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?