Michael Schumacher won the second race of the 2004 F1 season in searing heat of Malaysia, where he beat Juan Pablo Montoya in BMW Williams while Jenson Button finished on the podium for the first time in his F1 career.
Schumacher and Barrichello dominated in colder conditions in the first race in Australia with a dominant 1-2 victory, but in hot Malaysia, Michelin was more competitive even though Schumacher still got the pole position with six tenths advantage ahead of Webber in Jaguar who sealed his first F1 front row start.
Barrichello was the third in front of Montoya, Raikkonen, Button and Ralf Schumacher and Trulli was eighth for Renault while Alonso started 19th after his qualifing spin and was already 10th at the end of the first round.
Schumacher kept the lead at the start, but Webber had a very bad start and fell to ninth place at the end of the first round. At the end of the first lap, Schumacher led with two seconds ahead of Barrichello who was under the huge pressure from Montoya in the BMW Williams.
The rain started to fall in the second round, but it turned out to be short lived and the track soon dried. Montoya overtook Barrichello after Brazilian made an error which was also exploited by Raikkonen.
Webber was the lightest of the leading drivers and went in the pits for the first time in the lap five, but in the lap nine several other drivers dived into the pits including the leading Schumacher while Montoya stayed on the track for another three laps.
Button beat Raikkonen through the pitstops and the Finn later retired in the lap 40 due to a gearbox failuere while he was on his way to fourth place, showing some good pace for McLaren.
Four laps before the end of Sato retired due to engine failure while he was eighth and the team was relieved that the failure did not occur on Button’s car as he was excellent third.
Schumacher celebrated with five-second advantage over Montoya, who set the fastest lap of the race, and Button finished third and finished the race on the podium for the first time in his F1 career.
Button had missed the best opportunity for the podium in Malaysia two years earlier when Schumacher, due to the steering issue on Button’s Renault R202, overtook him in the last corner of the last lap and made it possible to finish all 2002 F1 races on the podium (17/17).
Barrichello finished fourth, 13.6 behind Schumacher, Trulli was fifth and Coulthard sixth after having managed to resist Alonso’s pressure. Massa in Sauber won the last point, but with a lap behind the winner.
|8||12||Felipe Massa||Sauber/Petronas||55||1:31:27.195||1 lap|
|9||16||C.da Matta||Toyota||55||1:31:33.594||1 lap|
|10||15||Christian Klien||Jaguar/Cosworth||55||1:32:07.028||1 lap|
|12||17||Olivier Panis||Toyota||55||1:32:38.018||1 lap|
|13||19||Giorgio Pantano||Jordan/Ford||54||1:32:23.137||2 laps|
|14||20||Gianmaria Bruni||Minardi/Cosworth||53||1:31:29.590||3 laps|
|(17)||14||Mark Webber||Jaguar/Cosworth||23||39:32.640||Spun off|
Fastest lap: Juan Pablo Montoya – 1:34.223 (lap 28)
DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER 2/16 RACES
|3||Juan Pablo Montoya||12||4||8|
|10||Cristiano da Matta||0||–||–|