2009 Malaysian Grand Prix facts and stats

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Nick Heidfeld: eight second places, still no wins

The Malaysian Grand Prix will be remembered as one of the shortest F1 races ever.

But Jenson Button will recall it as the first race where he started from pole position, set fastest lap and won the race. Here’s more of the stats and facts from the Sepang race.

Jenson Button scored his third win, giving him as many victories as world champions Mike Hawthorn and Phil Hill, plus Peter Collins, Didier Pironi, Thierry Boutsen, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Johnny Herbert and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Button also scored his first ‘hat-trick’ – winning from pole position with fastest lap. Felipe Massa is the active driver with the most hat tricks – four. It was Brawn’s first fastest lap as well.

Nico Rosberg led a Grand Prix for the second time in his career – the first time was at Singapore last year.

Timo Glock scored his second podium and his first third place finish. He finished second at the Hungaroring last year. It was Toyota’s tenth podium in 124 races.

Nick Heidfeld extended his record for most second places without a win – he now has eight.

Ferrari continued their worst start to a season since 1992 by failing to score for the second race in a row. If they fail to score five points or more at China it will be their worst start to a championship since 1986.

Half-points were handed out for the first time since the 1991 Australian Grand Prix. On that occasion the previous points system was still in use, with the top six (Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Gerhard Berger, Nelson Piquet, Riccardo Patrese and Gianni Morbidelli) getting 5-3-2-1.5-1-0.5 points respectively. Jarno Trulli therefore became the first driver to score 2.5 points in a race.

This development means F1 has an opportunity to match its 1984 record of the championship being won by half a point. On that occasion Niki Lauda beat McLaren team mate Alain Prost by the smallest margin ever.

It was the third shortest race ever by duration, at 55 minutes, 30.6 seconds. The two shorter events were Australia 1991 (24m 34.899s) and Spain 1975 (42m 53.7s) – the latter was stopped early because of an accident that killed two spectators.

By distance it was the fifth shortest race of all time at 171.8km. The other two races in which less distance covered were Monaco 1984 (stopped early because of heavy rain) and Austria 1975 (ditto).

Neither of this year’s races ended at racing speed – the first time this has ever happened.

Heikki Kovalainen gave McLaren deja vu by spinning out of the race on the first lap at turn five – the same way his Finnish predecessor Kimi Raikkonen dropped out of the 2006 race, following damage incurred in contact with Christian Klien.

Spotted any more interesting or unusual statistics? Post them in the comments…

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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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53 comments on “2009 Malaysian Grand Prix facts and stats”

  1. Jenson has firmly put his name in the record books today for being the first driver ever to take a debutant Formula 1 team to back-to-back victories in their first 2 Grands Prix.


    1. Fangio and Mercedes-Benz (funny coincidence) did that in 1954

  2. Surely Nick Heidfeld is heading for the status of being the best driver never to win a F1 race? Providing he never does win one in the future of course…

  3. sajonaraman
    6th April 2009, 11:25

    Ferrari pointless second time in a row, Kubica’s second DNF in a row(he was classified in Ozz though )and a second consecutive podium for Toyota.

  4. Isn’t that Kubica’s first mechanical DNF for well over a year?

    1. Not just Kubica, for BMW.

  5. Worst start to a season for Lewis Hamilton.

    Best start to a season for Jenson Button.

    Second time in 10 years there has been a huge downpour in Sepang, the other being 2001.

    First red flag because of rain since Nurburgring 2007

    Kimi Raikkonens worst start to a season since 2004.

    Only two Brits have ever won at Sepang, Eddie Irvine won the first in ’99 and Jenson yesterday.

    Rubens Barrichello’s first consecutive points finishes since Monaco and Canada last year, the previous being Italy and China 2006.

    Nick Heidled has driven for both Button and Glock’s previous teams.

    It was Jenson Buttons first fastest lap in his F1 career.

    Jenson has scored more points in this season already than he did on the whole of 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2008.

    Brawn GP are the 5th team to win the Malaysian Grand prix in ten years, the others being McLaren, Ferrari, Williams and Renault.

    Sepang was Timo Glocks fourth points Finnish in a row.

    1. Eddie Irvine is not British, though. What’s the adjective for “someone from the UK”? He’s an Ulsterman.

    2. Whewbacca the Cookie
      6th April 2009, 13:45

      He’s Northern Irish right?

      I suppose we could call him United Kingdomite :)

    3. Mouse Nightshirt
      6th April 2009, 15:02

      Eddie was British. Anyone from the UK is classified as British. It says so on the passport.

