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Lap 35: Fernando's race engineer Andrea Stella tells him: "Hamilton in front is on hard (tyres), he may stop Button a bit, we need to try to close on them." Alonso says: "I'm already pushing, don't worry." Martin Brundle on BBC One quips: "That's him saying, leave me alone." Lap 35: Alonso the only member of the top four on soft tyres and he's being left behind. The Spaniard's a good five seconds behind Button in third, with Hamilton second and Vettel still top of the charts. The gap at the front is now more than eight seconds. The reigning world champion is turning the screw. Big time. Lap 33: Vettel sets the quickest lap of the day, an effort of one minute 41.539 seconds. The track record, for your information, is an effort of 1:34.223 by JP Montoya for Williams in 2004. Lap 33: Di Resta now down in 10th but take nothing away from his performance so far. He's outperforming his more experienced team-mate Adrian Sutil once again - and he's even keeping Michael Schumacher at bay. Lap 30: BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard, talking about McLaren's message to Button about Vettel's Kers: "The team only gets that information by watching the BBC feed! The mission control in Woking is watching our feed." Lap 30: Who needs Kers? Vettel sets his fastest lap of the race to extend his lead over Hamilton to 4.5 seconds. Lap 29: Vettel to his race engineer Guillaume 'Rocky' Rocquelin: "Rocky do you want me to use Kers or not?" Rocquelin: "Negative, negative, please do not use Kers." Lap 29: It would appear Vettel's Kers system has stopped working. Red Bull chose not to use a secret code in telling him on the radio, so the rest of the field now know the leader is carrying a useless lump of weight in his car... Lap 29: BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard is pleased with the way Vettel used the DRS wing to overtake Massa: "It worked perfectly. It only enabled him to get alongside into the braking zone, and he still had to battle it out." Lap 28: Who said F1 was boring? Overtaking everywhere you look! All the big guns have now made two pit stops and Vettel gets past Massa to lead the way from Hamilton by 3.9 seconds. Button, Alonso and Webber complete the top five. Alonso reports a faulty rear wing, Ferrari investigating. Lap 26: A breathtaking manoeuvre sees Hamilton pass Petrov at the 150mph Turn Five. Lap 25: Hamilton gets stuck behind Petrov as Red Bull bring Vettel in... and it's a brand new set of... soft 'option' tyres. Interesting. He gets stuck behind Massa on exiting the pits. What a race. Lap 25: Barrichello bites the dust, as does Sergio Perez. Lap 24: Edge-of-your-seat stuff at the head of the field. Hamilton and Alonso are both taking chunks out of Vettel's lead and the world champ is looking vulnerable. And in come Lewis... a fresh set of hard 'prime' tyres. How will Red Bull and Ferrari respond? Lap 23: In comes Button for another set of soft 'option' tyres. Lap 23: Ferrari are looking much better than they did in qualifying. BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard says: "The track temperature is down compared to yesterday and that has a significant effect on the way those tyres are operating. That may be giving a better balance and better confidence to the driver." Lap 21: A word for Scottish rookie Paul di Resta, up to ninth and driving a brilliant race in his Force India. Lap 20: Hamilton closes on Vettel by one tenth and Alonso on the German by six tenths. This is getting tasty, especially with a spot of rain in the air. Red Bull's "Plan B" for Vettel means a three-stop strategy, so it's one down, two to go. Webber on "Plan A", which David Coulthard on BBC One things means four stops. The Aussie is now up to sixth. Radio message from Hamilton's engineer: "You were six-tenths faster than Vettel on that last lap. Please continue to look after your tyres..." Lap 19: That last lap of Hamilton's - a 1:43.304 - was the quickest of the day, but Alonso has just gone faster still. Lap 18: Two retirements so far - Karthikeyan for Hispania and Maldonado for Williams. Up front, Hamilton cuts Vettel's lead by six tenths to 5.7 seconds. Race on! Lap 17: Alonso took Button on Turn One and he does the same to Kobayashi on Turn 11. Ferrari on the march. Lap 17: Our top three is Vettel, Hamilton, Kobayashi. Alonso's also on a fresh set of primes and he waltzes past Button for fourth. Has Jenson got a problem? Pretty limp fightback from the 2009 champion. Lap 16: Vettel returns to the front of the field as interim leader Petrov comes in for new tyres. Lap 14: Hamilton gets past Schumacher and Buemi just before the final corner with a display of thrilling straightline speed and expert racing technique. BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "That was a good stop by McLaren, but they fear that Heidfeld has already ruined Hamilton's race. There are lots of frustrated looks on the McLaren pit wall." Lap 14: In come Vettel, Button and Heidfeld for fresh soft 'option' tyres despite rain in the air. Button comes out ahead of Heidfeld after a slow change from Renault. Poor stop for Massa, too. Lap 13: Massa driving a fine race and he's right up the back of Button at the moment. Webber re-enters in 17th. McLaren bring Hamilton in for new soft 'option' tyres and he comes out ahead of Alguersuari in 10th. Lap 11: Webber in the pits - make or break for the 34-year-old Aussie, you'd have to imagine. Lap 11: Vettel into "phase two". In other words, his soft 'option' tyres are starting to go off. Lap 9: Vettel leads Heidfeld by a staggering 5.2 seconds with Hamilton half a second further back. Button is 3.4 seconds off the pace in fourth and Massa completes the top five. BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "The first failure on Mark Webber's Kers came when they had to change the battery modules because it failed on his in-lap at the end of qualifying. It's going to affect his braking, because he's still having to carry all that Kers stuff [without getting the benefit of being able to use it]." Lap 7: Plenty of drivers using the Drag Reduction System (DRS) - also known as the moveable rear wing - coming down the pit straight. It allows Webber to take Kobayashi for ninth but the Australian can do nothing to mask his dreadful start to the race. Vettel, Heidfeld, Hamilton the top three. Lap 5: Musical chairs out there at present as Petrov goes wide at the tight Turn 15, which leads into the pit straight. Schumacher told to look after his tyres. Lap 5: Massa passes Petrov to take fifth. Vettel's engineer talks of "drops of rain in the next half an hour" but no proper downfall expected. Lap 3: Some bodywork on the track - not sure who's car that has come from. Think it's a Force India. Meanwhile, Barrichello has a left rear puncture and comes in for a new set of soft 'option' tyres. BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "We believe that Mark Webber has radioed in a problem to his engineer. They said they could see it but could not do anything about it at the moment. Webber had an alarm coming on with his Kers yesterday, and that start had all the hallmarks of missing the 80 horsepower that you need." Lap 2: Hamilton, Button and Petrov complete the top five but Webber has slipped from third to ninth. Oh deal. Massa, Alonso and Schumacher are sixth, seventh and eighth. "Very clean start," says Martin Brundle on BBC One. Lap 1: SENSATIONAL start as Vettel storms off the live and Renault's Nick Heidfeld goes round the outside to leap from sixth second. Bad news for Lewis Hamilton. 0902: Mark Webber reports a problem to his engineer. Red Bull tell him there's nothing they can do. Not show serious. Here we go... 0900: Installation lap in process. Almost there, people. BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "It's currently raining four kilometres to the north-east of the circuit. It's not projected to hit the circuit but that could change, although it looks like we're due a dry start to the race." BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "Will Sebastian Vettel run away from the pack in his Red Bull, just as he did last time out in Australia? The feeling among the paddock is that he might not get away so easily at Sepang. Vettel took pole from Lewis Hamilton's McLaren by just 0.104 seconds. The gap in Melbourne was 0.778 secs. The bottom line is that McLaren and Red Bull are much closer. F1 team insiders reckon Red Bull had an advantage in qualifying thanks to this year's innovative moveable rear wing, which increased straight-line speed and is worth just over a second per lap in Sepang. But when it comes to race pace, McLaren appear to have a slight edge over Red Bull. The other question mark for Red Bull is the reliability of their power-boost Kers device. There are four places around the circuit where using Kers should be advantageous as well as giving an injection of power off the line. Red Bull chose not to run it in Melbourne because it was overheating. The team say they want to run it in Malaysia to keep up with their rivals - especially McLaren who have a solid Kers system - but because it is much hotter in Malaysia Red Bull must have some niggling doubts about whether running it could prove costly." 0857: And one more word from Holty before the lights go out... BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "Jarno Trulli combined his fitness training for Malaysia with sight-seeing earlier this week by cycling through the Cameron Highlands in the north of the country. 'I've discovered Malaysia,' the Italian enthused, showing me snaps on his phone. 'I've seen tea plantations, strawberry fields, villages in the middle of nowhere - places you couldn't imagine.' The 36-year-old has also been spotted cycling regularly round the Sepang circuit and he says he is beginning to take this kind of pedalling very seriously. He is even training with pro-cyclists back home in Abruzzo but has he thought about turning pro too? 'Well, actually I was texting my friend and he was saying maybe they could test me in the Giro d'Italia this year. I'm getting pretty good, but I don't think I can make it.' Which is just as well for Team Lotus as they need Trulli to help their push towards the back of F1's midfield peloton." 0855: Don't forget that you can also follow the action via our superb driver tracker. Just follow the link or view it via the console atop this very page. Enjoy. 0850: Most of the drivers are keeping cool in their garages, or that's what they say. Really, they're just trying to avoid a Brundle grilling, right? Martin wraps up by asking McLaren designer Tim Goss if the MP4-26 is fast enough to win the race, Goss replies: "Yes it is. It was very close in qualifying and if Lewis had pulled out a perfect lap he could have matched Vettel's time. On Friday on race pace we were pretty equivalent. it's going to come down to weather and (tyre) degradation. The two cars are a match." 0848: Martin manages to usher away Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to grab a word with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Are you allowed to do that? Bernie expecting a "good" race. 0845: Vitaly Petrov in high spirits, too. Buoyed by his podium finish a fortnight ago, the Russian tells Brundle he knows "a few tricks" on this track and that he could revel if it rains. 0840: Martin gets going with a Paul di Resta interview. The Scottish rookie seems relaxed and ready to put in another strong performance in his Force India. He was 10th in Australia and starts from 14th today having outqualified team-mate Adrian Sutil for the second grand prix running. 0835: And so to the BRUNDLE PIT WALK... 0830: Half an hour 'til kick-off and an opportunity to remind you that today is not only about 24 drivers, 12 teams and a few commentators and pundits. It's also massively about you, the fans, the millions watching around the world and the 55,000 sat in the grandstand (the biggest single grandstand in Formula 1, I might add). So let's be hearing from you before, during and after the race. How? Easy. Use the Twitter hashtag #BBCF1, contact me direct @bbcsport_david or drop me a text on 81111 (UK). McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, on the updated MP4-26: "We came to Australia with a very ambitious package and we sought to improve on that with some a couple of new parts here but in truth some of those parts couldn't deliver in Friday practice. We still have a number of aerodynamic upgrades on the car to come. The new floor we brought here is still in evaluation and we will run that on Friday in China. We have the same floor that we have in Melbourne with a few more aerodynamics bits and pieces on the car. Championships aren't won or lost in the first two race weekends - and we have to make the car quicker another 17 times." McLaren driver Jenson Button, fourth on the grid: "Mentally we always go out there to race to win and here we have a real possibility to win the race. The car was still very young in Melbourne and the step we've made from the last race to here is very impressive. We've made a big step compared to the rest of the field. Looking at our long run pace it's similar if not a little bit more than Red Bull. It's exciting going into this season - we're more competitive than we were in 2010." McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, second on the grid: "We are happy to be where we are fighting at the front. Hopefully we've done enough practice starts this weekend so we can get away and have a good fight down into the first corner. We don't have 100% control of the clutch at the start. Hopefully it bites enough to get you off the line quick enough, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Consistency is our focus. We want to finish every race. I had a lot of DNFs last season, the majority of them were from mistakes or incident, and I want to avoid those this season. I'm not looking too heavily into the championship at the moment but of course it's fantastic to win races." BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "McLaren's Sepang headquarters was full of high spirits after Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button pushed Red Bull hard during qualifying to split them on the grid. There was an amusing comedy triple act between the drivers and boss Martin Whitmarsh when they were asked if they thought they were more likely to be fighting Toro Rosso than Red Bull after a difficult winter. Whitmarsh dived in: 'During testing we weren't thinking about where we were going to be now…' Only for Hamilton to interrupt with: 'I was'. The laughter had only just died down before Button piped up, saying: 'I was just thinking about finishing!'" 0827: Aside from Red Bull's dominance and Ferrari's struggles, a key story from the start of the season has been McLaren's resurgence. Here's Holty with a bit more on that... Webber and Alonso - both men have made disappointing starts this term0825: Alonso arrived at the circuit alongside Red Bull's Mark Webber this morning - two men who will be far from happy with the manner in which they've opened their title bids. Just to recap, Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers' championship 25 points after his victory in Melbourne, with Hamilton second on 18, Renault's Vitaly Petrov third on 15 and Alonso down in fourth on 12. Webber finds himself fifth, 15 points adrift of team-mate Vettel, and Jenson Button is sixth on eight points. 0820: All expectations ahead of the season-opener in Australia a fortnight ago were that Red Bull's closest challengers would be Ferrari. Pre-season testing suggested as much. But the Italian giants have been left trailing not only by Red Bull but also McLaren. After qualifying on Saturday, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso admitted "we must improve" and the Spaniard is attempting to explain the situation to Lee McKenzie on BBC One as we speak. Hamilton and Button are both in the hunt for a first win of the season0815: It was all smiles from McLaren team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as they arrived at the paddock early doors. Hamilton, the 2008 champion, starts from second place on the grid after qualifying a mere one tenth of a second - equivalent to the blink of an eye - behind reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull. Button, the 2009 world champ with Brawn, took fourth place after Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber split the McLarens. BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "There has just been the most brilliant entertainment as all 24 drivers were introduced to the crowd in Sepang. Local schoolchildren were given the chance to ask questions of their choosing to a dozen of the drivers. Williams man Rubens Barrichello was asked if he would like to drive his F1 car on the road. 'Yes, I would love to,' the Brazilian responded gleefully. There were huge cheers for the Mercedes drivers, who are sponsored by a Malaysian oil and gas company, and McLaren's Jenson Button who did a cheerful shout-out to the fans. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso stood with his yellow shades on and arms folded as he was asked if he was worried about the weather. He produced a big grin as he answered: 'No, we are ready for everything.' Lastly, world champ Sebastian Vettel was asked for his favourite driver. The Red Bull driver pointed down to the row to Michael Schumacher, explaining: 'He's my hero.' Such high praise didn't stop Schumacher walking back to the paddock with Ferrari's Felipe Massa, however." 0808: Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan are in position to guide you through the build-up before Martin Brundle takes over for his legendary pit walk and then dashes over to the commentary box, he'll be joined by expert summariser Coulthard to talk us through every twist and turn. 0805: And as laurawright72 points out below, once the race is done and dusted we switch our attention to the F1 forum for an hour from 1115. That can be viewed on the Red Button and here online. There's also a two-hour grand prix repeat on BBC One at 1300 and hour-long highlights 1900 and 0230 on BBC Three. 0800: Is that The Chain I hear ringing in my ears? Oh yes it is. Get yourself comfy - an hour of unrivalled TV coverage is about to begin. 0758: Two minutes until we go live on BBC One, the HD Channel, the Red Button and the console at the top of this page. You can also listen to the race on BBC Radio 5 live. Spoilt for choice, really. 0750: So here we are, race day at the Malaysian Grand Prix. One of the few dates on the calendar for which many experts are reluctant to offer their predictions. Why? The weather. Sepang - or most of Malaysia, for that matter - is renowned for its biblical downpours at the most inopportune of moments. The track is dry as we speak, but who knows what the heavens will dish up come 0900? DavidJChapman on Twitter: "Up incredibly early for the F1! Properly excited, here's hoping for a great race! My tip for the win is Lewis." laurawright72 on Twitter: "Need head examining - opted to do 5 miles before the grand prix so don't have to forgo F1 forum later! Hope it rains (Malaysia not Torbay)!" erbins on Twitter: "It's going to be a brilliant F1 race today... can't wait, hurry up and start... !!" BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Kuala Lumpur: "Two weeks after the cool, spring autumn of Melbourne's temporary Albert Park track, the Formula 1 field resumes battle in the intense tropical climate of Malaysia. Sepang's three-and-half mile circuit represents a different challenge for the drivers, who blitz round at an average speed of 125mph and contend with blind corners, long straights, pulsating temperatures and stifling humidity. So far Red Bull and McLaren have kept their cool while Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes have floundered. Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Jenson Button occupy the first two rows of the grid. In every sense, the heat has been turned up. Who will have the coolest head at the flag? Fifty-six laps around sizzling Sepang will decide." 0735: A tremendously warm welcome to round two of the 2011 F1 season. We're up and running a good half-an-hour before the BBC One coverage gets going and a full hour-and-a-half before the lights go out at the Sepang International Circuit, but that time is sure to fly like Vettel on a hot lap. Plus we have plenty to keep us occupied. 0730: The Formula 1 train leaves Australia for Asia - this weekend's stop, hot and sticky Malaysia. In the season-opening Melbourne grand prix, it was Sebastian Vettel again cutting free. The 23-year-old German grabbed pole and the race, but this week Lewis Hamilton is right in his face. A role for Jenson Button or Mark Webber? How about the tyres and weather? An absolute barnstormer it promises to be, sit back and enjoy the Sepang jamboree.
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