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In a sensational and exciting race in a wet Sepang circuit, a surprising duo finished on the higher steps of the podium. Alonso took the win at the Malaysian Grand Prix after managing to hold off the challenge from Sauber’s Sergio Perez.
Thanks to this win the Spaniard is now leading the championship standings, leaving behind the memories of Ferrari’s tough start to the season. Still it wasn’t an easy win as only a late error prevented Perez passing Alonso, which would have given na ultimate surprise win for team Sauber.
With Webber finishing outside after a very disappointing race, it was up to Hamilton to score points for McLaren with a podium finish, in third place. Vettel was also disappointed with his race as he also finished outside the points in 11th, after he caught up in traffic. His team-mate Webber finished fourth ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Williams’ Bruno Senna.
With most of the teams starting on intermediate tyres the McLarens managed to get away through the first corner ahead of the field. Behind them, Romain Grosjean and Schumacher were fighting for third place until they made contact and ended up spinning. With this situation the Red Bulls took the opportunity and got ahead of both drivers. Still the race wouldn’t last long for Romain Grosjean as the Lotus driver halted his E20 in the gravel on lap 3.
As the rain increased teams were thinking on changing tyres. But Sauber’s Perez was already on wet from the start and that would become the best strategy. On lap four the Mexican driver was running three seconds quicker than the leaders and when everyone had to come to the pits to change tyres, Perez was already third behind the two McLarens.
The race came to a halt as the rain increased into undrivable conditions. The race was halted for almost an hour. Having held to intermediate tyres, Jean-Eric Vergne was a surprising seventh, while Narain Karthikeyan climbed to 10th having started on wets.
As race resumed everyone was on mandatory wets, but after the first laps behind the safety car, it was obvious that the cars could already run in intermediate. Button imediatly pitted when the race was resumed. With this move he overtook his team-mate that had already lost a position to Alonso. But Button’s race then went down the pipe when hehit Karthikeyan as he was running through traffic after rejoining the track. He was forced to return to the pits for a new front wing, causing him to fall down the order.
Perez got ahead of Alonso after staying for one extra lap, but the Spaniard would overtake him back immediately. The Spaniard then started to pull away, eventually establishing a six-second lead over Perez who had also pulled away from the rest of the field.
But the Mexican would start to recover as the track dried. After changing to dry tyres Alonso still managed to pull off once again but on dry track Perez was faster than the Ferrari driver taking a second or more per lap out of Alonso's lead. With seven laps to go his team was telling him not to jeopardize his second place and a mistake coming onto the back straight ended the Mexican’s chance to win in Malaysia.
Hamilton never had the pace to catch the top two runners and finished third. Vettel was heading to a fourth place finish when he clipped Karthikeyan's HRT in the closing stages. He fell down to 11th place, handing fourth place to Webber.
|2||15||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||56||+2.2 secs||9||18|
|3||4||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+14.5 secs||1||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+17.6 secs||4||12|
|5||9||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||56||+29.4 secs||10||10|
|6||19||Bruno Senna||Williams-Renault||56||+37.6 secs||13||8|
|7||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||56||+44.4 secs||14||6|
|8||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||56||+46.9 secs||18||4|
|9||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||56||+47.8 secs||16||2|
|10||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||56||+49.9 secs||3||1|
|11||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+75.5 secs||5|
|12||16||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||56||+76.8 secs||15|
|13||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||56||+78.5 secs||7|
|14||3||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+79.7 secs||2|
|15||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||56||+97.3 secs||12|
|16||21||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham-Renault||55||+1 Lap||19|
|17||24||Timo Glock||Marussia-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||20|
|18||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham-Renault||55||+1 Lap||24|
|19||18||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||54||+2 Laps||11|
|20||25||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth||54||+2 Laps||21|
|21||23||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||54||+2 Laps||23|
|22||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||54||+2 Laps||22|
|4||Mark Webber||Australian||Red Bull Racing-Renault||24|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||German||Red Bull Racing-Renault||18|
|10||Paul di Resta||British||Force India-Mercedes||7|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||German||Force India-Mercedes||2|
|23||Pedro de la Rosa||Spanish||HRT-Cosworth||0|
|2||Red Bull Racing-Renault||42|
V 8 (90º vee)
146 cu in
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost