March 25, 2012

2012 Malaysian GP: A race won by men

It was not technology that made the 2012 Malaysian GP one of the best races in recent memory, it was not clever aero or smart engine tricks, it was the skill of men, behind the wheel and behind pit wall.

Alonso's win was by any standard, epic.  With an uncompetitive car, one that barely made it into Q3 on Saturday, he managed to make all the right calls, take risks at the right time, save tires as much as he could and have the skill to take advantage of his opponent's mistakes. It was masterful.

And while the three harpies on SpeedTV were busy ridiculing Ferrari for not raising an Easy-Up canopy over the cars during the rain delay ("how many Ferrari mechanics does it take to raise..." really Hobbs?), the guys in red were fastest on every pit stop and nailed strategy perfectly, unlike their beloved Mclaren. 
For Mclaren, a shocking debacle, blown pit stops, silly driver errors, a mess.

Not much better for Red Bull and what about Mercedes? Wow. It's almost as if they were cursed for Aldo Costa's comments Saturday.  Costa, who was fired abruptly as technical director from Maranello last year and now works at Mercedes, had said  how he was enjoying watching Ferrari struggle to get into Q3.... Sometimes it's best not to miss opportunities to keep quiet.

Button simply blew it, Hamilton tried to put a positive spin on it but he cannot be happy to start on pole and end up third again. Maybe he should avoid going for pole in China.

But what about Sauber, how amazing to have them on the podium.  After the brilliant call diving into the pits for full wets after the first lap, it's likely only the mistake not to have shadowed Alonso in the finale pit stop cost Checo Perez a victory. Fantastic result for the Swiss team, led by the way by a woman, Monisha Kaltenborn, the first ever to run an F1 team.

Sergio Perez will now be incessantly mentioned as Massa's replacement at Ferrari. Honestly, if I were Perez and I had a choice, I would not be so eager to go mid season: Massa is, justifiably given his performance, being used as a guinea pig for the team. But when Ferrari calls, do you say no?

Also, as Alonso and Domanicali rightly stated, it's not like Ferrari is suddenly different.  In terms of outright pace it's still severely lacking especially on a light fuel load. Still, they have Saint Fernando and miracles always help.


Alonso: Saint Fernando made a miracle
Ferrari pit and strategy crews: Spot on
Sergio Perez: Pedro Rodriguez is smiling
Sauber: Gets more cowbell
Bruno Senna: No way Ayrton likes that other yellow and green helmet better.
Kimi Raikkonen: this guy has been away for 2 seasons? maybe he was just napping.


Jenson Button: Oy Jens
Mclaren pit crews: LOL
The complete Mercedes F1 organization: Heroes on Saturday, Zeros on Sunday
Felipe Massa: Alonso P1 Massa P15 'nuff said.
Narain Karthikayan: He would be a moving chicane even in a Mclaren
Sebastian Vettel:  You know he's a chicane, how can you hit him?


  1. the count-down to Perez seat in the Ferrari is shorter still...

  2. I quite enjoy the SpeedTV guys. I'm sure that was just banter to fill time, they all know the ins and outs of F1. That was an amazing race, Alonso proves he's the best driver out there. Ferrari better be busting ass to give him a car he deserves. I love Massa, but he needs to go after this season. He just doesn't have it anymore.

  3. Great post. I don't enjoy the commentary on speed channel aside from Machet.

    Great race though, for the first time in a long time I was excited to see where the race would end up.

    As for Massa, it just is what it is. He's a talented driver no question about it. I think the accident rewired his risk taking ability as it would many many people. He can't be blamed.

    Looking forward to seeing the next race.

  4. The sky coverage might actually be salvageable - a good rain delay is perfect stress test and they didn't bore me to tears.

    Also, no commercials. ^_^

    This weekend Hammi did everything right on his part, the win stolen by a slow pitstop. Couldn't help but root Perez onward if only to show up Alonso and his slower Ferrari.

    Great action going on here. We can cry all we want about the 'formula' but right now it's giving up a good show.

    Also, no finger.

  5. Weird race. Clearly the message to Sauber "How are those engines?" decided the outcome. Shame, though not unexpected.

    1. LOL I had to re-read this vague suggestion before it clicked but your point is complete utter nonsense. Perez drove a stunning race but made a mistake. Alonso made no mistakes and thus took the victory. On the drying track, the weakness of the Ferrari chassis was beginning to come into play, and Perez could have capitalized . . . but he didn't.

    2. I think what decided the race was Sauber pitting late and Perez going wide on the penultimate corner with a few laps to go.

    3. Perez made a mistake did he? Doubt it.

    4. I'm just curious, if F1 is as artificial as you suggest, why do you even pay attention?

  6. I thought it was a good race for Lewis. He is doing what he didn't do last year, keeping his nose clean and putting in solid points when his competitors don't.

    1. Except for overshooting his pit stop .

  7. Also, I don't think Narain did much wrong. In the Button incident they were racing for position, did Button expect him to just move out of the way? For the Vettel incident, Narain moved over slightly but Vettel gave him no room at all.

  8. Don't think that we have a better commentary in Italy... during the pause they spotted Jenson Button eating some pasta and that was all they could talk about for the rest of the race.

    1. Hey at least it's not the usual thing with Barrichello having grown up overlooking Interlagos.... Who's doing F1 this year, RAI or Sky?

  9. Does anyone know what happened to kobayashi??

    1. Not sure, I read he had a brake issue towards the end?

  10. Once again McLaren unbelievable poor strategy cost them dearly!!! Why Button's was not the first to be called in for Slicks?!

    I agree that Alonso drove brilliantly, but I hesitate to call his win Epic! In these weather circumstances luck plays a huge factor in the strategy, I'm sure you agree Axis. Even Alonso himself in the press conference knew that they were lucky, nevertheless he drove great and it is good to see the Ferrari guys were having a good times!

    Headline news now is that Vettel called Karthikayan an idiot, seriously?!.. You know Vettel needs to learn a lesson from Button, you need to be humble in F1 at times. Karthikayan is not a significant driver by any standards, but there are obstacles that you have to drive around them both in F1 and in life, you have to do it gracefully and humanely. I think we are going to learn a lot about Vettel's character this season. He needs to show us that he is not an "Agree Loser" every-time he is not on pole or winning a race!

    1. You need skill to take advantage of luck. You can't deny Ferrari made all the right calls an Alonso put the hammer down when he had to and managed to drive just fast enough to get it done.

      Vettel was pathetic, giving the finger to Karthikayan when he was the one who hit him. Ted Bull bullying the FIA into giving HRT a penalty makes the the grids new asshats

  11. As F1 has so magnificently proven, when a young new talent suddenly clicks, emerges, or appears through the chaos (I can't help but refer to Murray Walker's "out pops the head of the Ayrton Senna chicken" comment LOL), there can also be cruel irony. Should Perez find himself sitting in a Ferrari, this race will be remembered for some time to come.

    I don't think it would be a stretch to suggest that such a talent's need to stake a claim and prove their worth could provide the perfect dynamic upon which to push a team leader . . . not that Fernando needs any help there.


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