malaysia

Malaysian Grand Prix 2015

After the “humdinger” that was the Australian Grand Prix, people thought rather prematurely that this might be a season of crazy dominance by Mercedes.

They thought wrong.

As a viewer, I thought Mercedes had a chance when they dived into the pits with the safety car and ended up a good 10s behind Vettel, who raced away in clear air. But as much as Hamilton and Rosberg huffed and puffed, they just couldn’t keep the tires going for as long as the sleek Ferrari did. If they had stayed out, they may have kept the margins down, but Vettel had pace to match the Mercs all weekend.

As a Hamilton fan, I have to admit to being quite annoyed, especially since Vettel isn’t a driver I particularly like either. But kudos to Ferrari for sticking to their strategy, and for their pace. Pundits say that China might be a different story, but this could really unfold into a thrilling season between a couple of championship contenders.

Behind the podium finishers, Raikkonen ran a pretty crazy race, dealing a puncture that was thankfully equalised due to the safety car. Fourth was about the best Ferrari could expect of him, and he did well to get there from 11th on the grid. Williams trudged to 5th and 6th in Bottas and Massa, the white cars unable to keep up with the massive improvements James Allison has brought to Ferrari.

Well done to Verstappen and Sainz, who took a fantastic 7th and 8th for Toro Rosso. Sainz had trouble in qualifying, and to make 8th is quite the achievement. But Verstappen was amazing in the face of pressure from the sister Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Kvyat, and eventually overtook them all.

The Red Bulls had to come home a pretty dismal 9th and 10th, unable to match even their junior team with brake overheating that threw out black plumes of brake dust at the end of each straight. Grosjean was right behind, apparently with turbo problems that meant he was down on power. Lotus have had better days, but they clearly have a bit of pace if everything came together. Maldonado wouldn’t want that though; a coming together left him with a puncture and had to retire later on.

Nasr came home 12th for Sauber, and Raikkonen might feel a little aggrieved with Sauber given the customer of Ferrari gave him that puncture after getting held up by Ericsson in Q2. Ericsson beached himself in gravel braking too late into Turn 1, which was what prompted the safety car. Behind them were the two Force Indias, still struggling to get anywhere without the aero upgrades from their new wind tunnel. Finally, Merhi completed a race distance for Manor Marussia, which is quite the achievement for a team with zero testing and no running at all in the Australian GP.

And McLaren, well, they’ve had MUCH better days before. Alonso’s car overheated, Button’s had a failure of some sort, and both had to retire. Still, they were much better on pace than in Australia, and things might be looking up for them.

Vettel is now 3 points behind Hamilton after a most thrilling Malaysian GP. This championship could yet turn out to be nail-bitingly good.

Malaysian Grand Prix 2014

Qualifying

Well, that was a bit of an anti-climatic end, with Hamilton bagging pole with his earlier time. Vettel came agonisingly close, but didn’t make the checkered flag for one last flying lap. He was trying to hang back to get some space from Rosberg, who had first backed off him, then came charging up to get track position. Vettel’s fault for misjudging the time? Maybe, but it was by maybe a second or less. Intentional from Rosberg? That’s conspiracy theory stuff, but amusing to consider.

Of course, well done to both Vettel and Hamilton, who showed their class in the wet. The conditions made a great equaliser for Red Bull, who did bring a lot of parts and probably performance too, so it’s probably even closer in the dry now. I still expect the Mercedes to have upwards of 0.5s a lap on Red Bull though, but they look like they are comfortably the 2nd fastest car on the grid. They have the aero and thus the grip; if they had Mercedes engines, they’ll probably be on top again.

