Alonso wins rain affected Malaysian Grand Prix; Hamilton is third after pit stop delay proves crucial
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took full advantage of the wet track in the Malaysian Grand Prix to secure his first win of the season. The Spaniard, who hasn’t won a race since last season’s Silverstone meeting, held off the competition from Sauber’s Sergio Perez to secure a memorable victory.
As heavy rain began to fall in the second lap, Perez pitted to change to the all wet tyres, a move which would see him move to 3rd behind the two McLaren drivers, after the rest of the field made stops in the next few laps. And, as the relentless rain continued, the race was stopped in the sixth lap, meaning the eventual race winner would start again in fifth position. A quick pit by Alonso saw him come out in second behind Perez and take the lead in the 16th lap, never looking back.
The Ferrari, which on a dry track simply cannot compete with the McLaren or Red Bull cars, was the fastest out there for some time, opening up a 7.7 second gap by lap 30 on Perez. However, as the track began to dry, Perez began to catch Alonso, before a mistake cost him dearly in his bid for a first ever Formula One win.
Perez was less than a car’s length away as he mounted the kerb on turn 14, forcing him to run wide and costing him at least 5 seconds, which secured the win for Alonso and Ferrari, but Perez and his Sauber team can be proud of their efforts and their podium finish.
Alonso said: “It is an unbelievable result, a great job from the team. We maximised the potential in our hands, keeping calm in some strange conditions at the beginning with inters and the switching to dry tyres. The team deserve this win. It’s a tough time for us at the moment, but this is a Sunday we will remember.“
Lewis Hamilton’s bid for the chequered flag was crucially delayed by a pit stop, but the Brit still made it two podiums in two races as he finished 3rd, closely followed by Red Bull’s Mark Webber. His team mate and defending Champion Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire on the final lap and a collision with Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT left him with a puncture.
1: Fernando Alonso- Ferrari- 2:44:51.812
2: Sergio Perez- Sauber- +00:02.263
3: Lewis Hamilton- McLaren- +00:14.591
4: Mark Webber- Red Bull- +00:17.688
5: Kimi Raikkonen- Lotus- +00.29.456
6: Bruno Senna- Williams- +00:37.667
7: Paul Di Resta- Force India- +00:44.412
8: Jean-Eric Vergne- Toro Rosso- +00:46.985
9: Nico Hulkenberg- Force India- +00.47.996
10: Michael Schumacher- Mercedes GP- +00:49.996