Live Malaysian Grand Prix: Follow all the F1 action from the Sepang International Circuit
09:03 GMT, 25 March 2012
Lewis Hamilton will start today's Malaysian Grand Prix from the front of the pack after securing his second pole position in seven days with a stellar qualifying lap on Saturday.
The 2008 world champion leads another all-McLaren front row with Australian Grand Prix winner Jenson Button starting in second.
Stay tuned with Sportsmail for all the action as it unfolds around the Sepang International Circuit. And please feel free to send me your views, predictions, and anything else you want to get off your chest. Drop me a line at [email protected], or alternatively take to Twitter leaving #DMF1 at the end of all your tweets.
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LAP 9 of 56 (RED FLAG)
Race is temporarily suspended due to poor conditions Hamilton leads from ButtonSchumacher in P15 after first-lap spin
Grosjean is out of the race
10.02: It's a shame that none of the drivers are tweeting during this period isn't it Meanwhile, we're being told that the race will re-start at 5.15pm (local). I make that 13 minutes from now. Thank goodness for that.
10.00: 'A word on the gamblers other than Vergne,' says Simon Cass. 'Sergio Perez's decision to pit on the first lap for full wets has got him up from ninth on the grid to third.
09.56: The medical car is on a reconnaissance lap as we see a jubilant Karthikeyan. I bet the HRT driver can't believe his luck sitting pretty in P10. I dare say, he's unlikely to finish there though.
09.50: It's stopped raining, and there isn't any more of the wet stuff on the way, according to reports. I reckon we could be underway in 15 minutes.
09.45: This isn't looking good. There is no sign of the rain easing, although I'm hearing it could ease off in 10-15 minutes. Let's hope so, or we're in danger of not completing this race.
09.38: All the drivers have their helmets off. Some have remained in their cars, others have left the grid. We don't look any closer to a re-start here.
09.32: That has to be a Formula One first as gazebos are deployed on the start line to protect the cars, and drivers from the rain. It's still belting down… Montreal 2011, anyone
09.30: 'As James Hunt used to say, I'm off out to check the weather conditions,' reports Simon Cass. 'I shall attempt to avoid being electrocuted. Vergne's gamble to stay on inters has really paid off, he's up to seventh from 18th on the grid.' Incredible work indeed from Vergne. How did he manage to keep it on the black stuff on the intermediate tyre And crucially, he can now change to the wet tyre should he so desire.
Wet weather: Hamilton behind the safety car, which was deployed on lap six
09.26: So, the right decision to temporarily halt the grand prix. It's pointless wasting laps behind the safety car, but let's hope we don't get a repeat of 2009 where the race was abandoned due to the wet conditions. It's still throwing it down in Sepang as the drivers make their way back to the grid. Hamilton leads from Button, Perez, Webber, Alonso, Vettel, Massa, Rosberg and incredibly Narain Karthikeyan in the HRT.
Lap 9: 'The rain intensity could be like this for another 30 minutes,' Hamilton is told as the race is RED FLAGGED.
Lap 8: 'And take a deep breath,' Sportsmail's Simon Cass says. 'Hamilton manages to stay out a lap longer on the inters and the decision to remain on the track pays off as he emerges ahead of Button. Even the safety car deployment hasn’t cost Hamilton a place this week. That was some double shuffle by Red Bull as well as they just get Webber out as Vettel arrived.'
Water display: The race was suspended after nine laps with Hamilton leading
Lap 7: Huge forks of lightning on the back straight as Button says it's 'like a lake' in the final section. We could see several laps behind the safety car here. It really is very wet, as we see a replay of Sebastian Vettel taking a trip across the grass.
Lap 6: Webber is in for the wet tyre as Hamilton exits the pits just 0.4 seconds ahead of Button. And remember the early-pitting Perez He's up to P3, with Webber in P4 and Alonso in P5. The safety car is dispatched.
