How powerful is KERS, the magic turbo button of a F1 car? Powerful enough for a horde of cars to effortlessly overtake Webber – third on the grid – at the start of the race. I felt for Webber, especially after watching the video clip filmed from his angle. By the time the cars reached third gear, those who got the KERS working hit that button and off they went. Webber was an easy target. Without KERS, he was a sitting duck. Fortunate for pole sitter Vettel, his KERS was working at that crucial start. Secretly, I was hoping to see Vettel being taken over by the KERS cars and see if he is capable of overtaking some of the finest drivers of F1. Similar to last race, he simply led all the way from beginning to finish.
Malaysia race track has a relatively long straight start. Perhaps that flavors the KERS mechanism. In fact, the long straight flavors the DRS (drag reduction system) as well. I have lost track of the number of overtaking maneuvers there were. The fight between Hamilton and Alonso was intense. Both were handed a 20 seconds penalty after the race was over for different reasons (I have spotted that during the race and was wondering why there was no commentary on that). The wheel-to-wheel fight between Kobayashi and Schumacher was entertaining. At one point, I thought Button would have had a good fight with his teammate Hamilton but that did not happen. At one point, I thought Hamilton was going to win the race. But that did not happen either. He could not make the Pirelli tyres – new to this season – last while Button managed to squeeze out two extra laps from those tyres when no one could. Before the start of the season, one interviewer put his money on Button because of Button’s gifted talent in managing his tyres. A second position is a good result for the McLaren team. Given the fact that no one seems to have what it takes to catch Vettel, yet.
In the previous race, we have Red Bull, McLaren, and Renault taking the podium. In this race, we also have Red Bull, McLaren, and Renault taking the podium. Instead of Hamilton, we have Button. Instead of Petrov, we have Heifield. Where is Ferrari? The world awaits. Malaysia race is eventful because some cars had the KERS working, some did not (poor Webber). Some cars had the DRS working, some did not (poor Alonso). Tyre factor plays a major role too because when they are gone, they are really gone. This is working as intend and has added a new layer of excitement to the race.
On the gossip front, would Hamilton eventually move to Red Bull Racing? Nobody knows. Would McLaren offer Hamilton a lifetime contract that worths billion? Nobody knows. Will Vettel continue to dominate the race? China F1 could be a challenge to Red Bull if they are still unable to make KERS works. Looking at the pace McLaren improves the car, the gap may come even closer. Also, there is Renault that has reversed the exhaust system to blow downwards for extra down force. Ferrari will try to catch up, for sure. Looking at those super long straights in China, I would expect the next race to be as exciting, if not more. How would KERS and DRS work under raining condition? Perhaps that is what Red Bull needs to buy them more time and develop KERS.