Kimi Raikkonen has won the Malaysian F1 GP after showing clear dominance during the race. The fleeting Finn now lies second in the championship.
Though not crushing in its execution, and subsequent final result, the dominance of Ferrari was ever-present in Malaysia from day one of free practice sessions. So when Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari’s unspoken number one point man, took the chequered flag almost 20 seconds ahead of Robert Kubica’s BMW during Sunday’s Formula One feature race, few were surprised. Ferrari’s victory could have been worse on their rivals had Filipe Massa not spun out on lap 31, right at turn seven. It looked like a “regular” Scuderia 1 – 2 all along before this, with Raikkonen having pegged Massa’s initial outburst to just under 2 seconds before the pit stops.
The fleeting Finn took advantage of his extra lap while Massa pitted, cutting through the track with precision to gain the lead after the pits. Thereafter he gradually built his lead until Massa’s massive mistake.
Kubica said thank you and followed for second position. McLaren was represented on the podium by rookie Heiki Kovalainen whose third place would have peeved teammate Lewis Hamilton ever so slightly. The Englishman began his 2008 campaign on the right foot last week in Australia with an emphatic win, but had to start from 9th in Malaysia. Two turns after the start he was ahead three positions, having taken the wider route to do it. He ended the race in fifth place. Spanish champ Fernando Alonso ended up in the points at 8th place, conceding that this was probably the best his Renault R28 could do on the day.
The surprise package of the day was probably the Toyota of Jarno Trulli whose qualifying pace was cemented by a 4th place finish after successfully fending off Hamilton during the dying stages of the race.
In two weeks’ time the circus heads further west into the heat of Bahrain where last season Massa became a championship contender. This time though it is doubtful whether Alonso will play any meaningful role over there.