photo credit: Flickr/Vi Khoa Duong
The car that looked to be struggling came out on top in a race that included nearly an hour wait while it poured down rain. Fernando Alonso won a very exciting race, while teammate Felipe Massa once again is nowhere near a points position…hmm…
It started to rain about 15 minutes before the race started, so teams put their cars onto intermediate tires. Around lap 5, after Romain Grosjean beached his Lotus in gravel, teams started switching to full wets. On the first lap, Michael Schumacher, Romain Grosjean, and Bruno Senna spun.
And once everyone was on wets, there was lightning and thunder, which means safety car on lap 7. Jean-Eric Vergne stayed on the inters, however.
Basically if anything happened, you couldn’t exactly even see it.
Lap 9: once the safety car got boring as hell, it was time to just red flag the race for the time being. And because the Canadian GP was so awesome last year, the FIA decided to ruin all the fun so races can only be 4 hours long.
This race was already bumped up to 4pm local time from 5pm after the 2009 fiasco, and I just don’t get it. Do they not understand tropical climates? Here in Atlanta, especially during the summer, pop up storms are not uncommon…so obviously when you’re 3 degrees north of the equator, they’re more frequent and year round.
This is two times in four years. All it really needs is just to be moved up at least an hour more.
Rant over. I am a cranky person who has to be up until past 7am because of this and I only took a nap for an hour earlier.
So red flag. What’s exciting during a red flag? People in grandstands doing the wave, a bird standing in the grass looking ticked off, ice cream discussions, farmers market jokes after teams set up canopies over the cars.
Finally, it was announced the race would restart at 5:15 with parade laps behind the safety car to get a dry line going.
Pedro de la Rosa received a drive through penalty for team personnel on track right before the restart.
Lap 13: Safety car in, some cars went in to switch to intermediates, including Jenson Button, while Lewis Hamilton stayed out.
Cars on the inters were faster, so cars that stayed on the wets started coming in…but not Sergio Perez, who took the lead as cars swapped positions for a good two laps. Lewis Hamilton pitted, and McLaren royally screwed up the pit stop.
With an HRT in his way, Jenson Button’s front wing was damaged, so the screw up didn’t really matter. And in the end, Fernando Alonso took the lead from Perez.
Jenson Button at the back of the pack started setting fastest laps, maybe looking like he did in Montreal last summer….only several laps later to say he has no grip. Things never really improved for him.
The only thing interesting with cars still on inters was the battle for fourth among Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, and Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel was able to pass Rosberg with DRS, as was Raikkonen on the next lap.
And on lap 24, Fernando Alonso said it’s raining in turn 4. Jenson Button needed to pit for a new set of tires again. Alonso continued to set fastest laps from the lead.
Rosberg started dropping dramatically down the grid, and eventually pitted when 16th to get new tires.
With the track drying, it started to get iffy for continuing on intermediates, but of course more rain was expected on track. (Note: it never showed up, of course.)
Sergio Perez started to reel in Alonso, setting fastest lap nearly every time around. It was absolutely fantastic, he started lapping a second quicker than Alonso’s Ferrari. And meanwhile in P17, Massa nearly drove Button off track several times.
Toro Rosso put Daniel Ricciardo on medium slicks, while Jenson Button’s engineer said rain was approaching. Ricciardo’s time was quick, which led to Massa being put on the medium tire too…and then on Button’s radio it was time for slicks too.
Can you say strategic nightmare?
On lap 40, Alonso went in for slicks while Perez stayed out. Ricciardo set the fastest lap. Perez went in on lap 41 for hard tires, and came back out just behind Alonso.
On lap 48, Vettel had a puncture, but was close enough to the pit entrance. And what happened? Karthikeyan again has no concept of space for cars faster than him.
On lap 49, Perez was right behind Alonso. And then Perez took a bit of an off and lost all the time he gained, probably thanks to an engineer having to distract him from just going. It was no problem for Alonso from there.
With two laps to go, Pastor Maldonado continued to have a horrible time trying to finish as his engine overheated. And on the last lap, Vettel is told to pit…and then stay out…and then yell at him to stop because it’s an emergency.
And thankfully the checkered flag flew…2 hours, 48 minutes after the start.
So..I said Sergio was the drive of the day last race, and he sure as hell is the drive of the day this time around. If only his engineer hadn’t come on over the radio!
» Continue reading “Fernando Alonso Wins The Bizarre Grand Prix of Malaysia”