Despite many feeling that the wet conditions at Sepang could have given them a chance to improve their result, the Formula One grid was almost unanimous in its agreement that the Malaysian Grand Prix could not have been restarted.

Although starting in the dry, the threat of rain hung over the second round of the world championship for the first 20 laps and then, in a storm of near-biblical proportions, proceeded to flood the circuit while teams and drivers made and remade tyre changes in an effort to suit the conditions. With most having progressed from slicks to full wets, back to intermediates when the rain did not appear to be that heavy, and then back to full wets when it began in earnest, the stewards threw a red flag to neutralise the action just over halfway to the 56-lap distance.

The main activity then switched to the organisers office for, while the teams did what they could to keep drivers and equipment sheltered from the storm, decisions had to be made on whether a restart would be possible. Weather forecasts suggested that the rain may lessen, if not stop altogether, but the decision to start the race at 5pm then became a factor as the evening drew in.

Eventually, when it became too late to give the required ten-minute warning without exceeding the maximum two-hour time limit for the race, the red flag became final, handing victory - albeit with half points - to Jenson Button, but causing a few reshuffles further down the order, including among the Briton's podium partners, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock.

"I would obviously love to have the ten points, but this is the best we could have done, I think," Button admitted as he attempted to dry off, "Realistically, it was the right thing to do.

"I'm sure some people will say 'we didn't see the whole race and it's disappointing', but you have to think about the safety sometimes. I am here to race, as we all are, but there are limits to what we can do with the cars that we have."

Heidfeld revealed that he had used the time out of the cockpit to change the visor on his helmet because of the gloomy conditions, and made no secret of the fact that he had been on the radio 'telling our team manager and Charlie [Whiting] and the guys who normally listen that I think it was undriveable in these conditions', but still the teams and drivers were unsure as to whether they would be asked to restart.

"I said to the engineers that there was no way to drive anymore and that I was ready to jump out of the car, but they said we had to prepare [for a restart]," Glock revealed, "They said we would go behind the safety car, so I just put my helmet on and got ready - and then they said 'no, that's it, it's over'."

Button confirmed that a restart had been considered, but admitted that ending the race without one was probably the right thing to have done.

"As far as I knew, we were always planning for a restart, that's why all the cars were moved around," the Briton revealed, "But the problem was that so many cars span off on the last lap that I think it was very difficult understanding who was in what position. That was why we were all moving around a lot on the grid.

"We were all planning to start the race again, [but] I am happy it didn't because we would have spent ten laps behind a safety car and, every lap, every corner you got to you would be scared that you were going to throw it off the road. It's out of your control, it matters what position the river is in on the apex, but you can't see it. So I think it was the right thing to do for sure."

Further down the order, Mark Webber, who could be seen canvassing opinions from his peers under the red flag, admitted that he had mixed emotions about the decision to abandon the race with just 33 laps in the book, while Red Bull stable-mate Sebastien Bourdais, who had radioed his crew to insist that the race be stopped, confessed later that he had wished it could have restarted.

"The guys made the best call to stop the race when they did, [but] it would have been nice to have had some more laps to give us a crack at getting on the podium," Webber, who moved from eighth to sixth in the reshuffle, said, "I've got mixed emotions, but it's dark now, so it was the right call not to make a restart."

"It was a shame [the race was stopped], as it seemed we were pretty competitive in these very changeable conditions," Bourdais concluded, "I would have liked to restart, as it might have been an opportunity to pick up points, even if only half-points."