Hard to believe that the Malaysian Grand Prix – the first of the sport’s Asian/Middle Eastern contingent – will this year host its 13th running. Lucky for some. Yet for the majority of the grid in 2001, luck was all but absent during the early stages.
Williams’ Ralf Schumacher, in pursuit of pole sitting brother Michael, was tapped into a spin at turn two by the slow starting Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello. Kimi Raikkonen’s Sauber refused to budge on the grid, while Olivier Panis exited the race backwards and on fire when his BAR sprang an oil leak.
Nobody remembers these finite details though, since the (very) heavy rain that struck the circuit on lap three sparked total chaos. One by one cars began sluicing across the sodden grass, perilously close to the walls, as grip completely disappeared.
The rain may only have lasted for fifteen minutes, but Kuala Lumpur had sent a clear message to Formula One >>>