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

Jenson Button will start from pole position again in Malaysia

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.

Q1

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Sepang, 2009

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

Q2

Jarno Trulli, Toyota, Sepang, 2009

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

Q3

Jenson Button, Brawn, Sepang, 2009

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

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

  1. Martin Bell said on 4th April 2009, 11:19

    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!!!!!!!!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th April 2009, 11:31

      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. Martin Bell said on 4th April 2009, 11:32

    I was joking.

  3. Simon said on 4th April 2009, 11:32

    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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th April 2009, 11:43

      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 said on 4th April 2009, 11:36

    Great quali again. well done JB throughly deserved.

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

  5. the Sri lankan said on 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

  6. Bigbadderboom said on 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.

    • Aaron Shearer said on 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th April 2009, 11:58

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

  7. Damon said on 4th April 2009, 11:52

    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 said on 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th April 2009, 12:01

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

  9. David said on 4th April 2009, 12:00

    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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th April 2009, 12:07

      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

    • David said on 4th April 2009, 15:24

      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.

  11. Spainisdiferent said on 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.

    • David said on 4th April 2009, 15:05

      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.

    • David said on 4th April 2009, 15:09

      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. Arthur954 said on 4th April 2009, 14:04

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

  14. Pete Walker said on 4th April 2009, 14:17

    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.

    • Sush Meerkat said on 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.

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