Button takes second pole position of 2009 (Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying)

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Jenson Button will start from pole position again in Malaysia

Jenson Button made it two pole positions in a row as he beat Jarno Trulli by less than a tenth of a second in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

But Felipe Massa will start from 16th after he and Ferrari made a disastrous mistake early in the session.


Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Sepang, 2009

Will the prospect of rain the drivers wasted no time getting on the track – with many of the top teams getting straight down to business using the soft tyres.

Kimi Raikkonen went fastest to begin with, despite spoiling his first lap by running off the track at turn seven. But Jenson Button nicked the top time off his by 0.3s with his first lap on the soft tyres.

The Williams went out on the hard tyres to begin with and visibly lacked pace. But once he put the soft tyres on first Kazuki Nakajima moved up to second and then Timo Glock did likewise.

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, was struggling. He’d admitted before the session that his ear infection meant he was not on top form – and proved it by running off the track at turn nine.

Nelson Piquet Jnr had targeted this session as the one where he would finally put one over Alonso. But despite several attempts his ailing team mate still prevailed, and Piquet failed to make the second part of qualifying once again.

But that was nothing compared to the drama that was about to unfold. Having set competitive times on soft tyres Ferrari did not send their drivers out for a final run. But as more rubber went down and track conditions improved Massa was suddenly caught out and slipped to 16th – with no time left to set another lap.

Sensationally, he was out, and his decision not to go out for a second attempt was all the more baffling as he’d made a mistake on his first effort.

Sebastien Buemi also failed to make Q2. His final lap ended in a gravel trap, the Swiss driver cursing his mistake as the intermediate sectors had indicated he was set to make it into Q2.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16. Felipe Massa 1’35.642
17. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’35.708
18. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’35.908
19. Adrian Sutil 1’35.951
20. Sebastien Buemi 1’36.107


Jarno Trulli, Toyota, Sepang, 2009

Jarno Trulli was quickest to begin with in Q2, but Sebastian Vettel and Button matched his 1’34.2 to within a tenth of a second. But Button was able to do the time on the hard tyres, suggesting the Brawn had some performance on hand.

Meanwhile the battle around the drop zone was fierce – Alonso and Hamilton in nin th and tenth were separated by 0.003s at first, with Kovalainen less than 0.02s behind.

Everyone bar Vettel went out for a second lap. Kovalainen failed to improve his time, consigning him to the bottom five, and the same fate befell Hamilton: both the McLarens on 1’34.9s.

Meanwhile Button switched to the soft tyres and his last lap was a cracker – 1’33.784, 0.4s faster than Raikkonen’s best from 2008.

But a great last lap from Alonso scraped him into the top ten by a narrow margin, dumping Nick Heidfeld out of the running.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11. Nick Heidfeld 1’34.769
12. Kazuki Nakajima 1’34.788
13. Lewis Hamilton 1’34.905
14. Heikki Kovalainen 1’34.924
15. Sebastien Bourdais 1’35.431


Jenson Button, Brawn, Sepang, 2009

Button carried over his advantage into Q3 – to begin with. But Trulli did two laps with his first set of soft tyres and with the second he pipped Button’s mark by 0.004s.

Raikkonen was ninth to begin with but improved to fourth on his final lap. But it appeared as though the Ferrari driver was avoiding using his KERS, perhaps because of the trouble he experienced in qualifying.

Barrichello took over the top of the time sheets despite a small mistake on his lap. But Button had even more time in hand and posted a 1’35.181 to take his second consecutive pole position.

Trulli narrowly failed to beat Button, falling short by less than one tenth of a second.

Vettel and Barrichello were third and fourth but will drop down the order due to their penalties, elevating Timo Glock to third.

Top ten drivers in Q3

1. Jenson Button 1???35.181
2. Jarno Trulli 1???35.273
3. Sebastian Vettel 1???35.518
4. Rubens Barrichello 1???35.651
5. Timo Glock 1???35.690
6. Nico Rosberg 1???35.750
7. Mark Webber 1???35.797
8. Robert Kubica 1???36.106
9. Kimi Raikkonen 1???36.170
10. Fernando Alonso 1???37.659

See the final grid after penalties have been applied: Malaysian Grand Prix grid

The drivers’ starting fuel weights have been published: Malaysian GP fuel weights and strategies

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Button takes second pole position of 2009 (Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying)”

  1. Can’t wait to see those aero parts that Mclaren are still testing for Monaco, and that they are still hiding their true pace. Go JB!!!!!!!!

    1. I think that might be a bit optimistic! They’ve got a new floor on the car this weekend but it doesn’t seem to have brought a huge improvement. They might well be glad if it rains.

  2. I was joking.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed that session, F1 this year is fantastic if you can turn a blind eye to the politics! Toyota clearly going to be the team of the weekend, they had the pace in Melbourne but were just held back by their quali.

