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GP Week : Issue 146
31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: The excitement at Sauber was palpable on Sunday night after they secured their best ever result as a privateer team. Perez’s second place finish is Sauber ’s seventh podium result, adding to six previous third place finishes. The Mexican was sublime for 55 of the race’s 56 laps, with one single mistake on lap 50 costing him a very decent chance of victory. He gambled to switch to extreme wets on the first lap and it soon paid off as he rose to third by lap six. He then climbed to second, but was unable to reel Alonso in quickly enough. Kobayashi failed to finish after hitting brake problems in the final quarter of the race. He had been running outside the points. Caterham endured another unconvincing display at the back of the field in Malaysia, with Petrov and Kovalainen spending the duration of the race in combat with the Marussias. It was the first time both drivers had finished a race this year, and Petrov was especially happy to have beaten Kovalainen to the line. He took the flag over 40 seconds clear of Glock and Kovalainen, the Finn having made an extra pitstop for a new front nose following a mistake on-track. He ran out of laps in the end to catch Glock for 17th. Rookie Jean-Eric Vergne secured his very first F1 points with a commendable drive from 18th on the grid. The Frenchman was miraculously able to keep his car on-track with intermediate tyres as all those around him were pitting for extreme wets, catapulting him immediately into the fight for points. He shadowed those around him in terms of strategy to the finish to secure eighth place and four points. Ricciardo had to make an extra stop for a new set of intermediates costing him valuable time that ultimately pushed him outside the points in 12th. HRT enjoyed a victory of sorts in Malaysia on Sunday after getting both cars to the finish of their first race of the year. Neither car had completed more than five or six consecutive laps prior to yesterday, with the cool temperatures helping their persistent cooling problems. Karthikeyan and de la Rosa were locked in a battle for most of the race, with Karthikeyan staying in front for almost the duration. A post-race penalty of 20 seconds handed the intra-team battle victory to de la Rosa though. Williams were supremely delighted to secure their first points of the season, but it could so easily have been a double points finish for the Grove outfit but for a rare Renault engine failure on Maldonado’s car with two laps to go. Contact between both drivers at the start made their achievements even more remarkable, with Senna dropping to last after a pitstop for repairs. He recovered strongly though and overtook five cars on-track in the final half of the race to finish sixth. Maldonado had his trouble too and had to make an extra pitstop after missing the Williams box in the rain, but had to retire from tenth with his engine failure within sight of the finish. Marussia remain ahead of Caterham and HRT in the constructors’ standings after another strong performance by both Timo Glock and Charles Pic. Glock split the Caterhams to finish 17th, albeit some 40 seconds adrift of Caterham’s Vitaly Petrov. He was nevertheless able to hold an advancing Kovalainen at bay. Team-mate Pic was unable to find the pace on slicks at the end and therefore fell back from Kovalainen, having fought with him for much of the race. He had impressive held the Finn behind for over ten laps under intense pressure. Sauber Caterham Toro Rosso HRT Williams Marussia TEAM-BY-TEAM: MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX F1 >>> MALAYSIA