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Malaysian Grand Prix – Who was your driver of the day?
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Mar 2012   |  3:57 am GMT  |  211 comments

Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez tore up the formbook at Sepang International as torrential rain caused havoc at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Who was your driver of the day?

Fernando Alonso

Arrived in Malaysia adamant that Ferrari had plenty of work to do despite an encouraging fifth place finish in Melbourne. Looked uncompetitive in first practice on Friday but improved when the team bolted on a new specification wing. Sneaked through into top 10 in qualifying and started eighth. Inherited the lead after the restart when the McLarens pitted and then pumped in the lap times on the intermediate tyres to get a gap. Ferraris quick pitstops ensured he stayed ahead of Sergio Perez and despite late pressure from the Sauber driver, the Spaniard held on to secure his 28th career victory and take the lead in the drivers’ championship.

Sergio Perez

Showed encouraging pace in Friday practice sessions and then outperformed his Sauber team-mate Kamui Kobayashi by making it into Q3 in qualifying. Started ninth but dropped two places at the start. The team decided to pit him for full wets when the safety car pulled in – a move which proved inspired as the Mexican found himself third after everyone else had followed suit. Third turned into second when Lewis Hamilton had a problem in the pits and then the Mexican turned up the heat on Alonso. Came within a second of the Spaniard after setting a flurry of fastest laps in the dying stages, but a mistake saw him go off track and he ultimately finished second – the best result of his career.

Lewis Hamilton

Showed brilliant form on Friday to top the times in both practice sessions and then followed that up with a stunning lap in qualifying on his first attempt in Q3. Made a good start from pole to retain the lead into the first corner, unlike in Australia, and proceeded to pull out a gap over Jenson Button. Lost out to Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez in the pitstops, first having to wait to be released from his pitbox because of traffic and secondly having to wait for the team to remove take from the brake ducts. Struggled to with the intermediate tyres but limited the damage in the drivers’ standings, trailing Alonso by only five points.

Kimi Raikkonen

Started the weekend on the backfoot as he struggled with his steering and was then forced to change his gearbox following damage sustained in Australia. Showed the Lotus had good pace by qualifying fifth, though that became 10th after the five-place grid drop for the gearbox change. Got clean off the line and performed some good overtakes to rise back up the field. Admitted that he didn’t push to his maximum because of his lack of experience on Pirelli’s wet weather tyres but still showed impressive pace to finish fifth.

Bruno Senna

Outqualified by Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado for the second successive race and started 13th. Made a good start, but contact early on forced him into the pits. Began the restart in last place, but battled his way through the field, including a brilliant move on Michael Schumacher around the outside of Turn 5. Good strategy from the team and strong pace on the intermediate tyre allowed the Brazilian to work his way into the points and finish sixth. His points tally was in this race was more than Williams managed to score in the entire 2011 season.

Jean-Eric Vergne

Had a nightmare in qualifying when he was knocked of qualifying in Q1 having flat-spotted his tyres and started the race in 18th place. Stayed out on intermediate tyres and found himself in seventh position when the safety car came back out. Managed to make the intermediate tyres work and though he lost a place later on, the Frenchman held on to score his first F1 points in only his second race.

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I heard during the Malaysian GP that the teams are allowed to make changes to the wing settings, etc under the red flag. If I remember correctly, Vettel and his engineer decided not to change his set up expecting it to dry up quickly. It did not!

Could that explan why the top teams (Mclaren, Red Bull) were faster before the red flag but slower thereafter. Did Ferrari and Sauber gamble on a wet set up under the Red Flag?

McLaren had a wet set up in Canada last year, which is why Jenson (and Hamilton before his crash) was so much faster.


why not Perez but Alonso?

1/ Alonso passed Perez

2/ Alonso made no mistake and win

3/ Ferrari car seems to be slower than Sauber for most of the time.



top speed ranking (19th)

fastest lap ranking (7th)



Let’s think for a moment: Alonso is expected to perform this well. But Perez? He was a revelation! I hardly remember being this excited about a race like I did this Sunday.



Alonso for me, he made no mistakes in difficult conditons or under pressure form a flying Perez. If Perez had made NO mistakes i would have choosen him for getting that car way up there – a brilliant drive, but you need a certain amount of luck if your making mistakes……….


Hard to say, really too hard to say this time.

I think I’ll choose Alonso only for not making a single mistake and overtaking Pérez on track.

I really want to see more races like this.


I will tell you who is the chop of the day:

Grosjean! I really think he is disapointing he qualifies well and then he goes and mess up Schumacher race and he his own. He is over eager and trying to hard to impress.

Definately chop of the day


Alonso, and the Perez. If Perez had waited, he will have passed Alonso with no problems. Of course Sauber made Perez loose the race on the pit stops, but he had the chance to win on track and he made an error.

The issue is that this error, with grass or gravel off track, may had cost a lot. Nowadays errors seem not to be important because it’s only 2-3 seconds, but they ARE important. A similar error may cost an abandon in a different track (it already happened in Australia), so I think it’s something to put Perez second in this poll.


Driver of my day:




Nelson Pissquick

Alonso for me, When Perez caught him, I thought he would pass him with aid of the DRS. but he couldn’t. Maybe it was gear ratios, but Alonso defended to the left for the S bend (unlike Rosberg). In the end great result for both drivers.