    1. F1 this year is fantastic if you can turn a blind eye to the politics!

      Very true, it’s great to see the cars can race more closely and they’re obviously harder to drive too.

  4. KingHamilton
    4th April 2009, 11:36

    Great quali again. well done JB throughly deserved.

    PS: Lil’ hint: Never heard of Trtulli ;)

    1. Fixed, thanks!

  5. the Sri lankan
    4th April 2009, 11:41

    truili and timo will line up 2nd and 3rd courtesy of vettel and barichellos grid peneltys. hope this will be a good week for toyota. they are just as quick as the brawns and Timo will be jarnos rear gunner if they manage to keep their positions after the 1st lap

    1. Assuming Toyota don’t have any more wing problems. Hope they don’t.

  6. Bigbadderboom
    4th April 2009, 11:46

    I din’t catch quali because of work, but had live-timing on my laptop, seems to me Jenson has some pace in hand, is Rubens running heavy because of the gearbox change? Maybe Mr Brawn is concealing the true pace of his cars!
    Lewis and Kovi have a very tough season ahead, no great improvements yet then.

    1. Aaron Shearer
      4th April 2009, 11:58

      Brawn is supposed to be Sandbagging; we don’t know that officially yet though! I think Barrichello got into some slight traffic on his hot lap and then had a little mistake somewhere.

    2. I think that’s a reasonable guess, yes (i.e. Barrichello is heavy because of his penalty).

  7. Anybody noticed how more and more tiny little winglets there are on the cars?
    Espacially on the McLarens – in the sidpod air inlet area.

  8. Aaron Shearer
    4th April 2009, 11:56

    That was a thoroughly enjoyable qualifying session as well as the participating in the live blogs. What happened to Force India, they were looking good in the first part of qualy and just slipped away.

    Anyway I’m dying in anticipating for tomorrow’s race. I’m hoping it’s going to be a good one.

    1. I think they just haven’t got the performance. However I have just read that their drivers have ‘special lightweight qualifying suits’. Intriguing!

  9. Composed stuff from Button. In fact I agree with Bigbadderboom, they almost seem to be sandbagging ;0) Though maybe this will actually be a race at the front this time with Trulli looking sharp.

    1. It does look like they were running more fuel than their rivals were in practice. Q2 showed how quick Brawn were:

      1 Jenson Button 1’33.784
      2 Jarno Trulli 1’33.990
      3 Mark Webber 1’34.222
      4 Timo Glock 1’34.258
      5 Sebastian Vettel 1’34.276
      6 Rubens Barrichello 1’34.387
      7 Kimi Räikkönen 1’34.456
      8 Nico Rosberg 1’34.547
      9 Robert Kubica 1’34.562
      10 Fernando Alonso 1’34.706

    2. I also don’t get the impression Button has been pushed yet, either, in qualifying or racing. That’s when the car plus driver combination will really matter and Jenson will have the chance to show what he’s got and how hungry he’ll be to win this year.

  10. Jenson Button (Brawn GP) 625kg
    Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 624kg
    Timo Glock (Toyota) 630kg

    Toyota and Brawn are evenly matched as thing stands. Glock is really quick and I wonder why team always favor Trulli over Glock. As fuel corrected, he’s faster than Trulli. He might have grabbed the pole.

    1. where do you get the weights from?

    2. I got them from a forum but I might have been “misled” :s

      Still trying to verify.

    3. Drivers’ fuel weights published: Malaysian GP fuel weights and strategies

    4. Ali I think Glock had been finding it a bit tough in practice and was running wide a lot. I’d also tend to put my money on Trulli being a one lap qualifying specialist! However it’ll be really interesting to see what Glock’s pace will be during the race in comparison to trulli. Not to mention the Toyota versus Button battle. Really looking forward to the race! and thanks for the wweights I was wondering where to gget them.

    1. No sorry that is for last week. My bad

    2. That is for Australia m8 :)

  11. Spainisdiferent
    4th April 2009, 13:33

    Sorry for my english, We are hearing here in Spain from Alex Wurz that Brawn GP is going to get a new aero parts, Brawn GP is sure this new equipment will improve the cars up to 1 second / lap, if this is real the other teams have a lot of work to do.

    This year is very exciting but is very tough, see Mclaren and Ferrari so down, and of course Alonso too, but i use to see it down past year too.

    Anyway, i am sure this is going to be a great race.

    1. Definitely. The exciting aspect of the start of this year, aside from seeing last year’s tail-enders at the front! is the diffuser versus KERS battle. If there’s little or no rain, I can see the Ferraris making headway through the pack, so too the McLarens. If it rains, the Ferraris could suffer, but it could be fascinating to see how Hamilton (currently by far the best rain driver, imo) copes using KERS in heavy rain with a car with dodgy aerodynamics. That’s presuming his mind is on the race.

    2. And roughly the same applies to Alonso. :0)

  12. The best part of that whole qualifying for me was when Jenson was a close second (?) to Trulli in Q2 and then Ted comes on to say that Jenson has put the soft tyres on yet. Electrifying.

