In the mid 1990s, Malaysia was undergoing a huge change as Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad was determined that by 2020, the country would be a fully industrialised nation.
The best way to do this, it was thought, was through the auto industry and motorsport. Mahathir ordered that a Grand Prix track be constructed and not just any track.
He wanted to create a track that would be the envy of the world in terms of its facilities and technology. What he got was the Sepang International Circuit, and on its 1999 debut it did not disappoint.
Designed by Hermann Tilke, Sepang is one of the most technical circuits in Formula 1. The combination of long high-speed straights, and tight twisting complexes make the track very complicated, but also good for overtaking as the track itself is very wide.
Facts & Statistics
- Lap distance: 5.543km. Total distance: 310.408km (56 laps).
- 2016 pole: Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes, One minute 32.850 seconds.2016 winner: Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull
- Race lap record: Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) One minute 34.223 seconds, Williams 2004.
- Start time: 0700GMT (1500 local)
- Triple world champion Lewis Hamilton has 60 career victories from 202 races and is second in the all-time list behind Michael Schumacher (91). Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has 46.
- Champions Mercedes have won nine of 14 races this season.
- Ferrari have won 228 races since 1950, McLaren 182, Williams 114, Mercedes 73 and Red Bull 53. Former champions McLaren and Williams have not won since 2012.
- There have been four different winners this season so far — Hamilton (seven), Vettel (four), Valtteri Bottas (two), Ricciardo (one).
- Hamilton has an all-time record 69 career poles.
- Mercedes have been on pole in 66 of the last 72 races.
- Four drivers have started on pole this season — Hamilton (eight times), Vettel (three times), Bottas (twice) and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
- Hamilton has 113 podiums to date and is second on the all-time list behind Schumacher (155). Vettel has 96, Raikkonen 88.
- Vettel and Bottas both have 10 podium finishes this season.
- Hamilton is 28 points clear of Vettel, whose first lap retirement in Singapore was his first failure to score in 19 races. It is the biggest lead either of the contenders has enjoyed this season.
- Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson is the only driver yet to score this season.
- Hamilton now has 19 scoring finishes in a row. He and Force India’s Esteban Ocon are the only drivers to have finished every race so far.
- Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has retired seven times in the last 14 races. Three of those were on the opening lap.
Malaysian Grand Prix
- Sunday’s race is the last in Malaysia, which first appeared on the calendar in 1999.
- Vettel is a record four times winner at Sepang (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015) while Alonso (2005, 2007, 2012) has three victories there. Raikkonen has won twice (2003, 2008), Hamilton once (2014).
- Ferrari have won seven of the 18 races held to date in Malaysia.
- Nine of the 18 have been won from pole. The lowest grid placing ending in victory was Alonso’s 2012 win from eighth.
- Hamilton has been on pole four times in Malaysia.
- Singapore saw three drivers achieve their best ever finishes: Carlos Sainz (fourth for Toro Rosso), Jolyon Palmer (sixth for Renault) and Stoffel Vandoorne (seventh for McLaren).
- Nico Hulkenberg set an unwanted record of most starts without ever standing on the podium. The Renault driver now has 129 to his credit.