How is Lewis even considered in this list? He started from Pole and finished 3rd. That rates as an average drive in anyone’s books.


A driver on the podium deserves to be DOTD, it’s standard form


thanks for removing my post James (sarcasm)

but how is Lewis on the list he went from pole to third in the best car!!!!


Very subjective but I went for Bruno Senna just because of the way he passed so many cars to get the position he finished with in very difficult conditions. Having watched the Prost Senna battles of the 80’s & 90’s it was great to hear that Senna name in the call doing what his uncle did so brilliantly, passing cars in the wet. Perez & Alonso also had fantastic races. All round a great race for the audience!


it has to be alonso because with both cars capable of winning, he took it.

Perez was brilliant, and let’s not forget he is almost a rookie, but the victory is what a f1 drivers lives for.


Massa was my Driver of the Day for keeping his Prancing Horse ahead of the HRT’s & Marussia’s! 😉 lol


In humid conditions Alonso was the best, while on a dry racing line Perez was much better. But I still can’t understand certain comments that Perez did the mistake deliberately, that he didn’t attack Alonso in a decisive manner, that the pits told him to be careful and take care of that 2nd place, etc, etc. Please bear in mind how much this result mean for Sauber: money, morale boost, constructor’s classification, aero development, driver development – I still remember when Peter Sauber launched Raikkonen and Massa and other valid drivers. I don’t think there was any wrong doing. Perez did a great job but his race engineer was wise enough to hold his (Perez) youth inexperience and enthusiasm which could have cost him a podium. We all know that in F1 there are a bunch of drivers who are quite difficult to overtake, like Alonso, Hamilton, Button, Vettel and others. The saying says it all: play it safe and steer away from propellers!


You are probably right….The team knows Perez better than I (we) do….But the effect is the same …they gave Ferrari the win….Perez was seconds! per lap faster and there was plenty of time to prepare the move…..but you indeed need some experienced guy to do it under pressure…(we might have seen the proof of that)..Perez will be back…I hope….;-)


Alonso – because he won the race and like him or hate him, he’s the number one driver of making something out of nothing, again and again. But much like a young Alonso or Hamilton – Perez proved he will be on top top of the podium many times in the days and years ahead.

After only two races Vettel, on the other hand, has shown a total lack of class and experience in the field with 6 champions. He doesn’t look or sound like one at all.

Nelson Pissquick

I agree,, Vettel is turning out to be a cry baby. If he asks nicely I’m sure Hamilton would lend him a dummy (if he’s not using it of course). Compare that to Button who showed how to act when you’ve make a mistake.


Hamilton – PERIOD!!!


I have to give Kimi a lot of credit, he qualied 5th so if he does not get the grid penalty I think he is up there fighting for the win… Being away for 2 years and have two solid point finishes in a row is very good to see. Hope to see him on the podium soon


I vote Alonso…..but……I don’t trust this win……

Alonso overtakes Perez in a flash…while Perez is much faster……Than Perez gets back to Alonso at an atonishing pase…..there is the call: be careful we need this position…..oeps, Perez makes a mistake….one he can correct in an easy way……Alonso wins….they need it ….Perez is in Ferrari Academy and wins too…..a nice seat….

I live in Italy, I love Ferrari. But nothing is what is seems….not even in F1….:+)

Nelson Pissquick

I don’t think so. Sauber called it right, just look what happened to Maldonardo last week, pretty much in the same situation. Perez wasn’t far from the gravel when he went wide.


OK, maybe it’s like that….. I sure hope you’re right! We will see how the season evolves….


Perez for a stunning race –albeit in BBC highlight form.


Transmission: Ferrari 7-speed quick-shift carbon gearbox, longitudinally mounted, carbon-fibre clutch

KERS: Ferrari

Engine: Ferrari 056 Motor

Machiavellian thoughts cross my mind of Sauber being told in a gentle Italian whisper: ”Signore, your driver, he no finish in front of ours eh….?”

‘Course this is F1 in the 21st Century and things like that just don’t happen…….do they……..? 😉


Fernando Alonso benefited from successful team tactics, as did Perez – somewhat – but he was faster on track than Alonso. In terms of team performance, the best team was Ferrari: Alonso’s win is a team success.

Perez on the other hand made a mistake while trying to overtake the Spaniard, so he was not the *best* driver on the grid on Sunday.

Therefore my vote has to go to Räikkönen: 2 years away, 2nd race, unlucky in practice -> Q-penalty, no mistakes in a wet race with completely new (to him) tires and finally when the track dried a bit the fastest lap of the race.

Tornillo Amarillo

You can say that Alonso was “lucky” because so many drivers got in troubles, but Perez was Great going forward, so I vote for PEREZ.

I don’t understand why you put Hamilton in the short list of drivers of the day, because he did not make anything extraordinary in race day… He was great in pole, but that isn’t race day, and he lost 2 positions.

The rest of the list I agree 100%, excelent drives.

Just one more point: what do you think about Grosjean spectacular start? Disregarding his troubles from there, I guess we have in Grosjean a super driver in qualifies and starts, he can be just in the front very soon with little more experience.


Got to be massa, drove a dog of a car and manged to get it up to p15! He managed to beat most of the other limited back marker drivers as well.

Congratulations felipe!!!!


There were a few outstanding drives in this race. But Perez is the one who stood out. Senna though had an amazing race too.

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