2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Malaysia  2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
Race details
Race 2 of 19 in the 2011 Formula One season
Sepang.svg
Date 10 April 2011
Official name XIII Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix
Location Sepang International Circuit
Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia
Course Permanent racing facility
5.543 km (3.444 mi)
Distance 56 laps, 310.408 km (192.879 mi)
Weather Cloudy, dry
Pole position
Driver Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
Time 1:34.870
Fastest lap
Driver Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
Time 1:40.571 on lap 46
Podium
First Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
Second United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
Third Germany Nick Heidfeld Renault

The 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix (formally the 2011 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix)[1] was a Formula One motor race held on 10 April 2011 at the Sepang International Circuit in Selangor, Malaysia. It was the second round of the 2011 Formula One season. The race, contested over 56 laps, was won by Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel after starting from pole position. Jenson Button finished second in a McLaren, and Nick Heidfeld completed the podium for Renault, in third place.[2]

As a consequence of the race, Vettel extended his lead in the World Drivers' Championship to 24 points over Button. Button's McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished eighth in Malaysia, fell 4 points behind Button in third, tied on points with Mark Webber who finished fourth in the race. In the World Constructors' Championship, Red Bull's 37-point haul from the weekend allowed them to extend the championship lead over McLaren to 24 points, with Ferrari a further 12 points behind in third position.

Report[edit]

Background[edit]

Ferrari were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy

After failing to qualify in Melbourne when they were forced to use the front wing from their 2010 car, Hispania Racing arrived at the circuit confident of being able to qualify for the race because their 2011 specification front wing satisfactorily completed its mandatory crash tests.[3]

Several teams made driver changes for the first practice session. Nico Hülkenberg once again substituted for Paul di Resta at Force India, whilst Daniel Ricciardo drove in the place of Sébastien Buemi at Scuderia Toro Rosso, having previously driven in the place of Jaime Alguersuari in Melbourne. GP2 driver Davide Valsecchi also took part, replacing Heikki Kovalainen at Lotus.

Tyre supplier Pirelli brought its silver-banded hard compound tyre as the harder "prime" tyre and the yellow-banded soft compound as the softer "option" compound. This was the same tyre selection that Bridgestone had chosen to bring to the Malaysian Grand Prix for the past two years.[4][5][6]

The high temperatures in Malaysia and the abrasive surface of the Sepang circuit led to tyre supplier Pirelli making predictions of high wear rates throughout qualifying and the race to the extent that pit stop strategy would be the deciding factor in the outcome.[7] The tyre manufacturer also supplied an experimental harder compound of rubber for use during free practice with a view to introducing the tyre for the Turkish Grand Prix, but rejected it following feedback from the teams.[8]

Shortly after qualifying, the FIA moved the pole position slot from the left- to the right-hand side of the circuit.[9] The pole slot had traditionally been on the left-hand side of the circuit because it offered the optimal racing line into the tight first corner, but was moved because of the build-up of marbles from the Pirelli tyres off the racing line, which runs over the right-hand side of the circuit.

Before the race, winner of race one in Melbourne - Sebastian Vettel - led the Drivers' Championship with the 25 points he gained for winning the only race thus far in 2011. The rest of the standings were as the drivers had finished at that race - Lewis Hamilton on 18, Vitaly Petrov on 15 etc.

In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull lead with 35 points, McLaren were second with 26 (11 points behind), and Ferrari were a further 8 behind McLaren on 18 points. Renault were in fourth, just behind on 15 points. Toro Rosso on 4, and Force India on 3, completed the points scoring teams.

Free practice[edit]

Jérôme d'Ambrosio suffered a catastrophic suspension failure during the first free practice session

The first practice session was run in humid but dry conditions, despite forecasts of heavy rain. Mark Webber was the fastest driver in the first session, over a second and a half faster than Lewis Hamilton and two seconds faster than Michael Schumacher. In the second Red Bull car, Sebastian Vettel finished seventeenth overall, four seconds off Webber's pace; however, with comments from team principal Christian Horner in the build-up to the event suggesting that the unraced KERS device would be essential, Vettel's program was focused on developing the KERS unit rather than outright pace. Overall lap times were considerably slower at the circuit than in 2010, with Webber's fastest time over two and a half seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton's time in the same session a year previously.[7]

Pastor Maldonado ran wide at the pit entry and hit the wall during second practice.

The session was scattered with incidents; Virgin driver Jérôme d'Ambrosio suffered a mechanical fault that caused his right-front suspension to fail. The team were unable to repair the problem in time for the second practice session. Further down the pit lane, Renault experienced two similar problems, first with Nick Heidfeld, whose front-right tyre locked in place, and he was able to limp back to the garage. Vitaly Petrov was sidelined with a mechanical failure for most of the first session, and spun off at turn 9 when he experienced a similar problem to Heidfeld. Both Renaults spent most of the second session in the pits while the team investigated the problems, which was discovered to have come from a material fault in the suspension uprights, but they were limited to just a handful of laps overall.

