Rate the race result: 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Start, Sepang, 2012Fernando Alonso’s win in the Malaysian Grand Prix was rated the sixth-best race of the past five years by F1 Fanatic readers.

The Ferrari driver held off a charging Sergio Perez to the flag after a rain-affected race.

Despite a lengthy red-flag delay, the race was rated an impressive 8.542 by F1 Fanatic readers.

Many regretted that Perez’s inspired drive didn’t take him to the top step of the podium:

I expected Perez would have similar fate to Kobayashi in Canada last year, as he was second before the red flag. I thought he?d lose a few places but still score some strong points, but he went upwards!

A big shame he didn?t win, it would have been a perfect story for Formula One.

There was also some disappointment at Sauber’s radio message encouraging Perez to settle for second, but Jay Menon took a different view:

I think it would be fair to say that Sauber made the right call. Second place to Sauber is a great deal considering the healthy points haul.

By the time Perez caught Alonso he was reporting his fronts were going off and was experiencing understeer, which he duly demonstrated by running off track.

Asking him to take it easy and be careful was the most sensible thing to do given the conditions.
Jay Menon

Meander summed up a general feeling of potential:

Soon, Checo. Soon.

Alonso’s drive was similarly appreciated:

Although Perez provided us with a marvellous performance, let?s not forget that Alonso again had a very good start and drove flawlessly throughout the entire race.

But the win did not disguise the Ferrari’s obvious lack of pace:

If I was Alonso I would start doing the rain dance before each race because it’s the only way he might have a chance to do something in the championship.

That Ferrari simply isn’t competitive in dry conditions.

Narain Karthikeyan had an eventful day as he made contact with Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. Some were less than impressed:

So happy for Sergio and Fernando… but those HRTs are boiling my blood.

Seriously, frankly, truthfully, are they even F1 level? We should compare HRT’s cars to the GP2 cars.

While others were more forgiving:

They?ve paid their dues and they?re under the 107% mark with two respectable drivers. They have as much right to be in F1 as anyone else.

And anyway, in both cases he was minding his own business when he was needlessly hit by other cars.

For the second race in succession there were many different constructors in the top ten:

When was the last time there were nine teams represented in the top ten, and only Force India had both cars there?

Good to see some middle teams getting in the mix.
Abuello Paul

But once again Mercedes failed to capitalise on a strong qualifying performance:

Biggest disappointment were Mercedes, who weren?t able to catch up with the top and struggled a bit to keep up with the mid-field even.

I hope this will change in the following races.

Malaysian Grand Prix rate the race results

2008 Malaysian Grand Prix5.738
2009 Malaysian Grand Prix5.284
2010 Malaysian Grand Prix6.684
2011 Malaysian Grand Prix7.775
2012 Malaysian Grand prix8.452

What did you think of the Malaysian Grand Prix? Have your say in the comments.

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    40 comments on “Rate the race result: 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix”

    1. Biggest disappointment were Mercedes, who weren’t able to catch up with the top and struggled a bit to keep up with the mid-field even.

      I hope this will change in the following races.

      I think Mercedes’ super-fantastic-front-wing-F-duct-thingo was half of the problem last race. They were competitive in Melbourne where it was dry, but bad luck (gearbox failure and a puncture) put paid to their hopes of getting on the podium. Apparently (I’m hearing rumours), their lack of pace in the wet Malaysia Grand Prix was down to a lack of grip caused by the “F-duct”. Has this been covered on here previously? I’ve been away a bit recently so I’m not fully up-to-date with the site!

      1. You’re right that the Mercedes’ DRS ducting system is not getting the attention it deserves. Given that DRS can be freely used during qualifying but only rarely during the race, maybe this goes part way to explaining their apparent drop-off from qualifying potential. Mercedes appear to get very close to topping the raw speed charts (but we don’t know what final gear ratio they pick) which might explain their Q3 times, but their road-holding and tyre degradation seem to play against them in the race.

        I’m not judging whether it’s legal or not, although it’s interesting to see that Red Bull and Lotus are still questioning if it’s going to be valid for the whole season and involve teams in costs to catch up.

        1. @paul-a I agree with your explanation of the FWFD and how it doesn’t benefit in a race. I had raised the point once earlier that given most DRS zones are along straights and the FWFD is basically used to shed downforce from the front wing upon activation the effect in qualifying is much greater. A consequence of the shedding, I imagine, would be that the car would be much more stable when DRS is activated over a fast corner (possibly due to equal ‘unloading’ of the rear and front wings). In fact the instability is apparent in the F1 games as well when DRS is used over a fast corner and the steering input is too high causing the car to literally snap out of control.

          In effect I think the whole system seems like the rumored (I don’t know if it has been clarified) Red Bull start only KERS unit which allowed them to race away at the start and then pretty much did nothing for the rest of the race as by then the gap was huge.

          1. In fact the instability is apparent in the F1 games as well when DRS is used over a fast corner and the steering input is too high causing the car to literally snap out of control

            I learned that the hard way… :-)

    2. Sixth best race of last 5 years. Lemme guess the top 5:
      2008 Brazil
      2011 Canada (These two are obvious)

      2011 China, 2009 Brazil, 2008 Spa might be the other three. Am I right?

      1. You’re right about China 2011.

      2. That’s a pretty good list. I think Abu Dhabi 2010 might be in a top five at the expense of 2009 Brazil.

        Keith: are you going to reveal the answer?

          1. Thanks for the link. This give the top ten from 2008-2011. Australia 2012 scored 7.6, which doesn’t trouble the top ten, but Malaysia at 8.452 enters at sixth, as Keith points out.

            So, both sumedh and me were right about the top three, but not about 4 and 5. I’m amased that 2011 Chinese GP is ranked higher than 2011 Canadian or 2008 Brazil, and am surprised 2010 Australian makes the list. Perhaps there was an element here of fans’ being excited at the season starting again. Certainly, the only clear memory I have of the race is Massa holding Jenson back until Jenson decided to cut a corner.

            Rank Race Rating
            1 2011 Chinese Grand Prix 9.241
            2 2011 Canadian Grand Prix 9.095
            3 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix 8.756
            4 2010 Canadian Grand Prix 8.668
            5 2010 Australian Grand Prix 8.638
            6 2011 German Grand Prix 8.43
            7 2010 Belgian Grand Prix 8.368
            8 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix 8.344
            9 2010 Chinese Grand Prix 8.326
            10 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix 8.309

            1. Davidhj, you’re remembering the 2011 Australian GP rather than 2010. 2010 was an eventful wet then drying race won by Button.

            2. @davidjh

              I’m amased that 2011 Chinese GP is ranked higher than 2011 Canadian

              My feeling is that the Canadian 2011 was ruined a lot because of the safety car period, half of the race was under the safety car. Also the DRS overtaking had an impact on it. What saved and also made it a fascinating race, was the charge of Jenson from behind, the performance of Schumi, and the patience of spectators on the grand stands as well as that of the viewers in front of the screens.

            3. @murraytastic of course you’re right, and now I think about it 2010 Australia was indeed pretty special.

    3. It is really good to see a new track getting upward fan rating over past 5 years. And the least rating was from 2009, when the race had to be red-flagged and it never started again. From then on, 6.684-7.775-8.452, what more we can ask from a track?

      1. China must be even better. Since the 2008 boredom we’ve had 3 thrilling races, each better than the previous one.

    4. Reflects what was a really nice race.

    5. Karthikeyen did NOT make contact with Button. Button made contact with him!

      1. @nick-uk Right you are. Same with Vettel. However, there are a few very vocal people who seem to think that Karthikeyan shouldn’t have been racing in the first place, so it’s his fault he was in the race.

        Of course, I don’t subscribe to that view point because I appreciate that developing a competitive F1 team is a long process and it’s important for the sport to encourage and challenge these newcomers.

      2. Sorry – syntax slip up there. You’re right.

    6. Good score!

      Don’t agree with vet4’s point about HRT. Pretty daft argument in my opinion, but that’s what we’re here for, to discuss.

    7. Through the entire weekend then I kept thinking about how Force India were so down on pace and clearly they were and through some means managed to get both cars into the top 10. While they brought up the lower end I hope they can use that bit of luck and edge ahead come China. One of the things I have noted though is since 2009 they have cut down on straight line speed for downforce. Don’t always agree with the call but then it seems to be paying off. Really really wish to see another podium for them this year, maybe at Spa again or Monza or Monaco (in my wildest dreams ) :) !!

    8. Well, though it was a quite eventful race I felt slightly disappointed because I didn’t see so many car overtaking others. I remember how Schumacher mentioned that the pace in the midfield between different teams was almost the same so it was very complicated to overtake another car.

      Anyway impressive driving and battle (in the distance) between Checo and Alonso, both deserved the victory. Hamilton didn’t have his day and his race was surprisingly boring, the same for Vettel, whose reaction after the race was quite arrogant and childish.

      1. I caught a good bit of overtaking! Though that may be because I was keeping an eye on Senna. (I believe we saw a few nice ones from Ricciardo and others as well.)

        1. Alain (@paganbasque)
          3rd April 2012, 7:48

          Yeah, there were some of them, but less than you could expect from a wet track, specially in Malaysia.

          Anyway I really miss a true wet race. :(

    9. Hey my comment got mentioned..thanks Keith!

    10. Boy , this race was a mess and for Alonso to win was only due to luck.

      The equalizer was the wet race and Ferrari are in real trouble when they next face a DRY event. I am mystified at how in the world this rates as one of the best races in the last five years.

      I would rather see a challenge between teams where the limits of the cars are tested and reflects the individual talent of the drivers. A dry event provides the basis for what the potential of the teams. To roll the dice in a wet enviroment and benefit from it is nothing more than luck. Thinking that Ferrari have done something special is nuts. They got lucky at a particular moment, one that could have gone to anyone else and the sad part of it is that their car isn’t what they think it is.

      Unless something drastic happens to Ferrari as in making significant changes to this current chassis, they are going to have a 2012 “Williams” moment or should I say season.

      To consider this race one of the best in the last five years is beyond me.

      1. @TED BELL…I agree.

        I will never sit here leading up to any race in any series and hope for rain. But particularly for the pinnacle of racing, I also find wet weather races a crapshoot, just like Canada in the wet with multiple stops and safety car periods. People bemoaned that MS didn’t get a podium after sitting third with 10 laps to go…anybody seriously believe that car belonged on the podium last year? Anybody believe FA and/or SP are going to podium the next dry GP race? Didn’t think so.

        Now I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy last weekend’s race, but I sure think of it more as a novelty than something to hang one’s hat on in terms of where the cars/drivers truly belong on the grid. Rain shook up the field and many think that is good for the sport. Such a shame then that it takes rain to shake up the field. Such a shame F1 revolves around really only about 6 (at the most) potential race and WDC winners in the usual same top 3 teams year after year such that people look forward to rain for the change it brings. Liking rainy races is akin to liking gadgets on cars to assist in passing other cars. It just shouldn’t have to be that way. And to think BE has even suggested sprinklers around every track. That suggestion, having been brought up more than once by BE, has been overwhelmingly shot down by the fans…so why are rainy races so popular then…I suppose the answer is that the odd one is ok with the majority of folks, again, because it shakes things up…which means the series needs tweeking. I suggest stability in the rules, less aero dependancy and more emphasis on mechanical grip in F1 and before long any of the top 10 on the grid might potentially win on any given weekend and people will soon forget the ‘joy’ of a wet weather race. Or at least they won’t notice the difference other than by average lap times.

        Question…do any drivers actually look forward to racing in the wet? Even the ones who have proven to be good at it? I kinda think they prefer the driving and the visibility when it is dry far and above the messy wet crapshoot that they must endure in the rain.

