Alonso holds off Perez for superb win in Malaysia

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix report

Posted on

| Written by

Fernando Alonso scored a memorable win in tricky conditions in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

He triumphed under pressure not from one of the five other world champions on the grid – but emerging talent Sergio Perez, who chased the Ferrari down in the second half of the race.

Perez ultimately had to settle for second ahead of pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.

Schumacher and Grosjean tangle

The rain fell lightly to begin with, beginning before the start of the race and leading most drivers to start the race on intermediate tyres.

When the lights went out, both McLarens made clean starts, pulling away from the second row quickly. Hamilton carefully protected the inside line, anxious not to lose the lead to Button again, and held his position.

Behind them Romain Grosjean squeezed past Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber to take third place. But they attacked him again at turn four and as Schumacher went around the lotus Grosjean clipped him, sending both into a spin.

That allowed Sebastian Vettel up into fourth place ahead of Fernando Alonso.

The rain increased in intensity during the first laps, leading some drivers to switch to full wet weather tyres. Sergio Perez aborted a pass on Nico Rosberg as he dived into the pits, followed by Bruno Senna.

As Hamilton edged away from Button and the Red Bull, Paul di Resta made for the pits on the next lap. Felipe Massa and the Marussias ducked in on the following tour as conditions worsened.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Button pits first

By now the race leaders were considering their options. The top four were spaced apart by around two seconds, but Vettel now had Alonso close behind him.

McLaren radioed Hamilton and asked his opinion on the conditions: “The rain is getting heavier but it’s OK,” he replied. “The car is aquaplaning in places, but it’s OK.”

Behind him Button didn’t share that assessment, and decided to change to wet weather tyres. This was reminiscent of Hungary last year, when Button stayed out as Hamilton, ahead of him, made a costly switch to intermediate tyres.

Once again Button’s call was probably the correct one – but it wasn’t enough to get him in the lead. Hamilton, who had asked his team about Vettel’s strategy, was told: “Jenson has just pitted, but the Red Bulls are still on inters.”

“Other cars are going faster on full wets. We think we should box this lap,” added McLaren. Hamilton duly came in, left on full wets and came out just in front of his team mate.

The Red Bulls came in on the same lap as Hamilton, Vettel emerging from the pits behind Alonso. And all three of them were now behind Perez, whose early switch to full wet tyres had paid off handsomely.

Red flag for rain

But with the rain coming down ever harder, even the drivers on full wet tyres were struggling to keep their cars on the track. Perez ran wide at turn nine, then came off completely at turn 12, but kept going.

Rosberg and Vettel were among those who went off as a thunderstorm hit the track and water flooded the track in places. Race control summoned the safety car, and the red flag followed shortly afterwards.

Despite the downpour, the only retirement before the race was stopped was Grosjean, who spun into a gravel trap on lap five. The cars lined up on the grid with Perez behind the McLarens, followed by Webber, Alonso and Vettel.

Remarkably, Jean-Eric Vergne had kept his car on the track despite staying on intermediates and was up to seventh ahead of Massa and Rosberg.

Even more of a surprise was Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT in tenth place. The team had gambled starting the race on full wet tyres, but his team mate Pedro de la Rosa had started from the pits.

Hamilton leads at restart

The race was eventually restarted behind the safety car on lap ten, and after four laps of touring around the field were unleashed. Button, who’d asked, “is there a reason why the Safety Car is still out? The circuit is definitely ready”, was first in for intermediate tyres.

Hamilton kept his lead while Perez moved up to second. Behind him, Alonso and Vettel pounced on Webber, who struggled to get his tyres working straight after the restart, but Webber managed to re-pass his team mate.

Massa passed Vergne – who’d made a mandatory switch to full wet tyres for the restart – and was now behind Vettel, but not close enough to pass the Red Bull when he ran wide at turn seven.

Alonso moves ahead in the pits

The track was clearly ready for intermediates and rest of the front runners were quickly in to change. Hamilton lost time as his pit crew fumbled to attach the rear jack to his car, and had to be held in his box while other cars came past.

He emerged from the pits behind Button while Alonso, thanks to another rapid pit stop by Ferrari, leapfrogged the pair of them then passed Perez to take the lead.

Button’s hopes of a second consecutive win were dashed when he clipped Karthikeyan – who he was racing for position – at turn eight. He damaged the front wing on the McLaren and sank to the back of the field following another pit stop.

From there matters got worse, and Button was soon in for another set of intermediates as he couldn’t get the first set up to operating temperature.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Alonso quickly drew away from Perez and had a 4.1 second lead by lap 21. Hamilton couldn’t do anything about the pair ahead and was already 6.5s behind and dropping further back.

Rosberg was falling back at an even faster rate, the Mercedes clearly no kinder to its intermediates than it had been to its slicks in Australia. He was picked off by Vettel and Raikkonen on the main straight after DRS had been enabled, and then Webber came around the outside of him at turn five.

Massa would have been next to catch him but the Ferrari driver ran wide at turn eight and was passed by Paul di Resta. Jean-Eric Vergne also attacked the Ferrari and claimed the place in the DRS zone.

Bruno Senna was next to try it on and was making his way past as Massa surrendered to the inevitable and headed back to the pits.

Perez hunts down Alonso

As they passed half race distance Alonso’s lead was up to 7.7 seconds over Perez, with Hamilton a further seven behind. Free of Rosberg, Vettel and Raikkonen were now lapping close to the leaders’ pace.

