2002_Malaysian_Grand_Prix

2002 Malaysian Grand Prix

The 2002 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix was a Formula One race held on March 17, 2002 at the Sepang International Circuit and was the second race of the 2002 Formula One season. The Grand Prix is notable for the first lap collision between Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, which led to the Colombian being given a drive through penalty. This decision led to much criticism for the Malaysian stewards, with the victim of the incident, Schumacher, commenting that the decision was "overly harsh" on Montoya.

The Grand Prix was won by the Williams-BMW of German Ralf Schumacher, who commented that it was "almost a perfect race". Ralf was followed by his teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya and following them in third was Ralf's brother, Michael Schumacher.

The race was followed by a decision by the FIA to give stewards more powers over the punishments of drivers who are involved in incidents which are deemed "avoidable".

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Report

Pre-Race

Practice

The Friday morning session saw the two Ferraris of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello fastest, the closest car to the Ferraris was Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, who was over one and a half seconds slower. McLaren got the better of Ferrari for the second session with Kimi Räikkönen fastest and his teammate David Coulthard was just over half a second behind him, while the Ferrari of Schumacher was over a second slower then Räikkönen's McLaren in third.

Like the Friday sessions, the Saturday sessions were split into two separate sessions, although both sessions were held during the morning. The Ferraris were fastest in the first session, although this time the closest non-Ferrari driver, which was Räikkönen, was under a second behind them. The Williams of Montoya was fastest in the final practice session before qualifying with Räikkönen second fastest and Montoya's teammate, Ralf Schumacher, third fastest.

Qualifying

Qualifying saw Michael Schumacher take his first pole position of the 2002 season, with only the next three drivers being under a second slower then Schumacher's time, the closest being Juan Pablo Montoya who was under a quarter of a second slower. Schumacher's teammate, Barrichello and Montoya's teammate, Ralf Schumacher, were third and fourth respectively.

Race

Before the parade lap, the Arrows of Heinz-Harald Frentzen stalled on the grid for the second time in succession. Fortunately, the German got his car running and managed retain his grid position.

The start of the race saw Michael Schumacher immediately cut Montoya, making the Colombian brake and avoid a collision, this allowed Barrichello to get alongside Montoya coming into the first corner. Montoya however managed to out-brake the Brazilian into the first corner and thus was alongside Schumacher going through the corner. As the Williams and Ferrari traveled through the corner, Schumacher's Ferrari started to experience understeer and went into Montoya's car, taking the Ferrari front wing off. The incident left Montoya going wide and going off the track for a brief moment.

This left Barrichello in the lead with Schumacher Ferrari, minus a front-wing, in second place and his brother Ralf in third. Michael Schumacher came into the pits for a new nose, promoting Ralf to second and Kimi Räikkönen. The second lap saw a collision between the two Jordans of Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato, when the latter ran into the back of the former. "I am really sorry about what happened," said Sato after the race, "I apologized to Giancarlo immediately after the race and he took it very well which I think says a lot of good things about his character" he added. On lap 7, Montoya was given a Drive through penalty which cost the Colombian 20 seconds to Barrichello's lead.

The race at the front was between Barrichello; Ralf Schumacher and the two McLarens of Räikkönen and David Coulthard. The two McLarens soon dropped out, both retirements were due to an engine failure. This left the Ferrari and the Williams to battle for the lead, albeit on different strategies, with Barrichello on two stops and Ralf on one-stop. Barrichello was 21 seconds ahead but rejoined 5 seconds behind after his second stop on lap 35. He then closed in on Ralf at a second a lap, and was just 1.2 seconds behind when his engine failed on lap 39, leaving Ralf over 30 seconds ahead of the field with Jenson Button second, with Montoya and Schumacher third and fifth in their recovery drives, with Nick Heidfeld between them.

Montoya got passed Button, despite the Brit's defensive driving and moved up into second behind his teammate. The Williams pair went onto to finish first and second, making it the first Williams 1-2 since the 1996 Portuguese Grand Prix.

