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yallaf1 28.03.2012

Formula 1 magazine & news digest

MALAYSIAN GP

• ALONSO POWERS TO HIS GREATEST TRIUMPH • PEREZ SHINES


IN THIS ISSUE

FIRSTframe WORD FIRST

COVER PHOTO: SUTTON

28 March 2012

MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX REPORT FERNANDO ALONSO AGAINST ALL ODDS SERGIO PEREZ A STAR IS BORN LEWIS HAMILOTN THIRD AGAIN NO CONSPIRACY SAYS PETER SAUBER KIMI RAIKKONEN IN THE POINTS AGAIN MCLAREN BIGGEST LOSERS IN SEPANG MERCEDES PROMISE MUCH, DELIVER LITTLE AGAIN RED BULL AND WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES QUALIFYING, FP1, FP2 & FP3 AND MUCH MORE... 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

The Malaysian Grand Prix. This is why we love Form No one would have bet a dime on Fernando Alonso s a victory at Sepang, No one would have bet a dime o Perez emerging to challenge Alonso and nearly sco but do the sensible thing, and bag second place in No one would have dared script such an unlikely the biggest team in the world loved by many, s season with terrible car, and no hope at all, qualifi in Malaysia and then wins the race. Oh yes, challenged all the way by a 22 year old ups is also in line to drive for the legendary team he is beat this particular soggy Sunday. Take that script and tear it up - too unrealistic, bel Sylvester Stallone motor racing fantasy. Well, as we all know it was not scripted at all, in fac real life drama which fiction will never be able to em In this issue we look back on the drama and inciden - even wacky - weekend which saw the underdogs hopers come up trumps, while the favourites and champions were bit-players. Plenty of talk, plenty of great images as we delive bumper issue of nothing but F1 news. Enjoy! Content & Credits • • • •

Editor: Peevee Sub Editor: Adrian Nel All content sourced from YallaF1.com Content providers: PVM, GMM, Reuters, FIA, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, Mercedes, Force india Toro Rosso, Williams, Marussia, Caterham, HR Cosworth, Renault and other F1 related organisa • Main Photography by Sutton Images • Additional photography services provided by including Getty Images, LAT, Hoch Zwei, Ercole C • Contact: info@yallaf1.com 2


2 0 1 2 pre - season : F E R R A R I S P E C I A L W R O O O M W I T H A V I E W A N D F O R T Y Y E A R S O F H E R O E S

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX COVER STORY

FERNANDO ALONSO VICTORY AGAINST ALL OD

F

ernando Alonso has insisted that his remarkable Malaysian Grand Prix win changes nothing when it comes to Ferrari’s place in Formula One pecking order and that the team has a lot of work ahead if it is to be competitive this season.

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DDS IN MALAYSIA


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX COVER STORY they work for Ferrari and they need to do the maximum for this red car and they know that, but after one win they will go tomorrow at eight o’clock to work with a smile and that maybe will give us some ideas.” And, he concluded, those ideas could

“Now that we are leading the championship we should be quite proud of the job, but we need to work,” he said. “From a psychological point of view, the win will (give) more motivation to the guys in Maranello. They don’t need motivation because

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each other a lot in the team, we are very united at the moment and this win will make us very happy today and maybe the next two days in the factory but it doesn’t change our determination to improve the car and to keep winning.”

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appear on the F2012 in the coming weeks. “Coming to China, Bahrain, Barcelona, there is a lot of stuff coming to improve the car and this is the real job we have to do,” he said. “I know the team is putting in a lot of effort. We trust


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX COVER STORY

A STAR IS BORN AT RAIN

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fter becoming the first Mexican to stand on a Formula 1 podium in 41 years, Sergio Pérez admitted he could have won the Malaysian Grand Prix. In the closing stages of the race, Pérez was hunting down Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for the lead but ran wide on lap 49. The mistake lost Pérez four seconds on track and with just six laps left he was unable to mount another challenge before Alonso took the chequered flag. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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LASHED SEPANG


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX COVER STORY The Sauber driver hung to second, however, to become the first Mexican to claim a podium sport since since the late Pedro Rodriguez finished second at the Dutch GP of 1971. Afterwards Pérez admitted the

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win was there for the taking. “It was very difficult to get Fernando but I think today the win was possible,” he said. “I mean, I was catching Fernando toward the end of the race, I knew I had to get him soon because


to go into the wet and then I just lost control of the car and went straight and lost the fight for the victory. “I have to say the team has done an incredible job,” he said of Sauber.

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(in) all the sectors with the high speed I was losing my front tyres with a lot of degradation, so it wasn’t easy. Towards the end I had some understeer into a left-hand corner, the quick one, and I ran wide enough


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX COVER STORY

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“They called me always on the right time, especially the first pit stop we did, it was really at the right moment. Unfortunately, Fernando pitted one lap earlier than us, towards the end of the race, when the track was already dry, and he opened some gap there, but even then we managed to get him. The pace was fantastic. I was really quick. “In the end, second it’s a great result for the team. (It’s) many points and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. It’s only the second race and hopefully we can keep improving our car to fight the big guys.” Pérez’s outstanding drive will inevitably lead to more speculation linking him with Felipe Massa’s drive at Ferrari, but on a day when Massa had another difficult afternoon and finished 12th, the Mexican reaffirmed his commitment to Sauber. “My full commitment is with my team, with Sauber F1 team. It’s only the second race of the season and there’s still a long way to go so we have to keep improving, especially because we are a small team. The others can improve more so it’s important we remain focused. It’s only rumours. I will stay with Sauber for the whole season.”


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT

ALONSO POWERS TO HIS AS PEREZ SHINES AT SO

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he two drivers, in Ferrari powered cars, battled it out right to the finish line while their rivals – particularly pre-race favourites McLaren and world champions Red Bull – imploded in trying conditions during the Malaysian Grand Prix. Nevertheless, pole sitter Lewis Hamilton salvaged third for McLaren after leading from the start, but after some pitstop misfortunes, he simply had no answer for the leading pair. Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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It was an afternoon packed with drama – the race was halted for 51 minutes as officials red flagged the race after just eight laps due to torrential rain fell at the Sepang circuit. The downpour reduced visibility to a bare minimum and the wet track caused cars to lose grip, leaving race organisers with no option other than to halt the race and wait for the weather to clear up. 19

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GREATEST VICTORY OGGY SEPANG


