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GP Week : Issue 3
32 Barrichello’s Australian performance had given Honda much hope coming to Melbourne and on Friday Jenson Button’s pace seemed to confirm such faith was well-founded, as he took ninth in the morning and fourth in the afternoon. Barrichello meanwhile sat 13th and 11th with no complaints from either driver or team. Saturday practice saw more of the same for Button who took eighth, but Barrichello’s running was cut short by a damaged sixth gear, which was repaired under FIA regs without penalty. The Brazilian took 14th in qualifying with Button unlucky to miss out on Q3 in 11th place. The race itself saw the drivers put in what the team described as a “fault-free” performance, but for Barrichello’s drive-through for speeding in the pitlane. Button brought his car home 10th to record the team’s first top 10 finish of the season, while even with his penalty Barrichello came home 13th, ahead of both Williams cars. Toro Rosso had a Friday of contrasting fortunes for its drivers. Vettel was hampered by brake problems in the morning while Bourdais got to run about two corners in the afternoon before a team error in changing the gear ratios broke the engine. Vettel again broke into the top 10 on Saturday morning with ninth place, with Bourdais back in 18th and taking his one and only free engine change for 2008. Qualifying was a dose of reality, however, with Vettel 15th and Bourdais 19th, complaining of brake problems and hoping for rain. The weather never changed, but it mattered not for Bourdais who threw his Toro Rosso off the track half way round the first lap. Vettel managed to keep himself in check and put in a mature drive until an apparent engine failure set the rear of his car on fire and put paid to his afternoon’s racing. Having spent almost all of the Melbourne weekend in the top 10, Toyota again impressed throughout the Malaysian weekend. Trulli was 10th and sixth on Friday, while Glock acclimatised to the conditions and circuit running 14th and 17th. The team declared itself happy with the day as neither car had experienced any difficulties. Saturday saw Glock break into the top 10 in practice, while Trulli went an unexpected fourth. Qualifying almost saw a repeat performance, with both drivers through to Q3, Glock eventually taking 10th with Trulli a fine fifth, which became third after the McLaren penalties. The Italian lost out at the start, losing valuable places at the first corner. Glock, however, was even more unlucky, taking a hit in the rear suspension from Rosberg which would prove terminal. Trulli went on to put in a measured and impressive race, fighting the McLarens of Kovalainen and Hamilton for seemingly the entire race. He held off the Brit’s final lap advances to claim a brilliant fourth place. PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 11 12 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO 14 15 HONDA RACING F1 TEAM 16 17