But as the intermediate tyres wore down, the balance of power tipped away from Alonso and towards Perez. The Sauber driver began edging tenths out of Alonso’s lead and by lap 34 had the gap down to 5.7 seconds.

The skies were becoming more overcast and twitchy race engineers warned drivers of another shower on its way. Meanwhile Perez was starting to take whole seconds out of Alonso’s lead on each tour: by lap 39 he had the Ferrari well in sight, the gap down to 2.3 seconds.

At this point Massa, who by now was well out of the points, switched to slick tyres. Ferrari noted the track was ready to accommodate the medium compound and duly brought Alonso in next time around.

On the next lap Alonso led the charge for the pits, joined by Vettel, Raikkonen, Vergne and Hulkenberg. Perez stayed out one lap longer and that proved costly: along with Ferrari’s superior speed in the pits, the gap ballooned to over seven seconds.

“We need this position”

But Perez found the slicks to his liking and on his first flying lap tore 1.4 seconds out of Alonso’s advantage. As they became lap 48 Perez was within a second of the lead.

Whether Sauber were mindful of Maldonado’s demise chasing Alonso in Melbourne, or the cost of their Ferrari engine contract, they decided to remind their driver of the value of finishing second just as Perez was poised to strike.

“Chceo, be careful, we need this position,” warned race engineer Marco Schupbach. Settling for second was not on Perez’s agenda: “I knew I had to get soon because I was already losing my front tyres,” he said afterwards.

But ambition ultimately overcame adhession when he asked too much from those front tyres at turn 13, and found himself running wide onto the wet run-off.

His chance of beating Alonso to the win died in that moment, though he resumed the chase to finish just 2.2 seconds behind the Ferrari.

Vettel drops out

For the second race in a row, Hamilton started on pole position and finished third. Behind him was Webber, as Vettel had picked up a puncture when he clipped an HRT while lapping it.

Vettel’s radio was not working properly and, in a confusion sequence of messages on the final lap, he was alternately told to pull over and stop, or to keep going. He was classified 11th.

Raikkonen took fifth ahead of Senna. Vergne claimed his first championship points in his second race, with Hulkenberg and Schumacher competing the top ten.

Button came home a distance 14th behind Ricciardo and Rosberg, having muscled past Massa who was 15th and just five seconds away from being lapped.

Timo Glock split the Caterhams of Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen. A late failure dropped Maldonado out of the points – he was classified 19th ahead of Pic, Karthikeyan, and de la Rosa.

Perez’s team mate Kamui Kobayashi was one of only two retirements, joining Grosjean.

“Today the win was possible,” admitted Perez afterwards. But even so his second place is Sauber’s best ever result as an independent team.

Remarkably, Alonso now leads the drivers’ championship. He insisted afterwards that the win “changes nothing” for the team’s prospects – after all, they still have a car that’s only just able to scrape into Q3 in dry conditions.

But as a morale booster for the team he could hardly have asked for more. And for a driver who already has several great wins to his credit, this surely ranks as one of the best.

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

127 comments on “Alonso holds off Perez for superb win in Malaysia”

  1. Great drive from Alonso, epic drive from Perez and an absolutely gripping Grand Prix.

    Just goes to show that while monsoon weather is never good for racing, a bit of H20 is always a good ingredient for spectacular racing.

    1. If only Formula FORD lived up to its name :-P

      Sorry guys, i’ll get my coat

    2. :( I missed it…. I couldn’t find a good stream online and I missed it…… I missed it… missed it….. missed it. The first race i have missed in 3 years…..

      1. I know how you feel. I set it to record on my DVR, I was sick, didn’t want to watch at 5 am, here in the states, then just now watched it only to miss the last 20 laps or so!!!!!! Ugh, first full race I have missed in a year and a half. Ugh.

    3. Speedy Perez was on it, he was ready to make a move on Alonso on the very same lap he missed the apex a T13. But that error prevented his engineer from telling him “Don’t Pass Alonso! He’s driving a Ferrari!” :)

      I loved to see Peter Sauber getting emotional. After being “abandoned” by BMW he managed to get his team back on track and now have a good pair of drivers for a very promising car.

    4. @Magnificent Geoffrey
      Congrats man! You must be proud of that second spot!

      I truly believe it would´ve been an epic battle if Perez hadn´t been told to hold his position! Alonso wouldn´t of made it easy and there was a great chance of both going off!
      It´s a shame what happened to Schumi…
      Button and Vettel seemed to like the HRT! lol.. At least Button was man enough to accept his mistake! I really don´t see WHY this spoiled brat would call Karthikeyan an idiot and say he shouldn´t be in F1… The nerve on that guy! I think he must´ve thought it was a Toro Rosso and that he should´ve just moved over…. sad indeed…
      Kimi is showing improvement!
      Mercedes´ race pace sucks!! Sad they can´t get a similar performance as to when they qualify… :/

      I just have one complaint… what good is it to have wet weather tyres if whenever a bit of rain comes down.. they have a SC and/or red flag?? Makes no sense!

      1. Er…Malaysia doesn’t produce a ‘bit of rain’, it produces a flood. When the tyres are swimming in the water rather than clearing it, it’s ridiculous to continue. Red flag was sensible, and allowed us to get a full race in with little incident!

    5. As an Alonso fan this is a dream come true – to finally see him win this early in the season and secure the points lead, though I’m fully aware that all this will vanish from the next dry race.

