Sepang - Malaysia

Malaysian Grand Prix - 23 March 2003
 
Race Distance : 310.408km / 192.879m
Number of Laps : 56
Lap Distance : 5.543km / 3.444m
Lap Record : Hakkinen: 1'38.543
Qualifying : 13:00 - Mar 16/2002
Race : 14:00 - Mar 17/2002


The Sepang circuit, at a minimum of 16 meters, is very wide even by modern Grand Prix standards, allowing for varying lines into corners which is designed to encourage overtaking. There are 15 turns and eight straights, the longest of which is 927 meters.
Cars arrive at Turn 1 having built up speed down half the length of the main straight in 6th gear, at about 185 mph. The right-hand corner leads immediately into the left-hander with 2nd gear being held all the way through and the speed dropping to 60 mph. A high positive camber promotes a good overtaking opportunity.
The track forms a sweeping right hand curve that takes cars onto a short straight where the speed will reach around 155 mph in top gear before hard braking for turn 4 - a tight right hander - brings them down to 2nd or 3rd gear and 75 mph.
Turns 5 and 6 are short high speed left and right handed corners requiring precise positioning and a slight lifting of the throttle to get through them successfully. Then it's through gears 4 and 5 up to 140 mph to the double apex of turns 7 and 8 which are taken in 4th gear at around 110 mph.
A short 5th gear straight taken at 170 mph leads into the very tight turn 9 which is navigated in 1st or 2nd gear at 50 mph. Accelerating briefly to 4th before dropping to 3rd leads to three fairly quick corners. Turn 10 is taken at around 135 mph breaking to 90 mph for the long right hander, Turn 11, that leads into the back straight where 6th gear takes cars to 155 mph through Turn 12 before slowing to negotiate a relatively slow Turn 13.
The pick-up from 30 mph to about 80 is an ideal place for the well placed driver to out-drag his opponent before the all important 185 mph back main straight leads cars to the final hairpin. This is taken in 2nd gear at about 65 mph and can seem endless as drivers pass the end of the futuristic main Grandstand before accelerating up to the start finish line.

 

 

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