica has stopped. At the end of the straight Barrichello dives past Alonso, overshoots, and then the two run side-by-side on the run to the first corner, Barrichello taking fourth place.

On lap 5 Vettel passes Hamilton for 10th place.

On lap 6 Glock dives down the inside of Mark Webber, Glock's front wing tounches the Red Bull's tyre.

At lap 8, Rosberg leads Trulli by 2.8 seconds, followed by Button (3.7s), Barrichello (9.8s), Alonso (20.6s), Raikkonen (22.1s), Webber (21.4s), Glock (22.0s), Heidfeld (25.8s), Vettel (26.0s), and Hamilton (29.1s) in eleventh place.

On lap 9 Heidfeld makes a mistake and runs wide on a corner, Vettel and Hamilton getting past into 9th and 10th.

On lap 11 Alonso runs in fifth with a train of cars following him - under pressure with a heavy fuel load - Raikkonen passes him into the first corner.

On lap 13 Alonso goes wide under braking, Webber getting side-by-side, Alonso go back ahead, but goes wide again at the end of the straight, going wide again, Webber getting past for sixth place.

On lap 14 Vettel is the first to pit, taking on another set of soft tyres, while Button sets another fast lap - slowing closing on Trulli in second.

On lap 16 Rosberg pits from the lead for another soft set of tyres, rejoining in fourth place, along with Glock from ninth place.

With rain still holding off Trulli leads with Button chasing him, less than a second behind.

On lap 17 Webber makes his first stop from sixth place. The next lap Trulli pits from the lead while Barrichello sets the fastest lap. Button then sets fast lap, pushing hard before his pitstop.

On lap 19 Raikkonen pits - with drops of rain, the Ferrari team puts on full-wet tyres, gambling on the weather.

On lap 20 Button pits for soft tyres - rejoining in second place, ahead of Rosberg and Trulli.

On lap 21 Barrichello pits from the lead, staying on soft tyres, but has trouble pulling away from the pits, and loses a spot to Trulli into the first corner, rejoins in fourth place - the first four having made their first pitstop, and fourth through 10th place still having yet to make a stop.

Rain starts to fall - catching Alonso out, he goes off through the gravel trap but continues, losing several places.

On lap 23 the entire field pits for wet tyres - the drivers tip-toes around, with half the track wet and half dry. Raikkonen reports that his tyres are gone - his gamble early for wets not paying off.

On lap 24 Hamilton and Webber battle back and forth for sixth place, Webber getting ahead. Then Hamilton repasses again, but Webber finally takes the position.

On lap 25 Vettel passes Nakajima for 11th place.

At lap 25, with damp conditions, Button leads Rosberg by 14.1 seconds, followed by Trulli (16.6s), Barrichello (20.1s), Webber (20.1s), Heidfeld (30.9s), Hamilton (31.8s), and Glock (34.7s) running fast on intermediate tyres in 8th place.

On lap 26 Glock passes Hamilton and then Heidfeld, while Hamilton complains to the pits that his car is hitting the rev-limiter early.

On lap 27 Vettel pits for the third time, while Barrichello passes Trulli for third place.

On lap 28 Barrichello passes Rosberg, who then pits. Hamilton pits for intermediate tyres.

On lap 29 Barrichello slips wide, Webber and Glock getting by - Glock battles with Webber and passes him for second place. Barrichello and Trulli pit - Trulli getting by the Brazilian.

On lap 30 Barrichello passes Trulli - while leader Button, Webber and Massa pit for intermediates.

Glock passes Button to take the lead, Button gets position back and then the heavens open up, and hard rain begins to fall.

Webber, Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Alonso, Bourdais, Nakajima, Piquet and Raikkonen pit for full-wet tyres.

On lap 31 Fisichella spins. Button pits for full-wets, the rain is pouring and Vettel spins and stops out on the track. Heidfeld in second, but Glock passes him in the first corner. Hamilton spins but continues, while Fisichella spins again.

On lap 32 Trulli and Barrichello pit for wet tyres - and the Safety Car is then deployed.

At lap 32, as the race is red-flagged, Button leads Glock, followed by Heidfeld, Trulli, Barrichello, Webber, Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Bourdias in tenth, Alonso, Nakajima, Piquet, Raikkonen and Sutil in 15th place.

At just after an hour of racing, as torrential rain pours and the race is suspended, the field comes to a stop on the front straight - some drivers getting out of their cars.

If the race is called at this point, only half-points will be rewarded. Mark Webber, the head of the Grand Prix Drivers Association, walks around talking to various drivers about the failing light conditions while the rain continues to fall heavily. The race clock continues - and the race will be called at the two-hour mark if the race can not be restarted.

Kimi Raikkonen's car is pushed inside the garage. With 20 minutes to go, there is still no sign of the 10-minute restart signal.

With 10 minutes left before the two-hour mark, race control signals that the race will not be restarted, and drivers start climbing out of their cars.

After the race is called, the results are reverted to the lap before the red flag was thrown, elevating Heidfeld back up to second place.

Jenson Button wins his second race in a row for Brawn GP, followed by Heidfeld in second, Glock, Trulli, Barrichello, Webber, Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa and Bourdais in tenth.