Alonso fends off Pérez for dramatic Malaysian victory

Alonso fends off Pérez for dramatic Malaysian victory

25 March 2012 – Fernando Alonso has won a highly dramatic and rain-affected Malaysian Grand Prix, fending off a persistent challenge from the Sauber of Sergio Pérez. On an afternoon of many surprises, including a red flag stoppage, pole man Lewis Hamilton finished third as Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button failed to score points.

After a GP2 race which was staged in the dry, rain looked to be a certainty at Sepang as light drops fell before the start. Although the shower had stopped before the race started, all cars bar the two HRTs began on Intermediate tyres; both Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan were on Wets, although any advantage the Spaniard could have gained was lost when his car stalled at the start of the Formation Lap.

A clean start by Hamilton saw him keep the lead from McLaren team-mate Button, unlike in Australia last weekend. Mark Webber took advantage to seize third around the outside of Turn 3 as Romain Grosjean hit Michael Schumacher one corner later, spinning both cars; the Franco-Swiss endured his second retirement from as many races when he beached his Lotus at Turn 6 on only the third lap. After pitting for Wets, Hamilton retained his lead as a number of cars – including Webber and Pérez - suffered off-track excursions in monsoon conditions.

The deployment of the Safety Car was quickly followed by the red flag and fears that the event may not restart, bearing a resemblance to the 2009 race. It was finally confirmed at five o’clock – one hour after the red lights had gone out – that the race would continue. A number of cars, including Button, pitted for Intermediates straight away but the McLaren driver’s afternoon was effectively over when he broke his front wing against the out-of-position Karthikeyan, allowing Hamilton back through.

Although Button was now out of the picture, struggling with vibrating Intermediates, McLaren was still set for victory until a slow pit-stop for Hamilton on Lap 15, gift-wrapping the position for Alonso who had started ninth and kept out of trouble. Pérez had pitted on the first lap and took advantage of the tactical move to float through the order, reaching third by the time the race had resumed; this quickly became second following Hamilton’s pit disaster. The Mexican sensationally began to hunt down Alonso.

Setting a string of fastest laps to catch the Ferrari, all looked lost for Pérez – a Ferrari junior driver and set to join the team next year – when he made his final stop (to switch to Slicks) one lap too late. Despite this, he proceeded to close in again on dry-weather tyres; just as an overtake was imminent and following a ‘Be careful’ message from the pit wall, the 22-year-old ran wide at Turn 14 and was unable to make up the lost ground. Nevertheless, second marked a best-ever result, as Team Principal Peter Sauber confirmed by breaking into tears.

Mark Webber salvaged fourth on a difficult day for Red Bull, with World Champion Vettel running fourth until hitting Karthikeyan and puncturing a rear tyre on Lap 47, dashing any hopes of championship points. Kimi Räikkönen confirmed Lotus’ promise as Bruno Senna amazingly rose from first-lap contact with Pastor Maldonado, a spin and broken front wing to finish sixth for Williams, making up for his team-mate’s crash in Melbourne; Maldonado would have scored again today, had his engine not failed just three laps before the chequered flag.

Also making amends was rookie Jean-Éric Vergne, who scored four points for eighth place as he followed home consistent Paul di Resta. It was a double points finish for Force India, with Nico Hülkenberg ninth from a frustrated Schumacher. Daniel Ricciardo pulled off several impressive passing manoeuvres en route to 12th as Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Button and Felipe Massa ended their days in respective 11th, 13th, 14th and 15th places. In the second Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi stopped ten laps from the finish.

As Pérez cemented his superstar status, Alonso’s highly unexpected victory matches Michael Schumacher’s three Sepang wins and throws the Spaniard into the lead of the 2012 championship. His 28th career win moves him into the top five of all-time victories, one ahead of Jackie Stewart and three behind Nigel Mansell. McLaren continues to lead the Constructors’ standings, despite more dissatisfaction for pole-sitter Hamilton.


Formula 1 continues with Round 3 in China in three weeks’ time

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 24 April 2014

  2. Mercedes could rethink team orders stance 14:09

    Mercedes could rethink team orders stance

    Mercedes has suggested that it could change its stance over team orders if rival outfits cut the gap. The German marque...

    F1
  3. Häkkinen: Alonso dominating Räikkönen 11:36

    Häkkinen: Alonso dominating Räikkönen

    Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen reckons fellow Finn Kimi Räikkönen has been "dominated" by Ferrari team-mate...

    F1
  4. Vettel to get new chassis after problems 10:37

    Vettel to get new chassis after problems

    Sebastian Vettel is to be given a new chassis in an attempt to get on top of his early season struggles. The reigning...

    F1
  5. Changes introduced at Ferrari factory 09:51

    Changes introduced at Ferrari factory

    Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has introduced a number of changes at the marque's Maranello factory with a view to...

    F1
  6. 09:00

    Photos: Chinese GP in black and white

    F1
  7. Suzuki yet to start rider talks for 2015 08:00

    Suzuki yet to start rider talks for 2015

    Suzuki does not yet have agreements in place with any rider for its MotoGP comeback next season. The Japanese...

    MotoGP
  8. McLaren close to finalising title sponsor 07:00

    McLaren close to finalising title sponsor

    McLaren is edging closer to naming a new title sponsor, Racing Director Eric Boullier has explained. The team has been...

    F1
  9. Video of the Day: Block meets Neymar Jr. 05:00

    Video of the Day: Block meets Neymar Jr.

    Ken Block, Barcelona star Neymar Jr. and Castrol present the latest Gymkhana-style video: Footkhana.

    Misc
  10. German lawsuit against Ecclestone to begin 03:00

    German lawsuit against Ecclestone to begin

    Court proceedings against Bernie Ecclestone are to begin in Munich on Thursday. The Formula 1 supremo, who has been...

    F1
  11. Wednesday 23 April 2014

  12. McLaren confident over victory chances 13:19

    McLaren confident over victory chances

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier is confident that McLaren will be able to win races this season. Although the team...

    F1
  13. Boullier: Magnussen on normal rookie path 12:36

    Boullier: Magnussen on normal rookie path

    Kevin Magnussen's challenging run of races since recording a podium finish on his Formula 1 debut is nothing for McLaren to...

    F1
  14. Castroneves placed on probation over tweet 10:37

    Castroneves placed on probation over tweet

    Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Hélio Castroneves has been placed on probation until the end of June, after a tweet...

    Indy
  15. Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - China 08:59

    Mark Sutton: Story behind the shot - China

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net is this season running a feature series entitled Story behind...

    F1
  16. Ferrari will not give up, Fry insists 08:00

    Ferrari will not give up, Fry insists

    Ferrari engineering guru Pat Fry has said the Scuderia has no intention of giving up, although he concedes Mercedes does...

    F1
  17. Pedrosa: I've tried to do some homework 07:00

    Pedrosa: I've tried to do some homework

    Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa has been doing his 'homework' ahead of the inaugural MotoGP event at Argentina's...

    MotoGP
  18. Hamilton not thinking about title 06:30

    Hamilton not thinking about title

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has insisted he is not 'wasting a thought on the championship' at the moment, even though his...

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: A to Z of F1 – Part 6 (V to Z) 05:00

    Video of the Day: A to Z of F1 – Part 6 (V to Z)

    Red Bull presents 'The A to Z of Formula 1' and in Part 6 - the final one - looks at V to Z.

    F1
  20. Tuesday 22 April 2014

  21. Alonso: No promises for Barcelona 17:55

    Alonso: No promises for Barcelona

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has said he 'cannot promise anything' for the Spanish Grand Prix next month. Alonso took his...

    F1
  22. Force India 'pretty satisfied' with Shanghai result 17:03

    Force India 'pretty satisfied' with Shanghai result

    Force India Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley has said he was 'pretty satisfied' after seeing Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio...

    F1
  23. Boullier: No reason for McLaren to panic 16:14

    Boullier: No reason for McLaren to panic

    McLaren Sporting Director Eric Boullier has said there is no reason for the team to go into 'panic mode' in the wake of...

    F1
  24. Times are tough, admits Kaltenborn 15:25

    Times are tough, admits Kaltenborn

    Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn has admitted the Swiss squad is going through a 'tough time', although she insists...

    F1
  25. Red Bull hits back at Mercedes over ban call 13:36

    Red Bull hits back at Mercedes over ban call

    Red Bull have hit back at Mercedes after calls from their rival that Daniel Ricciardo's exclusion from the Australian GP was...

    F1
  26. Zanardi denied points by clutch problems 12:43

    Zanardi denied points by clutch problems

    Alex Zanardi was philosophical after clutch problems cost him points during the opening round of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint...

    Misc
  27. Márquez going for hat-trick in Argentina 11:41

    Márquez going for hat-trick in Argentina

    Reigning World Champion Marc Márquez will be out to make it a hat-trick of victories this weekend when he tackles the...

    MotoGP
  28. Anything still possible, says Vettel 11:17

    Anything still possible, says Vettel

    Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel has not given up on taking his fifth Formula 1 Drivers' title this season, despite the...

    F1
  29. 'Lewis was a man on his own planet' - Wolff 10:36

    'Lewis was a man on his own planet' - Wolff

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has paid homage to Lewis Hamilton following the Briton's dominant victory in China last...

    F1
  30. Video: Rosberg reflects on China 10:19

    Video: Rosberg reflects on China

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg looks back on the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix and recalls the incident with Williams rival Valtteri...

    F1
  31. Webber begins WEC career with podium 10:09

    Webber begins WEC career with podium

    Former F1 winner Mark Webber 'dodged a few bullets' and took a podium on his debut with Porsche in the 2014 FIA World...

    F1
  32. Rosberg: Mercedes out to make biggest step in Spain 09:39

    Rosberg: Mercedes out to make biggest step in Spain

    Nico Rosberg has said Mercedes will be pushing to extend its advantage when the European season commences next month with...

    F1
  33. Video of the Day: Vettel – Are you kidding? 05:00

    Video of the Day: Vettel – Are you kidding?

    Relive Sebastian Vettel's "Are you kidding?" radio message after being passed by Kamui Kobayashi during the Chinese Grand...

    F1
  34. Monday 21 April 2014

  35. Injured Crutchlow to miss Argentina round 20:39

    Injured Crutchlow to miss Argentina round

    British rider Cal Crutchlow will miss this weekend's MotoGP round in Argentina due to a fractured finger. The Ducati...

    MotoGP
  36. Cautious Renault pleased with progress in China 17:00

    Cautious Renault pleased with progress in China

    Renault's head of track operations Rémi Taffin says that the French engine supplier still has progress to make but is...

    F1
  37. Kobayashi disappointed pass on Bianchi did not count 15:30

    Kobayashi disappointed pass on Bianchi did not count

    Kamui Kobayashi says it is unfortunate that Caterham missed out on beating Marussia at the Chinese Grand Prix through no...

    F1
  38. Horner defends Vettel after terse radio message 14:00

    Horner defends Vettel after terse radio message

    Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has defended the actions of World Champion Sebastian Vettel during the Chinese...

    F1
  39. Unhappy Dennis urges Red Bull talks over Fallows 11:00

    Unhappy Dennis urges Red Bull talks over Fallows

    McLaren boss Ron Dennis says he hopes his team's dispute with Red Bull over the services of aerodynamicist Dan Fallows can...

    F1
  40. Angry Räikkönen hits out at motivation questions 09:00

    Angry Räikkönen hits out at motivation questions

    An angry Kimi Räikkönen hit out at questions over his motivation after he finished in eighth place during Sunday's Chinese G...

    F1
  41. Winners and Losers at the Chinese Grand Prix 07:00

    Winners and Losers at the Chinese Grand Prix

    The Chinese Grand Prix was another race controlled by Mercedes's Lewis Hamilton, the Briton taking maximum points ahead of...

    F1
  42. Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates 1-2 05:00

    Video of the Day: Mercedes celebrates 1-2

    Mercedes chiefs celebrate their third 1-2 finish of the 2014 season at the Chinese Grand Prix.

    F1
  43. 03:00

    Championship standings after China

    F1
  44. Sunday 20 April 2014

  45. Hülkenberg hails 'very positive' team result 12:19

    Hülkenberg hails 'very positive' team result

    Nico Hülkenberg described as "very positive" Force India's double points finish in the Chinese Grand Prix, its third of the...

    F1