Malaysian Grand Prix 2011 – Race Report

The Malaysian Grand Prix didn’t offer much excitement this year. You might be surprised by my saying this considering how well the rear-wing seemed to work during the race. That it did, but almost all of the advantage on the over-takes was negated by the high amount of pit-stops, which is why most of the gain achieved from said overtakes was temporary at best. However, there was a little more excitement in the race than in Australia.

But now for the results…

The Top-10

Sebastian Vettel once again lead the race from start to finish. He achieved the unchallenged victory, once again without KERS since there was  a problem with the system (which unfortunately affected his team-mate’s race. Jenson Button drove a solid race and finished second behind Vettel. Nick Heidfeld recovered from his pathetic showing in Australia gloriously, when he took his first podium of the season. Way to go Nick.

Mark Webber lost a lot of ground at the start of the race, and a malfunctioning KERS made the race even more difficult, but in the end Webber regained his stride and went on to finish fourth ahead of both Ferraris. Felipe Massa gave a strong showing, finishing fifth ahead of Fernando Alonso, who can be thankful for his high position since he destroyed his front-wing by driving too close to Lewis Hamilton during an overtake attempt.  Both Alonso and Hamilton got slapped with a time-penalty after the race which didn’t affect Alonso but dropped Hamilton from seventh to eighth.

Even though he gained one position from Hamilton’s penalty, Kamui Kobayashi once again drove an excellent race, far better than his fresh team-mate who had to retire from the race. Kobayashi had to defend his position from numerous drivers and even though he wasn’t able to keep Webber behind he gave seven-time champion Michael Schumacher a run for his money. Schumi finished ninth.

Paul Di Resta, the last man on the same lap with Vettel, also gave Schumi chase but spent much of the race struggling in the middle group, so his tenth position is a slight consolation for Force India’s otherwise rather lackluster performance in Malaysia.

Golden Pineapple Award

Adrian Sutil had one of his worst starts to a race but was able to recover ground as the race went on, though he eventually finished one lap down. Force India had a terrible time at Malaysia and hopefully they can pull themselves together in time for the Chinese Grand Prix. Same goes for the Toro Rossos.

Drop-out count: 8

Technical difficulties plagued many drivers including both Williams cars, Jarno Trulli, Jerome D’Ambrosio and the Hispania cars, who to their credit were able to qualify for the race this time around.

Sergio Perez ran off the track, as did Vitaly Petrov. In Petrov’s case this was a rotten shame since he was going to finish on points. A bump on the grass, however, sent his car flying. The in-car camera showed that Petrov’s steering wheel had come off on the landing.

Back of the Lot News

Once again none of the new teams made it out of Q1. Though the Hispanias qualified for the race, both had to retire. Finally it only Heikki Kovalainen and Virgin’s Timo Glock finished the race as the only new-team drivers. Kovalainen’s race-performance is showing promise that Lotus might still catch up to the middle-tier teams this season, Glock’s race was miserable and he finished last, 2 laps down.

Of the middle-group it bares noting that the Toro Rossos did extremely poorly, not even running for points this race which was quite a surprise. Only Adrian Sutil, who started the race from grid-17 was able to make any real progress, as already discussed in this post.