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. Sunday 26 April 2015

  2. Todt and delegates safe after Nepal earthquake 15:31

    Todt and delegates safe after Nepal earthquake

    The FIA has confirmed that its delegates - including President Jean Todt - are safe and accounted for after an earthquake…

    F1
  3. Schumacher Jr. wins on debut F4 weekend 15:00

    Schumacher Jr. wins on debut F4 weekend

    Mick Schumacher, son of seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael, has taken the first single-seater victory of his career in…

    Misc
  4. Button sets personal best at London Marathon 14:42

    Button sets personal best at London Marathon

    McLaren driver Jenson Button set his new personal best time at the London Marathon on Sunday. Button, running for Cancer…

    F1
  5. 13:48

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Sunday at Aragón

    FR 3.5
  6. Vaxivière beats de Vries at wet Aragón 13:45

    Vaxivière beats de Vries at wet Aragón

    Lotus driver Matthieu Vaxivière claimed a last-gasp victory over Nyck de Vries during a wet second race of the weekend at…

    FR 3.5
  7. Feature: What's gone wrong for Red Bull? 09:27

    Feature: What's gone wrong for Red Bull?

    Red Bull has endured its worst start to a season since emerging as a credible force in 2009. There is one pressing area where…

    F1
  8. Video of the Day: Button in tricycle race 05:22

    Video of the Day: Button in tricycle race

    McLaren-Honda driver Jenson Button takes on BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James in a tricycle race.

    F1
  9. Saturday 25 April 2015

  10. Castroneves outruns the rain to win Alabama pole 23:08

    Castroneves outruns the rain to win Alabama pole

    Hélio Castroneves put in a quick lap early in the third qualifying session to beat the oncoming rain (and his team-mates) to…

    Indy
  11. Márquez has surgery for finger injury 20:36

    Márquez has surgery for finger injury

    MotoGP World Champion Marc Márquez has undergone successful surgery to treat a fracture of his little finger on his left…

    MotoGP
  12. Daly gets Schmidt seat for Indianapolis 14:29

    Daly gets Schmidt seat for Indianapolis

    Conor Daly will make a return to the Indianapolis 500 this year after signing a deal to race for Schmidt Peterson…

    Indy
  13. 14:20

    Latest FR3.5 photos: Saturday at Aragón

    FR 3.5
  14. Rowland wins FR3.5 opener at Aragón 14:18

    Rowland wins FR3.5 opener at Aragón

    Oliver Rowland claimed victory in the opening Formula Renault 3.5 race of the year at MotorLand Aragón despite not leading a…

    FR 3.5
  15. Hamilton named wealthiest UK sportsman 09:05

    Hamilton named wealthiest UK sportsman

    World Champion Lewis Hamilton has been named as the wealthiest sportsman in Britain in the Sunday Times Sport Rich List. The…

    F1
  16. Video of the Day: Alonso on F1 journey 05:16

    Video of the Day: Alonso on F1 journey

    McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso discusses his Formula 1 journey with the BBC.

    F1
  17. Friday 24 April 2015

  18. 17:02

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  19. Force India: Let teams choose tyre compounds 16:37

    Force India: Let teams choose tyre compounds

    Force India's Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer, has suggested that teams should be allowed to select their two preferred…

    F1
  20. Video: Tour of Monaco with Sam Bird 15:37

    Video: Tour of Monaco with Sam Bird

    Sam Bird takes you through a lap of Monaco ahead of the upcoming ePrix in the principality on May 9.

    FE
  21. Van der Garde's manager downplays Manor talk 14:05

    Van der Garde's manager downplays Manor talk

    Giedo van der Garde's management team has played down talk of a return to Formula 1 with Manor Marussia, insisting that although…

    F1
  22. Marko: Ricciardo of same calibre as Vettel 11:35

    Marko: Ricciardo of same calibre as Vettel

    Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has backed Daniel Ricciardo to lead the team's recovery, claiming that he is of the same calibre…

    F1
  23. Regalia, Comtec split after three days 10:22

    Regalia, Comtec split after three days

    Comtec Racing has been left without any drivers for the opening round of the Formula Renault 3.5 season, after its recent deal…

    FR 3.5
  24. Video of the Day: Sauber's ReSTART - Part 2 05:12

    Video of the Day: Sauber's ReSTART - Part 2

    Marcus Ericsson gets to know Sauber in the second part of the team's special inside documentary.

    F1
  25. Thursday 23 April 2015

  26. Verstappen eager for swift points return 18:03

    Verstappen eager for swift points return

    Max Verstappen is keen to return to the points when Formula 1 arrives in Europe next month. The Toro Rosso rookie scored his…

    F1
  27. Lotus invites fans to Brands filming day 17:30

    Lotus invites fans to Brands filming day

    Lotus has invited fans to watch from the trackside at its Brands Hatch filming event on Monday. Race drivers Romain Grosjean…

    F1
  28. Horner: No short-term fixes for Red Bull 14:11

    Horner: No short-term fixes for Red Bull

    Christian Horner has conceded that there will be no short-term fixes for Red Bull this season, as the squad continues to…

    F1
  29. Vettel becomes ADAC Formula 4 patron 12:18

    Vettel becomes ADAC Formula 4 patron

    Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel has been announced as a patron of the ADAC automobile club's new Formula 4…

    F1
  30. 10:41

    Photos: Red Bull's show run in Vienna

    F1
  31. Video: Ricciardo demos F1 car in Austria 10:36

    Video: Ricciardo demos F1 car in Austria

    Watch as Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo showcases the team's RB8 on the streets of Vienna, Austria.

    F1
  32. González set for IndyCar debut with Coyne 09:50

    González set for IndyCar debut with Coyne

    Ex-Formula 1 test driver Rodolfo González will make his IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne Racing at this weekend's Barber…

    Indy
  33. Video of the Day: Sauber's 'Ask the Driver' 05:06

    Video of the Day: Sauber's 'Ask the Driver'

    Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr answer questions posed by fans of the team.

    F1
  34. Wednesday 22 April 2015

  35. De Vries eyes McLaren seat for 2017 20:59

    De Vries eyes McLaren seat for 2017

    McLaren young driver Nyck de Vries has set his sights on securing a race seat with the Honda-powered Formula 1 outfit for the…

    F1
  36. Video: Formula E – the season so far 14:32

    Video: Formula E – the season so far

    Relive the first half of the inaugural Formula E season, which produced six different winners in six races.

    FE
  37. Pirelli confirms tyres for next four races 12:39

    Pirelli confirms tyres for next four races

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has named its compound nominations for the upcoming Spanish, Monaco, Canadian and Austrian…

    F1
  38. Pedrosa 'responding well' after surgery 11:33

    Pedrosa 'responding well' after surgery

    Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says he is "responding well" after undergoing surgery for his persistent arm pump issues earlier…

    MotoGP
  39. 10:04

    Gallery: Best photos from the Bahrain GP

    F1
  40. Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Bahrain 09:14

    Mark Sutton: Story Behind the Shot - Bahrain

    Especially for lovers of motorsport photography, GPUpdate.net's race-by-race series, Story Behind the Shot, continues throughout…

    F1
  41. Video of the Day: Nico Rosberg's Bahrain blog 05:04

    Video of the Day: Nico Rosberg's Bahrain blog

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg answers questions posed by fans in his usual post-race video blog.

    F1
  42. Tuesday 21 April 2015

  43. Regalia switches to Comtec for FR3.5 opener 16:18

    Regalia switches to Comtec for FR3.5 opener

    Facu Regalia has confirmed that he will drive for Comtec Racing at this weekend's Formula Renault 3.5 Series opener at MotorLand…

    FR 3.5
  44. Video: Grand Prix of Long Beach highlights 14:09

    Video: Grand Prix of Long Beach highlights

    Watch the highlights from the third round of the IndyCar season at Long Beach, won by Scott Dixon.

    Indy
  45. Ecclestone casts further doubt on Monza 13:40

    Ecclestone casts further doubt on Monza

    Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone says that the future of Monza on the calendar remains uncertain, with its current deal expiring…

    F1
  46. Video: Ayrton Senna's first Formula 1 win 10:40

    Video: Ayrton Senna's first Formula 1 win

    Today marks 30 years since Ayrton Senna's maiden Formula 1 victory, when he dominated proceedings at a rain-soaked Estoril…

    F1
more news