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Button Wins Malaysian Grand Prix 2009

Jenson Button in a Brawn won a chaotic Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday for a second straight victory after the race was abandoned when a ferocious storm lashed the Sepang circuit.

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Race

Nick Heidfeld in his BMW Sauber came second, benefiting from pitting only once to Button’s four times in a race that became a lottery. Timo Glock in a Toyota was third.

It was finally halted after 32 laps as rain pelted down, lightning flashed around the circuit and visibility deteriorated, the first time since Brazil in 2003 that a race has been called off due to weather.

Formula One supremos must take some of the blame after pushing for a 5:00 pm start instead of its regular 3:00 pm slot to satisfy European television audiences.

With tropical Malaysia routinely getting wild storms, it was clear that if one hit during the 56-lap race they would have trouble finishing with daylight disappearing.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli came fourth, Rubens Barrichello in the other Brawn was fifth and Mark Webber in the Red Bull was sixth.

Troubled world champion Lewis Hamilton came seventh in his McLaren with Nico Rosberg filling out the top eight.

However, the drivers and constructors only get half the usual number of points with the race halted at less than three-quarter distance — only the fifth time this has happened.

“Wow, what a crazy race, it had everything but was very enjoyable,” said Britain’s Button, who had never driven the Brawn before in the wet.

“They were really bad conditions. I started badly, there was a lot of oversteer, but the pace was good.

“Choosing the right tyres was very difficult. It wasn’t like it was a river out there, it was a lake.”

Heidfeld was overjoyed to come second after starting 10th, making the right tyre choices at the right time.

“I couldn’t have wished for more. It was very difficult conditions but the team made the right tyre choices,” said the German.

Compatriot Glock was happy to finish in one piece.

“It was impossible to drive like that and it was the right thing to stop the race,” he said.

His comments were echoed by Hamilton who said the conditions were the worst he had experienced.

“When the rain came down, it was impossible to drive. I was aquaplaning everywhere — these were the most dangerous conditions I’ve ever raced in,” he said.

“I love it when it rains, but this was just too much.”

With black clouds looming, the race got off to a sensational start with pole-sitter Button half asleep as the lights turned green.

The Briton, who won last week in Melbourne, went to the first corner in fourth behind Rosberg, Trulli and Fernando Alonso.

Undeterred, Button soon woke up and sped past Alonso and by lap eight the top four had a 13-second gap on the fifth-placed Spaniard, clearly benefiting from their controversial rear diffusers.

Only Williams, Toyota and Brawn have them fitted and they have been the subject of protests by BMW Sauber, Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull who claim they are contrary to the rules, generating more downforce.

Leader Rosberg made his first pit stop on lap 15 and came out fourth. Trulli followed a lap later, along with Button and Barrichello.

They all selected slick tyres despite the threat of rain and when the dust settled Button was leading.

It was a bad call as it started spitting minutes later and they were forced back in to get their wets.

Button returned firing, pulling 18 seconds clear of Rosberg by lap 27 but Glock, running on intermediate tyres, was clocking four seconds faster and rapidly making inroads.

The leaders soon realised that’s what they needed too and all went into the pits again but as soon as they came out it started pouring, so back in most went.

As the conditions worsened, the safety car was deployed and the red flag was raised with the race officially abandoned 50 minutes after it was stopped.

Source : AFP

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