Webber once again topped the second practice session, but his margin to Jenson Button was just five thousandths of a second. Pastor Maldonado set the fastest time early in the session, but damaged his Williams when he spun into a wall in the pit lane entry and slipped down the order. Vitantonio Liuzzi also encountered trouble, stopping on the circuit after bouncing over a kerb, but he was able to get his car going once more. The Hispania's new front wing worked as expected, with Liuzzi able to set times within 107% of the leader's benchmark in both practice sessions.

Hamilton came first in the final practice session, ahead of Webber and Button. The session was free of incidents, aside from several spins by Paul di Resta, while Liuzzi was held up in the pits for most of the session with a mechanical fault and only took to the circuit in the last fifteen minutes.

Qualifying[edit]

Narain Karthikeyan completed the first full grid of the year but both HRT cars failed to finish the race

The qualifying session was closely fought among the Red Bull and McLaren drivers, with the difference between pole and second place just one tenth of a second, as opposed to the eight tenths seen in Melbourne.

The first session was interrupted when Sébastien Buemi's Toro Rosso shed part of its sidepod while Buemi was on a flying lap. There was no internal damage to the car, and Buemi was able to return to the pits with the internal workings of the car showing. The session was red-flagged for several minutes while marshalls retrieved the bodywork. Buemi's car was inspected by the FIA and cleared to return to the circuit, though the exact cause of the problem remained unknown.[10] Because of the incident involving Buemi, several teams were forced to abort flying laps, including the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, who had been in the process of setting flying laps on the hard compound tyres. When the session restarted, the team were forced to sacrifice one set of soft tyres for both cars. By the end of the session, both Lotuses were eliminated, a clear two seconds faster than the Virgins of Glock and d'Ambrosio. Both Hispanias were also eliminated, but comfortably made the grid as Narain Karthikeyan in twenty-fourth position was a second inside the 107% margin. Pastor Maldonado was also eliminated, qualifying in eighteenth place.

Sébastien Buemi's Toro Rosso shed part of its sidepod during qualifying.

The second qualifying period saw Jenson Button top the timing sheets, the first person to set a lap time under 1:36.000 all weekend. Several teams, most notably Renault elected to do just one run late in the session, with both Petrov and Heidfeld easily advancing to the third and final session. A late lap from Kamui Kobayashi saw him qualify for the final session at the expense of Michael Schumacher, who was demoted to eleventh place for the second race in a row. Buemi recovered from his earlier scare to qualify twelfth, with team-mate Jaime Alguersuari in thirteenth. Paul di Resta out-qualified Adrian Sutil by placing fourteenth, followed by Rubens Barrichello and Sergio Pérez in the second Williams and Sauber respectively, with Sutil finishing seventeenth overall.

The third period began with the remaining ten drivers divided into two distinct groups: the Red Bull and McLaren drivers, who all set two flying laps, and everyone else, only going out once, many with the hope of saving an extra set of tyres for the race. Lewis Hamilton set the early benchmark with a time of exactly 1:35.000, followed by the Red Bulls and Jenson Button. Fernando Alonso was the next driver to set a time, but he was over half a second off Hamilton's pace. The top four drivers emerged again to set their final times, with each driver getting progressively faster. Jenson Button improved on his initial time, but remained fourth. Mark Webber bested him, but was still two tenths of a second off Hamilton's time. Hamilton himself improved in kind, and looked as if he had secured pole position before Sebastian Vettel crossed the line, a tenth of a second faster than Hamilton. With Vettel first and Hamilton second, followed by Webber, Button and Alonso, the top five drivers lined up in the same order as they did in Melbourne. Nick Heidfeld qualified in sixth place for Renault, followed by Massa in the second Ferrari and team-mate Petrov in the second Renault in eighth. Nico Rosberg and Kamui Kobayashi completed the top ten.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso battle during the race.

Race[edit]

In what would be a dominant race for the 2010 World Champion, Vettel made a clean break from the lights and quickly began developing a strong lead from the rest of the pack. The other big winner was Nick Heidfeld, who was able to move from sixth to second at the start. By lap 9 Vettel had build a 5.2 second lead over his fellow German,[11] and was able to comfortably bring his car home in first in spite of KERS problems that plagued the second half of his race.[2] while Pastor Maldonado retired with a misfire. Barrichello was the next retirement with a gearbox problem, which they later traced to the hydraulics. On lap 24, the Sauber of Sergio Pérez was struck by a piece of debris, possibly from an unidentified car. The debris damaged the front wing and floor of the Sauber before passing through both the chassis and the protective Zylon panel, and hitting the ECU. The ECU was rendered inactive, stopping the car. The debris then passed out of the car by smashing through the sidepod.[12] Jarno Trulli slid across the gravel before retiring with a clutch failure on lap 31.

Jenson Button finished in second position, for his first podium of the year

The Hispanias of Karthikeyan and Liuzzi were withdrawn by the team for "safety reasons".[13] Karthikeyan experienced an abnormal spike in water temperature on lap 15, whilst Liuzzi's car was subject to vibrations from the rear wing. Although neither fault was terminal, the team elected to retire the cars rather than risk further damage.

