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GP Week : Issue 111
Team-By-Team: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang Rookie Paul di Resta put in another sterling performance at the wheel of the VJM04 to record his second points finish in Formula One. An early pitstop for a fresh set of softs was key to his race, allowing him to climb from 14th to 9th after the first round of stops. He was then in ninth place with four laps to go but yielded the place to Schumacher to secure the point. Team-mate Sutil was unable to realise his full potential after damaging his front wing off Barrichello on the first lap. He took the flag in 11th. Sebastien Buemi had his chance of a points finish firmly ended when he sped in the pitlane as he was pitting for the first time. The Swiss accidentally disengaged the limiter and was caught 20km/h over the limit, before being hit with a ten-second stop-and-go penalty for his severe infringement. Alguersuari was unable to explain his poor pace in the sister car, after finishing just ahead of Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen. He struggled with graining and general tyre wear and was just happy to finish. Kamui Kobayashi put Sauber’s first points on the board in 2011 with a solid eighth place finish in Malaysia, He was the only driver to two-stop his way to a points finish, again highlighting http://www.teamlotus.co.uk/ the C30’s kind treatment of its Pirelli tyres. He enjoyed battles with Schumacher and Webber during the race. Perez failed to finish his second Grand Prix after starting a promising 16th. The Mexican didn’t even make it to half distance before having his car cut out when debris off Buemi’s car hit the floor of his C30. The team qualified in its expected position – behind the Lotuses and ahead of the HRT’s. Glock made a great start to briefly head Trulli at Turn 1, but it was never going to last. He stuck with a two-stop strategy, and a slick stop got him out ahead of Trulli again for a while. Straightforward run to the finish. D’Ambrosio had a more interesting time – qualifying next to his team-mate and running some distance behind him throughout, until a big bump over a kerb turned off the power switch to the engine. Getting to the grid was a major achievement for HRT at the weekend, and although their reliability will need a seeing to over the coming races there is plenty to build on for the F1 minnows. Both Liuzzi and Karthikeyan had to retire before the flag for safety reasons, with Liuzzi having developed a problem with his rear wing and Karthikeyan’s engine having begun to overheat. Liuzzi struggled to keep control of the rear of his car, admitting that plenty of work is needed on the balance of the F111. 31 Lotus’s long-awaited jump to midfield pace was finally witnessed in Malaysia, as Heikki Kovalainen kept pace throughout the race with the tail end of the midfield pack. He stopped twice on his way to 15th, and was never troubled by Virgin behind. Team-mate Trulli was on course to match the Finn’s pace but stopped with a clutch problem on lap 31. The Hingham-based team will be hoping to build on this with another strong performance in China next weekend. F1 MALAYSIA >>