Malaysian Grand Prix Results – Kimi 5th & fastest lap
Kimi Raikkonen says he is eager to have a ‘normal’ grand prix weekend to figure out where Lotus stands, after adding a fifth place at Sepang to his seventh-place finish in Melbourne. The Formula 1 returnee started 17th in Australia after a mistake and a timing misjudgement, then had to take a gearbox change grid penalty at Sepang which put him 10th on the grid, before recovering for a top five finish in the wet/dry race.
KR: “Hopefully we can get a normal race next time. All the time there is something going wrong or the weather changes a lot. It would be nice to just have a normal weekend and just see where we are. Right now, nobody really knows where anybody is. But we seem to have a pretty strong package everywhere. I didn’t have any experience on the inter tyres or the wet tyres. We’d only done one installation lap and it was a bit of an odd feeling to go directly into the race with tyres we hadn’t run. I just tried to stay with the others and stay on the circuit, and then pushed harder and harder. It took a few laps for me to pick up speed when I changed to dries, but after that it was OK.”
A matter of minutes before the scheduled 16:00 start time, the grid became a flurry of activity as rain began to fall on the grid. Within seconds the track was sufficiently damp to warrant a switch onto intermediate tyres before the lights went out.
Romain got a phenomenal start, launching well and using his KERS to weave his was up to P3 on the run down to the first corner. However the Frenchman’s poor fortunes from Australia continued as contact with Schumacher at turn 5 left him facing the oncoming traffic, subsequently dropping to P20. Things were to get even worse for Romain, as severe aquaplaning through turn 5 on just the third lap sent him backwards into the gravel and out of the race.
Conversely, Kimi struggled to get his E20 off the line, but managed to find a path through the confusion that unfurled during the first few corners to sit in P9 at the end of the first lap. Huge forks of lightning and torrential rain ensued, as the safety car emerged to bring some calm to proceedings. As giant raindrops continued to fall Kimi pitted for wets, falling to P13 before an immense downpour brought out the red flags and a break in the action of almost hour.
After a safety car restart the team immediately brought the Finn in for an early switch over to intermediate tyres, which proved the right call as Kimi moved up 3 places during the stops, with another position gained as Button collided with Karthikeyan. Progress continued for the former World Champion, as he jumped up to P6 by lap 16 as rivals once again dove into the pit lane for fresh rubber.
With the DRS enabled on lap 20, Kimi honed in on the back of Vettel, following the German past his compatriot Nico Rosberg on lap 24, pulling off a superb move around the outside of turn 1 after engaging the DRS down the straight.
As the laps fell away, Webber began to pile on the pressure as the team chose to remain on the intermediate tyres despite a drying track, with further rain forecast in the coming moments. Unfortunately this was not to be, and having final pitted for slicks on lap 41 Kimi was jumped by Webber who came in 1 lap earlier to put on the dry tyres.
Having withstood further pressure from Senna and Di Resta, the Finn jumped another place as a puncture for Vettel on lap 47 moved him back up to P5.
The remainder of the race was a lonesome affair, and in clear air Kimi set the fastest time of the day on lap 51, and then again on lap 54 to become the only driver in the 1 minute 40 second bracket by the time the chequered flag dropped.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS Classified: Pos--Driver-------Team-----------------------Time 1. Alonso Ferrari 2h44:51.812 2. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 2.263 3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 14.591 4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 17.688 5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 29.456 6. Senna Williams-Renault + 37.667 7. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 44.412 8. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 46.985 9. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes + 47.892 10. Schumacher Mercedes + 49.996 11. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 1:15.527 12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:16.800 13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:18.500 14. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 1:19.700 15. Massa Ferrari + 1:39.300 16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 17. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 18. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 19. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 2 laps 20. Pic Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps 21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps 22. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 2 laps Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:40.722 Not classified/retirements: Driver-------Team---------------------On lap Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 47 Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4 World Championship standings, round 2: Drivers:--------------------Constructors: 1. Alonso 35 1. McLaren-Mercedes 55 2. Hamilton 30 2. Red Bull-Renault 42 3. Button 25 3. Ferrari 35 4. Webber 24 4. Sauber-Ferrari 30 5. Perez 22 5. Lotus-Renault 16 6. Vettel 18 6. Force India-Mercedes 9 7. Raikkonen 16 7. Williams-Renault 8 8. Senna 8 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6 9. Kobayashi 8 9. Mercedes 1 10. Di Resta 7 11. Vergne 4 12. Hulkenberg 2 13. Ricciardo 2 14. Schumacher 1
Kimi Raikkonen – 5th: “It was a bit difficult today. It was my first time on the wet weather Pirellis and I didn’t know how the intermediate or wet tyres would react – I had only completed one installation lap on them before. I just tried to stay on the road and push as much as I felt comfortable with. When I changed to the dry tyres it took a couple of laps to get heat into them, and my visor was pretty dirty so seeing the dry line was difficult. Once I found my way I could push much harder. It was difficult to have another mixed weather weekend. The conditions changed a lot today so it was always a case of adapting and looking for grip. Overall, we seemed to have a pretty strong package again this weekend, so I’m relatively happy. A fifth today was okay, but we’re always looking for better results.”
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Today’s result is a bit frustrating. Whilst it’s good to have a car finish in the top five after starting from tenth in conditions which were very tricky, we can’t help thinking that we could have achieved more from this race. Obviously, it’s disappointing for Romain, as it’s another DNF for him in the early laps of the race. He had never driven in the rain with these intermediate tyres so we have to take that into account. He had a very good start off the line, but the contact with Michael ruined his race. At the restart, we recovered well from our position and on the plus side, the car looked strong again. Kimi had a flawless race. He was very consistent in all conditions and his best lap shows what could have been without his grid penalty. I’m sure when we have a ‘standard’ weekend – without bad weather, penalty or interruption – we will do very well.”
James Allison, Technical Director: “What we would give for a normal race! We had to fight back from a grid penalty for changing the gearbox on Kimi’s car. We also had two drivers learning Pirelli’s wet tyres for the first time today. This made for a difficult time here at Sepang. Our pace at the end of the race on dry tyres looks extremely promising from the perspective of both degradation and pace. Give us a normal race, with two clean getaways from the good qualifying positions of which we have shown we are capable, and I think we’ll be able to collect a good reward.”