      Perhaps Bernie’s artificial rain idea may not be that bad after all :)

  2. Fantastic Perez & Alonso, great drive by Button.
    What about Karthikeyan?
    Rosberg once again dreadful, not only his race car.

    1. I have to agree wit Magon4, Narain today showed us what he’s capable of but no body gives him the credit. Everybody is talking about Perez & Alonso, but here’s a guy who came upto 10th before the red flag, i know they started the race with full wet but again, the conditions were terrible and he managed to hold on to it till the red flag. Even after having the slowest car . . .

      1. and full credit to HRT. If nothing else they built a sturdy car!

      2. Narain has proved that he is nowhere near as bad as many fans rudely considered him to be. I mean, comparing him to Jean-Denis Deletraz and Alex Yoong was ignorance on a lighthouse!

      3. I don’t see anything spectacular about Karthikeyan. He started on full wet and he move forward because everyone pit for full wet. He dropped back like a stone after the restart.

    2. I’ve seen Button driving much better under those conditions. He struggled with tyres and clipped Karthikeyan after a bad judgement . The only good thing was posting fastest laps while riding free of traffic and under P15…

    3. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
      25th March 2012, 19:20

      great drive by Button

      Really? In what way was his drive great? Even he admitted he had a shocker.

      1. I actually thought he was being sarcastic when he said great drive by Button. Even the many Button fans here would have to admit that was a poor drive by any standards

        1. He was pretty poor yes, but Narain was more than a bit of a disaster today. I could understand him not leaving much space if he was in a car capable of scoring points, but doing it to both Button and then Vettel later on is just silly.

          I was kind hoping HRT wouldn’t qualify because I think it’s absurd how far off the pace they are after 3 years in the sport.

          1. You’re assuming that the incidents weren’t Button’s and Vettel’s fault, which they clearly were.

          2. Jenson politely said it was his fault.

    4. What!!! Great drive by Button. you are kidding ya self mate.

      1. Button did a Hamilton,, Ha Ha

  3. I fail to understand why did they red flag the race? It was by no means dangerous. To me, dangerous was Fuji 08, and they kept on going there. This is getting ridiculous for F1 standards.

    Even more ridiculous is the fact that within a lap of the safety car coming in, the drivers swooped into the pits for inters – just like Canada last year.

    May I then ask – What purpose does the wet weather tyres serve then?

    1. Remember back to where the cars were going off the track. Good boy.. now add a whole lot more water and finally add some brains. There you go! Good job!

    2. They red flagged it because all the drivers were on the radio complaining that there was too much water on the track in the final sector & several cars went off.

      Even Lewis Hamilton was complaining it was too wet when they were behind the safety car & he’s usually the last one to complain about track conditions.

    3. the track was too wet, and the drivers were complaining a lot. The dance festival in Malaysia 2009 wasn’t needed and I guess it was the correct decision to get the Safety Car out on the track and then red flag it. I rather wait till the restart than see lap after lap behind the SC.

      However, you’re totally right about the restart. I cannot understand why they kept the SC for so long before the restart, and just as it headed to the pits, many of the drivers chose inters. At this point, it’s easy to argue why they have Extreme Full Wets at all. The race either gets suspended or they cruise around behind the Safety Car until it’s dry enough for inters.

      And the worst thing is that they did exactly the same in Canada, last year.

      1. this was a reply to Himmat, btw

      2. They waited so long to restart because drivers were complaining about poor visibility.
        Di Resta was saying he coudn’t even see the dash on his steering wheel because of the spray.

        Don’t forget that decisons regarding safety cars/red flags are usually made based on driver/team feedback, If the majority are saying its too wet Charlie Whiting has to listen as these are the guys that know exactly what conditions are like on track & when too wet is too wet.

        1. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas etc…

    4. Yes. If Fuji 08 was the standard to make decision on red flagging races, we would not have red flags in the last 2 years.

  4. If there was a doubt in anyone’s mind about the best driver in the F1 paddock at the moment, this race should’ve proved decisive. A stunning performance in any car, let alone something that is easily 5th or 6th fastest on a dry track. Ferrari – give this man the car he deserves!

    1. well said.. ferrari its high time you giv a decent car to Alonso

    2. Alonso was the only person I could take seriously as a candidate for driver of the year last year (other than you know who), and this win today reaffirms that class. Legend.

      1. Captain Sorbet
        25th March 2012, 17:31

        Yeah… Voldemort did do pretty well last year.

        1. Best comment I’ve read in a long time, good sir

      2. @David-A
        That´s a nice thing for you to say! Event with a “lego” of a car he still gives us amazing performances!

  5. Fantastic results to get this champtionship interesting.
    Amazing Perez & Alonso, what they both got out of their cars.
    Great to see Checo in podium, happy as can be, turn to make sure Mexican flag up there, it’s been too long!
    Fun chase and interesting switches on the midpack. Phew !

  6. Too bad I missed the race.
    But your writing made me feel part of it.

  7. Epic, simply epic. Best GP in a long, long time and it was great to see Checo on the podium. Bravo Sauber!

  8. What a drive from two Ferrari engined drivers! I know Perez should have won but mistakes are also part of racecraft and experience. He was super fast but he’s still very young and in very early part of career. so the mistake made him P2 but it would make him better driver for sure.

