Date: 26th March 2012 at 3:48pm
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Alonso would not have turned up at Malaysia thinking he had a realistic chance of winning the race.

Or even head into the little break before the Chinese Grand Prix, leading the 2012 Formula One World Championship, but that is exactly what the Spaniard was able to achieve in difficult conditions in Malaysia.

Just like in Australia, Ferrari looked poor again in Malaysia.

In free practice 1, Alonso was almost 2 seconds behind Hamilton, whilst in FP2 he was 0.7 behind. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see Alonso struggling to get through to Q3 on Saturday afternoon and see Felipe Massa falling short in Q2.

Alonso told formula1.com after qualifying: ?It was a good qualifying, because I think we got everything we could out of the car. I had a KERS problem on my only run in Q3, but I don?t think it cost me any places, but it would definitely have made the gap to pole look more realistic. If it was to rain, it will take a lot of luck to pinpoint the right moment to change tyres: it only takes a little to drop a dozen seconds or so and we will need total concentration to get everything right.’

And of course that is exactly what happened in the race, with Alonso getting his timing for when to pit just right, while McLaren struggled, handing the advantage to Alonso.

From that point on Alonso looked strong, one of the main problems the 2012 Ferrari has is that it can over heat it’s tyres, making it very difficult for the drivers to get the optimum race pace out of the car.

On a wet/damp track this of course was a bonus as Alonso was able to get the heat into his tyres much quicker than everyone else!

Once the track began to dry further, this was when the Ferrari began to fall back into the grasp of Sauber, but Alonso was able to hold off the charge of the young Mexican Sergio Perez to take a surprise win.

?It was an incredible race! I am very happy, for me and for the whole team: I am proud of this fantastic group of people. While we have been going through this difficult time, no one gave up, in fact everyone has doubled their efforts to try and catch up. The strategy was perfect, the mechanics did an impeccable job, the engineers did their best in preparing the car and I drove at my maximum for all 56 laps of the race. I would never have bet on this win and I would think anyone who did so must have picked up a tidy sum!’

Fernando Alonso’s drive only highlighted the gap between him and team-mate Felipe Massa who went on to finish 15th, virtually a lap behind.

 

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