The Malaysian GP was an exciting one with unexpected results and a red flag period due to heavy rain. Fernando Alonso won ahead of Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton with a lot of tussling for positions up and down the field.
The race was exciting, with a number of impressive overtakes, however my personal race highlight isn’t a particular moment itself, but instead it is Sergio Perez finishing a fantastic second place – his grin on the podium said it all. Sauber showed that they had pace in Australia and took a number of risks for Perez in the Malaysian GP which paid off as he was one of the first to switch to the full wet tyres and then put the harder compound slick tyres on instead of mediums like people around him. He was considerably faster than Alonso for most of the closing stages of the race, but he made a costly mistake when he braked too late and ran wide with only a few laps remaining.
In 2009 Bernie Ecclestone pushed the start of the race back to 5pm (local Malaysian time) in order to suit European audiences better. This proved to be a mistake as heavy rain caused the race to be red flagged after 33 laps and could not be restarted due to poor visibility. This was because it had started to get dark and it would not have been safe, especially with water still on the track, to restart the race. Today’s race was also red flagged and this lasted for about an hour. The race did begin again under the safety car and towards the end drivers were able to put on the slick tyres, however, if the rain had persisted, or more rain had fallen later in the race then the same situation as 2009 could have arisen. The race started 9am UK time while the Australian GP got underway at 6am UK time. Most European fans probably have no problem getting up early to watch races, especially as it is just the first three of the season (and some towards the end) which are early before returning to ‘lunch time’ starts. Of course there have been dry unaffected races in Malaysia. It could be argued that whatever time the race starts there could be a risk of rain – but a later start means that if the rain is enough to red flag the race it may not get started again.
Do you think the race start should be pushed back to an earlier time to reduce the risk of it being shortened, or is it fine as it is and if it rains, it rains?