        1. WELL SAID

          Your response deserves ringing the BELL of truth….

          1. Lol…thanks…Ding Ding!

      2. What on earth do you mean by “to roll the dice in a wet enviroment and benefit from it is nothing more than luck”? Does driver skill count for nothing in your view? Do you keep your car in your garage when it rains? For goodness sake let’s not be myopic — can’t you remember Senna’s win at Donington Park in 1993?

        OK, so there’s a couple of tracks that could do with better drainage (but the drivers know that) and above all Pirelli could prove their tech. savvy by designing a better wet tyre, but in the end the “best” drivers in the world have shown superior qualities in the rain — look through the list and find me a single world champion that was not brilliant in the rain. That’s what makes a champion, and last I heard we’ve still got a World Drivers’ Championship in F1.

        1. I know the quote you are citing was not mine, but I agreed with Ted Bell so I’ll give a response. Personally I think that for every WDC that showed brilliance in the rain at the odd wet race, they have also shown themselves to be handcuffed by the conditions at times too. ie. no one driver excels in the wet every time. And really when you think of it, find me a WDC that was not highly capable, never mind in the rain, not to mention that WDC’s are almost every time driving the best car of any given season. If a WDC didn’t have the WCC winning car, it was at least a very very strong second place car. So that goes a long way to making a driver look brilliant in the rain. I believe MS, as one ‘rainmaster’, had traction control when it was legal, and still had it when it was made illegal, and that is what helped him become known as a ‘rainmaster’.

          I do take your point that some of what we are seeing is skill, but for sure much of it is down to timing of pit stops, how well the tires are working for each driver, who was where and had or hadn’t already pitted when the safety car came out etc etc. Hence the ‘crapshoot’ comment from me. Ineveitably more cars go off in the wet so more drivers benefit from the attrition of others on those days than on dry ones. Some teams opt for setups that will favour them if it rains on Sunday and can either do well or not so well depending on how well Mother Nature cooperated with their forecast and reaction to same.

          Overall you are not wrong about the skill factor, but to me there are too many other factors beyond the drivers’ control, and you haven’t convinced me to look forward to wet races, nor to believing that FA will win the next dry race because of what we saw in Malaysia, nor even the next wet race.

          1. @robbie

            I believe MS, as one ‘rainmaster’, had traction control when it was legal, and still had it when it was made illegal, and that is what helped him become known as a ‘rainmaster’

            Oh yes, he was running traction control when he overtook Kobayashi and Massa last year in Canada.

        2. THE TED BELL
          2nd April 2012, 23:50

          Driving in the rain is easy, it just requires big nuts. The real test of man and machine comes from when challenging a dry corner where you are at that point of living or dying. The human senses are greatly magnified at those moments and driving when its wet simply pales in comparison.

        3. THE TED BELL
          3rd April 2012, 0:00

          Senna is a myth…a danger to himself and everybody else on the track. Uniformly unpopular with his peers at the time yet somehow his reputation in death has exceeded his exploits in life. Now people want to consider him some kind of a God.

      3. If this result happen at Silverstone or Spa, maybe people will say absolute epic/historic race. You just can’t accept that a new circuit a.k.a Tilkedrome like Sepang can actually produce good race.

    11. It was good Malaysian GP at least lately still I dont believe this kind of races should get so many good reviews.

    12. I’ll always remember this race, partly because of the action on track, but also because I watched the entire thing in the middle of the night in a Los Angeles hotel room, doing everything I could to stay awake, as I was still extremely jetlagged.

    13. Malaysia 09 5.2?

      There was some good stuff that race until red flag

      1. I agree, but I think the red flag ruined it for virtually everyone.

        1. Well yeah I suppose. I’m quite easy to please when it comes to Grand Prix

    14. Daniel, thanks for mentioning my comment. I’ve been following F1 for 50 years. This Malaysian Grand Prix was very entertaining indeed and deserved such a high rate without any doubt.

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