      You’re getting confused with Great Britain, of which Northern Ireland is not part of (only mainland UK is Great Britain)

    4. Irvine is British, although when an English driver wins he is quite often English, but when a Scottish or Irish driver wins its British :-o

    5. Ah, quite right. In many foreign languages, the term “English” is used inaccurately to refer to everything English/British, it appears that I overcorrected for that.

    6. Ben – nice job, thanks!

  6. Heidfeld’s 30th race finished in a row. Heidfeld has scored 204 points without a win, which is the most of all. Second is Webber with 100+yesterday’s points.

    1. Yes, a “British” passport represents those from the country of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”

    2. Webber (101.5) points is still behind Alesi (114), who also scored his points under a more difficult point system.

  7. Keith – Have you got lap time breakdowns between laps 22 to 30 for Trulli, Glock, LH, JB and Roseberg. Would like to understand wets and inter performance differences plus how LH, Roseberg and Glock compare when they all were on inters from laps 27 to 30.


    1. KP – coming tomorrow…

  8. ConcedoNulli
    6th April 2009, 13:45

    Michel S – I’m proud to be British, but by the grace of God born an Ulsterman. Just checked my British passport, yes United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and still a British Citizen. So someone from the UK is also British

    Eddie Irvine from Conlig, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom and therefore also British.

    1. Eddies an Irish man for sure

      Irvine has self-identified as being Irish:
      “ But at the end of the day, I’m Irish. I mean, I’ve got a British passport, but if you’re from Ireland, north or south, you’re Irish. And ‘British’ is. . . such a nondescript thing, isn’t it?


      Also living in N.Ireland you’re entitled to an Irish passport

  9. is that a new record? has anyone else won 2 races, in a row, under the SC?

  10. @Michel S. – Great Britain and United Kingdom are the same, ergo someone from the UK is British


    1. sajonaraman
      6th April 2009, 14:04

      There you go. The Pope himself has spoken so it must be true:)

    2. Mouse Nightshirt
      6th April 2009, 15:07

      No, Great Britain is not the same as the UK. The UK consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    3. actually not true… britain and the united kingdom are the same, great britain is just the island of wales, scotland and england! it’s all very confusing… had a pub debate on this last year which ended in me losing £10!

  11. I might be wrong but I think Heikki Kovalainen is yet to complete a lap this season!

  12. i agreed with Haas. Heikki has not completed a lap in 2009.

  13. @B.soler… BRAWNGP is HONDA and by no means a debutant grrrr! Who knows if they would have been so successful with a Honda engine up their pipes this season it was said to lack some sixty bhp. so thanks to Mercedes this car actually has some umpf under it.

    1. Brawn GP is not Honda, it is Brawn GP, a new team, and therefore a debutant. The same way that Midland was a debutant even though they were just Jordan renamed and re-owned, as well as Spyker (Midland), Force India (Spyker), Red Bull (Jaguar), Toro Rosso (Minardi), Jaguar (Stewart), BAR (Tyrrell).

      All new teams.

    2. In terms of car design, they’re not entirely a debutant (they had to spend time integrating a new power plant, but on the other hand, there are speculations that their previous Honda engine might have been underpowered).

      As far as the FIA is concerned, it’s also not a brand-new team (thus not needing to pay tens of millions in bond money).

      But in the end, the accepted norm is to consider them a new team as far as statistics are concerned (thus Prost != Ligier, Jordan != Midland != Spyker != F India, Jaguar != RBR). Makes sense, in a way (though advantageous to Brawn in this case), as new ownership often entails a significant departure in team direction and strategy.

  14. Heidfeld now shares the tally of most podium finishes without a victory with Stefan Johansson – 12 podium finishes.

    1. And he also extended his record of consecutive race classifications to 30 races.

  15. This podium finish had the most facial hair of any I’ve ever seen….

    I could be wrong as the Mansell mustache got a few wins in the 90’s.

  16. Button scored more points in 1.5 races this year then in the last 2 seasons. Whereas Hamilton is doing just the opposite, i.e. he might finish the season with fewer points then there are for a win in a single race.
    Reminds me of this:

    Nick Heidfeld extended his record for most second places without a win – he now has eight.

    Anybody know what Jean Alesi’s record was?

    1. Hehe, unless Jean is in the background of this one I think your link is wonkey :-)

    2. Alesi had 114 points before his first win, with 6 second places (wikipedia)

  17. Haha, the hotlink option works in mysterious ways :|

  18. and Button is saying he had a problem with the front wing and there is more to come from Brawn! does anyone think Brawn will be caught this season? they certainly look by far the fastest car there and adaptable to different situations. just shows how good Ross Brawn is. I mean we all knew that while he was at Ferrari. Not sure of the exact reason he left but they must be kicking themselves now. Ross must feel 10 foot tall round the paddock.

    when will bernie start making rules to slow the Brawn down? Domination (unless its Ferrari) is stricly prohibited!!

