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GP Week : Issue 40
Team-By-Team: Malaysian Gra McLaren had more than a race to deal with in Malaysia, as the scandal over Dave Ryan, Lewis Hamilton, the FIA Stewards and misleading information became the talking point of the weekend. Badly handled from all involved, it was an unsightly mess that resulted in the team apparently seeming to lose not only its Sporting Director, but also its focus. Neither car made it out of Q2, which Practice got off to a bad start when Kimi Raikkonen’s KERS unit went bang, filling his car with smoke and leading to the Finn leaping from his car so as not to receive any potential electric shock. A short circuit was to blame. The team had nobody to blame but themselves for the catastrophic foul up in qualifying that saw Massa punted out in Q1. The Brazilian was fuming, and Considering that this was supposed to be BMW’s time to shine, the start to their 2009 season has been a huge disappointment. They struggled in practice, and in qualifying Heidfeld failed to make it out of Q2. Penalties for other drivers promoted him to 10th, while Kubica again looked the better of the duo, starting sixth. Kubica was out early on. Slow off the Having been trounced by Piquet in the opening two practice sessions of the weekend, Fernando Alonso looked to be struggling in Malaysia, running off track a number of times in search of grip that seemed to be lacking. Which is why qualifying was such a shock. Piquet, a master of the single lap flyer in his GP2 days, again struggled and went out in Q1. Alonso made it to Q3 and Toyota really came into its own on Saturday, filling top positions in practice and again in qualifying. Once the penalties had been handed out it saw the duo of Trulli and Glock line up second and third on the grid and staring a great result in the face. Trulli held onto second at the start, but Glock slumped to eighth until his first stop sent him even further down the order. As it all 36 was where they said they expected to be. Hamilton qualified 13th, which became 12th with Vettel’s penalty, while Heikki Kovalainen was one place behind in 14th. In the race, Kovalainen exited on the first lap after losing the car under his own steam. Hamilton raced his socks off, pulling out an unlikely points finish in the wet conditions. A good end to a horrible weekend. deservedly so. Raikkonen made it to Q3, promoted to seventh after penalties were implemented. Like Australia, the Malaysian race just didn’t go Ferrari’s way. Raikkonen was put on full wets far too early in another team error, while Massa never really featured and was flattered by ninth. Lots to learn for the reigning World Champs, and fast. grid, he tried to bring his car around but when it set on fire he called it a day. Heidfeld ran a heavy fuel strategy, and did it ever pay off! When everyone else had made three or four stops, he’d made just one. It was a case of being there at the end. A podium for Nick with a great fight to second position was rich reward and a sign that one should never give up. lined up ninth. Renault’s KERS unit allowed Alonso to involve himself in some great fights during the race, as he struggled on a heavy fuel load but nevertheless came out fighting. He also made the absolute start of the year! Both he and Piquet had good races, but it ultimately came to naught as they finished 11th and 13th. panned out, the team opted to put him on intermediates when the rain started to fall and it was an inspired choice. As one of the fastest guys on track in the difficult conditions, he was perfectly placed to make the most of the weather and duly brought home a podium. That Trulli slipped to fourth could have been seen as a disappointment – a sign of just how high the team’s expectations have become.