Turning up the heat
Sepang 2016
Malaysian Grand Prix
Alonso turns form book on its head to win rain-hit Malaysian Grand Prix
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Mar 2012   |  3:33 pm GMT  |  504 comments

Fernando Alonso produced a scintillating performance today, with the Ferrari strategists and pits crew making all the right moves, to win a rain hit Malaysian Grand Prix. The track has always been good to the Spaniard; he took his first pole position and podium here and has won the race twice before.

But even he had to admit that he was lucky not to lose the victory in the closing stages to 22 year old Sergio Perez, who was challenging for the lead with seven laps to go but made a mistake, losing four seconds and giving Alonso breathing space to win the race. It was the 28th victory of Alonso’s career and moves him ahead of Jackie Stewart in the all time winners’ list.

Perez finished second, the first Mexican to stand on an F1 podium for 41 years, with Hamilton again finishing third after starting on pole position; the same result as Australia.

It was classic Alonso; the weather conditions offered an opportunity to level the playing field and Alonso snatched it gratefully. The turning point of the race was the second round of pit stops on lap 14 when the drivers moved from full wet to intermediate tyres. Alonso came in behind Hamilton, but fast pit work by Ferrari got him moving and then McLaren had to hold Hamilton in his pit box as Massa swept into the next door Ferrari box. This meant Alonso left the pits ahead of Hamilton. Perez had stayed out but when he stopped a lap later he took second place ahead of Hamilton. The order stayed that way to the end.

The track was wet at the start and most drivers started on intermediate tyres, but Perez the rain intensified as the cars made their way around the opening lap. Sauber pitted Perez for full wets from 11th place and it proved an inspired call as it took him to third place when everyone else followed suit.

The race had to be suspended after just nine laps due to a heavy rain down pour and up until that point it seemed as though the McLarens were going to match their qualifying dominance as they navigated their way through the familiar puddles at Sepang. An opening lap tangle between Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher, dropping them out of third and fourth places allowed the Red Bulls to take their positions as the rain began to fall harder.

By the time the red-flag was dropped the whole grid had changed to the full wet apart from Narain Karthikeyan, who began the race on them and, Jean Eric Vergne who had managed to stay on-track with the intermediates. The rules state that all cars must restart the race on the full wet tyre, which gave Vergne a free set of tyres with no lost time in the pits. This put him in 7th place.

After the re-start race leader Hamilton and third placed Alonso pitted a lap earlier than Perez, who stayed out and took the lead. McLaren held Hamilton in his pit box to avoid a collision with Massa and that gave Alonso second place. Then when Perez rejoined after his stop a lap later, he struggled initially with tyre warm up and Alonso passed him in turn 3. Alonso and Perez pulled away from Hamilton and the rest of the field. Hamilton had no response for the pace of the leading two cars in either intermediate or dry conditions.

The top three remained unchanged until the end of the race, however Perez found incredible pace as his ever-degrading intermediates became worn out slicks and he began to catch Alonso at around a second a lap, setting continuous fastest laps in the process. The track was looking ready for slicks and this point was proven when Daniel Ricciardo took the medium compound slick on lap 37 and set the timing screens alight, dropping the fastest lap mark by three seconds. Once again Sauber made a bold call and put hard compound tyres on Perez’s car for the remaining fourteen laps, a call that proved to be inspired as it warmed up more quickly than the medium on Alonso’s Ferrari.

Perez moved ever closer to the rear of the Ferrari. However a small mistake saw him touch a wet kerb and run wide at turn fourteen, losing the majority of his hard work.

Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel both made uncharacteristic errors when passing the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan. Button misjudged his braking as he looked to pass the Indian down the inside and slid into
him, breaking off one end of his front wing. He could not recover enough to get back into the points.

Vettel was running fourth when he sliced his left rear tyre on the HRT’s front wing as he moved back onto the racing line after lapping it, the tyre shredded and after it was changed there was some confusion as he was told to pit and retire, then the order was overturned, then reinstated.

Further back there were also tremendous drives from Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen and Bruno Senna who completed the top six, with Raikkonen having the final say on fastest lap whilst producing another strong points finish in fifth place for Lotus who once again saw Romain Grosjean exit the race early with a trip into the gravel.


Mark Webber also showed once again that the Red Bull has reasonable race pace, coming home in fourth place.

It was Senna’s highest race finish to date but it could have been a different story when he came together with team-mate Pastor Maldonado on the first lap. Senna was forced to pit for a new nose and managed his recovery well with tyre stops at the right moments. Maldonado’s poor luck in races continued as an engine problem put him out of tenth place with only one lap remaining.

Force India also had another points scoring Sunday as Paul di Resta in seventh and Nico Hulkenberg ninth were split by the Toro Rosso of Vergne, claiming his first points in Formula One after narrowly missing out in Melbourne. Michael Schumacher claimed the final point in another very forgettable race day for Mercedes, Schumacher having spun on lap one and Nico Rosberg not being able to keep up his early fourth place pace as he rapidly dropped down the field to thirteenth.

It was another disappointing afternoon for Mercedes; Rosberg came home 13th, ahead of Button, as his unscheduled pit-stop and slow race pace were not reflective of the Mercedes’ qualifying speed and potential.

Felipe Massa had another weekend to forget, finishing 15th, despite battling with Di Resta at one point. It’s hard to escape the feeling that today was an audition for Perez to take Massa’s seat sooner or later. Ferrari don’t like firing drivers mid season, but Perez is a Ferrari Academy driver and the pressure is building for the team to take some action. The Mugello test on May 1st is the obvious place to give Perez a chance in the Ferrari, so China is a critical race for Massa.

(Additional reporting: Matt Meadows)

MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, Sepang, 56 laps
1. Alonso Ferrari 2h44:51.812
2. Perez Sauber + 2.263
3. Hamilton McLaren + 14.591
4. Webber Red Bull + 17.688
5. Raikkonen Lotus + 29.456
6. Senna Williams + 37.667
7. Di Resta Force India + 44.412
8. Vergne Toro Rosso + 46.985
9. Hulkenberg Force India + 47.892
10. Schumacher Mercedes + 49.996
11. Vettel Red Bull + 1:15.527
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1:16.826
13. Rosberg Mercedes + 1:18.593
14. Button McLaren + 1:19.719
15. Massa Ferrari + 1:37.319
16. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
17. Glock Marussia + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
19. Maldonado Williams + 2 laps
20. Pic Marussia + 2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps
22. De la Rosa HRT + 2 laps

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504 comments

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1

I get the feeling that Sauber would tell their drivers to hold 2nd and 3rd even if it was an HRT up front and they still had half the race left to pass it.

2

Poor race by Button 1m20 behind the leaders and that isn't all down to a broken wing. Got overtaken by Rosberg too, must have damaged his tyres.

3

I thought Alonso and Perez were spectacular, but I just could not believe how poor the Mclaren pit stops for Lewis were on Sunday and last week, costing vital time with silly mistakes. But I believe it will still Mclaren at the front in China with Perez still with Sauber until the end of the season, Ferrari won't cut Massa and be the first Ferrari driver to be cut mid-season since Prost

4

Its hard for me not to feel sorry for Massa. He is an incredibly nice guy who is going through a rough patch in life like we all go through some point in time. He needs to do what he did in 2006 and 2007.Try and win a race with himself, keep it clean and keep it smooth. He is trying too hard and falling too far.I'm sure he'll figure it out and be back again. I'm not sure what Chris Dyer is upto, but maybe it wouldnt be such a bad idea to bring him in in place of Smedley for some fresh perspective.

5

its true mclaren pit crew has made some bad errors . but the season is very early and hopefully they can fix it. but lets talk about the real problem i see that know one is talking about . these horrible tyres pirelli has produce . all this talk about be careful not push to early are tyres will a bad drop off in time. know matter if its wet are dry the tyres need to perform at a high quality ,and a high performance . this is formula one the best of best that racing has. but these pirelli tyres are not the best at any time. we have a battle between engine manufacturers , and we should have a battle between tyres manufacturers, so we can get the best tyres on the track.

6

Some simple facts:

All F1 drivers are class acts. The margin of difference between them is minimal. If people think that Alonso would win this race without the right (i) set up, (ii) pit-stop strategy, (iii) tyres and some (iv) luck, they are deluded. In conditions as such and differences of tenths of a second per lap among the different cars, things can be magnified.

Not taking anything away from Alonso, in my opinion the best driver on the grid, probably along with Lewis. But let's have some perspective here.

And in terms of McLaren's pace in races, I think it's too early. Button's pace in Australia was good and Lewis's wasn't because of a different front wing and set-up. Malaysia, was a lottery. We have to wait till dry conditions again to see if the pace is there or thereabouts before really judging.

7

Must be you way hitting back at those JB fans who crowned Jenson the 2012 WDC and wrote off Lewis after just one race. Good on you!

8

What should we think of this?

Marc Priestley

@f1elvis

(Race mechanic for #McLaren #F1 team 1999-2009.)

Jenson gets first call on strategy in today's race as he's currently ahead in the championship. That's how McLaren make that decision ( 25. March)

Didn't they say the leading driver ( in the race) gets the first call?

Is Lewis Hamilton getting the first call in China now?

9

Was this the 21st century's version of Monaco, 1984 - the race that said to those who know their stuff that there is a future champion in the mix?

Alonso laid a claim to F1 greatness in Malaysia. And I don't mean winning-in-a-car-that-wins-the-Constructor's-championship greatness. I'm referring to the rare skill that can take a total dog with fleas car to a race meeting and still come home with the blue ribbon.

For me this was potentially the race of the decade

10

Dear James,

I see from the tyres used up by the drivers, at least 3 of the top 5 : alonso, kimi, and webber used the Hard and Used tires in their final stint? Does that hard and used tire provide more grip in terms of half dry and half wet circuit, in comparision to a hard and new tires?

Having said that Perez was on Hard and new and still had the pace to run Alonso close?

I am trying to understand how these options actually work, and where does Mercedes stand. They used Hard and new in their last stint.

Thanks

SK Anand

11

The first stepped nose win is an Italian nose, a win produced by a caesarian section. Great race from Ferralonso which will boost everybody’s motivation back home in Maranello Italy, hope Massa’s too. Nevertheless looking on some time comparisons from last year it is apparent no team has recovered from the loss of EBD. This year they are all behind of more or less 1.5 sec say in qualifying and around <5-8 tenths on race. As such, and taking into account Red Bulls, Mercedes and Lotuses have reasonable times but not results compared to struggling Ferrari, I’m looking forward to see how car updates would unfold into the game during next races. So, James do you have an insight on other team development plans, because as far as Ferrari is concern, well it is very well documented, thanks.

12

Just a quick reminder for all you conspiracy types - the radio message broadcast to Sergio Perez was delayed by FOM / TV coverage so he would have heard it a lap or two earlier than we did....

Great race throughout. We think this season is going to be a classic.

13

Hi James,

I’m struggling to work out why the McLarens were so bad (Button more than Hamilton) after the restart when earlier in the race, before the red flag, they were pulling away from the field! Obviously Button’s tangle with the HRT didn’t help, but I expected him to come through the field and finish in the lower points.

Was it just strategy? Pit stops? Or do they simply have a car that doesn’t work well in changeable conditions?

14

"This meant Alonso left the pits ahead of Hamilton. Perez had stayed out but when he stopped a lap later he took second place ahead of Hamilton. The order stayed that way to the end."

Correction to the above

After his pit stop on lap 15, Perez came out in the lead ahead of Alonso and Hamilton. Alonso then overtook Perez on the track to take the lead

15

Hi James just wanted to confirm from whether there is any rule change when the race is red flagged in terms of tyre.

If we see Monaco 2011 when the race was red flagged Vettel changed his tyres and that saved him from loosing the race to Fernando... yesterday when the race was red flagged i didn`t see anybody changing their tyres..or was it becuase they just changed those few laps early..becuase some would hav opted to Interns from full wets as all did after 4-5 laps after the safety car period.

16

I did not see this result coming! Under normal circumstances, these two cars shouldn't even be on the podium, let alone one of them winning the race, especially on a circuit where having good aero is important. Great drives by both Alonso and Perez. I think under dry conditions, the McLarens would have been the leading cars. I think in China, we will see the true pecking order in both qualifying and the race, barring inclement weather.

17

Wow Ian... you got a crystal ball or sth? LOL...

18

Great job by Alonso even though I am not a fan of his or Ferrari. Mark had bad luck in some aspects again but should be content. The brat made a mistake again but as usual blames everyone else. Button made a rare mistake and accepted the consequences like the gentleman he is. Perez was brillant but oen wonders what woudl have occurred if the message to not offend Ferrari had not come. Great result for the sport. Cannot wait for China.

19

Only Alonso could create a win from a sub-standard car and this clearly shows why he is one of the greats. Given how the wet can equalise performance of cars, it was a good chance to see the pure driving skills with the younger drivers like Perez, Senna, Di Resta, Vergne and Hulkenberg. Unfortunately, for Massa this only adds to his ongoing headache with retaining his drive, which suggests he may not even see this year out in a red car ? A few more wet races would certainly spice up the whole championship but realistically, it is still a McLaren/Red Bull race for the championship. I suggest both Hamilton and Webber would be satisfied getting through this with some points, as this may ultimately decide the long term championship outcome later in the season.

I'm curious, does "cucumber" have another meaning in German ?

20

FANTASTIC RACE! is all I have to say.

The opening and closing of the heavens sure made me smile especially when the downpour stopped.

If every race could be scripted along this manner it'll be wonderful.

21

There are so many comments here about how Lewis has been wronged by his team, about why he didn't pit and Mclaren allowed Button to pit. Lewis obviously didn't want to pit first, if he did, they would have changed his tires. This isn't rocket science. It seems everytime Lewis makes bad calls or mistakes, these 'fans' make Mclaren the scapegoat. Mclaren is one of the best teams in the world, and frankly if Alonso had a Mclaren last year and this year, championship results might have been different.

Lewis Hamilton is just not that good. This is simply fact. In 2007 within the turmoil of a doomed Mclaren partnership he seemed really good, but guess what, the last 5 years have shown that he isn't actually head and shoulders above anyone, and unlike Felipe Massa Lewis hasn't had a major injury. Get over it and stop the absolutely ridiculous accusations against one of the top teams in the world. Even when Mclaren give him the fastest car, this particular group of fans blames them. Lewis isn't that great or infallible, oh, and England probably won't win the next World Cup. *Sad trombone* You heard it here first, no need to thank me.

22

sad to say however time for merc to call it a day on f1.

3 years and they are going backwards - they can build engines, not f1 cars,

your letting schumacher and rosberg down badly team.

"we have to go back and get to the heart of our problem" blah, blah, blah..same, exact same story as 2010,2011.

there is simply no improvement, in fact, this car is worse - it cant and wont improve as the year progresses and the 2013 car, if there is one, will not doubt be just as poor.

a failed experiment, hence the reason will not sign the agreement - they know they wont be in f1 next year.

