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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

Pos Ctry Driver No Team Q Fast Lap Race time Pts
1 ESP Fernando Alonso 5 Ferrari 8 01:41.68 02:44:51.81 25
2 MEX Sergio Perez 15 Sauber 9 01:41.02 00:02.26 18
3 GBR Lewis Hamilton 4 McLaren-Mercedes 1 01:41.54 00:14.59 15
4 AUS Mark Webber 2 Red Bull-Renault 4 01:41.02 00:17.69 12
5 FIN Kimi Raikkonen 9 Lotus-Renault 10 01:40.72 00:29.46 10
6 BRA Bruno Senna 19 Williams-Renault 13 01:41.40 00:37.67 8
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
14 GBR Jenson Button 3 McLaren-Mercedes 2 01:42.10 01:19.72
15 BRA Felipe Massa 6 Ferrari 12 01:42.05 01:37.32
16 RUS Vitaly Petrov 21 Caterham-Renault 19 01:43.51 lapped
17 GER Timo Glock 24 Marussia-Cosworth 20 01:44.76 lapped
18 FIN Heikki Kovalainen 20 Caterham-Renault 24 01:43.80 lapped
19 VEN Pastor Maldonado 18 Williams-Renault 11 01:42.24 retired, 54 laps
20 FRA Charles Pic 25 Marussia-Cosworth 21 01:44.81 lapped
21 IND Narain Karthikeyan 23 HRT-Cosworth 23 01:45.91 lapped
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

Pos Driver Ctry Team Pts
1 Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari 35
2 Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren-Mercedes 30
3 Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Mercedes 25
4 Mark Webber AUS Red Bull-Renault 24
5 Sergio Perez MEX Sauber 22
6 Sebastian Vettel GER Red Bull-Renault 18
7 Kimi Raikkonen FIN Lotus-Renault 16
8 Bruno Senna BRA Williams-Renault 8
9 Kamui Kobayashi JAP Sauber 8
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
16 Timo Glock GER Marussia-Cosworth 0
17 Charles Pic FRA Marussia-Cosworth 0
18 Felipe Massa BRA Ferrari 0
19 Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham-Renault 0
20 Heikki Kovalainen FIN Caterham-Renault 0
21 Narain Karthikeyan IND HRT-Cosworth 0
22 Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRT-Cosworth 0
23 Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams-Renault 0
24 Romain Grosjean SUI Lotus-Renault 0

Formula 1 Contructors’ World Championship After Malasian GP 2012

Pos Team Pts
1 McLaren-Mercedes 55
2 Red Bull-Renault 42
3 Ferrari 35
4 Sauber 30
5 Lotus-Renault 16
6 Force India-Mercedes 9
7 Williams-Renault 8
8 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
9 Mercedes GP 1
10 Marussia-Cosworth 0
11 Caterham-Renault 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0

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Stories from the Sport Desk at The Global Herald.

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