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Mar 23, 2013 - 01:48 PM
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2013 Malaysian GP: Formula One F1 Starting Grid Line-up & Race Preview
Posted by: ASkyler on Mar 23, 2013 - 01:27 PM
Formula 1 News
2013 Malaysian GP: Formula One F1 Starting Grid Line-up & Race Preview

By Mike Sulka

Round two of the 2013 Formula One World Championship will be held at the 5.543km 15-turn Sepang International Circuit - the Malaysian Grand Prix (GP). The drivers will have 56 laps to determine this year's winner, though four years ago the race was red flagged due to extreme weather on lap 33 with half-way points awarded to the top eight drivers - a scenario which could easily happen again.

Sepang is located 85 kilometres from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, the track was built over 18 months with the first Malaysian Grand Prix being held in 1999. German architect Hermann Tilke designed the track - this was his first F1 design - and the debut event was won by Eddie Irvine in a Ferrari.

Overall, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso have the most wins at Sepang with three while active drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel have two victories each. Jenson Button is the only other active driver with a victory at Malaysia. Ferrari has the most wins by any constructor with six in 13 tries. Renault/Lotus, Red Bull and McLaren each have two wins. Ferrari and Alonso are the defending race winners after starting eighth.

In 2013, Red Bull driver and three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has qualified on Pole in mixed conditions after a lap of 1:49.674. Ferrari's Felipe Massa scored his first front row start since the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2010. Massa is back, and looking great.

Which brings us to an amazing statistic, the winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix has started third or better since 2003 when Kimi Raikkonen started 7th. The lone exception, the aforementioned Alonso.

This year, Alonso will start third.

Starting fourth will be Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) with Mark Webber (Red Bull) just behind. Webber had a dreadful start at the Australian Grand Prix.

In the dry, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) put up the fastest time of the weekend in Q2 qualifying - 1:36.190 - which is about two seconds slower than Vettel's 2012 Pole. However, Rosberg will start sixth.

If you are looking for a happy coincidence, Kimi Raikkonen will start seventh after starting seventh at Australia and winning.

So here is our pick today, Fernando Alonso will take victory. The Ferrari were very quick in race trim at Australia, Red Bull were not.

Should Alonso fail, keep an eye on Massa for his first win since 2008 - the season finale Brazilian Grand Prix.

But keep your third eye on the weather... it can jump out of the jungle and play a factor at any time. If the rains should fall, it will be a full scrum, and ANY car that stays on the grid could be a first time winner.

So enjoy the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, the event always brings surprises, and this year won't be any different!

Note - Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen will drop three places and start 10th on the grid for the 2013 Malaysia Grand Prix after FIA stewards declared he impeded Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) during qualifying. Raikkonen "unnecessarily hindered by Rosberg between Turns 12 and 15"


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2013 Malaysian GP: Formula One Starting Grid
No Driver Team Grid
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 2
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 3
10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 4
2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 5
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 6
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 7
15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 8
6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 9
7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 10
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 11
11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 12
19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 13
12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 14
14 Paul Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 15
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 16
18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 17
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 18
22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 19
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 20
23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 21
21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 22

Note - Raikkonen qualified seventh but dropped three grid places for impeding

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