  9. Take nothing away from Alonso who superbly made the most of the opportunity to take the win but Perez should have won that race. Comfortably. He was by far the quickest driver for most of the race. It was a great unpredictable race but also one of the most frustrating races I have ever seen.

    I have no idea what Sauber were doing, it was like they were contriving to throw away a race win, maybe because of the pressure of the situation, I don’t know. I don’t think it was team orders, but if Perez had come in the same lap as Alonso for slicks he would have won. Don’t know how much bearing the radio message from his engineer had on his driving but again that wasn’t the most helpful thing a driver can hear when trying to concentrate on an overtake.

    I just hope Sauber and Perez in particular don’t live to regret some of the mistakes they made today. Everyone is assuming that Perez will go to Ferrari or another big team and score many race victories but race wins and championships are not simply handed out, you have to take your opportunities when they come up, and Formula One can change very quickly. Just look at Robert Kubica or Felipe Massa, who would have imagined their current situations three or four years ago. Or at the opposite end of the spectrum someone like Jenson Button.

    That radio message reminded me of a way of the same conservative BMW Sauber attitude they showed after Kubica won at Montreal and was leading the championship in 2008. They figured they would get another shot so they developed next years car, but they never did. I hope Perez goes on to win many more races otherwise there will always be regret over this missed opportunity.

    1. The drivers are talking constantly with their team over the radio. There was a show some time last year where they interviewed drivers and most of them said they talk with their team three to four times a lap. To think that a simple “be careful please – dont crash now” message could have been so devastating is really a bad attempt to sow controversy into something without any. The radio message was hand picked and out of context for all we know.

      Parez lost due to his error. He drove really well, but to try and blame anyone but Parez is very shallow.

      1. I think you are the one trying to stir up controversy, if you read what I wrote instead of liberally applying your own interpretation you will see I did not blame the engineer for causing Perez’s mistake. I said I did not know what effect it had (if any) but it is not the most useful thing they could have said.

        Of course him going off was driver error, my point was that it was an unnecessary instruction to give. Perez is not an idiot, he is intelligent enough to understand how important the points are to Sauber, and therefore not to try anything stupid in terms of going for the overtake.

        However he would have got past, he was faster than Alonso at that point and with DRS would have done the job. I am frustated because that was Perez and Sauber’s race to lose and somehow they managed to do it.

      2. To disregard the possibility that an inter-team order took place entirely with all the politics involved in F1 is an insult to human intelligence.

        1. @Shrieker So that is what we should base things on…possibilities? We are discussing known facts here. There is literally no proof of this in this case, so you’re bringing up some pointless notion about ‘politics’ is a true insult to basic intelligence. All we heard was a delayed snippet of transmission outside of context, and it didn’t even include a team order. Furthermore, the driver then nearly lost it all on his own. Name a sport without politics? Then save the pointless eulogy.

          @debaser91 I just want to point out that Sergio Perez at the press conference said his team made all the right decisions (including tires), yet you say their radio message wasn’t a good idea. I think a team generally knows a driver’s personality better than an F1 fans would. Perez had the faster car, Perez didn’t manage the overtake, and if he’s so intelligent it wouldn’t matter what the team said, he was a second a lap faster and lost it. I’m not slighting him for his ability or achievement, but the man lost to a guy driving a slower car (with fuel information problems). And he lost all on his own.

        2. Maybe, but remember that PER is a very young driver, that is his 1st podium finish and a MASSIVE 18 points for the modest Sauber team. I’d say:
          1. It was foreseeable that he’d make some kind of mistake
          2. It is wise and normal for his engineer to calm him down and make sure they get 18 points (and not throwing them away like MAL did last week)
          3. I’m not quite sure of how it’d serve PER NOT to win…

          For all these reasons, I’d go for a neat, no-cheating scenario…

          1. Pez. Made a few mistAkes. The sauber is faster than the Ferrari.and last but not least he didn’t pass the other cars. Like Alonso did on the track. Peres took a gamble and it paid off. Alonso had a slower car, didn’t make mistake and he is driving a dog car.

  10. Grosjean may be a good future asset for F1, but currently he is no where close to racing temperament…he is not only spoiling his own races but everyone around him….Micheal being the latest victim to his racing style….does he really think that squeezing through cars is a great thing to do in F1….really ?? I feel so sorry about Micheal….it was his great chance to stand on the podium which was devasted by Grosjean green driving style…..

    I am also surprised as to why the race was allowed to be started in rain at all when it has to be red flagged within 9 laps ? Who is making such genius decision ?

    1. I agree with your comment about Grosjean. In 2 races only 6 laps completed? And today he was the only driver out through his own error, Kobayashi had some problems which lead to his retirement. To add to all that, he had the audacity to blame Schumacher for the incident, from the onboard cameras it was obvious Schumacher had the corner, and no one knows what Grosjean was up to. For goodness sake, if you ruined someone’s race, and then bungled your own through your own fault, at least have the decency and humility to admit it, not point the finger at the other guy. From a viewer’s perspective, the bloke drives without much foresight, being aggressive just for the sake of it, seemingly thinking he owns the road. This was shown last week in Australia as well. It was a more dubious/50-50/racing incident kind of accident, but it could have been avoided if he had used his head for a second and backed off, and then attack Maldonado later. Instead he stubbornly hangs on, gets punted off, and then blames Maldonado for being too wide. Well he could say whatever he wants, but he himself put his car into a dangerous position that could only lead to contact. Well, sarcastically speaking, the one positive of his race today was that he completed double the number of laps he did last time out. Even the HRTs have gone further than him overall. Apologies for the rant, but he should get the fact that he is only a GP2 champion, not a world champion into his head, and start driving sensibly.

