The 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the VI Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, was the second round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia, on 21 March 2004. The race would see Michael Schumacher collect his second victory of the campaign, as Jenson Button secured his maiden podium finish.
Qualifying had seen Schumacher claim a much predicted pole position, although there was a surprise in second as Mark Webber completed the front row for Jaguar-Ford Cosworth. Rubens Barrichello put the second Ferrari into third ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya, while Kimi Räikkönen and Button shared the third row.
There would be action before the race even got underway, with Räikkönen spinning on the formation lap, although he would recover to take his fifth place grid slot. This was due to a light drizzle falling over some parts of the circuit, although there was no choice but to start on dry tyres.
The start itself saw Schumacher expertly pull away to claim the lead, while Webber tumbled down the field. The rest of the field would hence swamp the #14 Jaguar, with a fast starting Fernando Alonso storming through from nineteenth to tenth behind the Australian.
The rest of the opening lap saw the field sort itself out, before the rain intensified on the second lap. The increasing rain allowed Jarno Trulli to pass Button, only for the Brit to get revenge at the following corner, while Alonso picked his way into the points with a move on Webber, leaving him stuck behind David Coulthard.
The rain soon stopped, although it had allowed Montoya to prevent Schumacher charging away in the opening laps, meaning the Williams-BMW remained a significant threat for victory. Behind, Webber's bad day was made even worse when contact with Ralf Schumacher shredded his right rear tyre, while Takuma Sato went for a bounce through the gravel.
Michael Schumacher then gave the rest of the field hope with an early stop on lap nine, although Montoya was unable to respond when the Ferrari rejoined. The other stops saw Trulli jump Coulthard, while Alonso remained behind the Scot, as Nick Heidfeld lost out on a chance to challenge for points due to a fuel rig failure.
Unfortunately the rest of the race proved fairly undramatic, until Button jumped into third ahead of Räikkönen and Barrichello in the final round of stops. He was subsequently aided by a transmission failure for Räikkönen in the closing stages, although that would only release Barrichello's Ferrari to hunt down the BAR-Honda.
Indeed, having been denied a maiden podium several times in the past by a charging Ferrari, Button and BAR were in for a nervous end to the race, with Button unable to respond to Barichello's pace. They were also given a scare when the sister car of Sato retired late on, although as they started the final lap it seemed as if Button had enough in hand.
Out front, meanwhile, Schumacher was able to keep Montoya at arm's length to claim victory, five seconds clear of the Colombian charger. Behind, a jubilant Button secured third, and hence the biggest cheer from the crowd, with Barrichello, Trulli, Coulthard and Felipe Massa securing the remaining points.
Michael Schumacher opened his sixth title defence with a convincing victory at the opening round, leaving Australia with ten points. Rubens Barrichello was second as he opened his account for the season, with Fernando Alonso completing the early top three. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were next ahead of Jenson Button, with Jarno Trulli and David Coulthard also picking up points at the opening round.
In the Constructors Championship a one-two for Ferrari at the opening round left them in an already daunting position, holding eighteen points. Williams-BMW had half the number of points in second, and were a point ahead of Renault in third, who were the only other double scorers. BAR-Honda and McLaren-Mercedes were the only other scorers in Australia.
The full entry list for the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:34.016||1:33.715||+0.641s|
|4||3||Juan Pablo Montoya||Williams-BMW||1:34.941||1:34.054||+0.980s|
|10||16||Cristiano da Matta||Toyota||1:35.864||1:34.917||+1.843s|
|13||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar-Ford Cosworth||1:35.618||1:35.158||+2.084s|
|15||18||Nick Heidfeld||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||1:36.769||1:36.569||+3.495s|
|16||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:38.729||1:38.577||+5.503s|
|17||21||Zsolt Baumgartner||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||1:39.805||1:39.272||+6.198s|
|18*||19||Giorgio Pantano||Jordan-Ford Cosworth||—||1:39.902||+6.828s|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
- * Pantano, Alonso and Sato all received ten place grid penalties for changing their engines.
|______________||Juan Pablo Montoya|
|______________||Cristiano da Matta|
- * Pantano started the race from the pitlane.
The full results for the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix are outlined below:
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
- * Sato was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- Takuma Sato started his twentieth Grand Prix.
- 72nd career victory for Michael Schumacher.
- 169th win for Ferrari as a constructor and engine supplier.
- Maiden podium finish for Jenson Button.
- Juan Pablo Montoya recorded his tenth fastest lap.
Michael Schumacher continued his perfect start to the 2004 season with victory in Malaysia, leaving the second round with a full points tally of twenty points. Teammate Rubens Barrichello was second, seven behind already, while Juan Pablo Montoya had moved up into third after his second place finish. Jenson Button had also moved up courtesy of his podium finish, with Felipe Massa having been the only driver to add their name to the score sheet.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had almost secure a whole race weekend's advantage in terms of points, leaving the second round with 33 points to their name. That translated into a sixteen point lead over Williams-BMW in second, while Renault were in third, a further three behind. BAR-Honda were next ahead of McLaren-Mercedes, while Sauber-Petronas completed the scorers list.
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 'Malaysian GP, 2004', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2014), https://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr715.html, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 'Malaysia 2004: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/malaisie/engages.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ '2004 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 1', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/754/malaysia/qualifying-1.html, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ '2004 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix - QUALIFYING 2', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Ltd., 2019), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2004/races/754/malaysia/qualifying-2.html, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 'Malaysia 2004: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/malaisie/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 'Malaysia 2004: Result', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/malaisie/classement.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ '2004 Malaysian GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2004&gp=Malaysian%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 '2. Malaysia 2004', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2004/malaisie.aspx, (Accessed 17/12/2019)
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