23
Stone the crows

If Hockenheim 2010 was where Massa lost his mojo, Sepang 2012 is where he lost his job. Alonso proved why he's paid the big money and is rated so highly. I agree James, this looked like Perez's audition for Ferrari-he and Fernando seem to get on fine. The big disaster was for Mercedes, all that pace and potential and they have one point to show for two races.

24
tom in adelaide

Two things for sure;

Perez won't be driving a Sauber next year, and;

Massa won't be driving an F1 car next year.

25

As a massive F1 and MotoGP fan, when I saw FA and Ferrari pay tribute to Marco Simoncelli at turn 11, I fancifully thought Ferrari/Alonso might karmically(is that a word?)get the win. Then reality kicked in...should've gone with it and put a bet on.

Actually I expected Michael to have a blinder in the wet.

(IF backwards)

Seems to be a lot of talk here of Perez going to Ferrari.

As good as Perez is, I think Webber would be a bigger score for Ferrari next year, although should he choose to continue racing in 2013,I can't imagine RedBull being silly enough to let him go.

26

Fastest lap of the race in just his 2nd GP.

Welcome back Mr Raikkonen. LOL.

Great drives by Alonso & Perez.

Hopefully we have a dry, normal race in Shanghai.

27

Intriguing race...congrats to checo..i predicted he would get to the podium before KOby - but post-race there's more questions than answers....

That was a clearly a lost win for sauber...checo was error free prior to the team call for him to be careful, it definitely upset his rhythm - why give the call before he had even caught and tried a pass? I would have more confidence in Checo passing than MAL in Aus GP. i hope Sauber don't rue the loss of 7 pts at the end of the season. If they are ever to win a GP, Sauber need to shake their conservative DNA - they should have been encouraging Checo that he can easily catch & pass Fernando, not to back off and book 2nd place.

what's with fernando in the post race conference?..you would have thought he retired from the race rather than won...he didn't look at checo or lewis once. what did checo whisper to him on park ferme? He also comes out backing massa in the press questions. Fernando wants a clear #2 team mate not a young hard charger...

On the opening laps, Koby sliced his way from P17 up the field just behind Checo and Fernando in the top 10...but the team kept him out the longest and didn't box at the same time as Fernando? Rear suspension fault in quali, wrong end of team split strategy (not the 1st time), brake failure? I don't expect Koby to outpace Checo in quali this year unfortunately, but I hope Koby can lift himself up and put in some better races and have a successful season. I hope driver treatment will stay equal but its natural Sauber will now swing behind Checo and is not far away from becoming a full blooded Escuderia Telmex team.

28

Well maybe Ferrari could ask Sauber to build them a new car!?!

29

James, don't wish to be consiratorial, but I suspect had it been your boys Button and Hamilton punted off by Grosjean you would have given that event several paragraphs. Instead, you describe Schuey's trip to the gravel as a sign of Mercedes having another 'forgettable' day. Yes, it was forgettable but not for the reasons you describe.

30

Firstly, I want to say that this is turning out to be the absolute best opening seasons I have ever seen in F1.

Try and dispute any of these facts:

- Quali for this race had 0.45 sec covering the top 8 cars. Last year, that was Vettels consistent gap in Quali.

- We have 6 world champions with Kimmi - 2 years off showing great race pace and MSC - the oldest showing great qualifying pace.

- We have last years mid field teams contending for serious points and wins (Sauber and Williams). Good to see new blood mixing it up

- It is a 20 race season. Longest on record - please correct me if I'm wrong.

- No team is looking like they are going to walk away with it like Red Bull did last year.

- It is 2 races into the season with no team a clear favourite. Can all the people saying "so and so's season is over" and "they should focus on next year" should keep their ignorant opinions to themselves.

Now, in relation to the race, all of the conspiracy theorists, the reason Perez lost time was because of 2 things. 1) He was taking an aggressive line and put both wheels on the paint and lost control, and 2) this can be attributed to a lack of experience / concentration. No doubt about it, he wanted the win and he made this quite clear in the post race interview. No driver is good enough to say "I know, I'll lose control in the wet to go off the course and create a gap".

Alonso drove a great race, and people say luck had a lot to do with it, but I would rather be lucky when it comes to winning the lotto than being good a picking random numbers. Whilst I am on numbers, I think Massas number is up. He clearly isn't happy, maybe he needs a change, but will he get it? Has he lost it?

I understand the safety issues, but what is the point of having the safety car lead the cars around on wet tyres for 5 laps only to have practically everyone pit and change to inters as soon as the safety car goes in? I think it was a bit of overkill.

I think it was harsh of the stewards to penalise Karthikeyan, Vettel clearly made a mistake. To those saying HRT shouldn't be there, you are wrong. They are slow and uncompetitive, but everyone needs to start somewhere. I really hope they start to find some pace. Either way, they will either become competitive or run out of money. F1 is a war of attrition just as much as it is about speed.

Sorry for the long post, but I get frustrated when I see all the negative comments when we are 10% of the way through the season. I salute all of the teams and drivers who are making this season one of the best in a very long time. Enjoy it guys.

31

HI James,

If my memory serves me right (and recently it really hasn't been!) I remember a while ago you wrote that you thought Perez was good, but not necessarily championship material.

Has your (expert) opinion of that changed since this second place (and other impressive drives)? And do you think Ferrari might not take him because they believe so too?

Thanks so much! I love your site!

Pete

32

That Ferrari is at best the sixth fastest car on slick tyres. I believe every single lap by Perez in the dry was quicjker except for the one when he made the mistake.

Hats off to Fernando. Sergio must be the most promising young driver to come on the scene since Vettel. Unfortunately unless Ferrari come up with 2 seconds over the course of the year it's another year wasted for the most complete driver in F1. Perez would do well to stay in Sauber this year.

It's stlll going to be Macca-Redbull-Lotus it seems like as race conditions revert to normal. Kimi's comeback already more impressive than Schumi's. 5 drivers in the mix for WDC w/ 4 of them past champions is stll a recipe for a classic season.

33

Driver of the day - Alonso! Can't just put it down to Alonso though, the team made some great calls today. Alonso once again overdrove his car and got it much higher than it deserved. The guy is amazing.

Runner up - Perez, if not for going wide with a couple of laps to go, likely would have been on the top step today.

Whiners of the day - Seb Vettle. He blames Narain for the tire incident, when he was the one doing his famous slash back across and misjudged where he was.

Runner up - Grosjean. Post race, he is blaming MS for the spin, even though he hit MS in the back.

Looks like a great season though. Everyone is much closer together. I still don't think we have seen MS's potential though. He seems to love this car and I think he could win number 92 this season.

34

I heard Peter Sauber taking full credit for the success of Perez' car, he sounded very arrogant! Besides, the Radio killed Speedy Gonzales -- Perez would have won the race. I am tired of those Radio messages -- everyone tries to be important

35
tifosi down under

ONE WORD yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss hahaha.

36

Great race. I was gutted to see Perez make that mistake, would've been a nice story had he won. Alonso didn't put a wheel wrong in very tricky conditions, he deserved to win. Mclaren seemed to struggle on the inters, they need to get their pit stops in order, it didn't cost them the race today but it could later in the season.

I guess Vettel is one of those drivers who expects the slower cars to drive off track so he can stay on the racing line, then goes crazy when they don't. No respect.

37

Ferrari aren’t going to win the Constructors Championship even is Alonso won every race this season… Massa must go now to give Ferrari a fighting chance of winning the Constructors Championship this year. Seeing Massa slug it out at the back of the field while Alonso was leading the race today was embarrassing for Ferrari.

38
David Selway-Hoskins

A few disconnected jottings:

Fantastic drive Alonso and Perez - well done in awkward conditions (and I am really a Button & Webber fan).

Does the DRS take away any possibility of a driver defending his position - it all seemed too easy to pass at Sepang.

Why, when exhaust blowing is effectively banned, do the Red Bulls and Saubers both go brrrp when off throttle? Have they found a way around the rules???? It was very obvious at Albert Park last week.

I have not seen enough discussion re the 2014 engines, I cannot see a 1.6 V6 turbo rev limited to 15,000 as anything but a bore compared to the current superb engines.

39

Humble pie is good!

More should be better....

The problem with Lewis is that he take for granted that he will win multiple titles.

He won already one, thanks to a large gift from Timo Glock and it may very likely be the only one.

Watch and see....

40

Fantastic Race.

With 8 different constructors covering p 1 - 8! What a season we have ahead of us

Alonso once again proved what a freak he is: deserving of a better car and Perez has backed up his hype and shown he is a star of the future.

Can't wait for China!(3 bloody weeks)

41
Rubinho's Keyfob

General thoughts on this season:

1) What is the point of allowing anything-goes DRS during quali? I know this was also available last year and I had my reservations then, too 😉 I think last year, RBR got their act together with a combination of blown diffuser and engine mode tweaks - both of which they could deploy during quali and then for the first few laps of the race to pull away and take it from there. This season, Mercedes have done something which benefits them in a similar way in quali, but then they are not allowed to use it for the crucial first few laps of the race (and not much after that, either). I think DRS in quali should either be disabled or perhaps more sensibly (as it's something the drivers have to get used to before Sunday) allowed only in the race DRS zones. It would stop this situation where quali is unrepresentative of the race pace (though there are downsides to that, of course ;)).

2) I think it's a shame everyone is hitting at Massa. Let's not forget that in 2008 he was a single point away from the WDC (and had won more races than any other driver that year). Had GLO not slowed on that final lap of the last race, MAS would be a WDC and HAM would still be looking for his first title ...

I personally think his issues are probably psychological and I don't think that it was the accident in 2009 that caused the problem. I think it's the clear message to him since then that he is number 2. Whatever happens, he must expect that he will be told to move over for his teammate. Having come that close to being WDC, he now has to either accept that he will never be one (unless ALO is massively out of the picture) or he has to move on. That's a weight that surely affects your drive - not sure I want to see PER in that position after this weekend's fantastic drive from him ...

3) Talking of 2008, it seems someone has now pointed out to HAM that he won his title that year through being consistent. He didn't win more races than anyone else, but he picked up all the points he could here and there, and it came good. The problem with every season since then is that there has been a relatively dominant car (Brawn, then RBR) and Lewis has probably been believing his own hype a bit too much and trying "too hard" to drag the McLaren up and making mistakes along the way. This year looks like it's shaping up to be a bit more of an even fight, so although people are giving him a hard time about it, perhaps Lewis' comments about "keeping his head down" actually hints back to a return to 2008 form where he wring every available point from the car without being too ambitious - and that might just be enough.

42

All this talk of Perez to Ferrari is forgetting one thing.

Is Fernando going to want a extremely fast young driver as a No2.?

I don't think so, been there done that.

43

What could have been a great race made meaningless by the use of DRS. It's very sad.

44

'Buttons title hopes are over'

what after 2 races? what a bizzare comment to make!

45

Brought back memories of the last great Mexican in the wet - Pedro Rodriguez at Brands Hatch, 1970, anyone? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3vWhhxTxiY

46

Send Mass aback to Peter and pick up Sergio Perez ...let Fm end his career where he started !

47

Great race today. This season will be a beauty i think! Perez made his name today also a great drive by bruno senna!

48

“..it changes nothing !..”

Great response by Alonso at the press conference. He knows that this wasn’t supposed to happen but he’ll take it. He never panicked or made mistakes. He just kept it on the black stuff and let others make the mistakes.

Alonso has, with a slow car managed to pick up the most points so far which will become invaluable when (and if) Ferrari give him a better car. Only a driver of Alonso could achieve this and shows again he is one of, if not the best. Ferrari know that they must deliver a better car to support their driver. The pressure is on Ferrari more than ever to do this.

The pressure is even more so on Massa. Ferrari position in the WCC is severely being compromised by Massa under performing.

Great drive by Perez but he had his chance. He didn’t have to take any chances, his speed was enough to catch and pass Alonso. Was it the message from pit wall lap earlier that broke his concentration? We will never know. Has Perez arrived??...I think he should have won and past champions in their early years would have won this.

Wet variable races always give us a mixed result and this race was no different. Tyre strategy calls make up the positions here. Doesn’t give any better indication for the rest of the season except that Alonso must be laughing to be where he is with a under performing car. Let's not forget that both Alonso and Perez rolled the dice early and make track position out of pits calls that could easier have gone against them

Ferrari can only get better, McLaren had poor pit stops with Lewis but they are doing all they have to in Quali. Red Bull will get quicker. Biggest disappointment is Mercedes…..going backwards in races.

Grosjean needs to finish to deliver Renaults potential, hope this is not déjà vu with him.

Williams again solid, well done, good to see.

49

I must say congratz to Fernando and Sergio. Fantastic performances today from both of them.

The other thing I want to touch on is how arrogant and disrespectful was Vettel. His team principle also showed no class what so ever either.

How can you call other driver an idiot? I am so upset right now. That is outrageous. Karthikeyan did move to the right a bit..but Vettel while passing him did not move to the right where the track was going..he kept his car kinda straight if you look careful.

This is where you separate the men from the boys..and Vettel is just a boy. As soon as his toy is not top notch anymore..he gets frustrated and loses his composure.

Same I can say about Horner. Was he serious when he said the HRT was supposed to get out of Vettel's way? Where? Out of the track? My words cannot emphasise how angry I am with these two. I hope their car breaks down every race.

50

I think it is Alonso that will want to join Perez at Sauber !!!!!!!

LOL

51

Not a bad result for LH given the conditions.Maclaren let LH down today, big time. In F1 the margins are tiny and the hard work LH did do was completely undone by poor strategy and performance. The pit crew want their arses kicked. Wonder what all the interviewers would be saying if LH had driven into another car?? Think I know!! Good result for LH today,keep iy going!!

52

This was a beautiful and refreshing race in many different ways. The only sad thing I recall was the behaviour of Vettel after getting the puncture from hitting the front wing of Karthikeyan.

First he gave Karthikeyan the finger (!) twice following the incident. After the race he went on calling NK an idiot. This was his quote (from BBC post race coverage):

"It’s like on the normal roads, there are a few idiots driving around and, yeah, it seems that there is one driving here"

Sad to see a double w champion and a role model (???) for future drivers (miss)behave like this publically. His behaviour was arrogant, immature and frankly made me loose a big chunk of respekt for him as a person.

53

James, I think your article is wrong in two places:

1. The earlier sentence

"on lap 14 when the drivers moved from full wet to intermediate tyres. Alonso came in behind Hamilton, but fast pit work by Ferrari got him moving and then McLaren had to hold Hamilton in his pit box"

does not agree with your latter sentence

"After the re-start Alonso stayed out a lap longer than the McLarens and inherited the lead,"

2. "Button misjudged his braking as he looked to lap the Indian down the inside "

That is wrong. Button was fighting Karthikeyan for position.

My view of Lewis's race: it was ruined by late (1 lap too late) or very late (2 or 3 laps too late) calls by McLaren to pit him, as well as mistakes/problems in the pit stops. All those combined to cost him 15 seconds or more quite easily.

54

Hi james does the message from Perez engineer that said we have to keep our position before he went wide have to do anything with that or am I the only thinking here that is something fishy had to do with Perez not overtaking Alonso !!!!!!???

55

Great race. Thanks for the coverage James and Jamie. Radio becomes part of my Sunday mornings again.

Great victory for the Fernando. It's mesmerising how he has grown to be the benchmark driver for his generation and most of all inspire fans race after race.

Perez was unbelievable too. How far up the drivers' championship can he get this year if he continues to use his tyres so well? Hopefully Sauber will continue developing the car for him.

Vettel???? Typical grumpy teenager? (Wrong) one finger in the air after parting with his front wing due to his own mistake and then calling a colleague an "idiot"???? He does need to eat some humble pie this season.

The season is shaping up nicely.

56

So what happened to Mclarens policy of the leading driver calling the pitstops? Whitmarsh loves Button.

57

Again the same story James? Some English media is speculating about Perez mistake. The Alonso succes means a reactivation of a lobby that intentionally wants to deactivate the best driver of the grid. I'm not speaking about you, (I remember until Hamilton arrival the Spaniard was yor prefered one) but we know that English media is a "force" in F1. Today even we have lost the Alonso's overtake on Perez on Ecclestone FOM but an accurate gap control when vitamined Perez began his rally chasing Fer. Is it not enough? Some people told me about my sore respecting 2007. Anyone who can add 2+2 could figure out if Alonso can be beaten by Hamilton in an equal team in a LONG season. I guess absolutely NOT. Why: two radical & oppossite brains: one is a hammer with no surrender mentality, the other a great guy but emotionally inconsistent. You chose reality or patriotism. About Perez I said before in this web that he is better than Hamilton and one of the best after Fernando. Nothing new. Same stars and same dark stars.

58

Two Ferrari engines up front. Is Sauber becoming the Toro Rosso of the Ferrari racing network?

59

i dont see why people think the mercedes has potential.

its fast in quali because of the drs hack, and clearly works its tyres a bit too well...

aussie was an unknown, but in sepang both schumi and rosberg started falling back.

rosberg had to pit for another set of inters because he couldnt handle the tyre deg at all, and schumi somehow managed to hold on and make them last for the switch to slicks.

the point is they both were falling back. even without grosjean punting schumi off, the most he could have hoped for today would have been 6th or 7th.

to cure tyre deg, its something way more fundamental than simply car setup, and its worrying that mercedes havent found a solution to a problem which affected them for all of 2011.

schumi once again completely outraced rosberg today too - any doubters still?

60

Awesome!! Sergio Perez was my "Driver of the Race" in Australia and he will be again this vote in Malaysia!! I hope he gets a shot at Massa's seat at Ferrari. Maybe not this year as the Sauber is better, but next year would be great to see him one! Go Sergio! Viva la Mexico!!

61

My driver of the race: de la Rosa. Don't ask, I won't tell why.

62

I regret to observe that a lot of comments tend to crucify Massa when he entered the pits. I think I saw a totally different race: Hamilton stalled before leaving the pits, his times on inters were always inferior to Fernando's. So what's your point. You're angry because McLaren have the best car and didn't win, or else because Ferrari have a cart and Nando turns it into a decent car? James can you please request more balanced and objective comments? Thanks.

63
Sebastiaan Hekman

Nice race thanks to Alonso and Perez, the Latin's on Fox SPort from Argentina - with a commentator from Mexico - went wild. Congratulations to Alonso and Perez! "Ándele, ándele, speedy Speedy Perez".

The rest of the pack did not kept my attention alive. Mercedes is really disappointing. Rosberg is a great qualifier, but has the skill to drive backwards in the pack, at least Schumi moved a bit forward after getting himself avoidably entangled with Grosjean, they would make a nice skate pair, doing a pirouettes together. Sheer luck that they got away without any damage, but for some pride maybe. Too impatient imho from the part of Schumacher.

Unlucky Button, lacklustre Hamilton, too eager Vettel, Raikkonen doing what he told in the interview on the formula1.com website: "Survive the first string of corners and take it from there, as I already face a crowd from P10" Smart.

Back to a normal starttime: The time slot for this race is really ridiculous.

Can we be treated more seriously as fans by Mr E and his pack? I mean, what is the use of starting a race in a country where everybody knows that after 16.00 raining is a certainty. The race was not in Kuala Lumpur, but in Kuala Downpour. Horrible.

All the prep work on Friday and the quali on Saturday ruined, just to treat the European audiences with a better time slot. Well they, in UK and Netherlands for sure, went to summertime last night, so the race came in at 09.00 if I'm not mistaken. So the race could have started an hour earlier. Let's be honest, 8 o'clock is a nice starttime for a F1 race on a sunday. So racing at 15.00 hours would have given us the chance of rain in the second half of the race, much more exciting.

64

Who's willing to bet Perez is in a Ferrari before the end of the season? A great drive and much deserved points for Peter Sauber, a longtime motorsport man who stuck by his employees when BMW walked away. My only concern is with James Key having gone will Sauber develop the car enough to keep up?

Also good to see Williams getting the points they missed last weekend.

65

James, I'm puzzled as to why my comments do not appear...

nothing objectionable in my reply to [4] above. !!

66

People are forgetting Räikkönen.

From 10th to 5th and fastest lap of the race...from a guy that was away 2 years.

67
mugerwa.francis

Andre Stella and the Ferrari mechanics reminded many why people love Ferrari the passion and emotion from those people showed how much ferrari is passionate about racing they make you be proud that u root for them am ugandan and love your website my favourite f1 website thank you james

68

'Alonso turns formbook on head'

Alonso; It was clear to me the minor fact of a Rain sorm had a little more to do with it. The only thing you can commend Ferrari on is getting right tyres on the right time.

Sergio: Roumor hes going ferrari plus the radio call n engine supply = little slip to give Alonso win. Funny coz only person dismissig win as one off is Alonso.

All the other Motoring journalists are hailing Ferraris come back. come china its busniess as usual for Mclaren. I'm sure the minor fact that they got 1-2 in qualy tells us something.

69

What an amazing drive from Alonso, once again he has shown he is the real deal.

James, would do you say this race win owes a lot to Neil Martin who they hired from RedBull last year, after all he was their Chief Strategist but not sure if he does the same role at Ferrari and haven't read much about him this year.

70

I think that there are going to be a number of races like this with normal mid-field teams mixing it at the front. With the qualifying performances being so close if any of the big team drivers make a mistake I think the days of charging back through the field are a thing of the past.

The World Champion this year will have done well to win more than half a dozen races I reckon.

71

An Amazing race which i enjoyed after a long time .. it kept me engaged and emotional at the end. Hats off to Alonso and Checko for the thrills.

Something though has to be said about Vettel's comments post race with regards to his do in with the HRT...it was somehow distaste full and unwarranted calling another driver an idiot.

72

Fernando has a KERS in his head, to give extra when needed. He entirely nullified the other team's advantages at the beginning of the season and now leading the WDC. Fantastic.

The best driver on the grid today BY FAR.

GO NANDO GO !

73

Hello James,

On BBC, there is an line fron Mclaren MD, Mr. Neale which reads "I cannot say that on live radio/transmission" when asked why Lewis was so slow compared to Fernando and Segio...

Any intuitions or insights what he didn't want to reveal? Dry weather set-up or Botched pit-stops or worse, Lewis being demotivated throughout the race because AGAIN Button was given preference in pit-stops (though they might be driver calls) or even worse, Mclaren went for Qualy glory and was caught out in race-conditions?

74

Am I missing the punchline?

75

Love the Alonso win!!! Please tell me what is wrong with Mercedes???? Vettel would need to fight for this one, and surprise Lotus well done Kimi! Lets see if Perez can do the same next race. Really happy for Alonso!!!

76

Great performance from Alonso and Perez, Hamilton unlucky with pit stops.

Makes me laugh though, what would this thread look like if Hamilton had hit the HRT and not Button?

77

In my opinion, Alonso had luck on his side today. I dont think its fair to imortalize him with this drive. He is a great driver no doubt, but I think there was more luck than efforts in today's race. He did not have to defend or attack aggressively for his position today. In my opinion, Perez deserved the win. There is a conspiracy theory but we will never get to know. The real winner is F1.

78

It's seems that Lewis Hamilton is learning and maturing, understanding that points equal prizes.

I like is approach thus far, dominant quali performances, producing 2 pole positions from only 2 lap attempts, both on his first Q3 laps, showing there was more time in the locker if required to produce another lap - impressive stuff.

This Lewis Hamilton accepted Alonso/Perez had superior pace, instead of chasing them down gung-ho style and ruining his tyres - he ate some humble pie, accepted the situation he found himself in and settled for 3rd place, bringing home valuable points - 2007/08 style.....

In my opinion he seems to be playing the long game - "consistency is the key to success", at the moment he's 2nd in the championship, come China i'm expecting more fireworks in quali and Lewis on the front row and scoring another podium, hopefully with his pit crew working with him instead of against him - unlike today.

For Jenson quali has always been an weakness, but at the moment he seems to be in top form and that is the consistency Jenson will have to show throughout the season, he's got to keep that McLaren on the front row and then he can control his own destiny, instead of relying on safety cars/changeable conditions and mistakes from others to win races.

Can somebody explain to me why Jenson was first to pit on two occasions ahead of Lewis?

My understanding was the driver who is leading gets first option on pit stops - at this point I was a bit baffled, because commentary didn't mention anything.

Due to Jenson pitting first he was able to get an extra 1-2 laps worth of heat into the tyres which is invaluable before he made the attack on Lewis - good smart racing from Jenson, but for me - why would Lewis and his pit crew give Jenson that type of opportunity? Don't get that whole sequence of events, just doesn't stack.

I'm also yet to be convinced about McLaren race pace - quali yes - but the race?

79
Tornillo Amarillo

2nd pole for Hamilton, but he faded in the race, he was unable to catch up Perez-Alonso, and behind Vettel was catching-up him.

However, Button's pace at the beginning was better than Lewis'.

I think Lewis was lucky to have Button, Schumacher, Grosjean, Vettel with clashes, but that won't be always the case in the future.

James, as seen in this 2 opening races, in a "normal-dry-non incidental-race", with this kind of set-up can Hamilton really hold his qualy position regarding Button, Kimi, Grosjean, Webber, Vettel and maybe Perez?

80

Im not a Ferrari fan, but I have to give major props to Fernando for that drive! Diddo to Perez for a spectacular performance. Disappointing for Button and his clash with the HRT, but he'll be back on it.

This situation is kinda similar to when Fisichella came 2nd at Spa to a Ferrari in a midfield car and was in a Ferrari himself at the next race...interesting..

James, how long do you think it will take Ferrari to get their heads out of the sand and replace Massa? Mid-season? Barcelona?

81

Title hopes are over after winning 1 of the 2 races so far? Amazing.

82

Jame, I would like to know why HRT get penalised for contact with Vettel?

I don't see anything worng with what HRT have done, Vettel just cut back to the line and clip Narain front wing, in my opinion this is Vettel fault. With Vettel move, what else Narain could have done to avoid.

83

James, did Alonso and Perez gamble on a wet weather set up?

84

he is a dark horse .. and the whole paddock is impressed by button

85

A bit too early for that, wouldn't you think? Three years ago, when he won the title, I had a pretty dim opinion of button, judging it had all been down to the car, and at the time I thought going to macca had been an ill advised move, that he was overestimating his powers and would be devoured by his illustrious young teammate. What these three years have proven to me though, is that there's more than meets the eye in this particular racer, and I still wonder why some constantly put him down. Certainly he's moved up the ranks in my appreciation.

86

Well nice race.

Red bull at the end tell to vettel to box at the beginning, then to finish and then to stay out. These are three different orders within a few seconds!

Then I cannot stop thinking how the exhausts of Sauber and Redbull are alike and how they seem to have common characteristics. For both the medium tyre did not work that well and also they are both slower in qualifying and faster in the race. It looks though that sauber has a better understanding of the exhaust system at the moment and RBR will figure out how to make them work and find pace as well soon.

I think that Macs did not reach their full potential in the end and this could be very well repeated in next races. This time it was not only Hamilton who had a problem with pace at the end. So it is actually 3 out of four. But then maybe it was a one off for button and Hamilton will find the trick as well sooner rather than later.

Kimi's pace after the beginning of the last stint was interesting. At the beginning he was a few tenths slower than the cars around him, but after a few laps he became faster than the cars around him.

The sauber's race pace seemed very good in Melbourne as well, so their true position in the pecking order in terms of race pace remains unknown and could still surprise many.

87

I was eagerly waiting for the Perez to hunt down Alonso, and actually have a strange feeling about the radio message to Perez on lap 50 " be careful, we need the position". Can't help thinking if that was a coded message asking Perez not to challenge Alonso. Sauber's alliance with Ferrari made me wondering ....

Ferrari needs a redemption, and Perez is the driver in waiting of Massa's seat, so staging a mini off is not totally inconceivable. Anyone?

88

As a Ferrari fan, I'm optimistic for the rest of the year. Ferrari have already said they have many updates ahead of the next race in China. They need these updates to work and increase the competitiveness of the F2012 of course, but the car has potential and it certainly has an all time great driver piloting it. Alonso has given the Scuderia great motivation to improve.

89

The race was good, OK, but not a classic. Something was missing. Among the leaders in the second half of the race nothing changed and the race almost stood still. Of course, you can't always have everything, but still...

Perez was good, but a strategy helped him a lot. The car at his disposal is also good.

So far it is difficult to predict how the championship battle will play out - that is a good thing.

90

What a race. Perez coming on the way Vettel did as a young driver. Hamilton finished third again, but actually looked quite happy this time around. Maturity sinking in. That and I'm sure even the best take heart when the teammate finishes 14th.

91

Another Charlie Whiting and Pirelli cock up. Why was the safety car out so for so long? Even more importantly, why were the top cars not able to catch Alonso and Perez?

It was'nt just Lewis who could not / did not match their pace, neither could Button, Schumacher, Vettel, Webber, Raikkonen, etc. Why? The answer is rubbish Pirelli tyres. In these conditions, once all the top drivers fell behind Alonso and Perez, they became what I call "Pirelli tyre limited".

They all needed to make the tyres last as long as possible, with no idea how long that was going to be and whether the conditions will change again. Perez and Alonso had nothing to loose, went for it and it paid off for them today. However, they are not going to be in the championship fight from the looks of it so for the Mclaren and Red Bulls, it was all about playing the long game, manage your tyres, keep your track position and bag the points. It is very difficult to keep tyre temperature while babying the tyres to that extend so the top teams essentially struggled as a consequence, no wonder they could not fight Alonso and Perez.

Hamilton could have tried going after Perez and ended up needing an extra pit stop. Gone are the days when a faster driver could come through the field after falling back for what ever season. The Pirelli tyres just don't last long enough to allow one to do that, and if you shred your tyres while trying that you become vulnerable to those behind you.

For the second race in a row Hamilton decided to look at the big picture instead of going all or nothing. He is looking good so far. All his championship rivals are behind him already, after two effectively rain affected races, having lost out in one way or another during safety car periods in both races.

92

Hi James or anyone that can help with my Mclaren/Whitmarsh disillusionment, why did Button pit before Hamilton twice when the latter was the leader of the race and thus the leading Mclaren???!!!?!!!? As well, why is LH not attacking the race track thus far, he is driving like JB (boring), or is the Mclaren suffering from race pace inconsistency? Old LH please come back (along with Ron Dennis) 😀

93

Great race, so exciting. Bruno is tied for driver of the day with Perez for me. They were both mightily impressive today. Alonso, of course, was faultless but Perez running wide spared Ferrari's blushes.

Mercedes confuse me. Schumacher troubles pole in qualifying but two races in he scores the team's solitary point so far.

94

An impressive race by Alonso! I'm surprised that even he could wring the neck out of that car. But drive of the day has to go to Sergio Perez - Sauber's best ever result! What's more he should have won the race! He completely had the measure of Alonso, the Spaniard could do nothing to hold him back. I very much doubt that he could have held him back for those 5 laps. Hamilton was very much non-descript, I'm surprised that he wasn't able to catch and pass both Perez and Alonso in a car that is clearly the class of the field at the moment. I have the impression that if Button's race hadn't been ruined by taking out his front wing on the HRT he would have been able to challenge for second and probably the win. Massa really needs to raise his game quick smart if he wants to stay in that Ferrari not for next season, but even for the rest of the season

I wonder what price you would get on Perez replacing Massa by mid-season?

From what we have seen in the first two races, it seems to me that McLaren is the fastest car in quali followed by Mercedes and then Red Bull and Lotus are about on par with Mercedes falling behind these two in the race. Looking forward to China in a few weeks!!

95

Hey James, It looked to me that in the last part of the race when Perez was catching Alonzo, The Ferrari wasn't using the Kers. What did you see? Did Alonzo have his Kers? Or was it doa?

97

Would have loved to have seen Perez win, i'm sure he might be disappointed, but 2nd is a great result for Sauber. You saw what it meant to Peter Sauber at the end.

98

Tell me you're not being serious, Ian? There are another 18 races to go... We can't talk about 'routine' until at least round 5 in my view.

99

Incredible! What a terrible race to put a McLaren bet on haha! But...

James, please could you get to the bottom of the strategists thinking today. The teams seemed paralysed during the long inters stint wondering if it would rain again. People seemed to be relying too much on computers and data to to make their decisions. The track was ready for dries for ages. Within 2 laps of people finally changing they were 10 seconds per lap quicker! Two laps and there's your pit stop made back!

I know there was expected rain so they didn't want to pit only to have to pit again straight away but the pictures showed the inters to be down to slicks, drivers were complaining of lack of grip with engineers urging them to keep going! I heard Button's engineer telling them they wanted him to get to the end (another 20 laps) on his inters! What on earth!!! I didn't get the logic. If it had rain they would have needed fresh inters to cope since the tread had gone, and if they were going around on 'slick' inters then surely it was time for dries.

You might scream hindsight, but for lap after lap I was screaming, why isn't a mid field car at least just deciding to brave on it staying dry and pit! As I say the teams seemed paralysed. If they hadn't their computers telling them of this touch and go rain, then I am sure they would have thought, eh up it's the track's pretty dry now, best pit.

It would be great if you could get delve into this in your strategy report. Especially why engineers were wanting to try to get their drivers to go the rest of the race on worn inters, on a drying track! Baffled!

Great race though. Shame for the McLarens but makes the championship exciting. Alonso leading... unbelievable!

100

What are you on about? These are the drivers standings:

01 Fernando Alonso 35

02 Lewis Hamilton 30

03 Jenson Button 25

04 Mark Webber 24

05 Sergio Perez 22

06 Sebastian Vettel 18

101

Fernando is fast becoming my favourite Ferrari driver of all time (since Clay R). He is steady, passionate, loyal and brave. And for all that he seems to be carrying the whole red outfit on his shoulders, I believe him when he talks a team game. As likeable as Gerhardt Berger, but a much stronger competitor.

PS: You called a very fine race today, James. I found myself turning away from the box because I preferred your reading of what a very topsy-turvy race: you guys seemed sharper and more engaged.

102

James, this performance that Perez showed, is this something that could attract Ferrari's interest? ... even though he's got a contract

103

I have to admit that I not a fan of Alonso, but I have to say how good he is, Top the leader board with one of uncompetitive car. Almost lap teammate in the same car, just excellent. One go forward, another go backward.

Alonso is a must to have.

Massa is a must to halt.

Ferrari must replace Massa immediately. no need to wait for anymore prove.

And Excellent drive for Perez, I beleive Sauber is not the fastest car, but in Perez hand he made the series of fastest lap again and again in both wet and dry in average car.

No question ask . . the driver of this race go to both Alonso and Perez for different reason.

104

Another very interesting race today. 2012 seems fantastic till now. The more we go on in the season some questions keep coming up:

1) The Andrian Newey magic was all about the blown diffuser? What is happening with Red Bull? Clearly they seem not to be in the pace of the Mclarens

2) Whats wrong with Massa? Is it the hit in his head in 2009? Ok, he never was a great driver (not even in 2008) but this is embarrassing form. He needs to get out of the Ferrari seat but doing it in mid season is the right approach for Ferrari, without in season testing?

3) Where did the old Hamilton gone? Surely he could have at least closed the gap to Alonso and Perez. He seems to have become more conservative. Hope this is covered in the strategy post, James

4) What is the true form of Mercedes and Lotus? They seem to go in and out of form within a weekend

5) Caterham is also a bit of a mystery. In the past seasons they had managed to continuously reduce their gap to midfield but in the first 2 racers they were clearly belonging with Marussia.

Can't wait for China...

P.S. It would be great if when Massa leaves Ferrari he is joined by Domenicalli, clearly this team needs better leadership to go back to be a title contender. Hoping to be in the Q3 is not worthy of their history

105

What nonsense - other ian.

106

Wow.

With Alonso 1st, Perez 2nd, and Massa in 15th, the only way the weekend could have gone any worse for Massa is if he accidentally ran over Luca di Montezemolo during the race.

107

I listened to James coverage on the radio. It sounded like an exciting race, if not a bit confusing at times, but in the end I was getting frustrated with Jaime Alguersuari's lack of input in commentary. He probably wishes he was still out there himself, but as a commentator / expert pundit, he's not doing his job if you are prompting him for input and he's not responding.

108

If something is impossible, Alonso can do it possible. How in the world can he ve the leader of the championship in this car?, is beyond comprehension.

109

After today will Ferrari still get Perez?

I really hope so but he is just too fast to be a n2 driver..

110

Please can HRT be removed from F1. I know both incidents involving HRT today were not Narain's fault, however they are the most pointless team I have ever seen. They bring no value to the sport apart from being moving obstacles during the race and qualifying. The fact that they were proud to qualify within 107% should be reason enough for their removal. I respect the underdogs like Caterham and Marussia, they offer consistency in terms of driver lineup, have good corporate sponsorship and branding. I would prefer to see a works car that at least has some potential.

111

wouldn't write him off just yet

today Kartakayan ruined the day for both Button and Vettel just by being slow,... quite an achievement!!!

Perez was great, but will he be consistent?

Best drivers on the track: ALONSO, and KIMI. No doubts.

112

Why would Perez bother to go to Ferrari when the Sauber is a better car?:)

Magnificent drive from Alonso today. Incredible how he keeps dragging these horrible Ferraris to places they have no right to be. I'm far from a fan of him, but I think today's race was his best win ever.

But driver of the day have to be Perez. Sauber should have pitted him for slicks a lap earlier and should not have told him to hold station, but that drive was immensely impressive.

Other notables Webber, Senna, Vergne, Kimi. Michael was unlucky, Roseberg seems to have taken a step back. Or maybe Michael is finding his own form and getting the better of him.

What a great race we had today.

113

James, beg you to answer this please!

"Alonso was indeed outstanding. Hamilton was (again) incredibly ordinary and ultimately disappointing – anyone have any idea why he could not catch the slower Ferrari and Sauber? James, any clues?"

And in your opinion, was it Vettel's mistake or Karthikeyan's sloppiness when they came together that robbed Vettel of good result today?

114

Why was Button given a chance to jump Hamilton, not once, twice?

I thought the driver in front has the first call for pits?

115

Glad to be here in James Allen on F1 after watching a superb race. From the scratch to the end I couldn't take my eyes out of the TV screen except when the rain delay and the safety car laps. Even in the rain delay I had fun watching the new camp tents and the wanderings and talkings of pilots. They show their strenght to keep concentration even in such a strange and new circus. I've done good use of the f1.com TimeLiving. It deserves the money paid.

Pérez and Sauber-Ferrari did a really really great race. Pity of such Pérez's mistake in the end. This boy has a future ;O. He was pushing really well in wet and dry track. Yet Alonso and Ferrari were flawless. Excelling even more taking into account the cow that Ferrari has put on track this year.

116

I hate wet races, because they are too nervous and always produce something unexpected.

I am again left disappointed with Macs =(

I can't figure out what made track so unsuitable for McLarens not to be able to challenge for win, as I don't believe Ferrari and not to say Sauber suddenly found tonns of speed to be ahead of everyone.

May be it was the temperature, may be the track got too clean\green, may be the hour long waiting took it's toll... the race toforget and move forward.

117

There are 20 races this season.

118

Alonso , no doubt that he is the best driver in such condition, with slow car!! He is the one who does not

lose control in race.

119

Why? As Hamilton said when interviewed afterwards he's only 5 points ahead of button despite his failure to score points in this race.

It's likely the other championship contenders will have at least one weekend where they fail to score points through an accident or technical failure.

Button is a classy driver who looks after his tyre's far far to soon to write off his championship chances.

120

On lap 1, Sauber puts Perez on full wets, while Williams inexplicably keep Senna on intermediates! If Williams cover Perez and change Senna to full wets, he restarts third instead of last. From last to sixth, with an extra pit stop, is a top three drive of the day.

121

Anyone know what the odds were on Alonso winning and Perez making a podium?

122

Massa's days at Ferrari are over.

123

At the risk of sticking my head well above the parapet, I do feel this was a lucky result for both the top two drivers. Alonso was on top form, no question, but he also had the benefit of a clear track for most of his stint on inters which will have played a part in those lap times. You do tend to go quicker when you can see properly, after all, or when you're not caught up in a battle with another car. Button taking himself out of contention also played a part considering his form in the wet. Still, you have to take the chances as they arise and that's what Alonso did. Perez drove very strongly, but at the same time the Sauber is very kind on its tyres (as it has been the last two seasons) which is crucial in these conditions, and they made a very good judgement call to bring him in early for the wets. He also had some erratic moments out there which to me suggest that while he's signalled his potential he has some more learning to do yet. Until Ferrari can consistently design decent cars, and set them up properly for both drivers, I'd say Sauber is the best place for him rather than the Italian pressure cooker.

In any event, barring something extraordinary over the next fortnight I'm expecting normal service to be resumed in Shanghai. Biggest question will be whether Massa can get on top of his tyre problems and get back up the grid where he should be. I'd like to think he can, but he's definitely running out of time to prove it.

124

"Button misjudged his braking as he looked to lap the Indian down the inside"

Incorrect - HRT was fighting for position, and was perfectly entitled to race.

125

Brilliant drive by Perez and a great drive by Fernando too, shame about Mercedes once again and Massa too, the pressure really is mounting now. Watched the mediocre Sky coverage but listened to Five Live, excellent commentary from James and Jamie.

James regarding Massa, do you think Ferrari will dig deep to help him, is it like a normal job where some times people get great support or will he be left to his own devices?

126

James, looking forward to an analysis why Sauber was so fast today. It was the fastest car around lap 35 in both Perez and Kobayashi's hands and since than Perez was faster than Alonso's Ferrari but even more importantly faster than McLaren of Hamilton too.

127

I thought Fernando took his first pole position in Hungary 2003?

128

Alonso was great today especially after the restart. His performance was relentless and I don’t think put a wheel wrong even under increasing pressure from Perez.

And Perez was equally impressive. If he had not gone off, I’m sure he would have had the Ferrari on the straight with DRS.

It was a quiet race from Hamilton, but a solid performance. Not sure why he couldn’t keep up with Perez and Alonso, but no one else could either and Hamilton kept out of trouble unlike his team-mate and Vettel.

129

The race was awesome - Perez was awesome, but Alonso is completely on a different planet. I wish he confessed his sins and become a man with a clear heart.

I also need to say that Ferraris have done a superb job this time - very good strategic calls - well done.

Fantastic race for both Alonso and Perez.

130

Stunning race but sadly can't help feeling it ended in an anti-climax after Perez's mistake at the end. It would have been a great victory but in terms of the championship I think it's for the best. Of course it's early days but fingers crossed its looking like we won't have a run away winner.

What was going on with Red Bull yoyoing with the decision to pit Vettel at the end?

And it was a shame Sauber wanted Perez to maintain position. Luckily I don't think he paid that much notice. Get him in the Ferrari now!

131

Well, Well, Well...

Life & F1 will never stop throwing up surprises for who thought in a million years Ferrari could pull this off.

Thanks to the Malaysian clouds for blessing us with this classic of a race, yes it was good to see Ferrari turn water into wine after the kind of winter they have had.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was a jolly good time that had action happening all over the pack but you know something, it had a bitter sweet taste for me at the end.

You see, everything would have been fine if I didn't hear that Sauber team radio to Perez to hold position ---> Oh Noooooooooo!

And being the untrusting, suspicious individual that I am, I immediately smelt a rat seeing as Ferrari provides Sauber engines & yes Peter Sauber may deny Montezemolo sent him a text all he wants but for us that can see through the darker aspects of human nature, we know better especially when dealing with that Red team that invented that endearing concept of team orders.

So even though I was glad to see Ferrari win this, I was disgusted to see Perez get denied a worthy win & bravo to the lad for taking one for the team by making his off track moment look believeable to the naive & new borns.

Yes, Perez (aka Rafael Nadal clone) was my driver of the day hands down & his Ferrari future looks promising at the moment though as we type, Alonso must be cooking up all kinds of clauses to keep him in check.

