2008 Season - Sepang
Under highly unstable weather conditions, the drivers had a frantic, if not too surprising qualy session. In the end, the Ferraris seemed the strongest package. As everybody was trying to save fuel, the first of many controversial penalties were handed. The Maccas decided (either out of sheer stupidity form the pitwall or actual malice) to run at the approximate speed of a snail on clutches. Alonso (9th) and Heidfeld (7th) catched up with them in a rather uncomfortable place. The review shows both the Renault and BMWs onboard cameras and it is obvious that they had to correct their lines slightly right before the corner. Maybe it seems like a subtle difference but when you are talking about tenths of seconds making a world of differnce between climbing a couple of positions or not, the penalty's harshness might be argued. The penalty's cause might not.
In any case, both Maccas were penalized with 5 grid slots penalties. they finished in row two (HK 3rd and LH 4th behind Massa and Kimi, respectively) and were demoted to 8th and 9th.
Go, go, go!!! Trulli gets such a slow start (from P3!) that he couldn't even catch the Trulli train. BTW, it's an hommage to F1 crappy regulations the fact that a Trulli train was formed in Sepang, where the track is so wide you could land a C-130 accross. While the Ferraris darted forward, Jarno was frantically moving the wheel struggling with grip, and the rest of the field who was happy to overtake him in the first corners. Kubica was soon 3rd, showing that he meant business.
Meanwhile, at the back, Bourdais was out before even realizing he was in, and Rosberg starting from the back, displayed one of those moves that he makes more often than people seems to notice (some guys have all the luck). In a dumb manoeuvre, he takes Timo out of the race and NR's car needs a new front.
Then it comes one of the finest moments of the race and of the season (if I might say so): triple battle between DC at the front, Fernando behind him and Heidfeld further back. Nando goes side by side with DC, and Nick, recalling some famous move from Mikka, goes on the other side and overtakes them both. Alonso can't find a space and pulls back, only to attack again, followed by some wheel to wheel battle between DC and him until the faster car finally prevailed, if barely so. Amazingly, DC didn't touch Nando, nor Nick.
First pitstops. Massa was leading the race, but Kimi stays one lap more on track and after his pitstop, he is in front of Massa. The flying Finn doing the
Massa tries to catch up with Kimi and guess what? He spins by himself. Everybody in the pit looks angry at Todt's son who suddenly finds something really interesting to look at on his fingernails.
Vettel is on fire. No, really. His car suddenly on flames. Those Ferrari engines...time for a reliability adjustment!
Finally, Kimi gets his first win of the season. Kubica grants BMW their second podium in 2 races. Heikki finds himself at P3. I could be bad and say that he "overshadowed" Lewis, but truth is, it wasn't inspiring then and it didn't look inspired now, either. Lewis ended up 5th after the botched pitstop. Jarno did a very impressive P4. Alonso disappeared during the race (something that we would until at least mid season) ending up 8th.
Not many amateurish moves from the drivers except Massa. Anyways, the season started looking like one of the most borings since the "oh, no, there goes Schumi with another pole to win" era.