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Formula 1: Fernando Alonso Grabs Victory in Rain-Soaked Malaysian GP 2012

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari passed the chequered flag in first place following an action packed Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday 25th March 2012.

The Spaniard held his arm aloft on a victory lap following a most eventful damp-wet-drying race which saw a red flag and incidents aplenty during an extended race which also saw Sauber achieve their best ever finish when their Mexican driver, Sergio Perez scooped an impressive second place.

It could have been so much more for Perez, who was closing in on Fernando Alonso’s underperforming Ferrari machine in the closing stages only to run wide, touch the kerb and flirt with the gravel trap to lose five seconds. After the race, the driver expressed a mixture of both relief – at having avoided the gravel – and regret at failing to catch and pass Alonso when his car was performing so much better. Perez had made up seven seconds on the former World Champion after his team’s tyre choices on the day proved to be absolutely spot on.

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren Mercedes was third, his second podium finish of the season in only the second race, while his teammate, Jenson Button, had a more difficult time. Button, when looking to force a pass, was involved in a collision which spelled the loss of most of his cars front wing, and the end of what was shaping up to be another high points finish. Button eventually rolled in second to last of the finishers – in 14th place.

Button was certainly not the only high profile victim of a difficult day at the races, though: holding Champ, Sebastian Vettel saw his rear wheel shredded in executing a routine pass on back-marker Narain Karthikeyan of HRT, when the Indian driver jinked back onto the racing line a little too soon. Vettel, who would finish out of the points in 11th place – he had been fourth at the time of the incident – was less than charitable after the race, saying in interview “Like on normal roads, you have some idiots driving around. It seems there is also one driving here.”

The race had started in damp conditions, and the principle gains off the line were made by Lewis Hamilton, who went off into the lead from team-mate, Button, and Sebastian Grosjean of Lotus-Renault, who burst past three to go from a grid position of sixth up to third place, passing Michael Schumacher in an exciting burst. Unfortunately for Grosjean, he was in the gravel soon after as the first retirement of the race following an off.

When the rain which had been steadily falling turned torrential, cars began sliding and colliding more regularly, though non terminally so before the race was temporarily stopped under a red flag after visibility and handling were reduced to almost nil.

Drivers who made the quick decision to switch to full wets before the red flag came off best, Perez was the principle victor during this spell. When, upon restarting, they opted to switch back to intermediate tyres early, it was Alonso who gained huge amounts of time the fastest, as the Spaniard passed Perez en route to pulling out a seven second lead of the race.

Perez soon grabbed the initiative once more by switching to full slicks, but his hairy moment put paid to what was looking like a victory charge in the final laps, allowing the wily Alonso to pick up his 28th Forumla 1 victory of his career. It was probably Alonso’s best drive among many great drives, too.

Alonso leads the World Championship from McLaren’s Hamilton and Button who are second and third respectively, with a five point margin between each, following Malaysia.

Drivers will next compete at the Chinese Grand Prix on 13-15 April 2012.

Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix 2012 Results

PosCtryDriverNoTeamQFast LapRace timePts
1ESPFernando Alonso5Ferrari801:41.6802:44:51.8125
2MEXSergio Perez15Sauber901:41.0200:02.2618
3GBRLewis Hamilton4McLaren-Mercedes101:41.5400:14.5915
4AUSMark Webber2Red Bull-Renault401:41.0200:17.6912
5FINKimi Raikkonen9Lotus-Renault1001:40.7200:29.4610
6BRABruno Senna19Williams-Renault1301:41.4000:37.678
7GBRPaul Di Resta11Force India-Mercedes1401:41.8200:44.416
8FRAJean-Eric Vergne17Toro Rosso-Ferrari1801:41.9200:46.994
9GERNico Hulkenberg12Force India-Mercedes1601:42.1700:47.892
10GERMichael Schumacher7Mercedes GP301:41.7600:50.001
11GERSebastian Vettel1Red Bull-Renault501:41.3401:15.53
12AUSDaniel Ricciardo16Toro Rosso-Ferrari1501:41.7601:16.83
13GERNico Rosberg8Mercedes GP701:41.8601:18.59
14GBRJenson Button3McLaren-Mercedes201:42.1001:19.72
15BRAFelipe Massa6Ferrari1201:42.0501:37.32
16RUSVitaly Petrov21Caterham-Renault1901:43.51lapped
17GERTimo Glock24Marussia-Cosworth2001:44.76lapped
18FINHeikki Kovalainen20Caterham-Renault2401:43.80lapped
19VENPastor Maldonado18Williams-Renault1101:42.24retired, 54 laps
20FRACharles Pic25Marussia-Cosworth2101:44.81lapped
21INDNarain Karthikeyan23HRT-Cosworth2301:45.91lapped
22ESPPedro de la Rosa22HRT-Cosworth2201:46.24lapped
23JAPKamui Kobayashi14Sauber1701:44.20retired, 46 laps
24SUIRomain Grosjean10Lotus-Renault602:08.46retired, 3 laps

Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship Standings After Malaysian GP 2012

PosDriverCtryTeamPts
1Fernando AlonsoESPFerrari35
2Lewis HamiltonGBRMcLaren-Mercedes30
3Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren-Mercedes25
4Mark WebberAUSRed Bull-Renault24
5Sergio PerezMEXSauber22
6Sebastian VettelGERRed Bull-Renault18
7Kimi RaikkonenFINLotus-Renault16
8Bruno SennaBRAWilliams-Renault8
9Kamui KobayashiJAPSauber8
10Paul Di RestaGBRForce India-Mercedes7
11Jean-Eric VergneFRAToro Rosso-Ferrari4
12Daniel RicciardoAUSToro Rosso-Ferrari2
13Nico HulkenbergGERForce India-Mercedes2
14Michael SchumacherGERMercedes GP1
15Nico RosbergGERMercedes GP0
16Timo GlockGERMarussia-Cosworth0
17Charles PicFRAMarussia-Cosworth0
18Felipe MassaBRAFerrari0
19Vitaly PetrovRUSCaterham-Renault0
20Heikki KovalainenFINCaterham-Renault0
21Narain KarthikeyanINDHRT-Cosworth0
22Pedro de la RosaESPHRT-Cosworth0
23Pastor MaldonadoVENWilliams-Renault0
24Romain GrosjeanSUILotus-Renault0

Formula 1 Contructors’ World Championship After Malasian GP 2012

PosTeamPts
1McLaren-Mercedes55
2Red Bull-Renault42
3Ferrari35
4Sauber30
5Lotus-Renault16
6Force India-Mercedes9
7Williams-Renault8
8Toro Rosso-Ferrari6
9Mercedes GP1
10Marussia-Cosworth0
11Caterham-Renault0
12HRT-Cosworth0

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Stories from the Sport Desk at The Global Herald.

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