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 21 November 2017

  2. 18:32

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  3. Van Buren wins McLaren's WFG contest 18:26

    Van Buren wins McLaren's WFG contest

    Rudy van Buren has been appointed as one of McLaren's Formula 1 Simulator Drivers for the 2018 campaign after triumphing in its…

    F1
  4. Video: Verstappen on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 16:12

    Video: Verstappen on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    Red Bull driver Max Verstappen previews the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, held at the Yas Marina Circuit, in this Mobil 1…

    F1
  5. '2018 will be even more difficult' - Lauda 14:40

    '2018 will be even more difficult' - Lauda

    Niki Lauda has heaped praise on Mercedes for securing both world titles for a fourth successive season, though expects to be…

    F1
  6. Alonso: Abu Dhabi will be 'trickier' than Brazil 10:42

    Alonso: Abu Dhabi will be 'trickier' than Brazil

    Fernando Alonso expects this weekend's season finale in Abu Dhabi to be "trickier" for McLaren-Honda than the previous round in…

    F1
  7. Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 10 10:02

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 10

    On day 10 of the World's Fastest Gamer finals, McLaren's two finalists were given the incredible opportunity to use the team's…

    F1
  8. Williams denies Kubica has signed deal 09:48

    Williams denies Kubica has signed deal

    Williams has denied that a deal with Robert Kubica has already been signed, following several reports, as it takes its time over…

    F1
  9. Video: Hamilton - Champion's welcome home 09:02

    Video: Hamilton - Champion's welcome home

    Lewis Hamilton returns to the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows HQ in Brackley for the first time since becoming a four-time Formula 1…

    F1
  10. Pérez: No pressure for Force India at finale 07:22

    Pérez: No pressure for Force India at finale

    Sergio Pérez says that Force India can compete without pressure at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with fourth in the…

    F1
  11. Video: Emerson Fittipaldi on the Indy 500 05:36

    Video: Emerson Fittipaldi on the Indy 500

    Emerson Fittipaldi, a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500, reflects on his experiences at the Brickyard, and Fernando…

    Indy
  12. FIA hands back Manor's F1 2017 entry fee 02:47

    FIA hands back Manor's F1 2017 entry fee

    The FIA has reimbursed Manor Racing's entry fee for the 2017 Formula 1 season as a "gesture of goodwill" to aid administrators…

    F1
  13. Monday 20 November 2017

  14. Vandoorne 'more comfortable than ever' 17:24

    Vandoorne 'more comfortable than ever'

    Stoffel Vandoorne says that he feels "more comfortable than ever" at McLaren after making significant progress over the course…

    F1
  15. Video: Christian Horner on Bernie Ecclestone 15:40

    Video: Christian Horner on Bernie Ecclestone

    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner looks back on the fear and intimidation of his first interaction with Bernie Ecclestone, and…

    F1
  16. Verstappen: I don't want the season to end 13:33

    Verstappen: I don't want the season to end

    Max Verstappen says that he does not want the 2017 campaign to end, as he approaches this weekend's finale in Abu Dhabi off the…

    F1
  17. 12:09

    Overview: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix schedule

    F1
  18. Video: A conversation with Nico Rosberg 12:07

    Video: A conversation with Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg talks to journalist and broadcaster James Allen about what shaped key decisions in his early career as well as his…

    F1
  19. In photos: Rise and fall of Formula V8 3.5 11:02

    In photos: Rise and fall of Formula V8 3.5

    World Series Formula V8 3.5 has closed its doors after two decades of competition, bringing down the curtain on a category that…

    World Series
  20. Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 9 09:40

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer finals - Day 9

    Sunday was a day of rest for World's Faster Gamer finalists Rudy and Freek, but the coaches were as busy as ever studying the…

    F1
  21. Merhi returns to Rapax for Formula 2 finale 09:28

    Merhi returns to Rapax for Formula 2 finale

    Roberto Merhi will return to Rapax for this weekend's Formula 2 season finale in Abu Dhabi. Merhi first appeared in F2 this…

    F2
  22. Habsburg 'still proud' amid dramatic finish 09:22

    Habsburg 'still proud' amid dramatic finish

    Carlin's Ferdinand Habsburg underlined that he was not prepared to settle for second at the Macau Grand Prix, after crashing out…

