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GP Week : Issue 146
Faultless all day, Sergio let the front slide a fraction too much on the downhill approach – the fast, difficult downhill approach – to the tight right-hander before the back straight on lap 50. It was a bit like Pastor Maldonado in Melbourne the week before: he was behind the Ferrari – quicker than Alonso – but transfixed by the situation. To save the car now in Sepang, Sergio needed to run wide, onto the escape road. He rejoined well enough; and he was still well ahead of Lewis. Fernando, though, had five seconds again with which to toy. It was over, for no-one takes a Grand Prix from Fernando Alonso when he’s up five with five to play. Next to that, everything else seemed to pale, although we should not forget the quality of the car produced by James Key and Willem Toet for the driver that is Sergio Perez. McLaren’s day was blighted by a pit stop issue, by Jenson colliding with a slower car just after switching to inters and then by Lewis being strangely out of synch with the car on intermediates. He was probably out of reach by the time he switched to slicks, but, still: this didn’t look the Lewis we have seen in other races in similar conditions. Mark Webber drove well to finish fourth; Kimi Raikkonen looked good in fifth place, despite his five-place grid penalty (Kimi also set Fastest Lap); Bruno Senna finished an excellent sixth in the very quick Williams FW34-Renault; and the very talented Jean- Eric Vergne finished eighth for Toro Rosso in only his second F1 start. He was particularly impressive early in the race, when he remained on intermediates and managed to vault himself from 17th to seventh. Nor should we side-step HRT’s Narain Karthekayan, who started the race on wets (rather than the intermediates chosen by all the other teams.) True, he had some kind of grip advantage. Even so, he passed plenty of cars in the right places, didn’t fall off and effectively climbed from 23rd to 10th in five laps. In atrocious conditions. Above all, though, this was a brilliant, famous win for Ferrari and for Fernando Alonso Diaz. This was Fernando’s 28th win – which is a milestone, of course : if Sir Jackie Stewart could pick any of Fernando’s victories on which to be passed then I’m sure that this would be the one. And, back in Maranello, where the restaurants were packed for late and long- lasting pranzi, strange thoughts were being enunciated: “You know, this car, this F2012, is actually quite beautiful when you see it in the right light ...” F1 >>> MALAYSIA 25 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: