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Alonso takes unlikely Malaysian GP victory

Speedcafe.com

Sunday 25th March, 2012 - 8:26pm

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Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso has held off a determined Sergio Perez to take an unlikely victory for Ferrari in the Malaysian Grand Prix

The Spaniard led home Perez by 2.2s with Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher rounding out the top 10.

The race was punctuated by a red flag period, with the stoppage called after just nine laps when light drizzle turned into a sudden downpour.

Alonso, driving the Ferrari F2012 that has been highly criticised for its lack of dry-weather performance since the beginning of winter testing, took the lead when the entire field changed from full wet to intermediate tyres soon after the restart.

Alonso then found himself locked in a fight with Perez – the Mexican having gained track position by being one of the first to switch from intermediates to full wet tyres before the red flag.

The Sauber driver gained 7s on Alonso between Laps 33 and 40 to sit right on the tail of his rival, before waiting one lap too long to change to slicks – resetting the margin back to 7s.

Perez then clawed the gap back again, before a mistake at Turn 13 with six laps to go handed a 5s lead and certain victory to Alonso.

Hamilton led the early laps from team-mate Jenson Button but did not have the pace of the two front-runners after the stoppage.

Button eventually finished 13th after breaking his front-wing against the back of Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT on Lap 15.

Sebastian Vettel also tagged Karthikeyan during the race – the contact puncturing the left-rear tyre of the Red Bull with less than 10 laps remaining. The German had been running fourth, but eventually came home 11th.

Daniel Ricciardo finished one place further back in 12th after gaining several positions when pioneering the late move to slick tyres.

For the second week in a row, Pastor Maldonado’s race turned sour in the final laps. The Venezuelan sat 10th before suffering an engine failure with two laps to go.

The issue elevated Schumacher into the points. The seven-time World Champion’s hopes of a strong result had been dashed with a spin on the opening lap after contact with Romain Grosjean.

The Frenchman had jumped to third on the run to the first corner, but joined Schumacher in a Turn 4 rotation. The Lotus driver completed just three more laps before a second spin ended his race.

The result sees Alonso lead the standings by five points from Hamilton, with Australian Grand Prix winner Button a further five points adrift in third.

The championship continues with the Chinese Grand Prix in three weeks time.

See below for the full race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Laps

Time/Retired

Grid

1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 56 Winner 8
2 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 56 +2.2 secs 9
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 56 +14.5 secs 1
4 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 56 +17.6 secs 4
5 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 56 +29.4 secs 10
6 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 56 +37.6 secs 13
7 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 56 +44.4 secs 14
8 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 56 +46.9 secs 18
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 56 +47.8 secs 16
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 56 +49.9 secs 3
11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 56 +75.5 secs 5
12 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 56 +76.8 secs 15
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 56 +78.5 secs 7
14 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 56 +79.7 secs 2
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 56 +97.3 secs 12
16 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 19
17 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 55 +1 Lap 20
18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 24
19 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 54 +2 Laps 11
20 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 21
21 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 23
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 22
Ret Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 46 +10 Laps 17
Ret Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 3 +53 Laps 6

See below for the points standings after Race 2 of 20

Pos

Driver

Points

1 Fernando Alonso 35
2 Lewis Hamilton 30
3 Jenson Button 25
4 Mark Webber 24
5 Sergio Perez 22
6 Sebastian Vettel 18
7 Kimi Räikkönen 16
8 Bruno Senna 8
9 Kamui Kobayashi 8
10 Paul di Resta 7
11 Jean-Eric Vergne 4
12 Daniel Ricciardo 2
13 Nico Hulkenberg 2
14 Michael Schumacher 1
15 Nico Rosberg 0
16 Pastor Maldonado 0
17 Timo Glock 0
18 Charles Pic 0
19 Felipe Massa 0
20 Vitaly Petrov 0
21 Heikki Kovalainen 0
22 Narain Karthikeyan 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa 0
24 Romain Grosjean 0

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