    F3
  23. Prema signs Gelael for 2018 F2 campaign 09:00

    Prema signs Gelael for 2018 F2 campaign

    Prema has confirmed that Sean Gelael will race for the team in next year's Formula 2 championship, the first driver signed up to…

    F2
  24. Runner-up Norris admits disappointment 07:02

    Runner-up Norris admits disappointment

    Lando Norris conceded he was "a little disappointed" to miss out on victory at the Macau Grand Prix, after finishing runner-up…

    F3
  25. Video: DTM 2017 season highlights reel 05:46

    Video: DTM 2017 season highlights reel

    Watch the official DTM Movie from the 2017 season, featuring exclusive footage and insights from the teams and drivers involved…

    DTM
  26. Sunday 19 November 2017

  27. Video: Ricciardo visits NASCAR paddock 16:42

    Video: Ricciardo visits NASCAR paddock

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo visits a NASCAR event for his first time and meets Dale Earnhardt Jr and Chase Elliott…

    F1
  28. Video: Macau Grand Prix - Sunday highlights 15:34

    Video: Macau Grand Prix - Sunday highlights

    Watch highlights from Sunday's action at the Macau Grand Prix, which featured a dramatic finale to an enthralling Formula 3…

    F3
  29. Alonso completes 113 laps in WEC rookie test 13:31

    Alonso completes 113 laps in WEC rookie test

    McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso racked up 113 laps during the World Endurance Championship's rookie test in Bahrain on…

    F1
  30. Video: Alonso in action at WEC rookie test 12:59

    Video: Alonso in action at WEC rookie test

    Watch as Fernando Alonso gets accustomed to Toyota's TS050 HYBRID as he participates in the World Endurance Championship's…

    WEC
  31. Grosjean upbeat over Haas' 2017 display 12:42

    Grosjean upbeat over Haas' 2017 display

    Romain Grosjean reckons Haas has done "super well" in its second campaign in Formula 1, believing the team has made more…

    F1
  32. Video: WEC Bahrain 6 Hours highlights 11:38

    Video: WEC Bahrain 6 Hours highlights

    Watch race highlights from the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship, as several class…

    WEC
  33. 11:13

    Gallery: Alonso participates in LMP1 test

    WEC
  34. Ticktum 'couldn't believe' Macau outcome 10:55

    Ticktum 'couldn't believe' Macau outcome

    Daniel Ticktum revelled in victory at the Macau Grand Prix as he surged forwards from eighth on the grid to triumph at the…

    F3
  35. Sainz Jr. 'starting to feel at home' with Renault 10:26

    Sainz Jr. 'starting to feel at home' with Renault

    Carlos Sainz Jr. says he is beginning to become accustomed to his new surroundings at Renault, following his recent move from…

    F1
  36. Alonso gets first taste of LMP1 in Bahrain 09:45

    Alonso gets first taste of LMP1 in Bahrain

    Fernando Alonso completed his first laps in Toyota's LMP1 car during the World Endurance Championship's rookie test at the…

    LM
  37. 08:22

    Latest F3 photos: Sunday at Macau

    F3
  38. 08:20

    In full: Macau Grand Prix race results

    F3
  39. Ticktum triumphs at crazy Macau Grand Prix 08:19

    Ticktum triumphs at crazy Macau Grand Prix

    Red Bull-backed Daniel Ticktum claimed an incredible victory at the Macau Grand Prix, pulling off a double move for third…

    F3
  40. Video: World's Fastest Gamer - Day 8 05:42

    Video: World's Fastest Gamer - Day 8

    Catch up with the latest from McLaren's World's Fastest Gamer contest as the three finalists visit Carlin's simulator before the…

    F1
  41. Saturday 18 November 2017

  42. Toyota confirms Alonso LMP1 rookie test 20:57

    Toyota confirms Alonso LMP1 rookie test

    Toyota has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will participate for the team in the World Endurance Championship's rookie test at the…

    F1
  43. Video: Macau Grand Prix - Saturday highlights 15:38

    Video: Macau Grand Prix - Saturday highlights

    Watch highlights from Saturday's action at the Macau Grand Prix, which featured victory for Callum Ilott in the F3 qualification…

    Misc
  44. Ricciardo sees 'decent chance' to win finale 15:02

    Ricciardo sees 'decent chance' to win finale

    Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull holds a "decent chance" of taking victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he seeks to close…

    F1
more news