The rain held off, the sun shone, and so did Kimi. Scuderia supremacy was the order of the day in Malaysia with Kimi Raikkonen romping home to victory after nailing team-mate Massa his only real threat at the pit-stops.
The Finn dominated the race with serene lethality, unopposed by the McLaren duo who received grid-penalties for their blocking antics in qualifying. Pole-sitter Felipe Massa, the only other obstacle, was quickly despatched by Raikkonen at the first-round of refuelling a blistering in-lap a second quicker than the rest of the rabble pulling the trigger on the Brazilian s hopes. Not that it mattered, a second consecutive un-forced error from Massa finished both his race, and if rumours are to be believed his future with Ferrari too.
Elsewhere: Kovalainen lead the McLaren challenge after a bodged pit-stop ruined Hamilton s chances; BMW and Toyota impress with second and fourth place finishes from Kubica and Trulli; Renault are out-foxed by engine-customer s Red Bull; Williams and Toro Rosso flounder; and Honda take a step forward with Button finishing tenth.
Two points of interest that didn t make it into the mainstream post-race news agenda:
Fresh from their podium triumph a week ago in Melbourne, Williams were crushed to see Rosberg s FW30 languish down in the lower ranks for most of the weekend. A tangle with Toyota s Timo Glock cost Rosberg his front wing on the opening lap. Astonishingly though, the young German elected not to pit on the same lap that the incident occurred instead negotiating the long 5.54km circuit for an extra lap before seeking repair.
By the end of the third lap the 22-year-old was over a minute adrift of Anthony Davidson in twentieth and some fifty seconds behind his team-mate, Kazuki Nakajima, in fifteenth.
What followed was a demonstration of why Rosberg is a future world champion. Champions, it is said, all share a same quality, a stubborn refusal to settle for anything other than first. We saw that mentality in Melbourne last week with Raikkonen happy to throw his Ferrari off the track in pursuit of Hamilton.
Under slightly different circumstances, Nico Rosberg decided to give it everything despite his first-lap woes. The young German callously hurled his FW30 around the Sepang circuit putting a string of blistering laps together. The former GP2 champ skyrocketed up to an impressive fourteenth place surpassing both Super Aguris, Force India s Giancarlo Fissichella, and most significantly of all, his team-mate.
Nothing wrong with the FW30 s race pace there then, and not the disaster for Williams that it initially appeared.
No, not his second career podium, which he himself has admitted was not particularly satisfying, but the Finn s qualifying assault. Proving that he is fully deserved of the second McLaren seat, Kovalainen blitzed the 5.54km Herman-Tilke designed Sepang circuit to pip team-mate Hamilton by just under a tenth of a second. Given that Hamilton peeled off-into the pits a couple of laps earlier that Kovalainen, it is safe to assume that the Finn was heavier than his rival in Q3 making his lap time even more special/interesting.