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT Under clearing skies, the race restarted behind the safety car with Hamilton leading, Button in second and Perez third. The field started on intermediate tyres and as rain began to lash the circuit, opted to switch to wets after a few more laps but with Button telling his team on the radio that sector three was “like a lake�, the safety car was deployed. Romain Grosjean was the only casualty before the stoppage, the Frenchman spinning off the track on the fourth lap in his Lotus, beaching his car

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in the gravel – a second DNF in the first two races of his season. The McLaren pair held the initiative in the first stanza of the race, but after the restart their game plan went out the window as Button tangled with Narain Karthikeyan and damaged his front wing when he clipped the HRT while battling for position. Thereafter the Australian GP winner was out of contention, in conditions in which he normally excels. Hamilton was compromised twice during pitstops, but in truth the


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT McLaren went off the boil in the changing conditions and the Englishman spent the afternoon in damage control mode to take third. Mark Webber’s fourth place for Red Bull was in stark contrast to their dominance a year earlier at the same venue. His teammate, last year’s winner Sebastian Vettel finished down in 11th after spending most of the afternoon battling for fourth place, things took a dive for the world champion as he too clipped Karthikeyan’s HRT, which resulted in a blowout and a limp back to the pits. He resumed after a tyre change, but was told (possibly for strategic reasons in terms of the engine use rules) to park it, with one lap to go. Kimi Raikkonen’s return to the top of the sport continues to impress, the Lotus driver enduring a tough race in which he battled his way from 10th on the grid to fifth by the time the chequered flag dropped. Williams were denied a good finish last time out in Melbourne when Pastor Maldonado slammed the wall on the final lap, this time around Bruno Senna made amends by finishing sixth at Sepang, in his best showing to date. Maldonado’s day again ended in heartache as the Renault engine on the back of his Williams expired with the finish in sight, he was tenth at the time. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT Paul di Resta worked hard to claim seventh place for Force India after hard fought battle with Toro Rosso rookie Jean Eric Vergne. The pair finishing seventh and eighth respectively, with Vergne scoring points in only his second ever F1 race. Nico Hulkenberg made up for his first lap disappointment in Australia, to take ninth place and ensured that

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both Force India drivers bagged points despite starting 14th and 16th respectively. Final point went to Michael Schumacher, who 24 hours earlier enjoyed his best qualifying since his return in 2012. The seven times world champion was sluggish off the line, and midway around the first lap was tagged by Grosjean’s Lotus. This


Marko earlier in the week. Without dispute, the day belonged to Alonso and Perez: the wily veteran versus the talented upstart. The pair delivered a nail biting show as Alonso defied the pressure Perez was piling on, as late in the race, as the surface dried up quickly, the Sauber C31 gained pace while the Ferrari F2012 struggled.

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rendered the veteran to the back of the field, and thereafter he spent the race playing catch-up in the Mercedes which has great one hot lap pace, but deteriorates alarmingly in race trim. Nico Rosberg, who started seventh, ended 13th in the W03, which looked like the mobile chicane described by Red Bull’s Helmut


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT But, while at his closest to the Ferrari and apparently ready to pounce on lap 51, Perez went off track, lost about five seconds and it was game over for the win. He recovered and tried to reel in the Ferrari, but Alonso had the final laps well covered to take a famous win, with Perez taking an equally impressive and well deserved second place. Team owner Peter Sauber, who was in tears at the end of the race, will be particularly pleased with a huge points haul, also knowing his team have a strong car and that they made all the right calls on the day – including this one: “Checo be careful, we need this position. Be careful.” There is no way Alonso woke up Sunday morning before the race and said: “I am going to win this afternoon…” But that is exactly what he did, taking a woeful car – the Ferrari F2012 – and squeezing every ounce of performance in ultra-tricky conditions to score not only the most unlikely win of his career, but also a win that will give the underfire Ferrari F1 team management some breathing space. There are a lot of heavy hitters at Maranello that now owe Alonso, big time. The Spaniard said after his 28th F1 career victory, “A big surprise today the win. We were not competitive in Australia or here. Our goal was to score as many points as 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT

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possible. An unbelievable result, a great job from the team. We maximised the potential in our hands. Keeping calm in some strange conditions at the begin with inters and the switching to dry tyres. The team deserve this win. It’s a tough time for us at the moment but this is a Sunday we will remember.” But the Spaniard did not mince his words regarding what his team has to do to regain lost ground, “I think [the win] changes nothing. We are in a position that we don’t want. We don’t want to be fighting to go into Q3 and for points. The goal was not to lose many points. We did the job trackside. So this is a positive news but coming to China, Bahrain and China there is a lot of stuff coming to the car and this is the real job to do. We are very united and this win will make us very happy. But it doesn’t change our determination to improve the car and to keep winning.” It is always great to watch a newcomer make it onto the F1 podium, as their joy is unrestrained and Perez was the picture of genuine pleasure, on the second step of the podium, celebrating his best grand prix finish to date. The young Mexican said afterwards, “Was the win possible? I think so. I was catching Fernando towards end of the race. I knew I had to get


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT

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him soon because in all the high speed corners I was losing my front tyres running behind him. Then I ran wide in the quick left hander. I touched the kerb and I went onto the dirty side of the track. It was completely wet and I lost the win. Today the win was possible. “The team have done an incredible job. They called me [into the pits] always at the right time. Unfortunately Fernando pitted one lap earlier than us towards the end and he opened some gap. The pace was fantastic. I have to say many thanks to the team,” added Perez. Despite starting from pole it was in the end a lacklustre day for McLaren, however Hamilton was upbeat after the race, “It think we can be satisfied. Fernando and Sergio drove fantastically today and it was very tough to catch them. We would have liked to have more points this weekend but I can’t complain as I’m on the podium for the second weekend in a row. I was able to stay out of trouble with the conditions. We did a great job.” Action resumes in China, in two weeks time, with Alonso leading the championship standings with 35 points, followed by Hamilton on 30 and Button with 25 to his credit.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX RACE REPORT

25 Rac

Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Ret Ret

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s No 5 15 4 2 9 19 11 17 12 7 1 16 8 3 6 21 24 20 18 25 23 22 t 14 t 10

Driver Fernando Alonso Sergio Perez Lewis Hamilton Mark Webber Kimi RäikkÜnen Bruno Senna Paul di Resta Jean-Eric Vergne Nico Hulkenberg Michael Schumacher Sebastian Vettel Daniel Ricciardo Nico Rosberg Jenson Button Felipe Massa Vitaly Petrov Timo Glock Heikki Kovalainen Pastor Maldonado Charles Pic Narain Karthikeyan Pedro de la Rosa Kamui Kobayashi Romain Grosjean

