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‘Rain Man’ Alonso takes F1 Malaysian Circuit

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KUALA LAMPUR, MALAYSIS (BDCi) – – Fernando Alonso of the Ferrari Team drove a brilliant race in difficult weather conditions to hold off up and coming Mexican driver Sergio Perez to take the second race of the F1 tour in Malaysia Sunday.

Rain and the threat of rain was the main theme at the race with drivers and teams deciding when to change between wet weather, intermediate weather and slick tires. Despite the horrid conditions, only 1 driver left the race early, Frenchman Romain Grojean.

The race started on time, but was interrupted soon with a safety car deployment at the 9th lap point. Racing was not fully resumed until the 14th lap when Alonso and Perez stole the show from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton who suffered from slow, ineffective pit stops.

Twice Alonso survived runs by the upstart Perez. The last one was both a thriller for fans and a dagger for Perez. By the 49th lap, Perez had knocked down a 7 second Alonso lead to a half second! In the 50th lap however, the Sauber Ferrari phenom veered wide on a right turn and gave up 5 seconds which proved to be enough for Alonso to take the checkered flag. Perez proved he could continually gain on the Ferrari standout by finishing only 2 seconds off the victory.

Bruno Senna of Brazil was a hero, starting the race in the 19th position and finishing 6th, and gaining 8 points for himself and his Williams-Renault team.

The other Brazilian racer in the competition, Felipe Massa, had quite the opposite experience as Senna. Driving the same car as the eventual winner Alonso, Massa started in the 6th place on the grid and finished 15th, a very disturbing development for his chances at remaining with Ferrari.

Several time champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes drove a quiet race, finishing in the points with a 10th place result.

Button opens up F1 season with Aussie victory

By: Don Weinstein Image: Times of Malta 25 March 2012

12:50p.m. P.D.T.

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