It was hard for Lewis Hamilton to top Melbourne but, at Sepang, he managed it.
Ron Dennis has seen it all and done most of it, but there's no mistaking the different feel about McLaren. Ron may be in his 60th year but he's like a kid with a new train set. The smile is never far away, there's self-deprecating good humour in McLaren press conferences and the whole team radiates enthusiasm. The message seems to be: these guys are proper blokes, we're in great shape, this is going to be interesting.
We shouldn't get too carried away about Malaysia. Ferrari was hobbled in that Raikkonen had reliability concerns and his engine was turned down, allied to the fact that Sepang, with its baking temperatures, meant they were marginal on cooling. This is what Kimi was talking about when, afterwards, he said: "We had to make some compromise as a team and it cost us a bit."
Lewis Hamilton holds off the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen © LAT
But even so, Michael Schumacher must have been sitting on a sofa wondering how Felipe Massa managed to reverse a Ferrari into fifth place from the pole. The answer was provided by Lewis Hamilton's natural racing instinct. Plenty of racing drivers can drive fast, far fewer are top-drawer racers.