Petrov takes Malaysia sprint race
5 April 2009 – Vitaly Petrov has taken victory for Campos in the second of this weekend's races, by crossing the line comfortably ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Davide Valsecchi, with yesterday's winner Diego Nunes coming up to fourth from eighth at the start.
A heavy Malaysian racestorm saw the start of the race delayed by ten minutes, which was followed by a second delay as the torrential conditions failed to abate. The safety car was summoned to examine the state of the circuit as race directors called a third ten 10-minute call, meaning the start of the race finally coming, under safety car conditions, half an hour later than scheduled.
With the 22-lap face cut short to 20, it started without Yamamoto and Nai Chia Chen who stalled on the starting grid. As the safety car came in, Valsecchi pulled away for Durango as Maldonado avoided contact between the pair while simutaneously holding off Petrov in third position. Behind, James Jakes was proving just how hard conditions were by spinning the Super Nova with practically nil visibility.
Valsecchi continued to do a brilliant job of holding off Maldonado as the pair went side-by-side around Turn 1 in the slippery conditions, with the Venezuelan finally passing for the lead at Turn 4 just moments later.
With plenty of dicing taking place in the midfield, it was Maldonado's turn to relinquish the lead when an aggressive but fair pass by Petrov saw the Russian move into the lead at Turn 15 on the tenth lap. Vitaly immediately pulled away although a fastest lap of more than two minutes was further proof, which the drivers didn't need, of how treacherous conditions were.
Jérôme d'Ambrosio's rotton weekend came to a depressing conclusion when the DAMS was black flagged and disqualified from the race after a pass on Bonanomi under a yellow flag - the Belgian overshot Turn 9, almost colliding with a group of marshalls attending to Micheal Herck's stranded DPR car. What had promised to be a great weekend for d'Ambrosio, with pole on Saturday followed by a car failure, turned into a disaster of which he will want to make up for in Bahrain.
Petrov's victory keeps his title hopes alive, particularly as Kobayashi's chances took a small knock by being passed on the finish line by Sergio Perez; the title will be decided in the Middle East in two weeks with Kobayashi, Valsecci, Petrov and Rodriguez all still with a chance.