  19. @Damon: – Jean Alesi scored 6 second places before is first and only win. He managed 9 3rd places before, so it means he managed 15 podium finishes before his win.

    But I think the record people is counting is different. It’s the number of second places or podium finishes WITHOUT a win. Once you win it, it becomes irrelevant for the record books, I think.

  20. Glad Heidfeld’s consecutive race thingy is still going – tis really quite an achievement for both him and BMW! I’m hoping itll go on all year!! :D :D Hopefully the win will come soon too – he’s never going to win the title this year if he doesnt get winning races soon – and I’m still living in hope that he will have a shot at the title this season….! :D Mind you, I think I’d rather a Jenson title if it came to it, its become habit gunning for a Heidfeld title (well either BMW driver would be good, but Heidfeld is my fave of the two!), didnt even dare hope for a Button title before the season started – now I’m beginning to let myself beleive he has a chance!!! :D

    1. Actually – and I’ve only just realised this – if he’d finished third in every race last year he’d have had ten points more than Hamilton.

      There’s you’re argument for “most wins”, Bernie…

  21. It’s the number of second places or podium finishes WITHOUT a win.

    Duh. Nobody said otherwise. :)

    My link is about Hamilton and Button “Trading Places”. Hasn’t got anything to do with Alesi. I put the link before the block quote. But strangely, the last sentence became the link :/

    @ gazzap
    I would like to know who the designer of the Honda/Brawn car is, and how many of the Honda engineers who were creating the car are still there in Brawn to further develop it.

  22. all I heard is that Brawn had to lay off a lot of Honda employees because of the big budget cut. they are doing all this with a far smaller team than what Honda acheived with far greater resources. Its certainly impressive.

    1. @gazzap

      Yes but the 09 car was developed in 2008 when they did have the resources to build this car.

  23. I saw F1, Both NASCAR and the IRL Race this weekend Here is my rate.

    1. F1
    2. NASCAR Cup
    3. NASCAR Nationwide
    4. IRL

    F1 had the best race we drama and unknowns and a lot of passing and was just a lot of fun to watch this. Now if we could lose all the off track drama that would be great.

    1. I watched the IRL race too, was pretty good, but I don’t like the St. Petersburg track much. I also caught the GP2 Asia (always entertaining) and BTCC (ditto, if a bit lightweight).

  24. Jess,

    Waking up at 5am on a Sunday in Atlanta to watch the F1 race was not exactly fun. Although the race was good aside from Kubica catching fire.

  25. @,MIchel S, migo, gazzap.
    Please correct me if I missed something.

    Honda anonunced retirement after the 2008 season. Button, Barrichello were considered by media unenployed and retired respectively.

    No one knowed the teams name or the engine (Why not Ferrari?), and very few people believe they would be at the starting grid in Australia. The car is almost “virgin” (sorry for that one). Brawn would had the money?

    I remenbered something that there were rules like racing with the old name for one year before changing. They were helped for sure by old Honda,old Max and oldest Bernie wich wanted to made people employed and cars racing for sure.

    The fact that Brawn GP can lead Toyota “the diffusor gang” and everybody else, by far, is awesome.

    will use in 2009.

    Everybody thought they probably wouldn´t be at the grid, neither Button and Barrichello wich were considered unemployed and retired drivers.

    The fact Brawn managed to make the car with a new engine (why not Ferrari? were he had a great relations) in such a short time is incredible. And the fact that new car is faster then Toyota and everybody else is atonishing.

    1. Brawn managed to make the car with a new engine (why not Ferrari? were he had a great relations)

      I think they looked at the Ferrari and Mercedes and the latter was a better fit technically. Which, given their unbelievably tight time constraints at the start of the year, makes sense.

      But you also have to wonder whether Brawn picked the one he thought was more powerful…

  26. I think Malaysia also had the record for most smiles and happiest looking drivers in the post race press conference. Nice to see some teeth for once !

    I also think that no one said ‘for sure’, which would be a record. Although I may be wrong on that.

    1. I think Stefano Domenicali exhausted the world’s supply of ‘for sures’ in his pre-race interview with the BBC. Ecclestone’s shipping in a fresh batch for Shanghai.

  27. If Brawn had win with a Ferrari engine, that means 100% wins against 0% points for sure (ops) some Ferrari men, Domenicalli, Montezemolo included would be hanged in Italian public place by now…

    1. The same could almost be said for mercedes, two wins, 1 second place and Mclaren only 1 point,

      Plus Brawn is on a much smaller budget,

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