Vettel wins Malaysian Grand Prix
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +3.261
3 Nick Heidfeld Renault +25.075
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault +26.384
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari +36.958
Leader Board after two races
1 Sebastian Vettel 50 points
2 Jenson Button 26 points
3= Lewis Hamilton 22 points
3= Mark Webber 22 points
5 Fernando Alonso 20 points
Race start positions are beginning to look strangely familiar these days. Yet again, reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel
has taken pole for this year's Malaysian Grand Prix
, with 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton
hot on his wheels. After a disappointing debut to the season in his home race in Australia, Mark Webber
has bounced back to third, leaving 2009's golden boy Jenson Button
in fourth and Fernando Alonso
Most telling, perhaps, is the dominance of Red Bull and McLaren in these top four, but it will be crucial for the British team to keep together if they are to have any chance of nipping in the bud what seems to be the unassailable roar of RBR. Early days, and many months' racing to come, but the psychological advantage is crucial for both drivers and constructors.
However, the key player in Sunday's race, the second of the 2011 season, may well turn out to be the rain. Weather conditions have always made their mark on Grand Prix motor racing, adding to the excitement as well as the danger. But this year there's genuine concern about the new Pirelli wet-weather tyres. Jenson Button has predicted mayhem in the race if the drivers are not careful:
"With the heat and humidity, and with it being a very tough circuit on tyres, then we are going to see a very different race to the last one in Melbourne... Chuck the weather into it and it's going to be absolute madness. It will still be good and we're all looking forward to it because you never really know what's going to happen."
Safety cars are one thing, but skill in wet weather is quite another, and drivers like Vettel seem to relish it. His first win for Red Bull in the rain-soaked 2009 Chinese Grand Prix was a case in point, taken from pole position, and he would surely have won the inundated Korean Grand Prix
in 2010 - also from pole - had the engine not caused him to pull out nine laps from the finish. That race was eventually won by Fernando Alonso - perhaps the one to watch tomorrow.
And those who recall the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix
will remember the current World Champion making his way from a penalized 19th to a magnificent fifth place - again in wet (though not quite so wet) conditions.