I think that it is clear that Australia generated more questions than it answered. After the long winter and all the excitement over Kimi’s return and the throwing up over the look of the new cars, finally people realised they didn’t have a clue what would actually happen. It was cool to see how no-one in the paddock could really tell you who would be quick and who wouldn’t be. Going into Malaysia, fans were asking what had happened to Red Bull? What manner of terrible things had Ferrari created over winter? And more importantly, what exactly is the point in Georgie Thompson?
The Malaysian weather normally generates a lot of surprises. If it isn’t hot and humid, it is hot, humid and raining. Nevertheless after a dry Friday and Saturday (made even drier by a couple of Kimi Raikkonen interviews…) the rain turned up on Sunday to ruin the day of fans at the circuit, and, as it happened, McLaren’s day as well. After two races it is clear to see the McLaren have not in fact made a pram unlike in recent years, but a fairly quick race car. Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton had made it two poles from two races on Saturday, and was once again on the front row with Jenson Alexander Lyons Button. But, after a lightening start saw the duo pull away in the early proceedings of the race, things started to go wrong for the Woking based team.
Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean kept up his 100% record of making a mess of the first lap. Following up a poor start in Australia he made a great get away in Malaysia, but seemed to forget he was in a Formula One race and not Dancing On Ice. A beautiful synchronised pirouette by the duo of Grosjean and Schumacher was awarded ten points for style, but zero for everything else. His race would come to an end only a few laps later.
Those few laps later and the rain turned torrential. Following an inspired choice by Perez to pit for extreme wet tyres after just one lap – he now found himself in a strong position. McLaren’s race started to unfold after a slow pit stop for Hamilton dropped him to third, behind Fernando Alonso and Perez. By now however, conditions were undriveable and predictably, it wasn’t long before the safety car made an appearance and later the decision to stop the race was called.
I couldn’t really say much about the red flag, on the basis the BBC highlights (had to get my excuse in here somehow) didn’t show anything of what was going on. So if anyone slipped on a banana skin or something mildly exciting and or entertaining happened, let me know. What I do know is that the stoppage lasted for 50 minutes, which must have made for enthralling viewing for those who had got up to watch it live.
Quite a bit later, once the race was underway again, McLaren’s race continued to deteriorate, especially for Button. A clash with HRT’s resident cucumber damaged his front wing and that- to all intents and purposes – was Jenson’s race over. Up front, the order remained unchanged as Alonso reeled off fastest lap after fastest lap whilst Perez kept a consistent gap to Hamilton’s McLaren.
As the track began to dry out, it became clear that Perez had a very real chance of winning the race. Lap after lap he closed in, sometimes taking a second or more away from Alonso’s advantage. Despite the threat of rain, clearly whoever was in control of the weather was wanting to see a surprise Sauber victory and it wasn’t long before the leading contenders had switched from intermediates to slick tyres. Ricciardo had been the first to take the gamble, and it was immediately clear that rain threat or not, this was the way to go.
You’d have to say Sauber really dropped the ball here. After years of scrapping away in the midfield, perhaps they forgot what it was like to fight at the front. But, for whatever reason, Sauber elected to pit a lap later than Ferrari – and that arguably cost them the race. Thanks to that, the gap extended to as much as 7 seconds. Perez was soon flying again however and was closing in rapidly until he was right on the back of Alonso’s Ferrari, until he made an error on lap 50 that saw Alonso pull away once more. And that was that. Alonso was off the hook and predictably took an unlikely victory.
Over the last few months, it seemed as if the famous prancing horse had gone lame. But thankfully for Tifosi everywhere, Alonso the horse whisperer got it galloping again, for now at least. And yes, that’s the most over used horse related clichés you’ll see in two sentences.
But surely, the star of the show was Perez. Had it not been for Sauber’s dodgy strategy and his error on lap 50, it is likely that he would surely have won
Two races in, two different winners, two great races and some unlikely results – 2012 seems to be shaping up to be a fantastic season.
So yeah, this rather was like a blow-by-blow account. Sorry about that! Hope you enjoyed it anyway. And now I pass over the race reporting baton over to…actually, who do I pass it over to?
Edited by JHS18, 28 March 2012 - 09:17 PM.