  13. I am very happy that Brawn is doing well.In the end, talent is rewarded.
    Cheers !

  14. Great session, its staggering how close the teams are. Red Bull quick again, they seem to be in the group with the ‘diffuser three’. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Webber’s progress tomorrow.

    Looks like there could be a great result on the cards for Rosberg too.

    Should be a great race, particularly if either of the Toyotas can jump Button at the start. Can’t wait.

    1. Sush Meerkat
      4th April 2009, 15:01

      yeah its amazing that Red Bull is that fast, Ferrari have actually stated Red Bull are the biggest threat after BrawnGP.

      God I love that name, BrawnGP, it sounds aggressive.

  15. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    4th April 2009, 14:24

    If Jenson wins again, I’m really going to wish that the so called medal system was in place!!!

  16. I think Vettel, like in Melbourne, will be the wild card in this race. Hope he doesn’t get shunted like in Australia!

  17. Made up for Jenson and after really not being up for this ‘medals’ system, I couldn’t agree more with ‘Mussolini’s Pet Cat’.. wsih it was in place if he wins this one!!!

  18. cant wait for the race day! great work jenson and brawngp. i also love the name BrawnGP, roaring.

  19. I’m so happy to see Jenson finally driving a car where he can really put his talent to work. Lets just hope that the diffusers are finally given the 100% all clear and Brawn GP can keep out of all political nonsense and scandal.

    Could we really be looking forward to another British world champ? To early so say, but I hope so!!!

  20. Top qualifying session, really enjoying this so far!
    You can really see which cars were in development early for 2009, Ferrari and McLaren really have paid a price for going down to the wire last year… but it’s so good to see the field levelled out, Button was really on it for his Q3 final lap!

    What a royal cock-up by Massa and his guys too. I reckon we need to keep an eye on the rain-meisters tomorrow, Kubica, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, could even fair well, and Kimi too, if he doesn’t lose his rag with an off the pace Ferrari.

    Can’t wait…and thanks for the weights and fuel info Keith!

  21. looks like another 2004 season…except the teams cant catch up.

    1. I don’t agree – Brawn aren’t as far ahead, the opposition look far stronger, and whichever way the diffuser case goes it’s likely to end up with the opposition closer (either because the double-decker diffusers have been banned, or they’re made legal and everyone copies them).

      So no, I don’t think we’ll see Button winning 12 of the first 13 races as Schumacher did five years ago.

    2. I don’t know, Jensen seems to be able to go out and immediately go to p1 at will. I didn’t think the others in oz had the same race pace, but maybe sepang they will be closer.

    3. Well, the two cars that started 19th and 20th last weekend finished third and fourth; this weekend they’re starting second and third. I don’t think Brawn are going to have it all their own way all season.

  22. Good qualifying session ! ! !Although; watching Brawn & Toyotas fight at the top is not half as fun; as seeing Ferraris and Mclarens fight.

    BTW; Keith; I hope you read this.

    Of late, Your website has been too too slow; especially on race weekends. I can see why more and more people flock to this webpage; It is by far the best site for quick and accurate F1 news. I have been regularly posting on this website; and I don’t remember ever seeing 250-300 comments on just the “predictions” post. But shouldn’t you upgrade your server too to accommodate the rush ?
    I connect to f1fanatic from Chennai, India; from a 100 MBPS broadband connection. Still; It takes atleast 1 FULL MINUTE for the homepage to load on firefox.

    I hope you will do something about this. :) Keep rocking :)


  23. looks like red bull were sand bagging during the practice season :)

  24. So far so good MrRoss Brawn. Got to admitt I didn’t expect such a gap between them and the rest- even if it’s only a couple of a hundreds of a sec, it’s bloody impressive.
    Will continue to keep my fingers crossed for Kubica tomorrow, with an eye on Vettel, Hamilton and Kimi if the sky opens.
    It would be hell of a sad day for F1 if BRAWN GP was stripped of the points at the much awaited hearing…

  25. Jenson always has been a fantastic car friendly driver,never had thre tools.
    now he has see him go!!!
    Thank god smug-hamilton and his disgusting leech of a father are out of the running!!!

    1. disgusting leech of a father

      That’s just plain ignorant. His dad worked multiple jobs to keep him racing when he was a kid. It’s disgusting someone would describe someone (I assume) they haven’t met in such terms.

    2. I dont particularly like Hamilton’s dad being on the camera all the time and I wouldn’t be a hamilton fan but that comment was pretty uncalled for…. http://www.scientificillustrator.com/art/insects/leech.jpg
      this look’s nothing like anthony hamilton….

  26. Any update on the likelyhood of rain?

    1. Still strong chance of rain during the race – Autosport reckons 80% chance.

    2. It rained pretty heavily on the circuit at 6h40PM today pretty close for the time the race would end.

  27. Luca baldisseri replaced!!!
    just a reminder!

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