Lap 5: Button is so much quicker than Schumacher on the wet tyre, and he passes him very easily. 'It's starting to aquaplane,' says Hamilton who has an almighty 7.9 second lead over Webber. But he comes into the pits for the wet tyre. Will he exit back out in front of his McLaren team-mate
Lap 4: Alonso is hustling the world champion Sebastian Vettel in P4. The Spaniard is just six tenths down on the Ferrari. Hamilton leads by 2.4 seconds and there's a Lotus in the gravel trap. It's Grosjean, and he's beached. His race is over. McLaren are out in the pit-lane, as are Ferrari. Jenson Button is in for the wet tyre, and so is Fernando Alonso. The Red Bulls, and Hamilton stay out, with Schumacher now back up to P7.
Perfect start: Hamilton leads Button into Turn 1
Lap 3: We're hearing that the rain will continue at this intensity for a 'few more minutes' as Hamilton builds a 1.7 second lead. Massa comes into the pits for the wet tyre. It really is very damp at the back of the circuit.
Lap 2: It's raining very hard in the pit lane, How are these tyres, Jenson' 'They're okay for now,' Button replies. Senna is in the pit-lane without his front wing. So, Schumacher got tapped from behind by Grosjean, explaining why both men fell back down the pack. Sergio Perez is on the full wet tyre. Let's see how he gets on.
Lap 1: Super start from Lewis Hamilton who leads Jenson Button into Turn 1. Disaster for Schumacher who spins on the exit of Turn 4. Webber is up to third, with his Red Bull team-mate Vettel in P4. Romain Grosjean made a cracking start, but he's way back in P20. And ALonso is up to P5. It's raining again in the pit-lane.
09.00: The cars are on the formation lap, and it appears as though all of the drivers are on the intermediate tyre. And there's a stricken Pedro de la Rosa in an HRT. He's been wheeled to the pit-lane. 'I don't think we're going to be long with these tyres,' Felipe Massa is told.
08.58: Two minutes until the parade lap, and it's stopped raining in the pit-lane.
08.56: 'Heavier rain is probably around, and if it does get heavy, Charlie will probably delay the race,' Nico Rosberg is told. 'I wouldn't want to start on slicks.'
08.51: Race director Charlie Whiting is scratching his head, and I don't blame him. It's spitting, but it's probably not heavy enough to declare a wet race. Having said that, it might be a tad slippy to start on slicks. Oooh, the uncertainty.
08.48: As the Malaysian national anthem starts, so does the rain, with a little bit of thunder and lightning. This could get messy.
08.45: And here's Red Bull chief Christian Horner: 'There's rain in the air. It's just a question of when it arrives. If you believe the forecast it will rain when they start the parade lap. When it does rain here it usually goes for it. It's just another ingredient to make an exciting race.'
Cheeky: The Malysian grid girls get ready for today's race, and (below) British boxer David Haye
08.40: 'It is starting to rain,' says world championship leader Jenson Button. 'We are probably going to have a wet start to the race. It's pretty humid here so it dries out quickly. It makes it difficult to change from inters to slicks because the tyres wear out quite quickly. I spent years dreaming for a wet race, but now I'm on the front row, no thank you. I'm looking forward to another good start, but there's a possibility we won't get a start.'
08.35: Here's Sportsmail's chief motor racing correspondent Simon Cass, who tells me he's just felt a spot of rain on his thumb: 'Hello from sweltering Sepang. Blue skies to my right and dark clouds to my left. The traditional 4pm downpour has been conspicuous by its absence this week but it looks like it is bang on time for the start of the race. Monsoon conditions mind you, and not just a few spots. Jenson said he didn't want a wet race despite his skill in such conditions. I think he is going to be disappointed.'
08.25: So, will Lewis Hamilton romp off into the distance today Will Schumacher covert his P3 grid spot to a podium finish And will Vettel be able to do anything from fifth Let's hear your predictions, and I'll get the very best views up on the site.
08.20: We're hearing that rain could hit the track before the beginning of the race. Indeed, the heavy, black clouds hanging over the Sepang International Circuit are looking very, very ominous.
08.10: Good morning everyone, and welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
So, we're here in Sepang for round two of the championship, and it's like history repeating, with Lewis Hamilton leading an all-McLaren front row. Michael Schumacher recorded his best qualifying result since his comeback. He'll start in third, with the Red Bull of Mark Webber tucked in behind. Reigning and double world champion Sebastian Vettel could only manage fifth.
After the thriller at Melbourne, we should be in for another corker of a race today.
Top three: Hamilton will start today's race from team-mate Button with Schumacher in third