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2009 Malaysian Grand Prix

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  2009 Malaysian Grand Prix
Race details[1]
Race 2 of 17 in the 2009 Formula One season

DateApril 5, 2009
Official nameXI Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix
LocationSepang International Circuit
Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia
CoursePermanent racing facility
5.543 km (3.376 mi)
Distance31 laps, 171.833 km (104.656 mi)
Scheduled Distance56 laps, 310.408 km (189.056 mi)
WeatherDry start, with heavy rain and thunder storm later
Pole position
Driver Jenson ButtonBrawn-Mercedes
Fastest lap
Driver Jenson ButtonBrawn-Mercedes
Time1:36.641 on lap 18
First Jenson ButtonBrawn-Mercedes
Second Nick HeidfeldBMW Sauber
Third Timo GlockToyota

The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix (formally the XI Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix) was a Formula One race held on April 5, 2009 at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia. It was the second race of the 2009 Formula One season. The race was due to be contested over 56 laps, but due to torrential rain, the race was stopped after 31 laps. The race was won by Jenson Button for the Brawn GP team after starting from pole position. Nick Heidfeld was classified second for BMW Sauber, with Timo Glock third for Toyota.

As the race did not reach the required 75% distance (42 laps) needed for full points to be awarded, half-points were given instead for only the fifth time in Formula One history, and the first since the 1991 Australian Grand Prix.[2][3] The race distance of 171.833 km, was the fifth shortest ever covered in a World Championship Grand Prix.[4] Brawn GP became only the second constructor to win their first two World Championship Grands Prix since Alfa Romeo won the first two ever, in 1950.[5]




On the Thursday before the race, Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the preceding Australian Grand Prix due to misleading the stewards.

The Grand Prix was contested by 20 drivers, in 10 teams of two.[6] The teams, also known as "constructors", were Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Brawn, Force India, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Williams and Toro Rosso.[6]

After the Australian Grand Prix, Jenson Button led the Drivers' Championship by two points from Rubens Barrichello and by four points from Jarno Trulli.[6] Brawn GP led the Constructors' Championship by 7 points from Toyota and by 14 points from Renault.[6]

The race start time was moved from 15:00 local time (07:00 UTC) to 17:00 local time (09:00 UTC). The organisers however turned down the possibility of holding a night race, in line with the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, for budgetary reasons.[7]

Practice and qualifying

"This morning we had a problem with the KERS, which cost us a bit of time, but we managed to make up for most of it in the afternoon. We had felt that the situation here could be different to Melbourne, but it is still too early to say where we are up against the opposition. What we can be sure of is that when the car runs trouble-free, we are competitive. We hope we can do a good job in tomorrow's qualifying."
Kimi Räikkönen, after his incident in the first practice session, and after setting the fastest lap in the second practice session.[8]
Jenson Button took his second pole position of the season for Brawn GP.

Three practice sessions were held before the race; the first was held on Friday morning and the second on Friday afternoon. Both sessions lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes with weather conditions dry throughout. The third session was held on Saturday morning and lasted an hour, and was also dry throughout.[9]Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima secured a Williams one-two in the first session with times of 1:36.260 and 1:36.305 minutes respectively. In the second session, Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen and Felipe Massa went quickest with times of 1:35.707 and 1:35.832 minutes. After 18 laps, Räikkönen's cockpit began to billow out smoke, and though Ferrari did not give an official statement, there are reports that the car's KERS system had overheated.[10]

Jenson Button got Brawn's second consecutive pole ahead of Jarno Trulli's Toyota.[11] Rubens Barrichello in the other Brawn qualified 4th (third when taking into consideration Vettel's penalty) but was demoted five places to 8th after a gearbox change.[12] An error in strategy meant that Massa failed to make it through Q1. In an interview to Globo TV, the driver said that he and the team thought the initial time posted was enough to qualify for the second session, and refrained from recording additional times in order to spare the car's engine. However, this was not the case, and Massa was left in 16th place.[13][14]


Jenson Button took pole position on the starting grid, but Nico Rosberg (in fourth place) made the best start and led into the first corner.
Robert Kubica retired on the second lap when his engine failed.
Photograph showing the correct positions of Jenson Button, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock on the last completed lap

Off the line, there was a clean getaway by all drivers, apart from Robert Kubica, who was forced to retire from engine problems after the first lap. Williams' Nico Rosberg moved from fourth on the grid to lead into the first corner, followed by Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso, who had used his KERS system to good effect to move up from tenth; Jenson Button made a poor start in his Brawn and was down to fourth. Heading into turn five, McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen ran wide onto the track's 'marbles' (fragments of degraded tyre rubber), and spun into early retirement.

