by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 146
The red flag conditions that halted the Malaysian Grand Prix after nine paltry laps were a headache to 11 of the teams in the pitlane. But down at HRT they were rain dancing as if their lives depended on it, all fingers crossed for the race to be called off. Thanks to a ballsy decision to keep Narain Kartikeyan out on track when the others were diving for the pits in the opening laps of the race, the Indian racer found himself in P10 behind the Safety Car when race control red-flagged the Malaysian Grand Prix at the end of lap 9. While there were those who insisted that the drivers could have raced on using the Pirelli extreme wets, HRT were well- placed to score their first half-point – the first point scored by any of 2010’s new teams – had the monsoon continued to the extent that the race had been called off. The red flag period provided entertainment of sorts, with the paddock setting up gazebos on the grid to protect their cars. But the collection of tents brought to mind a farmer’s market, triggering a seemingly endless stream of jokes about bootleg DVDs, over-priced wooden chopping boards, and a range of comestibles for sale. The restart saw a run of bad luck for Karthikeyan, who found himself on the receiving end of two nasty accidents starring world champions. First, Jenson Button collided with the HRT driver on lap 15, scuppering his own race in the process. Parts of the Briton’s front wing went flying, and both Button and Karthikeyan were forced into the pits. Just when he thought he was safe from further injury, Karthikeyan found himself on the receiving end of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull. The slower HRT was clipped by the passing RB8, but this time his assailant entered the pits alone. When all was done and dusted, the Indian driver crossed the finishing line in P21, a typical end result for the team. But with a little more rain, and a little less daylight, it all could have been very different. The post-race press conference in Melbourne saw a very irate Lewis Hamilton sitting in the P3 chair. One week later, and the same man occupied the same seat, but his demeanour couldn’t have been more different. Why was P3 bad news in Australia but a boon in Malaysia? It’s simple. At Albert Park, Hamilton had a car capable of winning the grand prix, as was proved by the fact that team-mate Jenson Button was the man on the top step of the podium. But in Sepang, Hamilton’s greatest rival for the 2012 WDC was far adrift, out of the points in P14. Fernando Alonso scored a brilliant win in Malaysia on Sunday, but the race was run in highly unusual conditions. It’s going to take a miracle – or a similarly chaotic event – to see the Scuderia fighting for another win in the immediate future. The Ferrari driver may have flown out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 35 points in his pocket to Hamilton’s 30, but that’s of no real concern at the moment. What is of vital importance to Hamilton is the fact that he now leads his team-mate in the drivers’ standings, meaning the 2008 world champion will get first call on strategy at the Chinese Grand Prix. Not that the McLaren driver said as much – or anything like it – in the post- race press conference. Instead, the media-trained driver talked up his desire for consistency while praising the hard work of the team. “I won't complain,” he said. “I think the car has been good all weekend and the team did a good job and I'm on the podium again, which is my target, to have consistency.” IF ONLY IT HAD BEEN CALLED OFF ... HRT smell half a point HAMILTON HAPPY WITH THIRD, STRONG WDC 27 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: