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. Tuesday 7 July 2015

  2. 11:53

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  3. Márquez positive after 'step forward' 11:41

    Márquez positive after 'step forward'

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez heads into this weekend's German Grand Prix with a renewed sense of optimism after noting a…

    MotoGP
  4. F1 StarCards in GOSH Charity Auction 10:33

    F1 StarCards in GOSH Charity Auction

    Sutton Images, the photographic supplier of GPUpdate.net, is again supporting the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children's…

    F1
  5. Arrivabene defends Ferrari development 09:37

    Arrivabene defends Ferrari development

    Maurizio Arrivabene has spoken out in defence of his Ferrari team's car development strategy, after a mixed British Grand Prix…

    F1
  6. Mallya looks to keep up momentum 09:07

    Mallya looks to keep up momentum

    Force India team boss Vijay Mallya is hopeful that the outfit can build on its recent strong results as the Formula 1 field…

    F1
  7. Video of the Day: Rosberg's Silverstone blog 05:04

    Video of the Day: Rosberg's Silverstone blog

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg reflects on his second-place finish at the British Grand Prix.

    F1
  8. Monday 6 July 2015

  9. Lotus winding-up petition postponed 20:15

    Lotus winding-up petition postponed

    A winding-up petition against Lotus has been adjourned for two weeks, in a bid to give the team enough time to reach an…

    F1
  10. British Grand Prix: Winners and Losers 15:38

    British Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

    Lewis Hamilton won his home race for a third time to extend his title advantage over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to 17…

    F1
  11. Video: Dillon escapes huge NASCAR crash 15:07

    Video: Dillon escapes huge NASCAR crash

    Austin Dillon escaped from a massive crash at the finish of NASCAR's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

    Misc
  12. Horner downplays Aston Martin link 13:54

    Horner downplays Aston Martin link

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has played down rumours of a potential partnership with Aston Martin, and made clear that…

    F1
  13. Ericsson: Points finish was 'in the bag' 13:17

    Ericsson: Points finish was 'in the bag'

    Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson spoke of his disappointment after missing out on a clear opportunity to return to the points at…

    F1
  14. Corti to replace Bradl at Sachsenring 12:13

    Corti to replace Bradl at Sachsenring

    Stefan Bradl will miss his home race in Germany this weekend as the MotoGP rider continues to recover from breaking his scaphoid…

    MotoGP
  15. Renault frustrated as reliability issues return 12:02

    Renault frustrated as reliability issues return

    Power unit supplier Renault was left frustrated as its reliability issues returned at the British Grand Prix, with both Red…

    F1
  16. Manor Marussia upbeat over best race 10:46

    Manor Marussia upbeat over best race

    Manor Marussia driver Roberto Merhi says the squad has made encouraging progress as it collected its best finish of 2015 at the…

    F1
  17. Wolff: Mercedes must analyse poor start 09:02

    Wolff: Mercedes must analyse poor start

    Toto Wolff hailed Mercedes' performance at the British Grand Prix as it romped to a sixth 1-2 finish of the season but says the…

    F1
  18. Hülkenberg hails 'best ever' Formula 1 start 07:34

    Hülkenberg hails 'best ever' Formula 1 start

    Nico Hülkenberg described his start to the British Grand Prix as the best of his Formula 1 career, after jumping from ninth on…

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Toro Rosso duo make tea 05:24

    Video of the Day: Toro Rosso duo make tea

    Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. are tasked with making tea for technical chief James Key.

    F1
  20. Sunday 5 July 2015

  21. 17:48

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    F1
  22. Alonso blasts first-lap driving standards 17:44

    Alonso blasts first-lap driving standards

    McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso hit out at driving standards after the first-lap incident which saw three cars retire from the…

    F1
  23. Grosjean gutted for Lotus after double DNF 17:27

    Grosjean gutted for Lotus after double DNF

    Romain Grosjean says he "feels for everyone" at Lotus after the squad recorded a double retirement at its home race at…

    F1
  24. Williams pair left with mixed feelings 17:09

    Williams pair left with mixed feelings

    Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were left with mixed feelings after finishing fourth and fifth at the British…

    F1
  25. Ricciardo sidelined by electrical issue 16:59

    Ricciardo sidelined by electrical issue

    Daniel Ricciardo's retirement from the British Grand Prix was caused by an electrical issue which affected his ERS-H and K…

    F1
  26. Verstappen caught out by gust of wind 16:48

    Verstappen caught out by gust of wind

    Max Verstappen says a mixture of cold tyres and a gust of wind caught him off-guard as he crashed out of the British Grand…

    F1
  27. Vettel says podium finish 'not a gift' 16:40

    Vettel says podium finish 'not a gift'

    Sebastian Vettel says his podium at the British Grand Prix was "not a gift", arguing that he and Ferrari simply made the correct…

    F1
  28. Rosberg: I had to stay out longer in rain 15:31

    Rosberg: I had to stay out longer in rain

    Nico Rosberg says he had no choice but to stay out longer than team-mate Lewis Hamilton as late rain showers hit the British…

    F1
  29. Hamilton proud of Intermediate tyre call 15:14

    Hamilton proud of Intermediate tyre call

    Lewis Hamilton says he was proud of his decision to pit for Intermediate tyres earlier than his rivals during Sunday's British…

    F1
  30. 14:58

    In full: British Grand Prix race result

    F1
  31. Hamilton wins rain-hit British Grand Prix 14:40

    Hamilton wins rain-hit British Grand Prix

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton extended his advantage at the top of the championship standings by beating team-mate Nico Rosberg…

    F1
  32. 12:43

    Follow the British Grand Prix live!

    F1
  33. 12:02

    Starting grid for the British Grand Prix

    F1
  34. 10:24

    Latest GP2 photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    GP2
  35. Haryanto takes another Sprint Race win 10:21

    Haryanto takes another Sprint Race win

    Rio Haryanto secured his third GP2 victory of the season as he converted pole position into another Sprint Race triumph at…

    GP2
  36. 09:03

    Latest GP3 photos: Sunday at Silverstone

    GP3
  37. Ceccon sweeps to maiden GP3 triumph 08:58

    Ceccon sweeps to maiden GP3 triumph

    Arden driver Kevin Ceccon claimed his maiden GP3 win after a lights-to-flag victory at Silverstone on Sunday morning. Ceccon…

    GP3
  38. Wolff not giving up on F1 race seat 08:34

    Wolff not giving up on F1 race seat

    Williams test driver Susie Wolff says she will not give up on her ambition of securing a Formula 1 race seat until it becomes…

    F1
  39. Verstappen identifies qualifying issue 07:37

    Verstappen identifies qualifying issue

    Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen says he has identified the issue which contributed to his exit from the second phase of qualifying…

    F1
  40. Video of the Day: Felipe Nasr's home 05:24

    Video of the Day: Felipe Nasr's home

    Sauber driver Felipe Nasr takes you on a tour of his family home in Brasilia, Brazil.

    F1
  41. Saturday 4 July 2015

  42. 19:51

    Latest GP2 photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    GP2
  43. Feature Race penalties for Pic, Rowland 19:47

    Feature Race penalties for Pic, Rowland

    Arthur Pic and Oliver Rowland have both been handed penalties by the stewards following Saturday's GP2 Feature Race at…

    GP2
  44. 17:41

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Silverstone

    F1
more news