Race Report- 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix
Weather: dry at the start, heavy rain, 24-30 degrees C air, 24-40 Degrees C track, humidity 75-97 %
Sepang (MAL). In a dramatic PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix, BMW Sauber F1 Team driver, Nick Heidfeld, finished second. After the race was started in dry conditions, heavy rain forced the race director to red flag it early. Robert Kubica, was unlucky and had to stop on lap two due to an engine problem. Because, as required by the regulations, the drivers were not able to complete 75 percent of the race distance they will only receive half the points.
Nick Heidfeld: 2nd
BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Fastest lap: 1:39.084 min on lap 17 (10th fastest overall)
"I'm obviously very happy to be second after starting from tenth. It was a really extreme and challenging race today. I had a good start but also quite a heavy car, which meant racing was not easy for me. When it was obvious it would rain soon I pitted seven laps earlier than planned, and we decided to go on full rain tires. They wore down quickly because the heavy rain didn't come. The team kept telling me 'stay out, heavy rain expected', but the tires felt almost like slicks. For those laps intermediates would have been much quicker, but who could know that. When it finally poured down it was the right decision to stop the race. It was absolutely impossible to drive. I spun behind the safety car, not only because of aquaplaning with the tyres but also with the underfloor. I'm happy for our team that we can now bring home at least one proper result from the first two races of the season."
Robert Kubica: DNF
BMW Sauber F1.09-03 / BMW P86/9
"When I started on the formation lap, my engine produced strange noises and there was very little power. I started the race, which under the circumstances was not easy, and continued to drive. I asked my team what I should do, but before I got an answer the car caught fire and I stopped."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"The race was as chaotic as we expected based on the weather forecast. For Robert, the race was already over at the start because his engine didn't respond to the throttle. According to an early analysis the reason was a leakage in the pneumatic system. Because of the weather forecast we put Nick on a heave fuel load. This enabled him to stay out until the rain started. He switched to rain tires at the right moment and was able to finish the race. In extremely difficult conditions he managed to achieve the best possible result. Compliments go to Nick and the whole crew, who worked without any mistakes."
Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering):
"This was not a race for poor nerves! For Robert, the GP was over at the start. That's a shame, because he was in a strong position. Nick started on a heavy fuel load. The strategy to leave him out for a long time paid off. This was brave, but in the end it worked out. In very difficult conditions he managed to keep the car on the track and to capture a podium finish. Compliments are due to the whole team who worked perfectly in chaotic conditions."
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