After a slow start, Button caught and passed the heavier Renault of Alonso at turn thirteen for third place and set off after Trulli. Rosberg and Trulli stopped for fuel earlier than Button, who was able to pass them during the first round of pit stops and take the lead. Evidence of rain was barely noticed, but Kimi Räikkönen pitted to switch from dry to full wet tyres. However, his gamble did not pay off, as rain did not come as early as predicted, and he was forced to slow down significantly in order to delay the rapid wear of the wet tyres. (Without standing water on the track, wet tyres will not maintain structural integrity at high speeds, and will rapidly degrade over the course of a few laps.)

By lap 19, rain had started to fall and most of the drivers pitted for wet tyres. However, at this stage there was no standing water on the track, and so the wet tyres started to wear out very quickly. Timo Glock had been using intermediate tyres which were better suited to the conditions and moved rapidly up to third place. The other drivers followed this example and switched to intermediate tyres as well, which the majority of the field stayed on until lap 31 when the downpour finally reached the whole track, and drivers pitted for wet tyres once again.

Due to the torrential rain, the race was stopped on the 33rd lap[3] and the results were taken from the classification at the end of lap 31 (the penultimate fully completed in accordance with sporting regulation 42.8[15]). Half-points were subsequently awarded to the top eight. Button took his second victory of the season and five points, and it was the first time he had won back to back victories and his third career victory. The victory also meant that Brawn GP became the first team since Alfa Romeo in 1950 to win their first two Grands Prix.[5] Nick Heidfeld was classified second ahead of Toyota's Timo Glock. Heidfeld was the first driver to take a podium position with a KERS-equipped car.[citation needed]


Trulli, Barrichello, Hamilton and Webber stop their cars on the start-finish straight following the decision to red-flag the race.
Crowd members leaving the stands after the race was cancelled.

The drivers generally backed the decision to abandon the race, citing diminishing visibility (due to the later starting time) as well as the heavy rain.[16]

"The visibility is nothing, [we] could have a serious accident if we restart."Fernando Alonso before the race was officially called off [5]
"It was impossible to drive out there, it was very, very dangerous. It's the most dangerous conditions I have ever raced in,"Lewis Hamilton
"It was way too wet out there and the decision to call it off was correct. I would obviously love to have the 10 points, but this is the best we could have done, I think, and realistically it was the right thing to do. I'm sure some people will say 'we didn't see the whole race and it's disappointing' but you have to think about the safety sometimes. When the safety car is pulling away at 20 seconds a lap, you know that it's too wet for an F1 car."Jenson Button
"It's dark now at seven o'clock so it was the right call not to make the re-start,"Mark Webber (a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association)

Officials in Malaysia also confirmed that they will review the start time of the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix. Mokhzani Mahathir, chairman of the Sepang International Circuit, said he consulted Bernie Ecclestone after the race and they had agreed to look at the timings. However, Ecclestone revealed he had no qualms about the schedule, stating:

"I just have regrets about the rain, I don't see anything wrong with the start time, we just didn't know about the rain."[17]

Mahathir suggested the possibility of implementing a lighting system (similar to that used in the Singapore Grand Prix) to illuminate the circuit in future races.[17]


Cars that used the KERS system are marked with "‡"


PosNoNameConstructorPart 1Part 2Part 3Grid
122 Jenson ButtonBrawn-Mercedes1:35.0581:33.7841:35.1811
29 Jarno TrulliToyota1:34.7451:33.9901:35.2732
315 Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1:34.9351:34.2761:35.518131
423 Rubens BarrichelloBrawn-Mercedes1:34.6811:34.3871:35.65182
510 Timo GlockToyota1:34.9071:34.2581:35.6903
616 Nico RosbergWilliams-Toyota1:35.0831:34.5471:35.7504
714 Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1:35.0271:34.2221:35.7975
85 Robert KubicaBMW Sauber1:35.1661:34.5621:36.1066
94‡ Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:35.4761:34.4561:36.1707
107‡ Fernando AlonsoRenault1:35.2601:34.7061:37.6599
116‡ Nick HeidfeldBMW Sauber1:35.1101:34.76910
1217 Kazuki NakajimaWilliams-Toyota1:35.3411:34.78811
131‡ Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1:35.2801:34.90512
142‡ Heikki KovalainenMcLaren-Mercedes1:35.0231:34.92414
1511 Sébastien BourdaisToro Rosso-Ferrari1:35.5071:35.43115
163‡ Felipe MassaFerrari1:35.64216
178‡ Nelson Piquet, Jr.Renault1:35.70817
1821 Giancarlo FisichellaForce India-Mercedes1:35.90818
1920 Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:35.95119
2012 Sébastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1:36.10720