Alonso had a coming-together with Kvyat, and I’m amazed Ferrari managed to fix his broken wishbone, which was crucial for steering. And then he went on to get a P4 behind Rosberg with a car that doesn’t steer properly. That’s brilliant from probably the best driver on the grid. And he outqualified Raikkonen again, despite Kimi seemingly having the upper hand in Q1 (as was Rosberg with Hamilton). Well, as they might say, the best drivers shine when the pressure’s on…

McLaren’s gamble, or rather Button’s, to go on inters didn’t pay off, but they didn’t lose that much in the end. Magnussen had a decent qualifying given the speed of the McLaren, as did Hulkenberg who always outperforms his car. Williams was nowhere in the wet, mirroring Melbourne, and if it pours again tomorrow, I don’t expect them anywhere near fighting for the podium as Bottas was in the early parts of the Aussie GP.

Ericsson had a BIG crash in Q1, where he basically spun off and onto the track two corners later, nearly hitting Gutierrez. Every driver had their moments off track, including wet-weather specialists like Hamilton. The torque-y nature of the 2014 cars probably made it even worse.

Can’t wait for the race tomorrow!

Race

The rain threatened to come down, but in the end, it never did, allowing for a good race to unfold. Well, from P2 onwards anyway. Hamilton had a faultless race, hammering out a 17s gap on his own teammate, using less fuel to do so, and avoiding the tyre wear issues that Rosberg seemed to have. That’s mind-bogglingly good, and lays down a huge marker for Rosberg.

Rosberg did a good start to leapfrog Vettel, and from then on was uncomfortably ahead. He pulled out a max of 4s on Vettel in various parts of the race, but it got really close at the pit stops, and it dipped under 1s at points. He just couldn’t seem to pull away from Vettel like Hamilton could pull away from him, but a good race nonetheless.

Vettel outlined the potential in that RB10 with a great race, hanging on to Rosberg all through the race. He dropped to P4 at the start, but managed to get pas Ricciardo again to get P3 and stayed there all the way. Formula 1 is indeed an engine formula now; if that RB10 had a Merc engine, Vettel would probably have been challenging Hamilton for the win.

Ricciardo inherited his Australian predecessor’s bad luck, as crap poured down on him. First it was a poorly fitted front left that cost him a lap, then his wing failed, then he got a drive-through for the bad pitstop. In the end, he had to retire. But he was showing decent pace and was on for a 4th place finish, so Red Bull will be pleased with that.

Alonso drove a typical fighting race in 4th, and Hulkenberg managed a very good 5th on a 2-stop strategy. It’s amazing how his talent can be overlooked for his weight, but all the better for Force India. Perez, his teammate, couldn’t even start due to some issues, which is a pity given the pace of that car.

Button cruised to a 6th for McLaren, probably not where they want to be at the moment. But they managed to keep ahead of the squabbling Williams, who had their own ‘multi-21’ moment, coincidentally at Malaysia as well. Massa was asked to move over for Bottas, and was probably fed up after having to do that at Ferrari more than his fair share. So he kept ahead of Bottas and prevented him from chasing down Button, which is bad for the team but good for him personally.

Behind them was Magnussen, who made a mistake and came into contact with Raikkonen at the start of the race. That damaged his front wing and gave him a 5s stop-go penalty, and he made a great recovery drive for 9th. Raikkonen, sadly due to the puncture from that contact, could only come 12th.

Kvyat drove to an impressive 10th, a 2nd consecutive points-scoring race for him. Grosjean actually finished the race, keeping just ahead of Raikkonen and showing that the Lotus has pace despite all their reliability issues. Maldonado had a damaged floor due to contact with Bianchi on the first lap though, and unfortunately had to retire. Bianchi retired too, though I’m not too sure as to why.

Kobayashi drove a fighting race too, and managed a great 13th for Caterham. Behind him was his teammate Ericsson and then Chilton, who finished yet another race and kept up his consecutive finishes. Finally, Sauber had a nightmare race where both cars retired.

That’s race 2 over. Bring on Bahrain!

Officials Say Missing Plane Crashed at Sea, None Survived

All that’s left now is to find the black box, and find out why the plane took this route and crashed.

TIME

The Malaysia Airlines plane missing for more than two weeks crashed in the southern Indian Ocean and none of the 239 people aboard survived, officials said Monday, dashing the hopes of families who had clung to it by a thread during the longest and most mysterious disappearance in modern aviation history.