Unfortunately for Button, who was now demoted to third, look on course to take his first podium finish of his F1 career, but a suspension problem gave the Ferarri of Michael Schumacher the last podium finish, leaving Button to take fourth place, his first points scoring finish for his new team, Renault. The final two points positions are taken by the two Saubers of Heidfeld and Massa; it was the first points scoring finish for Massa.

Post-Race

The decision to penalise Montoya was met with a host of criticism, F1 Rejects even gave the Malaysian stewards their 'Reject of the Race' award. The head steward at the event, Nazir Hoosein, had a history of making strange decisions, as he was head steward at the 1998 British Grand Prix, where Michael Schumacher won the race in the pitlane, which led to Hoosein losing his license to be a steward for a year.

Michael Schumacher later commented that he though it was "overly harsh" on Montoya for the incident. While Montoya himself commented that it was "very unfair" and that he "gave Michael room" and commented that Schumacher "understeered and touched him before adding that "it was a racing incident".

Championship wise, Michael Schumacher's lead in the Drivers' Championship was now decreased by two points while the Williams team move up to take the lead in the Contructors' Championship with 22 points to Ferrari's 13.

Classification

Qualifying

Pos No Driver Constructor Lap Gap
1 1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1:35.266
2 6 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 1:35.497 +0.231
3 2 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1:35.891 +0.625
4 3 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1:36.028 +0.762
5 4 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.468 +1.202
6 3 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.477 +1.211
7 7 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas 1:37.199 +1.933
8 15 Jenson Button Renault 1:37.245 +1.979
9 9 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Honda 1:37.536 +2.270
10 24 Mika Salo Toyota 1:37.694 +2.428
11 20 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Arrows-Cosworth 1:37.919 +2.653
12 14 Jarno Trulli Renault 1:37.920 +2.654
13 11 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1:38.039 +2.773
14 8 Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas 1:38.057 +2.791
15 10 Takuma Sato Jordan-Honda 1:38.141 +2.875
16 21 Enrique Bernoldi Arrows-Cosworth 1:38.284 +3.018
17 17 Pedro de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth 1:38.374 +3.108
18 12 Olivier Panis BAR-Honda 1:38.390 +3.124
19 25 Allan McNish Toyota 1:38.959 +3.693
20 16 Eddie Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth 1:39.121 +3.855
21 23 Mark Webber Minardi-Asiatech 1:39.454 +4.188
22 22 Alex Yoong Minardi-Asiatech 1:40.158 +4.892

Race

Pos No Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 5 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 56 1:34:12.912 4 10
2 6 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 56 +39.700 2 6
3 1 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 56 +1:01.795 1 4
4 15 Jenson Button Renault 56 +1:09.767 8 3
5 7 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas 55 +1 Lap 7 2
6 8 Felipe Massa Sauber-Petronas 55 +1 Lap 14 1
7 25 Allan McNish Toyota 55 +1 Lap 19  
8 11 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 55 +1 Lap 13  
9 10 Takuma Sato Jordan-Honda 54 +2 Laps 15  
10 17 Pedro de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 17  
11 20 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Arrows-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 11  
12 24 Mika Salo Toyota 53 +3 Laps 10  
13 9 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Honda 53 +3 Laps 9  
Ret 2 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 39 Engine 3  
Ret 23 Mark Webber Minardi-Asiatech 34 Electrical 21  
Ret 16 Eddie Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth 30 Hydraulics 20  
Ret 22 Alex Yoong Minardi-Asiatech 29 Gearbox 22  
Ret 4 Kimi Räikkönen McLaren-Mercedes 24 Engine 5  
Ret 21 Enrique Bernoldi Arrows-Cosworth 20 Fuel 16  
Ret 3 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 15 Engine 6  
Ret 12 Olivier Panis BAR-Honda 9 Clutch 18  
Ret 14 Jarno Trulli Renault 9 Overheating 12  

Footnotes

References

All Grand Prix results taken from:

  • Official Formula One Website Results Archive > 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix: Formula1.com Retrieved 20 December 2006
  • Formula One Database > 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix F1db.com Retrieved 20 December 2006

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