Raikkonen wins Malaysian GP
Ferrari‘s Kimi Raikkonen won the Malaysian Grand Prix from Robert Kubica‘s BMW and Heikki Kovalainen‘s McLaren as Felipe Massa spun out from second position and Lewis Hamilton suffered a pit-stop problem that limited him to fifth.
Finn Raikkonen looked comfortable after taking the lead from team-mate Massa after the initial pit-stops around 18 laps in and disaster struck for the Brazilian 12 laps later when he lost control of the car on a long right turn and became ensnared in the gravel.
The Ferraris enjoyed a clean start, Massa holding off his team-mate through the opening chicane while Hamilton battled up to fifth from his starting position of ninth despite seeming to drift dangerously wide.
Heidfeld dropped from fifth to 10th but claimed back two places almost immediately by slipping past David Coulthard and Alonso as they battled side by side for position on the near side.
Nico Rosberg had to pit straight away after suffering front wing damage in a collision with Timo Glock‘s Toyota and had to work from the back of the grid while Toro Rosso‘s Sebastien Bourdais flew off at the first corner, one of the first casualties of the race alongside Adrian Sutil (Force India) and reigning GP2 champion Glock.
Massa looked comfortable in front of Raikkonen as the pair – on hard-compound tyres – set the fastest laps throughout the race, while Hamilton was unable to lap as quickly on softs.
However a clean stop for Raikkonen soon after his team-mate pitted allowed him to rejoin at the front and he never looked likely to give up the chance of the win.
Hamilton’s disastrous stop – which showered the car with brake dust – forced him all the way down into 11th, but that improved to seventh as others came into the pit-lane – and sixth when Massa lost control at the long turn eight.
He said track-side that he did not know what had happened and the Scuderia’s computer analysis also came up with nothing.
Australian Mark Webber in fifth was held up while lapping someone and that allowed Hamilton and Heidfeld to move ahead of him.
The Red Bull driver, often let down in the past by the reliability of his car, then faced a fight to keep Alonso at bay as the gaps between the front few cars lengthened, with one other exception.
Hamilton moved from 12 seconds behind Italian Trulli to five after the second round of stops and the distance continued to fall; however Trulli saw out the final laps to take a deserved fourth spot and six championship points.
Raikkonen took the chequered flag by 19 seconds from Kubica with Kovalainen another 19 further back. Heidfeld followed Hamilton ahead of Webber and Alonso, with Britons David Coulthard – completing a rare double-finish for Red Bull – and Jensen Button (Honda) completing the top 10.
Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Vettel was the only other retirement as Rosberg – on the podium in Australia – improved to 14th by the finish and Anthony Davidson finished 15th ahead of his Super Aguri team-mate Takuma Sato.