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, citing a new analysis of satellite data, said investigators have concluded that Flight 370 was in “the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth,” Australia, when it crashed. “This is a remote location far from any possible landing sites,” Razak told reporters, adding that he was making the announcement “with deep sadness and regret.” Razak said he would hold a news conference Tuesday to share more details.

His remarks followed a text message sent from Malaysia Airlines to family members of the people aboard, many of whom have been gathered for weeks…

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Missing Jet Probe Turns to Pilots

And the investigation goes on. I wouldn’t call it a farce, but it’s pretty crazy, with all the mad theories and new information that pops out of nowhere to bamboozle everyone.

TIME

The wide-ranging search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has spread from the open sea to dry land, as the investigation re-calibrates on the plane’s pilots and those who were aboard for clues in the flight’s mysterious disappearance.

The plane was most likely deliberately diverted by at least one person on board and flown far off its intended route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Malaysian officials concluded Saturday, and attention has turned to a criminal investigation that includes the vanished crew and passengers, even as the search of miles of ocean continues. The investigation will now involve picking apart details about each passenger and crew member’s background, and expanding a physical search for the plane which now includes a huge swathe of land, after investigators found on Friday that a satellite picked up signals from the plane that would place it anywhere on a path from the mountains of…

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WATCH: Malaysian ‘Witch Doctor’ Attempts to Find Missing Jet

This is so embarrassingly funny…

TIME

After five days of futile search for flight MH370, supernatural efforts have even been enlisted to find the missing Boeing 777-200.

On Monday, a famous bomoh, a Malay term for a shaman, performed a prayer at the international airport in Kuala Lumpur. He was allegedly there at the invitation of one of the top leaders from the Malaysian government, reports the South China Morning Post.

Ibrahim Mat Zin, also known as Raja Bomoh Sedunia Nujum VIP, or “Shaman King of the World Fortune-Telling VIP,” used bamboo binoculars and a fish trap as spiritual tools. He divined that the Malaysia Airlines plane is either still in the air or has crashed into the sea.

Both the shaman and the Malaysian government were ridiculed on social media by Chinese and Malaysian netizens. A total of 239 people were aboard the plane when it disappeared without a distress call on Saturday…

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As Hope Disappears, Families of Missing Jet Passengers Crave Answers

Besides the fact that the two stolen passports should never have gotten through security, how can the jet just vanish without a trace? 60 hours of searching by so many countries, and not a clue. Sunk without a trace? Well, Singapore offered the use of subs, so…

As for the possibility of terrorism, I remain sceptical. No demands and no publicity from any terrorist outfit could well mean that it was a terribly unlikely coincidence that two stolen passports were used to book and board this flight.

We can only hope to find the plane as soon as possible, and get to the bottom of this. And bring some closure to those who have loved ones on board the flight.

TIME

“Have hope,” reads the sign Joseph Koh brought to Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday. Made in haste to support families of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, there was little else he could think to say.

More than two days after the Boeing 777-200 disappeared from the screens of air-traffic controllers over Southeast Asia, precious few hard facts have emerged about its fate. “Everyone’s waiting for crucial answers,” said Koh’s friend Joelin Lim, who joined for the 50-minute drive to the terminal. “This is such a hard situation for the families.”

Unlike most other bereaved relatives lodged at the Everly Putrajaya hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Selamat Omar takes some time to talk to the gathered horde of journalists.

“The authorities have treated us really well,” says the 60-year-old. “They give us food, a place to stay and counseling. They update us with any news.”

Selamat’s son, aircraft…

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Flight With 239 People Goes Missing

Wow. Talk about scary. Not sure what happened, but to lose an entire plane just like that? I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be one of the passengers taking an in-flight nap, and suddenly wake up to find himself in the middle of the Gobi Desert or something.

TIME

A Malaysia Airlines flight bound for Beijing lost contact with air traffic controllers early Saturday morning, prompting search and and rescue efforts to locate the plane.

Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumper at 12:41 a.m. local time and was supposed to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., but communications went dark at 2:40, the airline said.

The plane carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

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