Now it was also good to see Lewis' smile back today even though he finished third after another solid race but me thinks that smile was rather relief after Mclaren tried & failed to screw Lewis again e.g.

i) The second pit stop the rear jack bloke playing dirty tricks with the sole purpose of getting Jenson ahead & thus giving him propriety for pit stops

ii) The third pit stop just so to lose Hammy places & hence to try and reduce the deficit in points to the liked member in the team.

Yes, it's really pleasing to see the new Hammy for as things stand, he's the most consistent driver in 2012 so I think, we have got the 2007 Hammy back.

Right, from what I have seen, I can confidently declare Schumi's comeback was a mistake for it has proved to be a failure.

The fact that Schumi has failed to convert a good grid position again to a podium just goes to show the F1 gods are never going to let him have his podium.

At the Malaysian Grand Prix, I was also impressed by Kimi, Webber, Di Resta, Vergne and Senna who appears to go good in the wet like he did at Spa qualifying 2010.

Yes today was a uncharacteristic mistake from Jenson but us F1 fans know the crash kid/ Wunderkid had never left, what has been saving him of late has been running up front in free air but not any more & hence ... Welcome back wishes go out to the original crash kid.

As for Massa, he surely must be the majority share holder at Ferrari for any team would have fired him after today's poor showing.

Anyway, as always the rain spiced up this race for us & gave small teams a chance to score miracle points but as I said, we have that bitter taste in the mouth for we know Montezemolo's way of doing things all too well

P.s.

The only thing that makes an Alonso victory bearable to me is o get a chance to listen to the Spanish National anthem ---> Lovely!

132

Bravo to FA and Ferrari. Some luck to it but far from undeserved.

What a showing from Perez and Sauber, driver of the day easily for me.

LH was a bit unlucky but did not seem to have had the pace to respond to the top 2.

A pity FA does not have the car to challenge yet. That he still manages a win, has to say something about him.

KR did well today. Lotus looks the better car to Mercedes & Ferrari at the moment. For how long?

Senna merits a mention for his good finish. Williams must be delighted to have secured points. specially if you consider the 2 near misses of Maldomano.

Marc

133

Wonderful day for Checo Perez. It would have been an interesting situation if he hadn't had gone wide, hunting down Alonso.

Surely Massa's days are numbered, Perez's performance leaves little doubt where he will be driving next year.

Although it makes more sense to leave him in the Sauber this year and start fresh with the 2013 car. Getting to grips with a dog of a car halfway through a season has rarely flattered anyone.

Perhaps a straight Massa/Perez swap?

134

Despite all the praise on Perez today I just can't get away from the feeling that if alonso was driving that sauber today and closing in on the win he would of taken it. This guy is just special were as Perez is only a very good driver. I also think that lotus have some serious pace in the car. Just need a normal race. McLaren have fastest cars on Saturday for sure tho.

135

Dear James,

A result that was completely unexpected. It would taken a brave man to suggest that Alonso would win the race, and Perez would have been on the podium. Hugely deserved for persistance in such weather.

Which brings me to a rather important question, if Ferrari struggles and has woes, they still manage a podium and a win. At least that has what Alonso has shown thus far.

What worries me Is mercedes. Gary Anderson was prophetic about them, and one can only ask a loud question, what is wrong with them?

James love to know your insight?

136
Pasquale Mendoza

Perez undoubtedly driver of the day.

137

Seems like Vettel decided to repeat the Turkey-2010-style-cut-back-into-line lol. Now we have the real Vettel.

138

I have been saying that Perez would replace Masa starting next year. However, after today's race I cannot see a reason to wait that long if Ferrari can work out the deal this season. Felipe has clearly lost his edge.

Sergio would have been my choice for driver of the race if not for that one little error. As it turned out, I have to give it to Alonso.

139

I found really interesting to see how varied the pace was for a given car during the race. It would be great to hear how much of the pace chamges was due to conserving tires and how much was just getting in and out of optimum tire and break temperature.

Also, was Alonso deliberately conserving tires, or was his actual pace that much slower than Perez?

140

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALONSO AGAIN!!!!

One of the best of the best performance from him, and really slick work from Ferrari, something unseen for quite some time.

Huge pat on the back on Perez and Sauber!!

Hamilton drove a fine race, only for the weather to take away his win.

141

Weather radars.... i see no advantage to having them.

Predicting rain in units of minutes is useless. Situation can change in 20 seconds. The shower predicted toward the end of the race spooked a few teams i think.

142

Was there an element of conservatism from McLaren here?

Think they played safe firstly with wet to inter pit stop phase and then again with inter to slick phase.

Both times they were reactive and not proactive. By being reactive they ensured they would not make the "wrong" call and lose places.

Think there was a big case to get onto the inters ASAP after safety car restart.

Also think there was a big case to be on slicks from lap 37 onward once inters were producing 1:53.xxx lap times. Instead it was lap 42 when Hamilton (and perez for that matter) pitted.

Ultra-defensive but vindicated maybe by keeping podium position, however a bold decision to get onto slicks early couldv'e seen hamilton make up 10-15 seconds and be in the mix for the win.

143

Once again DRS sucked!

Im getting totally fed up of watching DRS kill racing by producing crap, boring passing in which the car been passed can do nothing to defend, That isn’t racing.

If DRS continues to do this im very close to just not bothering to watch anymore!

144

¡FAN-TAS-TIC!

He is driving the 6th-7th car of the grid and has managed to take an epic victory that makes him be the WDC leader! I was almost crying at the end...

PD: Still there is somebody doubting if this man is the best or not?

145

James, you mention that Perez came out in 2nd, but while the timings on screen were inaccurate, I could have sworn I saw Perez come out of the pits in the lead on lap 16, and that Alonso overtook him after the first corner, just that the director didn't show it. Is that not accurate?

Anyway, good race but, the Ferrari really is slow. I mean the Sauber is a better car in my opinion, because it is much gentler on tires. Great win but changes nothing. I'm happy in a way because the way the results worked out so far, the fastest cars aren't leading the championship, which gives us more competition for the title.

146

Unbelievable, unexpected, astonishing, beyond belief, cockamamie, cockeyed, doubtful, dubious, far-fetched, full of holes, harebrained, implausible, impossible, improbable, incogitable, inconceivable, incredible, kooky, lamebrained, open to doubt, outlandish, past belief, phony, preposterous, questionable, reaching, scatterbrained, screwy, staggering, suspect, thick*, thin*, too much*, unconvincing, unimaginable, unsubstantial,....

....YET IT DID HAPPEN. Alonso won the Malaysian GrandPrix in the worst Ferrari of the last decade. Maybe this is Ferrari only win of 2012 but there are wins worth dozens. This one is among them.

147

Surprise surprise McLaren's sloppiness ruins Hamilton, AGAIN!!! LOL maybe Hamilton needs to hire private Strategists and Pit crew, lol.

148

Sergio Perez is sure to join a top team in the coming two seasons. This was clear fromhis first race in Australia in 2012 that he was a special talent, just like Vettel showed for BMW in 2006. Fantastic race. Hamilton suggested that it was a good finish considering other cars failed; it seems he is under the impression that Vettel and perhaps Button will be his only rivals this season, but he should remember that as the cars develop the field will become more even, and when Ferrari have a poor car, Alonso has put damage limitation into full force. Hamilton should be careful to remember the interview he did for ITV in 2007 after he retired in China before Brazil, he said he was not concerned about the Ferraris as they are too far off to win the WDC. Who won the WDC, it was KIMI the iceman for Ferrari, so Hamilton needs to come down a notch.

149

Button's title hopes are over. As the season settles into routine, Kimi will take him, and maybe Webber as well. Hamilton and Vettel already have him.

150

Felipe, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?

151

The best is always the best - it doesn't matter how bad his car is. Magic Alonso!

Just wondering where did magic McLaren performance go? I'm a bit sad for Sky commentators - there were nothing to say for rest of the race after constant repeats how magnificient Hamilton was because he was able to return to the track in the beggining of the race in front of Button. 1.5s per lap to Alonso, 1s per lap to Perez - this is what Martin Whitmarsh has called "Lewis always knows were the grip is" just before race restart...

152

Driver of the day: Massa, Alonso's little helper, I don't think he would have won without him. He screwed up Hamilton in the pits and shook up Button on the track!

153

@ Liam,

Are you serious? Keep a balanced view……

Fernando has admitted on numerous times, that he's not the fastest in F1, words from Alonso's own mouth (interviews/articles with Alonso) - FACT…..Do some research!!!

How can Lewis be 2nd tier to Fernando when Lewis has beaten him with the same machinery? The best benchmark you will ever have…….How does that work then?

Kimi got beat by Massa in 08 and 09, Lewis comes 1pt behind Kimi in 07, beats Massa in 08, but Lewis isn't has consistent as Kimi. How does that work then?

Facts are Kimi was surplus to requirements by Ferrari, when your that consistent, you don't get sacked imo - period.

So you agree that Paddy Lowe did make those statements, but you can't accept it or won't basically…..talking to me about ON AVERAGE. Listen to the professionals, who live and breathe the sport, who have got more knowledge and information than we will ever have. Your basically saying that Paddy Lowe doesn't know what he's talking about…which makes you look very un-balanced imo.

Yes I am a Hamilton fan, and your Button, if not, in disguise…….It's quite clear from the above you don't like FACTUAL information, I ain't got time for emotion and bias attitudes - I just love factual information from the results in F1 and from the information provided by the professionals - like Paddy Lowe and Alonso etc.

Just an extra not:-

Lewis is a team player, and as proved that on many occasions, even when Button has beaten him…..he doesn't like it, but he takes it on the chin - unlike Alonso.

Lewis won two races in 09 with a poor car, and scored more points from Istanbul onwards than any other driver in that season.

Lewis can overtake and his intelligent and has got a mature racing brain - when focused…..we've seen that all the way through his career….you don't beat Alonso/Button and become a WDC if you don't have those ingredients - FACT.

Lewis is the best qualifier in the business imo, but he's certainly better than Alonso - ask Alonso, ask Briatore……you need do some research my friend.

And finally the key point, Alonso got beat by Lewis in the same equipment, you need to digest that and accept it, because it's never going to go away - it's written in history.

Sorry Liam, but the evidence that we have doesn't support your thinking imo - emotions can only go so far……and then they cloud your judgement.

154

Ash, you seem to take what you want from what I say rather than what I mean... Either that or I'm not getting my points across very well.

Lewis IS second tier. I'm not saying he always will be but he just isn't as consistent as Kimi and Fernando.. Both of those drivers are as quick as Lewis and both are more consistent, hence they're in a tier above imo.

I can see that you're a Hamilton fan but please keep a balanced view here. I just love motorsport and have followed it closely for years across many categories, not just F1 so I like to think I know a thing or two... I race as well, Karts they may be but I understand fully what it takes to be good.

Paddy Lowe did say that he didn't think Button was particularly great at looking after tyres but his driving style is inherently smooth, this is a fact. This very driving style is the reason he can't ring the neck out of anything with 4 wheels like Lewis can but it's a fact that his tyres do ON AVERAGE last longer than Lewis'.

You're right, Button is a percentage man to a certain extent, some would call it an intelligent approach. This is the reason I put him in the same tier as Hamilton... Not as fast but more intelligent behind the wheel and hence there is very little between them.

Look, all this started because some blind Hamilton fan said that because golden boy Jenson crashed instead of Hamilton nobody cares. All I did was point out some obvious things and a lot of it has been taken the wrong way.

People have this stupid opinion that Jenson is awful and Lewis is some awesome wonderkid which is crazy because in the real world they're super close.

I do think though that Jenson will never be faster than he is but Lewis sure can approach races in a different way. If he takes that side of Jenson's approach Lewis will absolutely demolish him and we would have a partnership that is stronger than Schumacher\Barrichello or Hakkinen\Coulthard ever was.

I really do hope that Lewis does take this approach and he looks like he will. If he does, and McLaren keep producing winning cars we could well see some all British dominance which is something I'd like to see.

Just an extra note on Alonso. Granted, he is not a team player BUT he is at least the equal fastest on the grid AND he can do it in a dog of a car as he's proved time and time again. He can overtake, he can run an intelligent race, he can develop a car, he gets a team around him, he can qualify etc etc etc The only other driver on the grid who ticks ALL of those boxes at the moment is Kimi when his heart is in it.

Hamilton will tick all of those boxes too if he finds consistency.

155

@ Liam

First and foremost, I want to apologise for my previous post, having viewed it for the second time, it came across a little aggressive and that wasn't my intention.

1) Tyre Management

I believe it was last year or the year before, Paddy Lowe (Technical Director of McLaren) clearly stated that this idea of Button being a tyre management specialist is a "myth" - that's the word he used. I'm no expert but I would say that Paddy Lowe knows what he's talking about. And if there is anybody i'm going to listen too - it's this guy!!!

If we take Sunday's race for example, Lewis was able to hold Button off on the inters and showed, like on occasions last year, that he can conserve/manage tyres with the best of them - they won 3 races each last year remember. In order to win races you have to manage tyres.

The reason we have this perception of Hamilton not being able to manage his tyres, is because the british F1 media community like to build a picture laced with propaganda to try and damage ones reputation and credibility, and individuals like me who break down the evidence we have, see a different picture.

2) Risk

Button and the word risk don't mix imo, to me Button is Mr Percentage/Opportunist, but that I've come to learn, is a strength within itself which i've grown to respect and will bring success - given the chance (Button last year), and a strength that Lewis needs to understand more, when to take a risk and when not to.

It's clear from the first 2 races that there has been a switch of philosophy in Lewis and so far he's been the most consistent driver - due to taking less risk and respecting the position he finds himself in.

3) Quali/Race Pace

You wrote "I agree that all things being equal except for race pace"

Didn't you read the interview earlier this week, where Button clearly stated (quote) "I know I am probably not the quickest driver on the grid" - if he can accept it....what else is there left to say.

4) Best Driver

When I hear people say Alonso is the most complete driver - it makes me cringe....

This is a guy who demands number 1 status, a driver that needs that security to enable him to do battle....didn't get it at McLaren and got beat by a rookie on tracks the rookie had never raced on before, and instead of fighting at McLaren and proving your worth....he goes to Renault and deprives himself a WDC winning car in 2008 - Lol!!!!

He's got the likes of Massa moving over and playing ball, because Alonso didn't have the ability to overtake him at whatever the circuit was in 2010, to which was the start of his WDC bid.

And the irony is.....it came back around and tapped him on the shoulder in 2010, because then his ability as an F1 driver couldn't pass Petrov in Abu Dhabi and make the difference to win his x3rd WDC - thats bottom line....poor strategy by Ferrari or not.....and then this guy had the cheek to disrespect Petrov for his own shortcomings - come on.... "the most complete".......Not to mention Pique "please crash in the wall so I can win" - crashgate - come on.