      1. Same here i was surprised when he said that, can’t believe he blamed Schumacher for that incident. Maybe Mercedes car got another controversial part, a high tech magnet that pulled Romain’s car toward it.

      2. Grosjaen also almost ruined his team-mate’s race with that little stunt as Kimi had to again take to the grass to avoid the carnage. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to take another gearbox as a result next race :)

    2. Grosjean may be a good future asset for F1, but currently he is no where close to racing temperament

      Interestingly, Grosjean has now completed the same number of racing laps (4) in the first two races of the year as Michael Andretti did in the first two races of his ill-fated 1993 campaign. At least, Romain, you have made it past the first corner on both occasions…

    3. Grosjean may be a good future asset for F1, but currently he is no where close to racing temperament…

      Grosjean’s drives this year remind me of Bourdais’ campaign in F1 in ’08 and ’09. And we all know how that went.
      The problem is Lotus know they have a competitive car and they need results with both their drivers, not only with Kimi. And since Boullier is known to act a bit bi-polar when it comes to drivers…you do the math.

      1. Please don’t compare Romain to Seb! When that STR was proved to be competitive in ’08 he was not far behind Vettel, and was generally a very clean driver anyway, even when it was a dog of a car.
        Besides, I can accept drivers making mistakes. What I can’t accept is drivers making mistakes then blaming someone else. If he does it one more time I won’t really care if Boullier replaces him.

    4. On the other hand, JEV is impressing me.

      1. JEV looks solid but lets be honest he got lucky this race with a free jump up the field after not having pitted for wets before the race was stopped & then being able to fit a new set before the race restarted, hence a free jump from I think 15th at the time to 7th.

        Nice job by the team & him though, unfortunately it didn’t work out that way for Riccardio today so he was forced into the role of “track tester” i.e come in 1st for drys & be the litmus test for all the other drivers re: dry tyre vs inter laptime.

        1. also totally agree on all the Grosjean comments re: he should know when to accept responsibility instead of blaming someone else, but on that point did anyone else also notice how the Sky commentary (Brundle & Croft) completley avoided ANY mention of “Grosjean just hit Schumacher” & even when the onboard showed it clearly quite a few times?

          Cmon Brundle if you are going to be a professional commentator & do a professional job then you need to put your PERSONAL dislike aside when doing YOUR JOB YOU ARE PAID WELL TO DO.

          Thats how life works for the rest of us anyway.

          & finally Croft trying to argue that Sauber hadn’t ever scored a first win………fail know when to admit you are a noob & don’t have a clue Croft, otherwise you are going to fast become another Legard. I could practically see Brundle cringing as Ted Kravitz tried to politely correct Croft, only for Croft to again tell Kravitz he is wrong & thus increase his noobiness!

        2. I wouldn’t call JEV’s jump up the order lucky, when he had to survive on track with inters when there was aquaplaning with full wets.

          1. Jean-Eric certainly did one of the best jobs at Sepang.

  11. Does anyone know how the full wets have changed over the years? The treads of the full wets reminded me of intermediate tires. Didn’t they have much more tread some years ago? And didn’t they have not only full wets but also monsoon tires in the past? It just feels like the current full wets can’t cope with as much water on the track as they could in the past.

    It really annoys me that when the conditions require full wets, the safety car is deployed until the conditions allow for intermediates. What’s the point in the full wets if they’re only good for driving behind the SC? Why not make proper wet weather tires that can cope with the conditions?

    1. Even with full wets, it was terrible and even dangerous to drive…..race shouldn’t have been started in the first place for half an hour……what’s the big deal….Malaysia should now either be abolished from the circuit or month be changed to more adapting racing conditions…..

      1. Jack Flash (Aust)
        25th March 2012, 23:24

        Cods wallop. If Bernie Eccelstone didn’t insist on starting the Sepang race so late in the afternoon purely to pander to European TV sensibilities (ie. and more broadcast $$$), then there would be no problem. Everybody who knows the tropics in SE-Asia knows that Thunderstorms roll in around 4:30 pm like clockwork most days. This race should start at 2:00pm, simples as that. Sepang is a fatastic race track, that all the drivers love and respect its challenge. To replace it because FOM can’t properly prioritise racing logistics (locational weather) over Euro-centric commercialism, is just plain lame. JF

  12. I just read on Autosport that Karthikeyan was penalised with a post-race drive-through for the collision with Vettel. It didn’t look like his fault to me, it seemed more like Vettel moving over to Karthikeyan’s racing line and clipping his front wing.

    1. Have to agree with you. Guess the marshalls wanted a scrapegoat.

    2. I could have sworn other drivers have been given penalties in the past for what Vettel did.
      I also thought if you hit a car from behind, you get investigated.

    3. Yeah. It was very much Vettel’s stupidity but it is how it is. An argument between RBR and HRT, you know who’d get the upper hand! Also, Vettel calling Karthikeyan out in an interview as a cucumber was very much Vettel-like. Its one of the things I hate about him the most – always points the finger at the other guy, when its clearly his mistake. He moved to the far right too quick and just assumed that the HRT would just stop or go over to the grass to let him by. He’s always a sore loser – doesn’t matter how many c’ships he’s got under his belt.
      Jenson, for example, plainly admitted it was his fault but some people are just not meant to be honest!

