Button wins chaotic Malaysian Grand Prix in SepangApril 5th, 2009 - 7:45 pm ICT by IANS
Sepang, Malaysia (DPA) Jenson Button in a Brawn GP was declared the winner of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix after the action was stopped in the 33rd lap when torrential downpours made racing impossible.
Button, who already won the season-opener in Melbourne last week, was leading from Toyota’s Timo Glock and Nick Heidfeld in a BMW-Sauber when race director Charlie Whiting suspended the race.
As the two-hour limit for a race was nearing, Whiting later took the decision that the race, which had seen chaotic conditions prevailing, could not be restarted.
The race classification was then determined by the standings at the end of the 31st lap, and as a result Heidfeld finished second from Glock.
Button was slow out of the grid and slipped behind Williams’ Nico Rosberg and Trulli, but then benefited from his pit strategy as both drivers had to pit earlier, allowing the Brawn to take first place.
“I had no grip at the start and could do nothing as the others passed me. I then managed to get back in front of Fernando Alonso and then things worked for me.
“It was a very exciting race and although I would prefer a more boring race, I am happy to take the victory,” the Briton said.
After the first cars had pitted for fuel, weather conditions made it very difficult for everyone as the rain forced teams to pit several times for tyre changess.
Glock stayed on intermediates longer than other drivers to make up ground, but as the rain became heavier all cars had to switch to wet tyres.
“It was a very tricky one, but it was one of the best that I could have raced,” said Glock.
“When the rain took so long in coming I said ‘let’s go for intermediates’ and that worked for us.
“The race was so confusing. At one stage when I was behind the safety car I was told by my crew that I was first. When the race was stopped I was told that I was second and later I was told that I was third. I hope that I stay third now.”
The safety car finally came out in chaotic conditions and just two laps later Whiting decided to bring out the red flag, suspending the race in the 33rd lap.
The drivers lined up on the grid in the order in which they were when the red flag came out, waiting for a restart.
During the interruption, Grand Prix Drivers Association director Mark Webber spoke to several of his colleagues and asked them if they felt it was safe to continue.
The Red Bull driver, who was lying eighth at the time when the race was stopped, said that it was very difficult to see anything.
“I nearly hit Nico Rosberg and I was going just 15 kilometres an hour at the time.
“It does not matter what points you get out of a race like this, it matters that the guys don’t get hurt,” Webber said.
Two-time world champion Alonso agreed with Webber that it would not have made sense to restart the race.
“It was just too dangerous. The conditions were very difficult. It was completely dark,” said Alonso.
After the race was stopped, Toyota’s Jarno Trulli was classified as having finished fourth, from Rubens Barrichello in the second Brawn. Webber, world champion Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren-Mercedes and Rosberg occupied the final points positions.
However, as three quarters of the race had not been completed, only half of the championship points will be awarded.
Button leads the standings with 15 points from his team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who has 10. The two Toyota’s of Trulli and Glock are third and fourth with eight and a half and eight points
Brawn GP has a commanding lead in the constructor’s standings with 25 points from Toyota, who are on 16.5.
While Hamilton finally got the first points for McLaren, Ferrari remain on zero points after Felipe Massa had to settle for ninth and Kimi Raikkonen was placed 14th.
The next race is the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19.
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Tags: bmw sauber, boring race, brawn, briton, chaotic conditions, fernando alonso, first cars, intermediates, jenson button, malaysian grand prix, nick heidfeld, nico rosberg, pit strategy, race director, safety car, season opener, sepang malaysia, timo glock, weather conditions, whiting