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The Malaysian Grand Prix - did you know?

25 Mar 2015

While Ferrari are the most successful constructor in Malaysian Grand Prix history, did you know they have only won twice in the last ten years? Ahead of the 2015 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, we've delved through the record books to find the most fascinating need-to-know facts, stats and trivia...
  • Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit hosted its first Grand Prix in 1999, and has been an ever-present on the calendar ever since. 
  • Eddie Irvine won that inaugural race for Ferrari - though only after an appeal heard the following week. The Italian team were initially disqualified after the stewards deemed the barge boards on their cars were illegal. It would prove to be Irvine’s final victory in the sport.
  • Of the past 16 races, nine have been won from pole position. Fernando Alonso has the honour of winning from the lowest position, after he started eighth but went on to triumph in 2012 for Ferrari.
  • That is not the only record the Spaniard can boast in Malaysia. He claimed his first F1 pole and podium at the circuit in 2003 (at the time becoming the youngest driver to achieve these feats), and to date has led more laps in Sepang than any other driver - 169 in total, equivalent to roughly three race distances.
  • Of the current grid, Alonso is also tied with Sebastian Vettel for the most victories at Sepang, both with three. The Spaniard’s three wins came with three different teams (Renault, McLaren and Ferrari), whilst Vettel’s were all achieved with Red Bull. Kimi Raikkonen (2), Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton (both 1) are the only other current drivers to have triumphed on Malaysian soil.
  • Hamilton though can boast an impressive record at Sepang: he has never finished outside the points, and his worst finish remains a penalty-influenced eighth in 2011.
  • Alex Yoong remains the only Malaysian to have started his home Grand Prix. Driving for Minardi in 2002, he qualified 22nd but was running as high as 14th when he retired with gearbox issues. The only other Malaysian to have taken part in a Grand Prix weekend is Fairuz Fauzy, who contested five FP1 sessions with Lotus in 2010, starting in Kuala Lumpur.
  • The weekend is set to be a momentous occasion for another nation - Italy. When Ferrari academy protege Raffaele Marciello drives for Sauber in FP1 he'll become the 100th Italian to take part in a Grand Prix weekend, and the first Italian to do so since Jarno Trulli in Brazil in 2011. The last Italian win, incidentally, came in Malaysia when Giancarlo Fisichella triumphed for Renault in 2006.
  • The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix is one of only five races in F1 history where half points were awarded, on this occasion due to torrential rain. The others were the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix, the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix, the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix and the 1991 Australian Grand Prix.
  • Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen once again could make history this weekend. Having become the youngest driver to start a world championship Grand Prix in Melbourne, he could also eclipse Daniil Kvyat as F1 racing’s youngest ever points scorer. Kvyat was 19 years, 10 months and 18 days old when he made his breakthrough; Verstappen has time on his side - on Sunday, he will still be just 17 years, 5 months and 27 days.
  • Though Mercedes are the pre-weekend favourites, having won 17 of the past 20 races, history suggests it will be a close race: only once in the past five seasons has the winning margin been greater than five seconds…