      Grosjean blaming Schumacher for the contact is another example, although I’d give the guy a few more chances.

      1. I meant *far left*..

      2. Karthikeyan vs. Button – fair fight for position on track, Button’s fault.
        Karthikeyan vs. Vettel – not so much. Seb was lapping him, Karthikeyan didn’t clear enough space, they crossed racing lines and Seb’s rear wheel got clipped.

        Fair decision by the marshalls here, imho. Especially since this is not Karthikeyan or HRTs first incident of this sort.

        1. Karthikayan also delayed Perez at the end when he was laped by him and Alonso.
          His lap time at the moment (dry track) was 1.50s when the leaders laped at 1.40s !!
          His time was identical with those of the gp2series who preceded the f1 race.
          For me HRT and mostly Karthikeyan was dangerously slow for the rest of the pack.

          1. Karthkayan bites. I knew he would be nothing but a pain the backside this year.

        2. I’m going to have to disagree with this one. Vettel was past Karthikeyan and decided to move over again before he’d properly cleared his car. Karthikeyan let the leading driver through, just as he should, and that driver made a mistake.

          1. More or less. If Karthikeyan would have backed down just a bit more than he did (which I think was the reasonable thing to do anyway, given his pace and the fact that he was being lapped) non of this would have happened. It’s a double edge sword this one.

            However given HRT’s pace relative to the rest of the field being much closer on top than last year, I wonder how Monaco, Canada and the tighter circuits will go down… I’d say someone’s bound to get in a serious incident with one of these guys sooner or later.

        3. How frustrating is it to be thrown in the race track in a KART (aka HRT) to fight against Formula 1 machinery?

          However, he must avoid destroying other people’s races.

      3. @rits

        Karthikeyan even admitted it was his fault… Why do people constantly have to search for something to blame a certain driver? Same with Hamilton last year.
        Not every single touch was his fault. And if you’d actually bother checking out ALL the camera footage it’s easily possible to see that Narain moved into Vettel too early.

        1. No he did not, as it wasn’t his. I don’t know what you were watching and from which angle, but almost everybody seems to agree that Vettel did one of his brain-fart things and as expected, blamed Karthikeyan for it. Narain had moved and let Vettel through but Vettel moved over too quick and Karthikeyan wasn’t just supposed to vanish or go off the track or just stop dead!

          Narain did not even move a bit from his line after he’d let Vettel through, Vettel moved in too quick before he was fully past him. Just like Turkey 2010, when it was all Webber’s fault!

          And calling a fellow driver “an idiot” in a public interview just shows what a great world champion Vettel actually is. Stop defending it!

    4. I think it was fairly obvious from the head on shot that Vettel held his line with plenty of space for Karthikeyan. Karthikeyan just moved to the right and clipped the back of Vettel’s car.

      1. Vettel moved too much to the left too quick. He expected the HRT to just vanish! Trademark Vettel blame-mongering!

        1. Watch the front shot, as the post of mads mentioned.
          Clearly NOT Vettel’s fault.

          1. Its not as “clear” as you’d like it to be! It was TOTALLY Vettel’s fault and a majority of people, including other drivers, commentators and people who are in it, seem to agree.

    5. Harsh, it was at best 50/50, if not fully Vettel’s fault. DC pointed out in commentary that this was reminiscent of Turkey 2010 the way he moved over.

      1. There is a difference between racing for position and being lapped. The lapped car has an obligation to make room.

        1. Yes there is. But, a lapped car does not imply that it has to stop dead or just go off track when being lapped. A lapped car has to move out of the way (racing line) to let a leading car by and that’s exactly what Karthikeyan did. He moved off the racing line and kept straight while Vettel moved to the left too quick before he had fully passed him. Misjudgement on Vettel’s part, but he’s just too spoiled and arrogant to admit it. Instead, as ever, he just points the finger squarely at the other guy and, on this occasion, went a full few steps ahead and called the other driver names! Brilliant!

    6. Absolutely ridiculous that Karthikeyan has been penalised. RIDICULOUS!

      1. Slow cars needs to be removed from F1 circuit….Karathikeyan is actually a very cautious driver and tries to drive through the entire race knowing that he is having the slowest car on the track, he wants to hold his position in F1 intact which remains much on the edge, watch his last interview…he voice was so cracking, for a moment I thought he would shed tears in front of the camera ….this mind frame is actually devasted for F1 racing…..this is F1 not a Licence Driving Test….bottom line….slow cars leads to slow drivers and such accidents then will become a regular feature….

        1. Disagree completely. See today’s QOTD.

  13. Fantastic race.
    Good Ferrari won. Even if they struggle for the rest of the season.

    Mercedes are seriously under perdorming.

    Williams have in one race doubled last years point score. So happy for them.

    At the moment, I can’t see what Grosjean is doing that Petrov or Senna couldn’t. At least Petrov went out in a spectacular fashion last year and still was able to get good advertising time with the replays.

    HRT finally have their first in season test.

    How can you not get heat into an intermediate tyre?

  14. What a Grand Prix! What a drive from Alonso and Perez! 18 more races like this please!

  15. Awesome race! Great drives by Alonso, Perez and Senna. I liked the commentators having that little moment of nostalgia after saying “Senna passes Schumacher”.

