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
|Pos||Ctry||Driver||No||Team||Q||Fast Lap||Race time||Pts|
|4||AUS||Mark Webber||2||Red Bull-Renault||4||01:41.02||00:17.69||12|
|7||GBR||Paul Di Resta||11||Force India-Mercedes||14||01:41.82||00:44.41||6|
|8||FRA||Jean-Eric Vergne||17||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||18||01:41.92||00:46.99||4|
|9||GER||Nico Hulkenberg||12||Force India-Mercedes||16||01:42.17||00:47.89||2|
|10||GER||Michael Schumacher||7||Mercedes GP||3||01:41.76||00:50.00||1|
|11||GER||Sebastian Vettel||1||Red Bull-Renault||5||01:41.34||01:15.53|
|12||AUS||Daniel Ricciardo||16||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||15||01:41.76||01:16.83|
|13||GER||Nico Rosberg||8||Mercedes GP||7||01:41.86||01:18.59|
|19||VEN||Pastor Maldonado||18||Williams-Renault||11||01:42.24||retired, 54 laps|
|22||ESP||Pedro de la Rosa||22||HRT-Cosworth||22||01:46.24||lapped|
|23||JAP||Kamui Kobayashi||14||Sauber||17||01:44.20||retired, 46 laps|
|24||SUI||Romain Grosjean||10||Lotus-Renault||6||02:08.46||retired, 3 laps|
Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship Standings After Malaysian GP 2012
|4||Mark Webber||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||24|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Red Bull-Renault||18|
|10||Paul Di Resta||GBR||Force India-Mercedes||7|
|11||Jean-Eric Vergne||FRA||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||4|
|12||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||2|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||2|
|14||Michael Schumacher||GER||Mercedes GP||1|
|15||Nico Rosberg||GER||Mercedes GP||0|
|22||Pedro de la Rosa||ESP||HRT-Cosworth||0|
Formula 1 Contructors’ World Championship After Malasian GP 2012