But after that little rant....he is still a great with x2 WDC and who is very very talented driver, but he ain't better than Lewis imo - on a par IF anything.....The facts are I've seen them in equal equipment and the rookie won. Thats tells me all I need to know....and that will never ever go away, it's written in history. And for those who choose to ignore that, ignore that.

In regards to your Kimi comment and Button & Vettel being alongside Lewis in the 2nd tier - it's not worthy of a response tbh..... Lol!!! - Lewis Hamilton 2nd tier?

156

Agreed on Hamilton being faster than Button but you're deluded if you think it's any more than a couple of tenths in race pace.

Being a racing driver isn't just about outright pace, there are 100's of other things that make the difference between the good and the great.

You say his tyre conservation\wet weather ability is a myth based on one race where he clipped a HRT... That's pretty short sighted when there are ten years of races to look back at where he has consistently performed above expectation in the wet.

To say Button doesn't take risks and drives like miss daisy is silly because he's one of the best overtakers on the grid and is quite capable of winning if Lewis doesn't and the car is up to it.

I agree that all things being equal except for race pace Lewis is the better driver but all is not equal and Lewis will have his work cut out for him if he is to beat Button this year. He needs to find his 2007 consistency or he'll lose to his team mate again.

My view on drivers is this... Kimi and Fernando are the top, Lewis, Jenson & Vettel are next, then the rest of the grid who are probably headed by Rosberg, Schumacher, Di Resta, Perez and Hulkenburg although it's hard to tell exactly who's best out of the others. Let's face it all but two of the drivers on the grid are truly world class. This list is not just based on pace alone obviously. Pace alone will not win a championship.

157

It's not so much that Jenson is a golden boy... Some simple arithmetic will make it pretty obvious. How many times in the past 3 years has Hamilton screwed up his own race? Ok, and how many times has Button done the same?

Answers on a postcard. But then, once you've seen them your comment and those above will seem daft.

158

Yes, by the time they ARRIVED in Australia, they were the second fastest package, but in winter testing they weren't!

Nor would they have been 2nd fastest in Bahrain, which was a canceled event...

Effectively Bahrain gave them a breather.

159

McLaren already had the second fastest package by the time they arrived in Australia last year. Both Hamilton and Button finished in 2nd position for the first two races respectively.

Ferrari are miles away at the moment. Dare I say they are even behind Lotus in both quali and race pace and Mercedes in quali. Had Kimi started from fifth, I'm not sure Fernando would have won that one.

I wish them good luck though. Ferrari and Alonso should have won in 2010 and need to shine in 2012 to keep their flamboyant image right up there.

160

http://www.crash.net/f1/news/178030/1/force_india_pair_back_karthikeyan.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEJXj8s-PnU

There you go, Vettel drove into another driver's line. How's that Narain's fault?

Vettel should just admit wrongs rather than acting like a spoilt [mod] thinking he owns the place [mod]

161

Just coz stewarts made a decision, doesn't mean they aren't wrong, as evident from many many many cases in the past.

162

James, would it be too much to ask that the article read "Schumacher having spun on lap one AFTER BEING TAPPED BY GROSJEAN'S LOTUS"

as this is what happened & yet alot of reports don't seem to contain this & merely mention that Schumacher had a spin & fell to 16th. Small technicality but its the difference between driver error or being spun through no fault of your own.

163

"An opening lap tangle"

Nice writeup as usual James, although I would suggest a more appropriate wording regarding the Grosjean Schumacher incident would be, "When Grosjean slid sideways into the back of Michael Schumacher's Mercedes & spun him, also forcing his teammate Raikkonen off the track to avoid the incident, & then blamed Michael Schumacher for the incident..."

164

Wow, you really dislike Alonso or should I say you really hate him.

To be honest it was fair and square Ferrari made all the right moves and of course with the master driver, thanks to the rain throwing the race for an unpredictable win.

Enjoyed the chase Perez gave Alonso, but the wily old fox once again kept his cool. Usually the hunted will falter but not Nando.

165

Ohhh really...then why didn`t Lewis close the gap to Fernando...he was not even matching his pace..please so think twice before you write...

and why to blame Ferrari and Massa all top teams including Mclaren pit both the cars on the same lap so there should not be any problem...

166

Today's victory would undoubtedly be well received by everyone at Ferrari, however it's important for them to remember that the problems the team have encountered are still present, just as Alonso confirmed. Nonetheless, Alonso's performance was yet another example of his extraordinary talent, driving what appears to be, at this point of the season, a midfield Ferrari way beyond its capabilities. With regards to conspiracy theories suggesting team orders were implemented to stop Perez from challenging Alonso, I find it highly unlikely that sauber would have been willing for Perez to risk leaving the track and possibly run into the gravel as he could easily have done.

167

O dear the usual Alonso-haters. They'd need a crystal ball to judge that hold-up in the pits - it was an overlap of a second or so as Massa came in and Hamilton went to leave.

As for holding up Button...gimme a break! JB was well out of the running for top points at that stage.

Let the haters hate. Fact is Alonso is leading the WDC after 2 races with a car that is weaker than McLaren, RB, Lotus, Merc (I can't make head-nor-tale of where they're at), Sauber.

168

Correct me if i'm wrong.

From lap 14 Lewis' race pace wasn't anywhere near the 2 front runners (ALO and PER).

Even James says it in the above: "Hamilton had no response for the pace of the leading two cars in either intermediate or dry conditions"

169

Completely agree! And is was Massa who was holding up Hamilton on track 1.5sec per lap when Alonso and Perez were in charge. Not mentioning rear jack for lifting car which Hamilton has problem during his pits stop - Massa was seen holding it!

170

May I post a one word answer? Rubish.

171

You have to be a very sad person to come here and post this, this a serious blog by a serious journalist, keep away your paranoia from JA blog.

172

Now that is the ultimate #2! Moves over when asked and is ready to take out the competition. Here comes a new 2 year contract for Massa!

173

If you think it was down to massa i am sorry for you, it was an amazing performance by Alonso ( and pathetic by massa), the rest is having a sour soul

174

While Massa does suck, you can't possibly believe Alonso won because of him.

175

I am not sure how Massa caused Hamilton to overshoot his stopping point in the pits, resulting in troubles for the pit crew in getting the rear jack to lift his car up.

If Hamilton didn't make that mistake, Massa wouldn't been a factor. Massa didn't screw Hamilton up; he was more than capable of screwing himself.

176

but that's exactly what we need because it will force pirelli to produce a better tyre are move over and let a better brand do so . i would like see what goodyear can do for formula one????

177

I don't recall my earlier comment being framed as a defence of Lewis' average performance - for one, that bit was purely about putting Alonso's string of fastest laps into context, given how his pace dropped thereafter. It had nothing to do with Lewis or McLaren, nor have I attempted to defend their performance - describing Lewis' form as average is hardly a defence in most people's books. As such, I would appreciate if you refrain from casting aspersions on my attempts at objective analysis in future. On the Saturday point, that was more to demonstrate the disparity between the race and their more typical pace so as to give credence to the view that the conditions and a fair dose of luck played their part. Context is important if one is to draw any kind of meaningful conclusion about events.

178

My point was that Lewis had plenty of space between him and Perez..so his visibility was not a problem as you raised in your initial comment.

And who cares about the Saturday pace. We are talking about the race, aren't we? Saturday was a completely different story.

Bottom line is that Lewis had good visibility but didn't had the pace to catch alonso and Perez. Stop finding ridiculous excuses for the McLaren poor performance compared with the first two.

179

Alonso quote "Hamilton his dangerous because he can win a title without having the fastest car"

2008..........

From the great man himself!!!!

180

@ Liam,

From what you've wrote it's clear to me that Jenson Button was a nearly man from the moment he entered F1 up until he won his really really hard fought WDC in 09 fighting against Rubens in my view.

Jenson has made less mistakes - I admit - but when you don't take any risks 99.9% of the time, and you drive around like miss daisy - you won't make many mistakes.

This whole Lewis is faster but not by much nonsense, Lewis is just faster - plain and simpe, always has and always will be - I know it, you know it, even the lord knows it, but I hear so many Jenson followers - "Lewis is fast but not by much" and......

In my opinion Jenson is a percentage/opportunist driver - who feeds of scraps - a saftey car here, a bit of rain there, a mistake over there etc....but I respect him for what he's achieved with limited ability - good for him.

It sums it up for me, when he's praised for having his best ever year in 2011 for winning 3 races, exactly the same has a poor Lewis Hamilton.

The British media/Whitmarsh and his fans can pump up his limited abilities all they want, but I can read between the lines.

They talk about his tyre management/changeable conditions skills has something heroic - when in fact it's just a 'Myth" - as Sunday showed.

Facts are Jenson was very very sloppy on Sunday and it got brushed under the carpet and if were Lewis Hamilton it would of been a whole different story - and you know it.

Heres Hamilton timeline:-

2007 - Beating Alonso a double WDC, full of extreme confidence having mopped up Schumacher in his 1st year, on tracks he's never raced on before.

How do you beat Alonso if your not mature and don't possess a real racing brain? How?

2008 - Comes back after losing the WDC by 1pt and wins the WDC - heart!!!

2009 - 2 wins and scores more points than anybody with a dog of a car in the 2nd part of the season - exactly what Alonso did on Sunday.

2010 - Butters Button and puts himself in the position to win the title in the last race of the season with the 3rd fastest car - skills.

2011 - Very poor season for Lewis but still secures 3 win the same has Button.

I love facts - they can't be distorted.......

And somehow he's ridiculed - I wonder why?....the greatest natural racing driver this countries ever seen in my opinion ........

181

@ Ash..

Sorry, didn't answer all of your questions..

1) People didn't forget about him, only team insiders ever knew about him in the first place. He always drove pretty bad cars but apart from Fisi in his second year had the measure of all his team mates. The problem is that his team mates weren't particularly good so still nobody knew one way or the other. The point is that as soon as he got in a title winning car he won the title. Then he went to McLaren against a known quantity in Hamilton and all of a sudden everyone is surprised. If you\they had done their homework you\they would have known that he is definitely a close match for Hamilton, not quite as fast but definitely more consistent. If Hammy can up the consistency (so far so good for 2012) then he will beat Button.

2) Why was Button surplus to Brawn\Merc requirements? He wasn't, they wanted to keep him.

3)Kimi Raikonnen is better than Button. But that doesn't take anything away from him really... Quite clearly Kimi is up there with Alonso in terms of pure pace & consistency.

182

@ Ash...

OK, first and foremost I'm a motorsport fan so don't see this post as some blinkered Jenson love.

I remember watching a certain Jenson Button racing F3. He wasn't in the fastest car but he won races, in fact, when he came to F1 the year after I told every man and his dog that he'd be world champ at some point. His Karting career was ridiculously impressive too, better than Hamilton's btw.

He came to F1 and impressed big in his first season, second season he got beat by Fisi but to be fair Fisi was more experienced and that car was a dog.

In 2002 he was outqualified by Trulli a lot but beat him over the season.

2003 he went to BAR and beat Villeneuve who had slated him.

2004 he finished 3rd in the championship to the seriously dominant Ferrari's.

2005 & 2006 were a bit meh but don't forget that he was in the 4th fastest car behind the Ferrari, Renault & McLaren.

2007 & 2008 completely horrific car.

2009 WDC

2010 in running for WDC until penultimate race

2011 2nd to a dominant Vettel

And people have a poor opinion of him why? People who know less than they think they do underestimate him and I don't understand why. Watch how much trouble he gives Hamilton this year. When he first joined McLaren I said he'll be within a race win of Hamilton by the end of the season and he was... People on this very site said I was talking rubbish.

Hamilton is undoubtedly the faster of the two but he's not that much faster and Button is metronomically consistent whereas Hamilton is not.

And to the mistakes... I tell you what. Hamilton has made more mistakes in races since 2007 than Button has since he entered F1.

183

Ash, I think thats why so many people, myself included, have been stunned by Buttons performance since he joined Hamiltons team.

Hats off to the guy.

184

@ Liam,

Why the past 3 yrs?

Why not the past 4 yrs?

Why not since he's come into F1?

Oh - it's lets talk about past and forget equality day - ok!!!

Why had the whole F1 community forgotten about Jenson Button for 8/9yrs - this great tyre master/changeable conditions expert until he won his really hard fought championship in 2009?

Why was Jenson Button surplus to requirements by Brawn/Mercedes after winning the WDC in 09?

Why was Jenson Button 2nd choice at McLaren, after Kimi R told McLaren "I want to drive rally cars"?

I don't need an answer on a post card if that helps, but if you could answer the above questions that would really be much appreciated.

Cheers........

185

I wouldn't want to go back to the Bridgestone vs Michillen days!

Say if there were two tyre manufactures, Pirrelli & Bridgestone. Bridgestone makes an awesome tyre whereas Pirrelli makes the current tyre (unstable and unpredictable). Would it be fair for the teams who were stuck with the Pirellis to suffer severe degradation whilst the Bridgestone teams rocket off into the distance?

I have to question the Pirrelli tyres this year - they seem to have produced a very unpredictable tyre. I think the teams will be complaining soon enough. Bad for the teams, great for the show!

186

He has mentioned many times that he would be happy to have Hamilton as his team mate again as long as it's not at Mclaren so why not Perez? Nowhere has it ever been mentioned by Fernando or anyone that knows him that he doesn't want a fast driver as a team mate so that he can look good. Besides, he does not get to decide who drives for Ferrari and who doesn't...Luca isn't such a push over and anyone who thinks he is needs to do some research on the man and the company called Ferrari. Ridiculous assumption IMO

187
Grayzee (Australia)

+1!!

188

No chance never was or will appear to be other than for a seriously dominant car similar to the long running Schumacher farce but looks like the Wheels have fell off Redbull somewhat. and thinking of long term anyway are Redbull going to be so financially dominant in say 10yrs???

Hard to answer as there success depends on the sale of a controvencial energy drink that sells well currently with emerging competition picking up pace fast alongside an ever health contious world .

And cant see him replicating his success elsewhere without the similar foam padding protection he seems to get at redbull

189

Most likely Button called for his stop as opposed to the team asking him his preference and could well have been a strategic call by Button if Hamilton was entering the pit straight corner at the time of Buttons to give him the advantage without giving away his own agenda to Hamilton thus still being fully well aware he would still have 30 seconds or so before reaching the pit box ie plenty time for the pit crew to grab the the fresh rubber hoops!

190

Perez must be fairly confident of his driving skills to fake an off, on slics, with a wet track offline, right next to the gravel and be sure that he can rejoin and keep his position and also knowing that he risked losing the highest position for Sauber (and for himself) ever. Brilliant theory.. 😉

191

Why not give each driver a maximum of 1 or 2 DRS passes in a race? that would make them think before using it therefore forcing them to only use it if it's going to be an advantage i.e. they are sure that they can remain in front once passed. Maybe also only allow that on circuits that are notorious for no having passing zones like Abu Dhabi.

