Formula One News
Hamilton leads from Button as Malaysian GP is stopped
Mar 25, 2012, 8:38 GMT
Sepang, Malaysia - Heavy rain on Sunday forced officials to stop the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix in the ninth lap.
Organizers said later that the restart was set for 1515 GMT behind the safety car after the conditions improved, and wet tyres were mandatory for all teams.
Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton was leading from team-mate Jenson Button at the time, with Sauber driver Sergio Perez a surprise third and world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull sixth at the time.
Michael Schumacher dropped far behind after starting in third place after the Mercedes driver was hit by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who had to retire shortly afterwards after spinning off.
A thunderstorm started just ahead of the start in some sections of the course and all teams started with intermediate tyres.
The conditions worsened and drivers soon came to the pits for rain tyres and the safety car came out in the seventh lap as the conditions further deteriorated and drivers found it hard to keep their cars on the 5.543km track.
Organizers eventually had no choice but to imply the red flag rule and stop the race in the ninth lap.
Three years ago, the Malaysian race had to be abandoned after 31 laps because of heavy rain. The last red flag came 2011 in Canada when rain forced a two-hour stop. Both races were won by Button.
The Canadian race which lasted more than than four hours prompted officials to modify F1 rules. Now races can not last longer than four years, including interruptions.
With light a factor in the afternoon race in Malysia, and depending on the time of of the restart, full points may not be obtained by drivers and teams on Sunday.
Full points for the top 10 finishers are only awarded when at least three quarters of the race (43 of 56 laps) have been completed. The 2009 race saw only 31 laps and half of the points obtained.
Read more about Motorsport F1
Read more about Weather