Team Ferrari Sauber-Ferrari McLaren-Mercedes Red Bull Racing-Renault Lotus-Renault Williams-Renault Force India-Mercedes STR-Ferrari Force India-Mercedes Mercedes Red Bull Racing-Renault STR-Ferrari Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes Ferrari Caterham-Renault Marussia-Cosworth Caterham-Renault Williams-Renault Marussia-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth Sauber-Ferrari Lotus-Renault

Laps 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 56 55 55 55 54 54 54 54 46 3

Time Winner +2.2 secs +14.5 secs +17.6 secs +29.4 secs +37.6 secs +44.4 secs +46.9 secs +47.8 secs +49.9 secs +75.5 secs +76.8 secs +78.5 secs +79.7 secs +97.3 secs +1 Lap +1 Lap +1 Lap +2 Laps +2 Laps +2 Laps +2 Laps +10 Laps +53 Laps

Grid 8 9 1 4 10 13 14 18 16 3 5 15 7 2 12 19 20 24 11 21 23 22 17 6

Pts 25 18 15 12 10 8 6 4 2 1

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March 2012 - Sepang ce Result


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX alonso interview

FERNANDO ALONSO: TO BE HONEST THIS WIN

F

ernando Alonso further enhanced his reputation as the best F1 driver of this era, with a remarkable and totally unlikely victory in the Malaysian GP at rain drenched Sepang circuit. In doing so he took command of the championship standings with two races down in the 2012 title race, taken his career victory tally to 28 - three of which have been scored in Malaysia with three different teams: Renault (2005), McLaren (2007) and Ferrari (2012). The Spaniard reflects on, arguably, his greatest drive. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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Ercole Colombo

Congratulations on a victory that you probably didn’t expect at the start of the week but what about in the latter stages as the young Mexican was catching you? Fernando Alonso: Yeah definitely, a big surprise today with the win. We were not competitive in Australia, we were not competitive here and our goal for this first race is to score as many points as possible. But today we did 25 so it’s an 37

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N CHANGES NOTHING


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX alonso interview unbelievable result, so great job from the team and trackside I think we maximised the potential we have in our hands at the moment. Good qualifying yesterday going into Q3 and then today keeping calm in some extreme conditions I think, at the beginning with the Inters with a lot of water and then switching to the Inters and then switching to the dry tyres in the perfect moment with perfect pit stops. Congratulations to the team because I think they deserve this victory. It’s a tough time for us at the moment but this Sunday we will remember.

very happy today and maybe the next tw days in the factory but it doesn’t change our determination to improve the car and to keep winning.

You’ve got quite a history at this circuit. It’s quite a good track for you. You’ve won twice before and had all sorts of milestones here. FA: Yeah, I heard on the radio now that it’s the third victory for me with three different cars and three different teams, so it’s good to keep winning at circuits you love to race. As I said on Thursday here, it’s a fantastic circuit, very technical What does this do to a Ferrari team? and with a lot of type of corners and very So many questions asked about the difficult conditions as we had today. So to performance of the car in Australia, does win third time here with three different this give fresh motivation and can we see cars is good news, but obviously the mos it again in the near future? important thing, as we’ve said many time FA: I think it changes nothing, to be is championship points and to get some honest. We are in a position that we don’t consistency over the 20 races, not making want, to be fighting to go into Q3 and then too many mistakes, not making too many fighting to score some points. We want DNFs. Today, was one of the races that to fight for pole positions, for victories, easily you can make a DNF because the so definitely in the first two races of the conditions were quite difficult. So we stay Championship that we find ourselves off calm, we try to do the best job we can the pace. As I said before, the goal was and I think the team did, again, a fantastic not to lose many points with the leaders. I job, not only preparing the race but the think we did a job in the trackside, as I said, weekend in general, on Friday testing and we didn’t lose maybe any point to the some new parts, in qualifying doing our leaders, so this is the positive news about maximum and then in the race a perfect these first two races but coming to China, start, perfect pit stops, at the right time. Bahrain, Barcelona, there is a lot of stuff So we cannot ask any more of today’s rac coming to improve the car and this is the Now back home we have some work to real job we have to do. I know the team do ahead, because we need to recover a is putting in a lot of effort. We trust each couple of tenths to be more competitive other a lot in the team, we are very united and also fight for victory on a dry, sunny at the moment and this win will make us day and not only these conditions. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX alonso interview As you say, the pit stop timing was crucial today. That was what got you ahead of Lewis in the first pit stop after the stoppage. FA: Yeah, I think it was perfect. We started with inters, which I think was the main choice for everyone. We switched to extreme tyres because the aquaplaning was very bad and we overtook Vettel in that pit stop because we anticipated (it by) one lap. Then as you said, we came with Lewis, to change for inters after the restart. I think I came in behind Lewis but I exited in front, so it was just the pit stop itself that was quicker. Maybe Lewis had some kind of problems. I was making positions little by little with perfect calls from the team, so this victory is definitely for them. Was the dry tyre choice at the end the correct one? FA: Yeah. We were not sure about the Medium or the Hard tyre. We put the Medium on because it was the majority put the Medium on. We were leading the race, you don’t need to invent anything, you just to copy what they are doing and with that maybe it’s enough. We put on the Medium. With the consistency we were comfortable but obviously not quick enough compared to Sergio, he was putting a lot of pressure. Once before the dry tyres so at the end of the stint with the Inters and then with the Inters. They were quicker than us, no doubt about that but we were lucky enough to maintain the position in the last laps. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX alonso interview

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If they had told you after the first two races that you would come home as the leader of the championship, what would you have thought. And do you think, considering the car you have, that this is one of the best victories of your career? FA: I don’t know. I think after Barcelona if someone tell us you are becoming the leader of the championship after two races you don’t have a clear answer. Maybe it’s possible, maybe not. In Australia we were not competitive, here not competitive, especially in qualifying. Then in the race it seems we pick up the pace a little bit and there is no secrets. I think there is no secret. We are not having the easiest start to the championship with some problems in the car and some lack of pace but we are working on that, working day and night. I think Ferrari (has) proved over 60 years what they are able to do. In a way it’s not a surprise but as I said in the press conference, this win changes nothing in the approach in the next coming weeks. In the next coming races we need to have a very aggressive approach in terms of the development of the car. We need to bring updates to every race because we are a little bit too far behind or more than what we want or what we expect.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX alonso interview

