Latest News / Feature

Moments in Time - the Malaysian Grand Prix

25 Mar 2014

In the first of a new series exploring the history of Grands Prix through a selection of iconic images, we focus the lens on Malaysia. Our inaugural trip down memory lane takes in the first world championship race in Kuala Lumpur, Kimi Raikkonen’s maiden victory, Vitaly Petrov’s famous ‘flight’, and more…

Formula One racing’s debut in KL, 1999

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher leads the field into the first corner at the start of the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix in 1999. Schumacher was competing just 98 days after breaking his leg at Silverstone, but was still able to take pole position by nearly a second. Despite having a clear speed advantage, the German sportingly allowed championship-challenging team mate Eddie Irvine to take victory.

(© LAT Photographic)

Ferrari’s bad hair day, 2000

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher (centre), Rubens Barrichello (right) and Ross Brawn (left) were so overjoyed at beating rivals McLaren to the 2000 constructors’ championship title that they took to the Sepang podium wearing these comedy wigs. Cleary, victory can sometimes go to your head…

(© LAT Photographic)

Schumacher and Montoya tangle at Turn 1, 2002

Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were famous for never yielding an inch, so when they approached the first corner of the 2002 race side by side, something had to give. Schumacher’s Ferrari (centre) duly slid wide into Montoya’s Williams (right), costing both positions and bodywork (and, bizarrely in many eyes, a drive-through penalty for Montoya). The Colombian eventually recovered to second behind team mate Ralf Schumacher; while the older Schumacher came home third.

(© LAT Photographic)

Sato commits the cardinal sin, 2002

Having only just cleared Michael Schumacher’s front wing from the track, the Malaysian marshals were back in action again on lap 2 as Jordan’s Takuma Sato misjudged an overtaking manoeuvre on team mate Giancarlo Fisichella and spectacularly vaulted up and over the Italian’s EJ12, damaging both yellow cars. It’s safe to say team owner Eddie Jordan was not best pleased with the Japanese driver…

(© LAT Photographic)

Kimi tastes victory for the first time, 2003

After qualifying down in seventh for the 2003 race it seemed unlikely that McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen would be able to add to his tally of four podium finishes, let alone claim a maiden win. But in sweltering conditions it was the Iceman who kept his cool to become - at 23 - the youngest race winner since his team’s founder - Bruce McLaren - won the United States Grand Prix in 1959.

(© Sutton Images)

Renault reap the rewards, 2006

Giancarlo Fisichella (right) and reigning world champion Fernando Alonso (left) embrace after securing Renault’s first one-two finish as a constructor since the 1982 French Grand Prix. It would prove to be the third and final victory of Fischella’s career.

(© Sutton Images)

Deluge delays the action, 2009

It’s not unusual to see torrential downpours in Malaysia - in fact they’re expected. But so much rain fell during the 2009 race that officials had no choice but to bring an early halt to proceedings. Here, the field assembles on the grid following the red flag stoppage, led by Brawn’s Jenson Button, who was eventually declared winner of what remains the shortest Malaysian Grand Prix in history - 55m 30.622s.

(© Sutton Images)

Petrov takes flight, 2011

Sometimes a small mistake can have dramatic consequences, as Renault’s Vitaly Petrov proved in the 2011 race. The Russian was running in a strong eighth place when he ran wide coming out of Turn 8, hit a bump in the grass and spectacularly took off. Unfortunately for Petrov, after a graceful flight he hit the ground with a solid thump, breaking the steering column on his car and forcing him into retirement.

(© FOM)

Perez takes the fight to Alonso, 2012

The 2012 race was another to be held in torrential rain, but out of the spray a new star emerged in the shape of Sauber’s Sergio Perez. The Mexican revelled in the slick conditions, moving up to second behind Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, and even pressuring the former world champion for the lead. In the end a small mistake cost Perez a shot at victory, but second place was just reward for a fine drive.

(© Sutton Images)

Vettel incurs Webber's wrath, 2013

“Come on Seb, this is silly.” Those were the words spoken by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner over the radio just before Sebastian Vettel defied the now famous ‘multi 21’ order instructing him to hold station behind race-leading team mate Mark Webber. As this image illustrates, the incident naturally led to some rather tense body language between the two drivers on the podium…

(© Sutton Images)