Behind Vettel, the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button fought with Fernando Alonso for position, Button coming out on top and ultimately taking his first podium of the season, ahead of Nick Heidfeld who finished third, whilst both Hamilton and Alonso were penalised for their actions on track.[2] Further back, D'Ambrosio pulled off the track with an electronics failure, and later Petrov crashed out from eighth place.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Grid
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:37.468 1:35.934 1:34.870 1
2 3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.861 1:35.852 1:34.974 2
3 2 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:37.924 1:36.080 1:35.179 3
4 4 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.033 1:35.569 1:35.200 4
5 5 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.897 1:36.320 1:35.802 5
6 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:37.224 1:36.811 1:36.124 6
7 6 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:36.744 1:36.557 1:36.251 7
8 10 Russia Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:37.210 1:36.642 1:36.324 8
9 8 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.316 1:36.388 1:36.809 9
10 16 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.994 1:36.691 1:36.820 10
11 7 Germany Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:36.904 1:37.035 11
12 18 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.693 1:37.160 12
13 19 Spain Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.677 1:37.347 13
14 15 United Kingdom Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:38.045 1:37.370 14
15 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:38.163 1:37.496 15
16 17 Mexico Sergio Pérez Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.759 1:37.528 16
17 14 Germany Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:37.693 1:37.593 17
18 12 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1:38.276 18
19 20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1:38.645 19
20 21 Italy Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:38.791 20
21 24 Germany Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:40.648 21
22 25 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:41.001 22
23 23 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1:41.549 23
24 22 India Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:42.574 24
107% time: 1:43.516

Race[edit]

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 56 1:37:39.832 1 25
2 4 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 56 +3.261 4 18
3 9 Germany Nick Heidfeld Renault 56 +25.075 6 15
4 2 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56 +26.384 3 12
5 6 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 56 +36.958 7 10
6 5 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 56 +57.2481 5 8
7 16 Japan Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 56 +1:06.439 10 6
8 3 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 56 +1:09.9572 2 4
9 7 Germany Michael Schumacher Mercedes 56 +1:24.896 11 2
10 15 United Kingdom Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 56 +1:31.563 14 1
11 14 Germany Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 56 +1:41.379 17
12 8 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 55 +1 Lap 9
13 18 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 55 +1 Lap 12
14 19 Spain Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 55 +1 Lap 13
15 20 Finland Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 55 +1 Lap 19
16 24 Germany Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 21
17 10 Russia Vitaly Petrov Renault 52 Accident3 8
Ret 23 Italy Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 46 Rear wing 23
Ret 25 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 42 Electronics 22
Ret 21 Italy Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 31 Clutch 20
Ret 17 Mexico Sergio Pérez Sauber-Ferrari 23 Electrical 16
Ret 11 Brazil Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 22 Hydraulics 15
Ret 22 India Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 14 Mechanical 24
Ret 12 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 8 Engine 18

Notes

  1. ^ – Fernando Alonso was penalised 20 seconds post-race for contact while trying to pass Lewis Hamilton.[14]
  2. ^ – Lewis Hamilton was also penalised 20 seconds post-race, for weaving while being passed by Fernando Alonso.[14]
  3. ^Vitaly Petrov crashed his Renault on lap 53 of the race, but was classified as he had completed 90% of the race-winner's distance.

Championship standings after the race[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2011 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix". Formula1.com. Formula One Administration. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Holt, Sarah (10 April 2011). "Sebastian Vettel beats Jenson Button in Malaysian Grand Prix". BBC Sport (BBC). Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Noble, Jonathan (7 April 2011). "HRT set to use new front wing in Sepang". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Pirelli announce tyre choices for remaining races". Formula1.com (Formula One Group). 7 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bridgestone announce tyre compounds for remaining races". Formula1.com (Formula One Group). 7 September 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Bridgestone announce tyre compounds for remaining races". Formula1.com (Formula One Group). 24 August 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Collantine, Keith (8 April 2011). "Lap times much slower at Sepang this year". F1 Fanatic (Keith Collantine). Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Noble, Jonathan (9 April 2011). "Pirelli set to stick with current hard". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Noble, Jonathan (9 April 2011). "Pole slot moved to right hand side". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  10. ^ Beer, Matt (9 April 2011). "STR unsure of sidepod incident cause". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Ornstein, David (10 April 2011). "Malaysian Grand Prix as it happened". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Noble, Jonathan (15 April 2011). "FIA asked to look at cockpit safety". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  13. ^ Elizalde, Pablo (11 April 2011). "HRT stopped cars for safety reasons". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Elizalde, Pablo (10 April 2011). "Alonso, Hamilton hit with penalties". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 10 April 2011. 

External links[edit]

Previous race:
2011 Australian Grand Prix
FIA Formula One World Championship
2011 season
Next race:
2011 Chinese Grand Prix
Previous race:
2010 Malaysian Grand Prix
Malaysian Grand Prix Next race:
2012 Malaysian Grand Prix