• Malaysian Grand Prix

Raikkonen back on form in Malaysia

ESPNF1 Staff
March 23, 2008
Raikkonen won his first race of 2008 © Sutton Images
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After an error-ridden Australian Grand Prix, reigning World Champion Kimi Raikkonen was untouchable in Malaysia. His only error was to uncork the champagne on the podium and squirt it into his eyes. He acknowledged that was not the correct means of celebration....

Felipe Massa's Ferrari had looked the stronger of the two in qualifying but Raikkonen made the better start and opened up a small advantage. Massa retired from the race after his first pit stop, when a sudden spin spat him off the road and into the gravel. His demise promoted Robert Kubica to second for BMW while Heikki Kovalainen was third, upholding honour for McLaren after both drivers received penalties for blocking in qualifying.

Heidfeld spoke out after qualifying, "The first corners of my last lap went smoothly, but then there were several cars driving very slowly on their in-laps. Apparently they had no information that the qualifying was still going on. Before Turn Four I lost a lot of time because both McLarens were cruising on the racing line. I think this has cost me about two tenths of a second, which would have meant being third instead of seventh. I just couldn't drive on the line I wanted and, even more importantly, could not brake where I wanted."

The championship leader blamed his poor qualifying performance on the track conditions and flew in the race, from ninth to fifth, despite a long first pit stop - when the team encountered a problem with his front right tyre.

Despite a disappointing performance Hamilton still led the championship with Raikkonen and Kubica tied for second, three points adrift.