• Malaysian Grand Prix

Button wins rain-shortened race at Sepang

ESPNF1 Staff
April 5, 2009
Heavy rain brings the race to a premature end © Getty Images

Jenson Button won a shortened 31-lap Malaysian Grand Prix from Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock. Monsoon rains forced the organisers to call a halt to the race, meaning the top eight only scored half points.

Until the heavy rain began to fall, the second round of the championship proved to be a thriller with Nico Rosberg storming into the lead from fourth position on the grid and controlling the race in his Williams Toyota from Jarno Trulli's Toyota.

Button meanwhile bided his time during the first stint, well aware he had more fuel on board than his rivals. As the others pitted he picked up the pace to ensure he exited the pits in the lead following his first stop.

Light rain began to fall on lap 22 with Kimi Raikkonen having already gambled on switching to full wet tyres three laps earlier. The gamble did not pay off for Raikkonen as he burned through the tyres on the dry circuit.

Timo Glock had not made the best start to the race and dropped towards the bottom of the top ten but he and the Toyota team opted to switch to intermediate tyres and not the full wets. This decision paid off as he carved his way through the field to run third when the heavy rain fell.

While Glock made progress through the field, the other drivers opted to change from full wet tyres to intermediate tyres but the switch was only suitable for a few laps as by lap 28 the heavy rain forced them all back onto the full wet tyres, shuffling the race order behind Button yet again.

Conditions then deteriorated significantly forcing first the safety car out and then the red flags, which brought a halt to proceedings for over 50 minutes before the result was declared.

Trulli finished fourth in the second Toyota losing time in the wet conditions, while Rubens Barrichello was fifth when the race came to its premature conclusion.

Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton had a fantastic battle ahead of the red flag with Webber much faster in the twisty mid-field and Hamilton using KERS heavily to retake the position on the long Sepang straights. Webber finished in sixth position ahead of the defending champion.

After his fast start Nico Rosberg lost ground in the pit stop shuffle and finished eighth for Williams, while Ferrari left the second round of the championship still without any points with Massa ninth and Raikkonen parking his F60 when the red flags came out with a KERS issue.