    Ferrari still have a long way to go with this car but if they can jump on opportunities like this and keep improving the car the season might not be a complete write off.

    Also on the accusations of inter-team orders between Ferrari and Sauber, I’m not so sure. Perez seemed to be trying pretty hard when he went off the track. Didn’t look like a driver who was just bringing the car home.

  16. Good spot there Keith.
    It was the rear jack that was responsible for Hamilton’s lenghty first pit stop.
    Although withmarsh said it was Ferrari’s stacked pit stop.
    The 2 seconds it took to get the jack attached could have got Mclaren out before the Ferrari dived past.

  17. This shows that perez disaves to be in the ferrari , massa no near his teammate, he is not good for that car .

  18. Ron Smedley: “Felipe, Fernando is faster than you…and so are Perez, and Hamilton, and Webber, and Raikkonen, and Senna, and Di Resta, and Vergne, and Hulkenberg, and Schumacher, and Vettel, and Ricciardo, and Rosberg, and Button.”

    1. Make it simple. “Felipe everyone is faster than you, confirm if you understand”. ^_^

  19. Massa is making a mockery of himself. In spite of the “new” chassis, he ended up almost a lap down on Alonso. Now he says he is baffled by the difference. How can he destroy his tires so quickly compared to most others around him?

    Eagerly awaiting for “new” chassis for Massa at China!!

    1. Feel sorry for Massa now…..he is at the crossroad in his career….I think he should leave Ferrari for’s getting too far…

  20. My view on the race–(7/10) The race was built completely on Button’s faulty driving and Hamilton’s pitstop mistake.Alonso was always in the hunt below the Mclaren but as soon he got it,he grasped it.Nevertheless,great drive and competition between him & Perez.Perez was stunning although it was a race fight between two Ferrari engine powered cars at the topmost order.Lotus are roaring for a fault free race with luck.(Raikkonen posting fastest lap,good signs!)

  21. Fun race, a fantastic result for Perez/Sauber, and kudos to Alonso for wrestling his unwieldy Ferrari home for the win. Hamilton drove a pretty tidy race as well, and probably deserved a better result. I’ve had high hopes for Mercedes F1 ever since they emerged from Brawn’s championship winning team. A big manufacturer with a big budget and big name drivers. Unfortunately they have been providing some very underwhelming results. I hesitate to say it, but I am reminded a bit of Toyota’s efforts. I do have faith in Ross Brawn though, and I’m hoping that we’ll at least begin to see regular visits to podium this year.

  22. Great stuff from Alonso and Perez. But just as it seemed like we were going to get a great battle for the lead, Perez blew it. A great 2nd place, but still kind of tragic.

    It seems Massa is just not suited to this new era of F1, in which drivers have to manage tyres and cope with varying fuel loads. It’s a sad story, but no doubt Ferrari will be looking very closely right now at the terms in Perez’s contract…

  23. I’m not expecting anyone to get full points in this round’s Predictions Championship, but massive kudos to anyone who does!

  24. gud race overall…..iam a diehard fan of massa…supporting him since his 1st season with ferrari…but now i really feel that he is gone…he has to be replaced by some one immediately..frustrated by his series of poor perfomances……

  25. Did Perez ever serve his drive through penalty?

  26. Did Perez ever serve his drive through penalty?

  27. We need to check Alonso’s car for a secret compartment with Banana Peels….
    I do not kow…two races and both followers gets derailed…..

    Excellent race !!!

  28. Wonderful race! Wonderful result.. two underdogs in slow cars 1-2. Reminds me of Fuji 2008 (Alonso-Kubica) and Spa 2010 (Kimi-Fisi).

    Very intriguing race from start to end. But the last one-third of the race threw some unexpected performances of the cars and drivers. Mclaren had no pace in dry conditions which was weird. Webber was trading fastest laps with Perez in the dry!! Merc have virtually no race pace whatsoever. These things make me feel that we are in for a lottery of a season. Bring on 2012.

    1. I’m pretty sure it was Massa-Kubica @ Fuji ’08.

      1. I’m sorry, of course it was Alonso-Kubica.
        I was thinking of Massa-Kubica rain fight @ Fuji 2007.

  29. I’m still wondering what happened to Mclaren? Where did the pace go?

    1. They achieved a comfortable 3rd place despite numerous blunders in strategy and the pit lane . It’s not like Sauber and Ferrari overtook both Mclarens on track.

      There doesn’t seem to be a car that’s considerably faster than the rest in race conditions. I think Hamilton should be pretty confident given the ease in which he has stuck it on pole, twice. Rain affected races such as these are rare. Heck there are also a number of tracks where it’s almost impossible to overtake.

  30. Wonder if we are seeing a “new” Hamilton this season.?

    Someone who does the sensible thing in this part of the season and consolidates he’s 3rd rather than go all in and start chasing in semi-wet conditions, risking it all and straining the equipment.

    I don’t think that McLaren did everything it can today, neither in Australia for that matter.

    I actually think it is a new Hamilton, but I wonder how long it will last though :)

  31. I think that the good pace of Perez was due Hard Compound Tires, because Alonso and Hamilton were on Mediums and were posting similar times. Is there something special with these hard tires, regarding durability/speed ratio? (mediums fast in the beginning but degrade faster, hard compound degrade slow but keep the speed)
    Any thoughts?

