Guest Author - Christine Blachford
After a three week break, the second round of the 2007 season took place in Malaysia, at the beautiful Sepang circuit. The teams had been there for a week previously and had been testing round the track, so they were all pretty prepared for what lay ahead. Unfortunately for them, and good for us, it rained the night before the race, which meant that the race had a certain air of unpredictability about it.
The qualifying for Malaysia was almost like watching a mini race, because there were a few retirees, some people felt the need to race out of the pit lane for each session, and really it all came down to who was fastest during their pit stops. Neither driver for the Renault team made it into the top ten which was unusual and unexpected. They were very disappointed going into the race. Hamilton and Alonso continued to race each other, but they were beaten to the top by Ferrari.
They got their own back at the first corner of the race though, as both McLarens overtook both Ferraris to take 1st and 2nd place. The race continued in this fashion, and although there were several moments when it was looking like the Ferrariís might catch them, eventually McLaren took the first two spots on the podium. Massa was chasing Hamilton, having started on pole and lost it straight away, but he was pushing too hard and made a silly mistake which pushed him back to fifth place. He could not regain any more positions for the rest of the laps. Raikkonen took the final place on the podium.
Nick Heidfeld had a good race, thanks to Massaís mistake he was up to fourth position and he managed to keep hold of that place for the entire race. Behind the top runners though, there wasnít too much to get excited about.
Renault pulled back some of the places they lost in the race, but it wasnít really a good weekend for them, and Iím sure they will be looking forward rather than rehashing it now.
Honda continued to struggle for pace, and Jenson Button had to step aside and let Barrichello through so as not to hold his team mate up.
Noteable retirees were David Coulthard, who had some trouble with his brake pedal. Both Spykers retired, one running off into the gravel, and another catching fire in the pit lane. Rosberg retired after running a really strong race, so he will be looking for more reliability in the future.
The next race is at Bahrain, which will pose both heat and dust problems for the teams and drivers, so it will be interesting to see if McLaren can keep up their advantage.