122 Jenson ButtonBrawn-Mercedes3155:30.62215
26‡ Nick HeidfeldBMW Sauber31+22.722104
310 Timo GlockToyota31+23.51333
49 Jarno TrulliToyota31+46.17322.5
523 Rubens BarrichelloBrawn-Mercedes31+47.36082
614 Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault31+52.33351.5
71‡ Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes31+1:00.733121
816 Nico RosbergWilliams-Toyota31+1:11.57640.5
93‡ Felipe MassaFerrari31+1:16.93216
1011 Sébastien BourdaisToro Rosso-Ferrari31+1:42.16415
117‡ Fernando AlonsoRenault31+1:49.4229
1217 Kazuki NakajimaWilliams-Toyota31+1:56.13011
138‡ Nelson Piquet, Jr.Renault31+1:56.71317
144‡ Kimi RäikkönenFerrari31+2:22.8417
1515 Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault30Spun off13
1612 Sébastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari30Spun off20
1720 Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes30+1 lap19
1821 Giancarlo FisichellaForce India-Mercedes29Spun off18
Ret5 Robert KubicaBMW Sauber1Engine6
Ret2‡ Heikki KovalainenMcLaren-Mercedes0Spun off14

Standings after the race

Drivers' Championship standings
1 Jenson Button15
2 Rubens Barrichello10
3 Jarno Trulli8.5
4 Timo Glock8
5 Nick Heidfeld4
Constructors' Championship standings
1 Brawn-Mercedes25
2 Toyota16.5
3 BMW Sauber4
4 Renault4
5 Williams-Toyota3.5
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. "Malaysian Grand Prix - Preview". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 2009-04-01. http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/f1releases/2009/Pages/f1_preview_mal09.aspx. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  2. Baldwin, Alan (2009-04-05). "Button wins Malaysian GP cut short by rain". Reuters (Thomas Reuters Corporate). http://uk.reuters.com/article/UKNews1/idUKL513282820090405. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Jenson Button wins abandoned Malaysian Grand Prix". Times Online (London: Times Newspapers Ltd). 2009-04-05. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6039351.ece. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  4. "Statistics: Kms, The less". statsf1.com. 2009-04-05. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. http://www.webcitation.org/5iekbhUtO. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Classy Button wins abandoned race.". BBC Sport (BBC). 2009-04-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7984270.stm. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Championship Classification". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 2009-04-05. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. http://www.webcitation.org/5iekZzEML. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  7. "Malaysia rules out night race next year". AFP, The Times of India (Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd). 2009-09-28. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3536959.cms. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  8. "Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes". formula1.com. 2009-04-03. http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2009/4/9125.htmll. Retrieved 2009-04-05. [dead link]
  9. (PDF) 2009 Formula One Sporting Regulations. FIA. 2009-03-24. http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/B875CF540CCF75E5C125758300329A2B/$FILE/1-2009%20F1%20SPORTING%20REGULATIONS%20(Showing%20Alterations)%2024-03-2009.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-05. [dead link]
  10. "Raikkonen tops Malaysia practice". BBC Sport (BBC). 2009-04-03. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7980532.stm. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  11. Button storms to another pole ITV-F1.com 2009-04-04 Retrieved on 2009-04-04
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Barrichello gets 5 place penalty". autosport.com (Haymarket Publications). 2009-04-03. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. http://www.webcitation.org/5iekb1Lt3. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  13. "Erro de estratégia deixa Massa em 16º" (in portuguese). globoesporte.com. 2009-04-04. Archived from the original on 2009-07-30. http://www.webcitation.org/5iekadJCS. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  14. "Massa admits qualifying error". BBC Sport. BBC. 2009-04-04. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7983093.stm. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  15. "2009 Formula One Sporting Regulations" (PDF). 2009 Formula One Sporting Regulations. Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 2009-03-24. http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/B875CF540CCF75E5C125758300329A2B/$FILE/1-2009%20F1%20SPORTING%20REGULATIONS%20(Showing%20Alterations)%2024-03-2009.pdf. Retrieved 2009-04-05. "If the race cannot be resumed the results will be taken at the end of the penultimate lap before the lap during which the signal to suspend the race was given." [dead link]
  16. "Drivers back Malaysia abandonment". BBC Sport (BBC). 2009-05-05. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7984468.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Malaysia start time under review". BBC Sport (BBC). 2009-04-06. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7985631.stm. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  18. "Vettel gets 10-place grid penalty". BBC Sport (BBC). 2009-03-29. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7970668.stm. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 

External links

Previous race:
2009 Australian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2009 season
Next race:
2009 Chinese Grand Prix
Previous race:
2008 Malaysian Grand Prix
Malaysian Grand PrixNext race:
2010 Malaysian Grand Prix


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