    1. I honestly think the Sauber is just quicker than the Ferrari at the minute.

  32. Sergio probably wasn’t going to get past Alonso but the Sauber pit crew really need to know when to zip their lips. Sergio’s off was due to the crew radioing and giving him way too much information – he started second guessing himself, started looking for the damp corners, lost concentration, lost rhythm and missed the apex. It’s a beginners mistake in every sport from kids soccer on Saturday morning to Augusta; sports psychologists out there will have this sequence in their training video by Monday lunchtime. Hopefully Sauber will learn the lesson.

    1. Perez isn’t a Beginner. He is a very talented and expeirenced racing driver from lower racing formulas. And Sauber know what they are doing, they know F1 back to front. The only lesson they learned today is that they have made a good car and Perez is capable if another chance comes along to win.

      1. I take your point but one win in 20 years doesn’t really make them experienced on the podium. You could hear it in the messages – do this, do that, look out, stay back, settle for second. Let’s not call it inexperienced then, what about a rush of blood to the head.

      2. I take your point but one win in 20 years doesn’t really make them experienced on the podium. You could hear it in the messages – do this, do that, look out, stay back, settle for second. I guess that Sauber should have known better then.

    2. Sergio most probably would have gotten past Alonso if he didn’t made that mistake. He would have got close enough in the last corner. On the following straight Alonso would had been a sitting duck due Perez using DRS.
      It’s really was an anticlimax though. I think everybody who watched would have believed Perez overtaking Alonso. I even think the mistake itself didn’t cost him that much time, but I think he was shocked after that and was driving for a few moments like he lost all confidence, really being far too carefull and loosing more time with that. If he stayed committed, he would have gotten back to Alonso.

  33. I don’t think too many people expected the top 2 result,it was a great race,though I have to miss 10 laps of it. Perez drove beautifully & keep proving why Ferrari choose him in their driver’s program.

  34. Thoughts:

    Alonso: As others have said, if there’s any doubt who the King is…..
    Perez: Excellent drive, nearly caught Alonso but just made a blunder. Looking forward to seeing what he might be able do in a front running car.
    Hamilton: Solid drive, if it wasn’t for the pit crew….could have possibly won. But learning a little restraint which is good!

    Good drives from the people who finished between 4th to 10th too.

    Button: Had a bad race, takes full responsibility (as always), won’t affect him beyond this weekend.
    Vettel: More unfortunate than Button, but also just had a bad weekend, will be fine going forward.

    Massa: I want him out of Ferrari!!! Call it ‘past his prime’, call it ‘never recovered from his accident’, call it ‘playing second fiddle to Alonso’ – the reason does not matter anymore!! It’s unacceptable!! It’s not like he’s under-performing…..he’s not performing at all!!!!! I like the guy as a person, seems lovely….but this isn’t the Red Cross or Amnesty International or a School Athletics Day where ‘participation is all that matters’ and everyone gets a ribbon – this is F1 and it’s about winning! He’s been ‘useless’ (pardon the crassness) for way too long and there’s WAY too much talent in the F1 grid now for anyone in a top team to be underperforming so badly for such a long time!! I think he should be replaced before the 2012 season ends! Harsh I know….and many of you might not agree…..but that’s what I think….

    1. I like the guy as a person, seems lovely….but this isn’t the Red Cross or Amnesty International or a School Athletics Day where ‘participation is all that matters’ and everyone gets a ribbon – this is F1 and it’s about winning!

      Well said.

  35. When i saw karthikeyan’s interview in the bbc forum i fellt sorry for the guy. His allegation was tha he was on the white line on the edge loosing traction and had to close his trajectory to avoid going off track.
    BUT after seeing the replays off the incident and specifically the front camera view
    (this snapshot is at the moment they touch)
    i see tha he has almost a car’s width space left until the kerb. Also in the same footage i don’t see him sliding or loosing the back nor doing any correction moves as he says.
    Maybe Narain is a nice guy but he is a terrible driver and Vettel is justified to get ****** off as he lost valuable points for the championship.

    1. And every backmarker from next race on will be trying to hide as much as they can from Lord Sebastian on track in order not to incur his wrath.
      Come on, Mr. Vettel. Give it a break or you’ll become another cry-baby World Champion. I guess we’ve had enough of them.

  36. I do love a drop of the good old H2O to make things interesting! Certainly had its moments but some blinding driving displayed. I think it really shows who can handle the pressure! Makes me think of days gone by when the Regenmeister Mr Schumacher “reigned” supreme! (Sorry no pun inteneded!)

  37. Perez chasing down Alonso reminded me of Senna chasing down Prost in Monaco.

    great stuff.

    1. Same here.

  38. Beside Perez’s exceptional race another driver that impressed me in Malaysia was Bruno Senna.
    I was really happy seen Bruno drive a solid and consistent race after a very bad start.
    He was last before the restart and managed to finish 6th overtaking as i remember both mercedes and force indias and Kobayashi. He was helped by the right calls in the pits but he’s pace was also very good, specialy in the last stint where he’s times was about the same as Alonso’s.
    Also nice to see wiliiams fighting back for higher positions after last years poor performance.

  39. Perez really delivered his business card to Ferrari. It’s not question anymore if and by who Massa will be replaced, but when. Ferrari should stop protecting Massa; Perez going to Ferrari is destiny, why stop it?

    1. Agreed Andy

  40. good race but felt so sorry for my man button bless him

  41. More bad luck for Maldonado. It’s a pity as he’s clearly been better than Senna for now.

Comments are closed.