192

Here: http://www.mclaren.com/formula1?expand=1 the pitwall for the McLaren. You can see what happened. At the first round, for the full wet (read bottom-up):

Hamilton: "Okay, box this lap."

Pit » HAM: "Other cars are going faster on full wets. We think we should box this lap. Please confirm."

Pit » HAM: "Jenson has just pitted, but the Red Bulls are still on inters."

Hamilton: "I'm starting to aquaplane."

Jenson pits for full wets.

Button: "Box this lap."

Hamilton: "The rain is getting heavier, but it's okay. The car is aquaplaning in places, but it's okay."

Pit » HAM: "Can we have an update on the conditions? How are the tyres?"

After the safety car pit:

Pit » BUT: "Let's make this work for us, Jenson. Push hard."

Hamilton: "It's good for inters. Box this lap."

Pit » HAM: "About 5 cars have stopped for inters, including Jenson. Keep us informed of conditions."

Pit » BUT: "Box this lap for inters!"

Hamilton: "It's slightly wetter than when we started the race, but it's probably okay for inters."

Pit » HAM: "Some cars might come in for inters quite soon. What are your thoughts?"

193

Hmmm.............some how i don't think Lewis was given the same 'Choice' in Australia otherwise he would have pitted at least 2 laps before he did as he tyres were completely gone whilst Jenson still has better tyres.....Lets see what happens in China before jumping to any conclusions.

194

Actually I think Alonso took the outside line in turn 2, which enabled him to straighten out the car faster than Checko, who took the inside line to defend.

195

I don't think the Sauber is a better car than the Ferrari. 1 good result does not a great F1 car make. I believe it was due to the wet conditions and the early stop by Sauber onto wets that gave them track position. The young driver also had a lot to do with it by driving beautifully in the wet. Had the race been dry, I dont believe for a second that Sauber would have finished on the podium. The McLarens & Red Bulls would have been on the podium in some shape or form. Anyone else would have had to navigate around the Mercedes road block train before they would get a sniff of a podium. Not taking anything away from Sauber or Perez, they raced beautifully under the conditions and scored a well deserved podium.

I thought that Sauber were the 'team' of the day but Fernando was the 'driver' of the day. Fail of the day goes to Vettel (one of my fav drivers). Chopping over like that in those conditions was a rookie error for a 2 time WDC. It reeked of 2010. JB rarely screws up so I'm prepared to overlook his mistakes this time 😉

Well done Lewis for smiling on the podium / interview room. He gave some decent answers and can be proud of his weekend. Maybe he just doesn't like James 😉

Great race!!

196

excuse me but "Sauber is a better car" is a very short-sighted comment.

197

Jeez what's it with people?

Sauber told Perez to 'be careful' for crying out loud! Didn't tell him to 'hold position'.

198

Simple really Thomas, Sauber will occasionally produce a good little car, which with the right circumstance can race for decent points. Today was their best ever finish.

Ferrari may have a worse car at the moment, but history shows they will win races and championships again.

Which option would you prefer?

199

Yes, so little mention in the posts about Sauber's error in not pitting Perez on same lap as Alonso, only talk of Perez's error trying to catch back up. Brundle (and maybe others, I forget) could not believe Sauber did not pit then.

200

Thanks Tyland for the explanation. Very unique way of describing a driving incident. I agree, Vettel seems to be struggling somewhat with this years car, where Webber seems to be more at ease and back to his 2010 mindset. Personally I hope, given that the technical advantage of the 2011 Redbull is now gone and also the change in tyre compounds, we will see more races decided on pure driver skills instead of Lowe/Newey development wars and tyre saving processions in Q3 and races. This is a certainly a chance for Vettel to show his driving skills, fair and square against 5 other world champions. In regards to HRT, the sport needs the battlers just like it needs it's champions. That's what makes it interesting to watch. Otherwise, we would just have Ferrari going around by themselves (wait, that almost happened in 2005). Karthikeyan was good enough to apologise to both drivers, even though one incident was not his fault. Would Vettel or Hamilton do that ?

201

Watch the replay from the front - Karthikeyan cuts in behind Vettel and clips his tire. Very obvious from that view. Stewards must have seen that to make their decision. Funny that you can hear the commentators saying "Vettel cuts across" when you can clearly see it is the other way round...

202

maybe thats why Brawn and now Merc have been mediocre after Button left . Maybe they are missing the driver .

203

He had better pace than Hamilton regardless of getting the first corner. Myths are not based on facts.

This season looks so close things will yoyo. Anyone could win it. Though I'm thinking Hamilton will eventually come through on balance (for the championship). But Button will have his days and it'll be close.

204

Erm, you're wrong.

Brawn was hired as technical director for Honda at the end of 2007, after a years sabbatical from Ferrari.

In 2008, he looked at the heap Honda had, and stopped all work immediately and began putting together a team to design the 2009 Honda. Honda withdrew from F1 at the end of 2008, and Brawn bought the team for a pound iirc. But all the work had been directed by Ross Brawn during 2008.

It was re-named Brawn and the rest is history.

Button dominated the beginning of the season in 2009, yet as developments came onboard, Rubens was the quicker driver over the second half of the season. In fact, he won 2 races, whereas Button didn't win again.

205

That Honda in 2006 was a top 4 car which finished on the podium several times so a win was always coming.

206

As I said, if Sergio moves to Ferrai Telmex will not stay at Sauber. Why would they? Ferrai would love to have that sponsorship money.

207

Do you really know who Carlos Slim (Telmex) is??? Take a look on Forbes

208

Hammy did no beat Alonso... Correct me if im wrong but they scored the same points by the end of the season.

And you cannot compare a guy that only won 1 championship by luck (remember Massa was WDC for a few seconds?) with a guy that has proved to be the best F1 driver on the grid, almost winning the 2010 champinonship in a car that was far worse that the RBR.

However as @Rafa said on the previous answer you and all Hammy supporters live in '07 while the rest of the world lives in 2012.

209

yeah, that hamilton supporters live in year 2007, while the rest of the world lives in 2012. I understand that message

210

Brett, You obviously have a better understanding of F1 than the race stewarts?!

211

+1 on Vettel.

RBR are partly to blame for Vettel's attitude now, from Turkey 2010 onwards.

212

+1

Grosjean, 2 more races like these and he will be driving in minor series again.

He will screw it again.

Watch and learn.

213

...or why not Ferrari buying out the Sauber team and switching cars with them. Red bull are allowed a "sister team", why not Ferrari too...

214

That's a fairly narrow definition of greats, but taken by that standard fair enough. My point was that given Kimi was regarded by many in the paddock as being a great driver, the fact Massa matched and beat him in the same car would put him in the same calibre if only for a few seasons. Your assessment of him seemed to suggest that was merely a fluke, which I would argue is not borne out by the facts. He may well have had a strong car in 2008, but no better than the McLaren at Lewis' disposal (which was arguably a more versatile car than the F2008 which relied on aero above all else, making it useless in wet or cooler conditions), and his podium in Germany in 2009 showed he didn't need the quickest car to do well. Obviously since the accident in Hungary his form has dipped some way, but given the lengths to which the team (and Alonso) have defended him I feel there is more to come from him. On the last point you make, bear in mind that without the extra pitstop and slow laps resulting from being on the dry tyres too soon, Massa would have finished a good 30 seconds further up the order, challenging Schumacher et al for the final points. Still nowhere near his teammate, certainly, but it does put things into further perspective. I wholeheartedly agree though that without a sizeable turnaround in form, and soon, he will be out of the Ferrari next season. He needs to up his game.

215

Ok so your thought on whose who past and present and where there at?? quick to ridicule but without an actual view!! interesting. my guess would be a Schumacher/Vettel fan? dont suppose your German/Austrian too to boot??

216

Did you read it properly??? maybe read it again and you say Ferrari wont employ pay drivers!! im quite sure the driver is not insisting on paying for his seat lol just because they are paying for there seat does not mean there not good enough anyway just means there getting a jump on there apparently comparably like for like competition.

he is obvious because he has had 1 remarkably good race?? shhhht never said either was the better choice anyway and did state it would take a good few races to balance everything up perez has certainly put himself in a nice spot after sunday anyway.

Being a scot i wish paul all the luck more than anyone but he wont see Ferrari anytime soon i believe the last few seasons he has been earmarked for mercedes but things can change so so fast i still see Paul at either mercedes or mclaren as a next stop and nowhere else.

As for James's comment got to remember he has the contacts within F1 for insight but as i said things can change so fast Perez is in a good place for Ferrari but needs to keep it up as anyone would and for your info Perez is also a "pay" driver!.

217

I'd agree Luca, only thing I would change would be Regazzoni to Alesi, always though he was brilliant.

Pity we never had Senna in red, but we have his successor now, just hope the technical crew can give him a decent car, because in 2011 and this year, he has driven beyond belief.

218

For a start or restart behind a safety car is the rule

219

I have watched the Vettel incident repeatedly.

They have come out of right hand corner and are heading down to a left handed hairpin, the same hairpin that Karthikeyan and Button collided.

The natural racing line sweeps the cars left to right along that straight. Narain was on the rumble strip and rejoining the circuit.

The point is Vettel deliberately moved in front of him, this would have been moving in the opposite direction to where he needed to be.

There was absolutely no need for the petulant spoilt driver to be on that side of the track anyway.

I'm glad to see Vettel losing his rag a little, because his rivals will see that weakness and exploit it

220

crystal ball? i think with comments like that ian's probably been on the crystal meth!!!

221

Kay, I was comparing Alonso yesterday with a similar situation in which Vettel partially spun out during the Canadian GP last year, thereby letting Button through to win on the last lap.

222

In a way, this Malaysian GP has had the same effect on Ferrari as for Mclaren last year before Australia.

I mean this in the sense, Bahrain was cancelled last year, thereby allowing a few more weeks to sort out their problem.

Malaysia in the dry would have been damage limitation for Alonso, yet variable weather has allowed the win, now they have 3 weeks to really look at their issues.

I just hope its an easy fix like it was for Mclaren last year.

Then the major upgrade in Spain... well I have my fingers crossed

223
Paul from Green Bay

Re: Karthikeyan and Vettel, I too thought that Vettel clearly made a mistake and was a jerk about it afterwards. Then I saw the replay from the front and it is obvious that Karthikeyan moves back onto the racing line too early, clipping Vettel's tire. Exactly opposite of what it looked like from the TV view, but that was an effect of the camera angle.

Karthikeyan was clearly in the wrong and Vettel was right to be angry. He's fighting for position at the front and an HRT, as a back-marker, has the responsibility to be careful or at least not be an "idiot". Karthikeyan claimed that he had to get off the marbles but he had at least five or six seconds of straight line driving to make the maneuver and could have done so comfortably as his momentum was not pushing him off the track. Just look at the replay from the long view down the track with the cars coming at you.

I'm glad that the small teams are there and hope HRT improves. But all drivers who are being lapped must be careful not to wreck the race for those who are in the thick of it. Karthikeyan deserved a bigger penalty.

224

@ The Crappest. +1 from me and I enjoyed your clear and constructive post, we need more of these to counter the bias shown elsewhere.

Your HRT team comment is spot on, and I would go further. We have the 107% rule for being allowed to race. Trust F1 to accept an entry for the season and then refuse race permission for being too slow. Obviously not punishment enough: so ban them from doing any homework or remedial studies so that they can improve. I would like to see an extra testing day allowed if a team is outside a 105% average for both cars.

225

Ohhh Man... that's hilarious.... cant stop laughing...

226

There's 18 races yet in which he could run over do Montezemolo, don't write him off!

227
Craig in Manila

I, literally, just did LOL.

Classic comment.

228

hahahhahahhahah

OMG. That is hillarious. Well done Jenks. This is priceless. Love it.

230

I dont know about the running the man over comment, but someone needs to slap him round the chops and say, Luca, what are you doing??

It does frustrate me, Ferrari on the new road cars has a small badge bearing the Chassis number with the legend "Ferrari 21 Formula 1 Titles"

16 of these are Constructor Championships.

Currently, Mclaren is top with 55 points, Red Bull 42 and Ferrari lies 3rd with 35.

Alonso has 35, Massa none, yet Perez has 22

Montezemolo and Domenicalli need to be ruthless, Massa is not capable of supporting Ferrari, never mind Alonso, and it's been like this for 3 seasons.

231

That's the funniest I've read so far, lol

233

Maldonado in Ferrari? Can't see that happening, Ferrari does not employ pay drivers. I have not read your past post so I do not know your rationale.

Perez is the obvious choice and would not mind seeing someone like Paul di Resta, its been a while to see a Brit in red overalls.

I don't buy the choice that James seem to believe that Webber would be the one based on past posts

234

LOL I always like this Senna comparism it cracks me up until he does something ridiculous just as Lewis was Sennaesque @ Silverstone in 2008 am sure nobody thinks same again after yday. The Ferrari was the fastest car on intermediates simples but people would use Massa's plight to big up Alonso.

235

If you go back to have a look at my remark I said that he is not a great driver. For me in the current line up, greats would be considered to be Michael, Fernando & Lewis. Very good would be Jenson, Kimi & Sebastian. Massa was never above the level seen of drivers like Webber or Rosberg. Kimi has won the Championship in 2007, while having as team mate Massa. In 2008 he was obviously bored to death for most of the season (not so however towards the end of the season).

Having said that I do acknowledge that he has had several good races, but the majority of his wins came from starting in front that usually is a sign of a better car. He earned my respect in his way that he handled the near miss on the Championship back in 2008, but he lost it again in the squabbling with Lewis the coming years (mainly 2011).

His current form is embarrassing, I insist as it is one thing to be overdriven by your team mate another to be almost lapped in the same machinery.

236

I'm an Hamilton fan - I can admit that Alonso & Perez were quicker and it was entertaining even though Lewis didn't win - no problem to admit that at all.

I Just LOVE the fact that Lewis is 2nd in the championship, with 2 poles and 2 podiums - being boring and conserving tyres - championship material right there - I love it - boxing clever - Lol!!!

Is it possible for Button fans and the British F1 media to admit:-

(a) Jenson Button's tyre management abilities are a complete 'MYTH'? as Paddy Lowe has explained in the past and what Sunday's race showed.

(b) Is it possible that if Lewis crashed into another driver like Nahrain of HRT he could get the same treatment as Button? which is no penalty or nothing in the media or forums ridiculing him, his life or his family etc.....

(c) Is it possible for Lewis to get the same treatment as Jenson come a pit stop from the McLaren team?

18 races to go - I'm sure we'll find out.......

237

Right you are, I saw FA ahead of Pérez just a few seconds later and didn't remember turns 1 and 2 are right next to each other.

238

On the contrary it was a thrilling race and a thrilling win for Alonso. Watching F1 races on TV and live for many years ,I can tell you it has never been such a snooze fest as it is now. I actually pray for rain as it brings some excitement and unpredictablility.

239

JE Vergne was the ony one still on inter and did change on the grid. he said he would not have been able to drive on the inter at the restart considering the heavy rain

240

I believe the rule is that the drivers have to start on Wets after a race is red-flagged, due to rain. Most were already on wets anyway, so didn't need changing. I believe Vergne was on Inters at the time, so needed to have them changed to Wets.

241

I was under the impression they all had to start on full wets after the red flag period.

242

No, but that doesn't negate any of the points I raised. Lewis' performance has already been commented on as being pretty average - as shown by his lap times as much as anything - and the pace of the McLaren in changeable conditions is an unknown quantity, so the fact that Lewis was not able to catch him says little more than that Lewis was not able to catch him. Given that Perez was the best part of 1.4s off pole the day before, and nowhere near the pace on Friday, I feel I am justified in my conclusions.

243

Button ran into d HRT fighting for position Vettel was lapping the HRT its the duty of the lapped driver to keep out of the way thats why there are blue flags.

244

Button was passing the HRT for position, Vettel was lapping him.

245

"I have not seen enough discussion re the 2014 engines, I cannot see a 1.6 V6 turbo rev limited to 15,000 as anything but a bore compared to the current superb engines."Indycar's now use V6 Turbo's that only rev to 12,000 & last night's 1st race of 2012 was actually quite good.

Engine's sould pretty good as well.

Also do not forget that there were similar spec turbo's out there in the 80's & many fans loved the turbo's back then.

246

"Does the DRS take away any possibility of a driver defending his position – it all seemed too easy to pass at Sepang."YES!

247

My point exactly in previous postings! it will take 4-5 races to work out who's who in pecking order and whats what the teams would be wise to sit back a few races too i reckon before any harsh switches, not so much to allow the current driver under the axe wielding spot light to recover form (certain ones simply wont) but more so to make sure the relevant teams are putting the correct drivers in next!!

248

"To be fair, DRS only helps a driver overtake but can’t keep him in front."

But that exactly what it does.

Outside of the total absurdity of Abu-Dhabi twin DRS zones, Where have you seen a car get passed by DRS & then be able to fight back?

OK you may say that the car been passes clearly wasn't fast enough to stay ahead, However why shoudn't that car be given a fair opportunity to try & stay ahead?

Some of the best races in F1 history have involved a slower car getting his car higher than it should be & then been able to keep it there by defending his position.

Likewise some of the greatest overtakes in F1 histoty have been when one driver has had to find a way past a car thats holding him up.

DRS often takes away the ability for slower cars to defend there position & all too often makes passing way too easy.

I would much rather watch cars be able to defend there positions fairly & watch drivers having to try & find there way past another car than the absurd push of a button DRS stupidity we have currently.

Its intresting also how in a poll done on the F1fanatic website last year, No DRS-assisted pass was put forward by fans when we were voting for 'overtake of the year', Just shows that DRS does not generate exciting or intresting passes.

There was also a poll done over at F1fanatics recently where the majority of those who voted voted against the current DRS regulations.

The DRS regulations as they are with 1 second gaps, only car behind, DRS detection points/zones etc... only got 20% of the vote & there has been some fan surveys done elsewhere that shows similar.

249

Disagree.

DRS produces boring, unexciting, dull, souless passing which is harming racing & not helping it.

Watching a DRS pass is just as boring & unexciting as watching no pass at all!

DRS is an artificial, gimmick that is doing nothing but harming the racing in F1. It does nothing to make racing more exciting, It makes it less exciting!

Fact the most recent poll's show majority of fans now dislike DRS says a lot about how poor this technology is.

250

I don't think one should blame Sauber for Perez coming in for tires on a certain lap. If he wanted to come in earlier, he could have. Instead, they waited and reacted to Ferrari's move. Does having free choice to make judgement calls somehow remove the responsibility of living with one's decisions? There are many great drivers who have won because of making calls to pit and what not. Perez should be held responsible for his decisions, and his team shouldn't be blamed for things after the fact.

Also, so what if Perez was on cold tires just out of the pits and Alonso overtook him? Was Alonso supposed to wait behind him until his tires heated up and then tried the overtake? I mean its an absurd reasoning that doesn't detract from the fact, he was overtaken fair and square. Guess what, if Perez went into the pits first, he might have won. This is just a little ridiculous in judging drivers and then finding excuses. I'd like to point out that a week ago, the majority of comments here were praising Kobayashi over Perez, now Perez comes in second and suddenly its a jolly bandwagon of support. I commented before the race that Perez in my opinion is much better than Kobayashi. I don't think that means he gets a free pass on any blame for the outcome.

251

No good show to Alonso for grasping the opportunity as it presented itself. Had the pit stops not been fouled up for Hamilton it's debateable if he would have held onto the lead. However it's one thing to catch someone, but quite another to get past so Hamilton may have won if he managed to control the race. It has to be said that Hamilton's car does not have great race pace, which is rather strange after such a fast qualifying performance. It's most lightly a combination of tyre degradation and set up. If McLaren are to remain in front they must improve their race pace.

252

and additionally Hamilton himself said it.

253

youre correct, and Mclaren did win the first race. The gods gave Alonso a chance(not win)and he took it. Though I question the radio mesg perez got and sec's later he made a mistake.

With regards to converting sat results into sun, if i were a betting man Alonso and Vettle are not on my list for the drivers champ. I understand everyone being impressed on Alonso.

I feel happy for Peter Sauber, plus the next discount h's gonna get on his engine bill.

254

Yeah, the idiot was in a hurry to douse the flame off his car. The safety car did not see Inoue, Inoue somehow missed a big red thing on 4 wheels, and the rest is as they say is history!

255

Check out the strategy report tomorrow

256

Looked like a simple mistake to me

257

slower cars ARE taking out of the race -- 107% rule

258

You're sailing too near the truth for plenty of British F1 'fans' there lol ! I think you're probably right with most of what you say though. Hamilton does have blistering 1 lap pace, but he'll never be a Senna, Prost or Schumacher as he's not got the intelligence required to make those really vital decisions about tyres and when to back off and save his car etc. That said I still think he'll take the title this year (it'll be close-ish though) as the McLaren has a pace advantage in dry conditions that no other car can match.

259

He won the WDC in 2008 in a car that didn't win the constructors title. If he had not come along Alonso would be a 4 times WDC easily by now, sour grapes?

260

Agree that HRT are a joke, I doubt they'll need to be thrown out though, I think they'll just run out of money sooner or later and no one will want to buy or invest.

Looked like Button's and Vettel's incidents with the HRT were both their own faults. Difference is, Button admitted he screwed up, whereas Vettel went crazy swearing at NK from the cockpit and called him an idiot to Lee McKenzie after the race. Seems childish (and unlike him).

261

Trust me, however bad you think HRT are they are still nowhere near the worst to have graced the F1 paddock. Look up Andrea Moda and Life for starters - compared with them, HRT are practically Ferrari...

262

F1 has always had slower cars and a good driver should be able to navigate past them.

It was both drivers fault that they his the HRT car and to ask for the slower cars to be taken out of the race is absolutely ridiculous!

263

@ Sossoliso......

Great post - Lewis is learning that points equal prizes.

Entertainment usually equals nothing.

Keep it up Lewis.....

264

No, that's the obvious 'text book' anser. I agree that Hamilton needs to collect points and go the distance. However, surely I am not alone in thinking that he would catch and devour the struggling Ferrari and the second division Sauber?

265
Spinodontosaurus

I belive that was his first win, was definately on pole earlier in the season at Malaysia. IIRC it was a front row lock-out from the Renaults (the other driver being Trulli)

266

Nope. Malaysia 2003 - an all Renault front row with Trulli. Hungary was his first win though (and from pole position also).

267

Nope. 1st pole was in Malaysia 2003 where he also got podium (3rd).

Interestingly, he had pole in Malaysia for 2003, 2004 & 2005, and won trice in '05, '07 & '12.

269

Malasia 2003 was his first pole. He ran the race with fieber and still managed to end 3rd and take the fastest lap. Kimmi won the race (his first victory).

270

No, he took his first win in Hungary 2003, from pole position.

It was aided to a certain degree by the fact that Webber in a Jaguar was running in second for many laps, before his fuel stop, which kept his competiton from catching him up.

Alonso's first pole was Malaysia in 2003.

271

.No, that was his first win. He was on pole in Malaysia, ahead of Trulli.

272

Hi James,

very strange race....

It looked nicely setup ather the safety car with many cars well out of position, but everyone juest settled in and it was a procession to the end..

Ie slower cars at the front and some well up the midfield -- with Hamilton, button, vettel and schumacher even dropping back from what would be considered slower cars.... I surely thought that schumacher with the massive top speed would overtake - but nothing....

Any idea as to why this race turned so stale??

Is it a characterist of the track??

We cannot say that the rain was a leveler - as if that was the case we would see all cars at sililar pace-- but with some overtaking...

Does the grip fall away quicker when following

close in these conditions??

or did the tyres just not work here at all??

273
Grayzee (Australia)

oh, and yes, it does make for a cracking championship!!

Bring on China!

274
Grayzee (Australia)

Yep! All the Alonso v Hamilton arguments in the posts on this site(which,annoyingly, appears to be the content of over half the posts) don't seem to realise that there was AMPLE time, once the cars were on slicks, for ANYONE to start catching Alonso.....whether it be Perez,Hamilton, Webber or Raikkonen. Only Perez was able to make any ground on him.

Whether it the men,the machines or the tyres, we don't know, but that is how it was, and no amount of parochial favouritism can change the facts.

275

Lewis may have had the pace in himself and the car to chase after Alonso and Perez but in doing so he would have damaged his tyres and may have ended up falling prey to Webber, or worse still, end up needing an extra pit stop.

In those difficult conditions where you have no idea how long the tyres will last or when the next shower will be, Lewis had to manage his tyres and keep his position first and foremost.

Alonso and Perez had nothing to loose and I would'nt be surprised if they had gambled on a wet set-up anyway. After all, all Lewis' championship rivals were behind him so why destroy your race chasing after Alonso and Perez?

276

Vettel? He deserved that tyre burst! That was basically a repeat of Turkey 2010 just running into another car's line BEFORE he's fully ahead.

What did he expect honestly? The other car to simply disappear just because he wanted the line? C'mon!

After two years he still hasn't learned. With a car not so fast now he can't out-drive it or even get the better of Webber.

277
Rubinho's Keyfob

"Vettel was fuming in his post race interview"

His comments on the BBC coverage were interesting. He said (paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact words) "it's like being on the public road, there are idiots driving around you. It seems there's one driving here too". Very interesting from someone whose difficulties were caused by their own actions cutting across the wing of the car they had just passed ...

I can only imagine the uproar on this site had VET been replaced by HAM in that interview 🙂

278

I expected the exact same thing, I still thought (and hoped) it would be LH's race right up until about lap 40. Webber is enjoying the new non-off throttle blown cars and it doesn't hurt to see SV deal with a little bit of bad luck for a change 🙂

279

Agree - priceless.

Kind of reminds me of Taki Inoue, except I don't think he ran over anyone, but was mown down by a Tatra safety car in Hungary.

280

I meant the Mclarens and Red Bulls were more worried about managing their tyres to the end of the race than they were of Alonso and Perez at the front. Once a driver looses ground for whatever reason, he has very little chance of coming back through the field because the tyres just won't last.

Slap a set of them old bridgestone hard tyres in that last stint and it's a totally different race is it not?

281

Jenson's first pit stop was for the full wets just a few laps before the safety car came out. It had nothing to do with damage to the car. Unless Lewis did not want to pit that lap or the policy does not apply in the wet, it would smack of double standards by Mclaren.

As for pitting soon after the safety car went in, I think that was just a gamble by Jenson who had nothing to loose since he would have had to que behind Lewis anyway had they both stayed out. It could have gone either way and Perez who also stayed out came out ahead of Alonso before being overtaken, Lewis lost out because he had to wait for Massa in the pits. Without that delay, Lewis would have come out ahead of Alonso as did Perez.

282
Grayzee (Australia)

hahaha.....cruel...but very funny 🙂

283

Yes, especially after Sergio did the decent thing and remembered that he had a Ferrari engine. Was that the reason he made a mistake and lost time almost immediately after being cautioned by his team on the radio? None the less, the points would be eagerly received by all at Sauber. Can't help thinking what a win would have done for the team though.

284

Lol......I've noticed it too.

Why is Lewis being left out so long on worn tires. Twice Button pit stops were ahead of Lewis when Lewis was in the lead - what happened to the lead driver getting the choice?

285

When watching the Vettel/Karthikeyan incident from the front, one can see Vettel leaving more than enough room whilst Karthikeyan actually pulls to the right away from the edge of the track into Vettel.

287

Take a look at the stewart's decision. They obviously understand more about F1: http://www.pitpass.com/45910-Karthikeyan-penalised

288

exactly, and Vettel blames the other guy again!

289

Very petulant comments from Vettel after the race considering he was to blame for his accident. Not so charming now he hasn't got the best car is he?

290

There was no stall, the in car shot of Hamilton's stop shows the traffic light on the lollipop stay red. He didn't have the pace on the inters or the slicks though.

291

+1 agree

Nothing wrong Massa's done.

292

Hamilton didn't stall he was held because Massa was coming into pit.

293
Rubinho's Keyfob

"Hamilton stalled before leaving the pits"

Incorrect. The rear jack was not deployed as quickly as the front, so there was a delay fitting the rear tyres compared to the fronts. While the in-car camera clearly showed the front of the car being lowered to the track, the rear was still in the air (as HAM would have been able to tell). By the time the rear of the car was on the ground, MAS was too close for the team to release HAM into the pit lane.

At no point did he stall. If you're talking about the slight judder seen from the in-car camera, I believe that's because HAM instinctively started to go once he sensed the car was on the ground but then stopped quickly when he saw the red light was still on.

"James can you please request more balanced and objective comments?"

I agree. Please, James, don't allow subjective comments such as stating that drivers stalled a car when they did not 😀 😀

294

You must've been watching a different race... Hamilton & Alonso pitted at the same time but when Alonso was released Massa came in and so Lewis couldn't leave his pit box for another second or so. He didn't stall.

[mod]

295

Mr/Ms/Mrs gondokmg : Kimi set fastest race lap !!

In an interview, Kimi said when he changed to slicks, it took him a little bit longer to get up to speed which is probably caused by how the car works the tyres in that particular condition, but once two are in sync, he proved it with a fastest lap.

I think what we saw with Perez was a car + tyre combo that worked very well at those conditions ADDED with a hungry driver; however, i don't think that many races will be like this for rest of the year. Hint: when it rains and in changing conditions, i'm willing to bet that Sauber/Perez will be one to watch for.