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Is this your best victory? FA: I don’t know. I think every victory tastes different. I think the conditions were more difficult than in some other victories. As I said, only at Korea do I remember these type of conditions, especially at the beginning when we had inters, the visibility was zero behind Webber and there was a crash in turn four between Grosjean and Michael and I think I passed just one centimetre from Michael’s front wing. There were many factors in the race, especially in the first ten laps, which could put you out of the race very easily. I had two or three big moments in turn three and under braking for turn one. You arrive at 280 or 290 kilometers per hour with aquaplaning for 20 meters on the inters and then the car recovers thanks to God, so there were big moments throughout the race, so when you get a victory, it tastes better, for sure, but it’s difficult. I’m very happy. 45

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How important is this victory in terms of the psychological aspect – for you, the team and the fans? FA: Obviously yesterday, and the days before, as I said before, we are not in the position we wanted, we are not quick enough but it was not a dramatic situation as some voices outside he team said. We just clarified that in Australia we finished fifth and there were only four guys happier than us. Now that we are leading the championship we should be quite proud of the job but as I said we need to work. From a psychology point of view, the win will make more motivation to the guys in Maranello. They don’t need motivation because they work for Ferrari and they need to do the maximum for this red car and they know that, but after one win they will go tomorrow at eight o’clock to work with a smile and that maybe will give us some ideas.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX alonso interview

After qualifying you said that your goal was to stay in front of Sauber. Would you have expected to be in front of him, to fight for victory? FA: Obviously, yesterday ninth and tenth for me and for Sergio – neither of us probably ever thought we would fight for victory but we said yesterday… here the weather conditions are quite changeable so with the rain coming, everything changed and now we’ve found good pace in the car and good pace in wet 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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conditions and it was a good fight. I think Sauber is doing a fantastic job this year. We saw in winter testing they made very good progress, they showed good potential in Australia, they showed super potential here, today, with a very good drive from Sergio. I think it’s the tendency of this year. There is no big domination as we maybe had last year or the last two years and everything remains more open, so we need to take advantage of this. 47

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX alonso interview How difficult was the call to slick tyres? FA: Yes, it was a very difficult decision because, as I said before, we just wanted to do the same as other people behind us. It was not the time for us to take risks because we were leading the race so it was difficult conditions because as you said, the track was ready for dry tyres, they were doing quick times but the forecast said rain in the next five minutes, so if you put on dry tyres and then it rains you lose everything. I think Button or someone close to us or Vettel put on dries so it was time to make the decision so we pitted and then once Lewis and Sergio pitted as well, we were happy because if the rain came at that moment we were all in the same condition again. We only had doubts for one lap. Do you see Sergio Perez as someone talented enough to make the step up to be a ferrari driver sometime soon? FA: At the moment, as Sergio said, he is concentrated on Sauber, which is the obligation on the contract side. Ferrari’s Driver Academy is doing a great job with young talents and I think if Sergio is in the Academy it’s because Ferrari saw big talent in this guy. Today, the victory was not possible, but I think a win will come sooner rather than later for Sergio. At the moment, with Felipe, we are a very strong team, a very united team and I don’t see any possibility not to race alongside Felipe, because I think we are a strong team. I think Felipe had some problems in the race in Australia but here, changing a couple of things in the car, he was competitive. Yesterday he was P12 and when it was red flagged he was already eighth, so I think with a normal race and hopefully when the car improves, Felipe and I need to be on the podium together. That’s the goal for the remainder of the season. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX perez interview

SERGIO PEREZ: THE WIN

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t is always a very special moment in Formula 1 when a driver walks on to the podium for the very first time and so it was when Sergio Perez had the honour of doing so after a gutsy performance on his way to claiming second place in a incident packed Malaysian Grand Prix, and you got the distinct impression that we will be seeing a lot more of the 21 year old Mexican on F1 podiums in the future. Here he speaks about his greatest day thus far in his career. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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A phenomenal effort from yourself and the team but do you think this was a win that could have been yours? Sergio Perez: I think so, I definitely think so. I mean, I was catching Fernando toward the end of the race, I knew I had to get him soon because all the sectors with the high speed I was losing already my front tyres with a lot of degradation going behind Fernando, so it wasn’t easy. Then I ran wide in the quick corner, I touched a kerb and I 51

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WAS POSSIBLE


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX perez interview went to the dirty side. It was completely wet and that was the end of the win, probably. It was very difficult obviously to get Fernando but I think today the win was possible. I have to say the team has done an incredible job. They called me always on the right time, especially the first pit stop we did, it was really at the right moment. Unfortunately Fernando pitted one lap earlier than us, towards the end of the race when the track was already dry and he opened some gap there, and even then we managed to get him, the pace was fantastic, I was really quick. I have to say many thanks to the team, they have done a great job and I’m very happy for them. So close, so close! Is that what you’re thinking? Sergio Perez: Really! I think the win today was really possible. Obviously the team did very good work to call me in at the right times. We lost one lap just at the end to Fernando on the dry tyres, so we lost about two seconds, and then my pit stop didn’t go so well with the clutch. And then I managed to catch him, lap by lap. Towards the end I had some understeer into a left-hand corner, the quick one, and I ran wide enough to go into the wet and then I just lost control of the car and went straight and lost the fight for the victory. But even though, I think it’s been a great effort for the team. They called me at 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

the right times. The conditions were very difficult to keep the car on the track and they have been incredible. They were quite focused as well, so they always called me at the right time, which was crucial here and obviously we had a great pace. In my second stint, when we changed to intermediates, we changed a bit late and Fernando was already with warm tyres, so it took me some laps to warm up tyres and at that point it was very difficult to get Fernando, but towards the end of the stint I was very close to him. So again he pitted and he pulled away, he pitted on the right lap and it took me a few laps to catch him. When I caught him I knew it would have to be quick to overtake him because I was having a lot of degradation in my front tyres, especially going behind him. So I went looking for the way to get him and then I just ran a bit wide and touched the wet kerb – I was lucky not to go off. In the end, second it’s a great result for the team. Many points and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. It’s only the second race of the season and hopefully we can keep improving our car to fight the big guys. You mentioned the pit stop. Was there a problem there? SP: Yeah I had a problem with two pit stops with the clutch. Something was wrong with the clutch and we lost some time there. But anyway, the team has done a fantastic job. 52


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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX perez interview What were you thinking of when you were reeling off fastest laps? SP: Yes, I was thinking of Fernando, waiting for him, as soon as possible, getting closer and closer. I was keeping my head down, also I had to save some tyres, trying not to degrade them a lot, because it was so easy in those conditions, especially towards the end of the stint on inters. I knew it was crucial to have good tyres towards the end of the stint, so I was catching him with quite good tyres but then he pitted and he pitted on the right lap. Again, I had to catch him again and I was catching him big time and then I just ran a little bit wide, I was obviously on the limit, trying to catch him and I touched the wet side of the kerb and I went straight on.

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Shortly before you went off, we heard the team on the radio telling you not to throw away any points. Was that a distracting call? SP: No, not at all. Obviously the team was worried. Obviously for us, second place means a lot so they were quite worried, I was going quite fast in difficult conditions. To keep the car on the track during the early stages of the race was quite a challenge, so we did quite well so it was a long race for the team, and I fully understand them. But no, it was not a distraction at all. I think they wanted the points as much as I did. I wanted the win because I saw it was possible. Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but I’m still very happy and very proud of this second place.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX perez interview

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You said in an interview in Melbourne that you expected to be fighting for podiums, hopefully sooner rather than later, but did you expect it to be one week after that interview? SP: Not really. I knew that the car had the potential to fight in these kind of conditions because we were not so far off, so in this type of condition, maybe the driver can make a little bit more difference and if you get the right conditions and you make the right calls then you can be up there fighting as we were today. The victory was quite close, but I think all in all, it’s a great day for me. As we know in motor racing, catching somebody is one thing, getting past them is another. Did you have a plan? SP: Yes, I was just starting to plan because I knew Fernando was struggling, especially with the rears and I was struggling with the fronts and I was getting quite close to him in the fast section, but then I had a lot of understeer and the fronts were already degrading. I was just thinking where I was going to save some KERS and then I just touched the kerb and ran wide and it was over. 57

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There’s a lot of speculation at the moment that you might become Fernando’s teammate later this year. Did you have a chat with Stefano [Domenicali] about it on the podium? SP: No, no, I only congratulated him. As a team they did a great job. And for me, my full commitment is with my team, with Sauber F1 team. It’s only the second race of the season and there’s still a long way to go so we have to keep improving, especially because we are a small team, so for us, it’s getting closer to development, the others can improve more so it’s important we remain focused. Obviously it’s only rumours but no, I will stay with Sauber for the whole season.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX hamilton interview

LEWIS HAMILTON: WE DID RIGHT CALLS AT THE RIG

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wice on pole, twice finishing third - that’s been the season so far for Lewis whose McLaren MP4-27 has shown a good turn of speed in qualifying bu world champion has yet to carry that form to race day. Nevertheless, unlike in he seemed satisfied with the job done on the day at wet and tricky Sepang, althou point out some shortcomings in the team’s strategy. Here are highlights of Hami race Malaysian Grand Prix interview.

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s Hamilton ut the 2008 n Australia, ugh he did ilton’s post

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DN’T MAKE THE GHT TIME


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX hamilton interview

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What exactly happened in race conditions? LH: They were just very quick, equally as quick as me if not quicker. I was losing quite a lot of time in the mid sector. I’m not really sure exactly where I was losing the time and why but I had the option tyre on, I was pushing as hard as I could in the conditions. I probably could have gone from extremes to inters and inters to slicks – on both the stops I probably could have come in a lap earlier. These two probably did a better job there. In one of the pit stops I lost a good four or five seconds, just sitting there with some problem with the front right. After that I was trying to catch them, but we had 15 laps or something like that so I had to alter the car for the tyres as best as I could. I was being chased by the guys behind, so a little bit of lack of pace today from me, but I’m still fortunate to be here. 61

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The pit timing was when you lost out to Fernando but were there other problems today? Lewis Hamilton: No. It was a pretty straightforward day. The guys next door (to me here) did a fantastic job. Fernando and Sergio did a fantastic job, so congratulations to them. We just weren’t very quick today. We were a little bit unfortunate with the calls. I think we didn’t make the right calls at the right time and lost a bit of ground there. We lost quite a lot of time through a couple of the pit stops. I don’t know what problems we had but I seemed to be sitting there for quite some time. Otherwise I was just trying to hunt them down but they were both massively quick.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX hamilton interview

Last week you were seriously annoyed with third place. You bemoaned the fact that you’d gone backwards, as you put it. Why is third different this weekend when you’ve declared yourself satisfied? LH: I wouldn’t say I was happy with third – I can never be happy with going backwards, but it’s really just due to the conditions. Those two guys in front did a better job and today was just really trying to keep the car on the track and bring home some points and I did. The goal is always to try and be on the podium and stay consistent and so far I’m doing that, but of course I would like to be a little bit higher up so I’m going to try and focus on my race pace for the next race and see if I can convert a good position to a better result. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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Hoch Zwei


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point

SAUBER RUBBISHES CON OVER PEREZ RADIO MESS

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he conspiracy theorists had a field day after the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang when Sergio Perez’s strong push for victory went awry, when around the same time the young Mexican was told on the radio by his Sauber engineer that “we need the position”, his charge to catch Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso ended with a minor mistake. Ferrari is Sauber’s engine supplier, and the two teams also often align on political matters. During the race, with Perez attacking Alonso, the Mexican’s engineer came over the radio saying: “Checo be careful, we need this position.” “No I don’t think Perez’s mistake was intentional,” former driver and British commentator Martin Brundle wrote on Sky. But Perez is also the cream of Ferrari’s development driver programme, and linked (by rumour at least) with the struggling Felipe Massa’s race seat. So he was told to fall in line behind Alonso? “No,” boss Peter Sauber said emphatically. “100% no, 100% nothing.” Speaking to media after the race Sauber explained, “We told him be careful, we need the result, because behind us, all of our competitors scored points. We needed the result, not [just] the position, so there is some misunderstanding. Behind us our competitors, all the midfield teams, scored points and it was so important that we kept the result not [just the] position.” The team boss was then asked outright if there was any collusion with Ferrari, “One hundred per cent – nothing. We had no discussion about Checo and we had no discussion about the position.” 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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SPIRACY THEORIES SAGE


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point

SERGIO PEREZ: I AM WITH WHOLE SEASON

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addock cynics wondered aloud on Sunday when Sergio Perez was seen chatting with Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali, the inevitable question: Is the impressive young Mexican being lined up to oust the struggling Felipe Massa? “I only congratulated him, as a team they did a great job,” Perez insisted. “My full commitment is with my team, with the Sauber team. Obviously it’s only rumours but no, I will stay with Sauber for the whole season.” But not everyone in F1 believes that, including McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, “I imagine he has put a bit of pressure on Mr Massa. I don’t know what the odds are on him switching teams before China, but there must be consideration.” Alonso, however, is not expecting to have a new teammate any time soon, “At the moment Sergio is concentrated on Sauber. At the moment with Felipe we are a very strong team, a very united team.” “I’m happy for him (Perez) and his team, but (my) worry? Zero,” Massa is quoted by Brazil’s Globo. “I never worry about whether a good performance of someone else could be a problem for me or not.” And boss Domenicali, admitting that Perez “confirmed his great talent” in Malaysia, backed his current driver.

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H SAUBER FOR THE


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“This is a particularly difficult time for him (Massa) because he cannot get the most out of a car that objectively is very difficult to drive. So we need to be close to him, which is how it should be in a team that is close together. Sergio drove a good race. But at this difficult time we must stand with Felipe,” he insisted. But things always change quickly in F1. Former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari was asked by AS 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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newspaper if he thinks Ferrari should not answer that becau and also with Checo.” However, he added: “Vet and Fernando is better than Fe make its decisions and I will no Peter Sauber has a solid 2012, but even he is expecting


ttel is better than Webber elipe. Each team has to ot do it for them.” contract with Perez for g to see the Mexican move

on, “At some point we will lose him to another team,” the Swiss told Blick newspaper. If Perez does move to Ferrari, a seat will open up at Sauber. Force India refugee Adrian Sutil hopes he is at the front of the queue. “All I can say is: I’m ready, I’m very motivated and training hard and want to be back in F1 as quickly as possible,” he told German television Sky. 71

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should replace Massa, “I use I am a friend of Massa

Ercole Colombo


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX raikkonen interview

KIMI RAIKKONEN: WE NE SHOW WHAT WE CAN DO

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imi Raikkonen reflects on his first wet weather experience in the Lotus E20, after another resilient race performance saw the Finn climb five places, and take home a useful haul of points for the team in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

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LAT Photographic

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EED A CHANCE TO OVER A WEEKEND


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX raikkonen interview

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While you may have been hoping for more, in such an unpredictable race it must be satisfying to bring home some points for the team? KR: It’s good to get more points on the board and obviously P5 is an improvement on qualifying after the penalty, but I think with more knowledge of the wet tyres we could have been further up. Once we switched to the slicks the pace was very good, so under different conditions today [it] had the potential to be a very strong race for us. When the race was stopped and you climbed out of the car to shelter from the rain, did it bring back memories from 2009? Were you tempted to grab a Coke and an ice cream? KR: [Laughs] Not this time; the difference today was that I was still in the race so no need! Two good race performances under your belt now on different tracks and varying conditions; does this give you confidence going to China? KR: Hopefully we can have a ‘normal’ race weekend with no penalties, crazy weather or other setbacks! It would be good to have a trouble free weekend so we can see where we really stand, as it’s hard to tell after the first two races with so many factors affecting our results. We seem to have a very strong package, we just need the chance to really show what we can do over a whole weekend. 75

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It was a pretty eventful race at Sepang. How was it from where you were sitting? Kimi Raikkonen: I was a bit handicapped to be honest as I didn’t know what to expect from the tyres. I’d only done one installation lap on the intermediates before today so it was tricky to predict how the car would behave. I spent the first part of the race trying to explore the limits and pushing as far as I felt comfortable without going off the track. My visor got so dirty in the opening laps it was hard to even see anything, especially with the spray. When you look at the whole weekend, fifth isn’t a bad result but we’ll be looking for more at the next race.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point

LUCK GOES AWOL FOR RO ON HIS RETURN TO FORM

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otus driver Romain Grosjean’s bad luck continued from last week’s season opener into Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix when the Frenchman spun out of the rain-hit race after four laps. Grosjean had seemed set for a good result on Sunday after qualifying a strong seventh. He started sixth on the grid after team mate Kimi Raikkonen was docked five places for changing his gearbox. Grosjean’s weekend in Malaysia mirrored his fortunes in last week’s Australian Grand Prix where he stunned the paddock by qualifying third. A bad start in Melbourne lost him places off the line before a tangle with Williams driver Pastor Maldonado ended his race on the second lap. The 26-year-old got off the line well in Sepang but collided with Michael

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Schumacher at turn four, slipping down the field as a result. “I was there, I was careful and unfortunately I think it was Schumacher came to hit me and in turn four I spun. From that point the race was really bad,” Grosjean said. Grosjean had to stay out on his intermediate tyres in worsening conditions while the team pitted Raikkonen for wets and the Frenchman did three more laps before spinning off into the gravel. “The rain came too hard, Kimi was pitting so we couldn’t put both cars into the pit and I had to stay out with inters but it was just…I couldn’t drive it,” he said. “There was no visibility. It was very difficult. (I’m) very disappointed because I think we could have had a good result here.”

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OMAIN GROSJEAN MULA 1


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point

MCLAREN END UP BIGGE AS THEY LOSE THEIR WA

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cLaren suffered a soggy Sunday at the Malaysian Grand Prix and will look back at the race with a tinge of regret after Lewis Hamilton’s third place was all they could muster from a perfect qualification result. In glorious sunshine on Saturday, Hamilton and team mate Jenson Button locked down the front row but 24 hours later, a torrential downpour and sloppy pit stops compromised Hamilton’s race, while Button ruined his chances with a messy collision.

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EST LOSERS AY IN THE RAIN


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point Hamilton salvaged third place behind inspired drives from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Sauber’s Sergio Perez but Button never recovered from losing parts of his front wing early on and crossed the line in 14th place. “A disappointing day for us obviously but in terms of damage limitation it could have been a lot worse,” team boss Martin Whitmarsh told reporters following a race that was halted for 51 minutes when conditions became too dangerous. “A lot of the people we consider to be the real championship contenders probably didn’t get as many points as they’d like, and obviously Jenson [didn’t]. But it was a bad day in the office for him. I

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think in those conditions, h He shouldn’t have lost the w we tried a variety of differen pace in free air and if you ge lose temperature in your ty difficult to do anything with Hamilton was still leadi red flagged after eight laps b to Alonso after the resumptio together and the Briton was stopped Lewis at the right po double shuffled (had Alonso together) and that meant we was in front,” Whitmarsh add


“Perez was the man with speed today. It was a big, big day for him and Sauber but it wasn’t too bad. We come away with second and third in the drivers’ championship, we’re leading the constructors’. It’s a long season ahead of us and it could be a lot worse.” Hamilton was equally as positive over the points gained rather than the ones lost, a stark contrast to a week ago when he also finished third in Australia from pole and his disappointment was all too evident, “I can’t really complain. I’m on the podium for second week in a row so I’m pretty happy,” he said. “I feel pretty fortunate that I was able to stay out of trouble with the conditions changing constantly. I think we did a great job.”

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he’ll be hard on himself. wing and thereafter nt things but you get et behind someone you yres and it became very h it.” ing when the race was but he lost track position on when the pair pitted held up by traffic. “We oint but I think Ferrari o and Felipe Massa pitting e had to hold it and Alonso ded.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point Button, normally excellent in wet weather, blamed himself for running into the back of Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT as he tried to pass the Indian following a change of tyres. “I was struggling to keep the tyres up to temperature and it was totally my fault. I hit the brakes, locked the rears and I couldn’t slow the car down. I tried to get round the corner but I couldn’t do anything but hit him really,” Button admitted. “It was already a tough afternoon and then it just spiralled out of control. Everything that could have gone wrong really did. All I can do is laugh really, it was so bad today.”

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point

SCHUMACHER: FROM WH A REAL SHAME TO GRAB

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fter a strong performance in qualifying, Michael Schumacher was disappointed to finish Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix with just a single point. “From where I started the race, it’s a real shame to grab just one point at the end today and of course I would have wished for a better finish for our team,” the seventimes world champion said.

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HERE I STARTED IT’S ONLY ONE POINT


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point Schumacher had been in fine form on Saturday, qualifying in the top three for the first time since his return to F1, in 2010, with a time of less than a tenth of a second behind second-placed Jenson Button. However, the 43-year-old German, who is in potentially the final year of his comeback with Mercedes, was left chasing an elusive 155th podium place as he could not translate his qualifying pace into a strong race result. A slow start followed by a collision with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean that pushed him into a spin led to him falling to 16th. He was running 11th towards the end of the rain-interrupted race and looked certain to finish outside the points before a smoky end to Williams driver Pastor Maldonado’s race gifted him 10th place. “After the re-start, the pace wasn’t that far off but it was the same for a lot of teams so there was no way to gain positions,” Schumacher said.

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Hoch Zwei


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A Y VETTEL LOSES HIS COOL

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ed Bull are beginning to sound more like the teams who were chasing them last year after both cars failed to finish on the podium in the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

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YEAR MAKES AS L IN MALAYSIA


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX talking point World champion Sebastian Vettel started fifth on the grid and limped home 11th after contact with the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan punctured his left rear wheel and damaged the brake duct. “He came up to Karthikeyan who seemed to have brain fade…,” Vettel’s Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told reporters. Immediately after the race Vettel described Karthikeyan as a “gherkin” on German television. And his description got worse in front of the British audience, when he branded his Madras-born rival an “idiot”. Bild newspaper quotes him saying: “I think some people get overwhelmed by the situation and don’t see where their car is. You have to wonder whether driving a car is the right job for them.” “That was frustrating for Sebastian because for sure at least a fourth place finish was on for him today,” Horner explained. Horner said the damaged brake duct, which feeds air to the brakes to cool them down, meant Vettel’s brake temperatures rocketed, prompting the team to ask him to retire the car. But a malfunctioning radio meant Vettel did not hear the call. “We could see the left rear brake going into a thermal runaway and out of control and that’s why we wanted to try and stop the car from aGetty safetyImages point of view,” Horner said. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber finished fourth despite not being entirely comfortable on the intermediate tyres he put on after the rain interrupted race had been re-started. “That was a very, very, very long stint. Not very F1 to be driving around with that little grip,” Webber said. “And then when the track started to go dry I felt much happier obviously and we were going a lot more right,” said the Australian who was catching third-placed Lewis Hamilton towards the end of the race. Red Bull have struggled this season with McLaren dominating the first two qualifying sessions. The Adrian Newey designed cars did show far more promising race pace in last week’s season opener but did not quite have the speed to challenge Jenson Button’s winning McLaren. The Milton Keynes-based team comes away from the opening two races with 42 points compared with the 72 they had at this stage last year. Vettel has a mere 18 points to his credit. “We know we’ve got things that we can improve on and that’s what we’ll be focused on for China,” Horner said. “But it’s fairly unpredictable for the moment. Consistency will be important all the way through.” 94


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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

SEBASTIAN VETTEL - 11TH

“Most crucially we lost radio communication and that makes it very difficult in conditions to know what’s going on. Nonetheless we did our maximum today and to fourth. To then lose the race how I did is very frustrating. Some people need to loo where they are going. Today it was crucial to come in at the right time. Having n meant we were delayed getting the messages and I didn’t hear anything from th at the end. There were problems with the car after the incident, but I wanted to chequered flag. There were no points for me today. Before the incident with HRT t the race had unfolded was good for us I think, so it’s frustrating to lose the race like

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n these d got up ok more no radio he team see the the way that.�

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

MARK WEBBER - 4th

“It was busy with a lot of calls going on at the restart and with the tyres. My stint on the intermediates after the red flag was tricky and I didn’t have much confidence. When I went onto the dry tyres, I felt much more confident, but it was a little bit too late then. You’ve got to take your hat off to Fernando and Perez today, there were some good calls made at the front. It was a mixed-up race and it was good to get some points. There were some great strengths to take from this weekend. The team has been working really hard, so thanks to them. We know there will be more opportunities in the future.”

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

JENSON BUTTON - 14th “Today was a pretty difficult day; pretty much everything that could have gone wrong in the race did go wrong. And that’s just one of those things – a lot of my issues were brought on when I wiped my front wing off at the start: I locked up the rears, couldn’t slow the car down and hit Karthikeyan, which was a bit frustrating. So I had to pit for a new nose, and that was pretty much it. And it’s always going to be tough when you’re down in 14th or 15th position. All the cars were so close and it was difficult to overtake, too. That made it very difficult. Big congratulation to Fernando, Sergio and Lewis, who scored more good points for the team – but it just wasn’t a good day for me today. The amazing thing is that I’m still third in the championship after not scoring any points! This wasn’t really the result I wanted – but, hey, chin up: we’ll move forwards and hopefully have a much better weekend in China!” 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

LEWIS HAMILTON - 3rd

“This was a tough but fascinating race – firstly, I want to offer my congratulations to Fernando [Alonso] and Sergio [Perez] – they both drove great races and did a fantastic job. It was pretty eventful race: it was difficult trying to judge the best time to change from Extreme Wets to Intermediates, and we were probably a little late on that – but that’s how it goes sometimes. Today wasn’t perfect – making the call for slicks is always a risk, and the others went a bit earlier than us. In general, we lost some time in the pitstops and I was pushed out of the fight somewhat. But, all in all, 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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it’s been a positive weekend and I’m not too frustrated. My aim for this season was always to be consistent – I did it in 2007 so I’m trying to repeat that! A big thanks to Lucozade for doing such a great job with the new race hydration formulations this weekend – they’ve really made a difference in such a hot and humid climate. For me, the next races will be all about converting our really strong qualifying pace into equally strong race pace – that’s what I’ll be working in the few weeks ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.” 105

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

FERNANDO ALONSO - 1st

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“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! As I returned to the pit lane on the cool down lap I didn’t even know where to park the car: to win with all the problems we have got is something quite extraordinary. In the wet, I was going very well, but then when the track dried out, our weaknesses showed themselves. Sergio got very close and I was trying to stay on the only dry line: if he wanted to pass me, he would have had to take a risk. Yesterday, he and I ended up ninth and tenth and today we found ourselves fighting for the win, which shows how unpredictable is this championship. Our aim was damage limitation for these early races of the championship and now we even find ourselves leading the classification. Now we absolutely have to improve the performance starting right away with the races in China and Bahrain. We must get back to work immediately so as to find at least the two or three tenths that could put us back in the fight for the top places.”


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

FELIPE MASSA - 15th “First of all, I want to congratulate Fernando on this great win, which came thanks to him driving a fantastic race. It is a very important victory for the team, although it must not let us forget that our car is not yet at the level of the best. Obviously I am

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disappointed with my result. Things were going well at the start and I was able to fight with the drivers directly ahead of me. When the track was drying, I suffered more and more with tyre degradation and I could not maintain a good pace. We

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more before switching to the dry tyres. It is important for us to try and understand why there is such a strong difference in the way our cars perform, but ultimately, our aim is to have a more competitive car in as short a time as possible.�

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

NICO ROSBERG - 13th “That was an unlucky day for me after an eventful race. I had a good restart and because of a good strategy I was in fourth position. But then I had problems with my intermediate tyres; the degradation was very high which forced me to do another pit stop for a new set. The positive thing is that on my last stint with the slicks, I had good pace and because of my tyre management, I was able to beat Jenson. We are strong in qualifying but not yet in the race, and we need to work on that before the next race in China.�

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER - 1 “From where I started the race, it’s a real shame to grab just one point at the end today, and of course I would have wished for a better finish for our team after their hard work. However I was touched at the back soon after the start and the car spun which really decided my afternoon. During the first part of the race, I just tried to stay on track as you couldn’t see anything, and it was the right decision to halt the race. After the re-start, the pace wasn’t that far off but it was the same for a lot of teams so there was no way to gain positions. It’s clear from today that there is still a lot of work for us to do to take our pace from qualifying into the race, and I am sure the guys are already thinking very hard about finding a solution. But this will not be done from one race to another, it will take some time, and we need to give it that time. Still it is a fact that we have improved, so I can fly home now being sure about this and looking forward to fighting in the races to come.”

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX driver reaction

KIMI RAIKKONEN - 5th “It was a bit difficult today. It was my first time on the wet weather Pirellis and I didn’t know how the intermediate or wet tyres would react – I had only completed one installation lap on them before. I just tried to stay on the road and push as much as I felt comfortable with. When I changed to the dry tyres it took a couple of laps to get heat into them, and my visor was pretty dirty so seeing the dry line was difficult. Once I found my way I could push much harder. It was difficult to have another mixed weather weekend. The conditions changed a lot today so it was always a case of adapting and looking for grip. Overall, we seemed to have a pretty strong package again this weekend, so I’m relatively happy. A fifth today was okay, but we’re always looking for better results.”

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

ROMAIN GROSJEAN - DNF “It felt like a perfect start off the line; I got a good jump on the others and with the KERS I managed to weave through the cars in front without touching anybody. Coming out of the first two corners I was up to third, which was an amazing feeling. In turn four Mark (Webber) managed to carry a bit more speed through the corner and edged in front. Michael (Schumacher) tried to follow him through but there was not enough space so we touched and I spun. From there things became really tough. The visibility was so poor I couldn’t see anything in front of me. We made the decision to stay out on the intermediate tyres but the rain got heavier and there was far too much water. I had massive aquaplaning into turn five and unfortunately ended up going backwards into the gravel.”

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

ROMAIN MALDONADO PASTOR GROSJEAN - DNF - 19 “It was very difficult today with conditions changing so quickly at the start. I had poor visibility in the pitlane so missed the pit box entry after the restart which dropped me down the order. I was then just pushing every lap and our pace was very consistent. I had a good race to come through from 20th to tenth with just two laps remaining. Bruno had a great race and we have both been able to show that the car is competitive.”

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

BRUNO SENNA - 6th

“I am really excited about the result today. I’m so happy that I have scored points for the team after a very tough race. It’s on days like to today that you can show what you can do in difficult conditions. I knew we had to attack after the restart, so it was very satisfying to push hard, not make any mistakes and to make my way up through the field. I’m so happy for everyone in the team.” 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

PAUL DI RESTA - 7th

“The start of the race was a bit of a mess and it was all about trying to stay on the track and stay out of trouble. I did pretty well until Maldonado hit me just before the red flag, which spun me around and cost me about three places. At the restart our pace was very good on the intermediate tyres and we were able to get well up the order and stay with the leading group. As it dried out we switched to dry tyres at the same time everyone else did, which was the safe way to play it, and just tried to hold position in the points. We were a bit lucky with some of the issues for cars ahead, but in races like this you need a bit of luck and given where we started I think we can come away from here very happy with this result.�

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

NICO HULKENBERG - 9th

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“I think today’s performance with two cars in the points is a great team result and I’m very happy to pick up my first points of the season. It was quite a complicated race and the rain certainly helped mix things up, but we made the most of our chances and made good calls on the strategy. I have to say that the wet conditions today were some of the worst I’ve raced in and the visibility was almost zero before the race was stopped. It was much better when the race restarted, but I struggled with the balance of the car on the intermediates, so it was just a case of trying to stay in the points and catch Vergne ahead.”


ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

KAMUI KOBAYASHI - DNF “It is great for our team to have scored so well, but for me personally, of course, it was a very disappointing race. Technically I struggled with the brakes and that was then also why I had to give up after 47 laps. Besides that for me the strategy didn’t work out, which, of course, is always easy to realise in hindsight. I had a good start but then it was a long time before I changed from intermediates to rain tyres. It was not easy to keep the car on track, and almost as soon as I had changed the red flag came out. But nobody can know this in advance. Later in the race then it was the other way round. I would have loved to get dry tyres, but we were expecting more rain so, again, I could not get rid of the intermediate tyres.”

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

SERGIO PEREZ - 2nd

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“It is a great day for me. The team did a very good job and I feel very happy for them. It is a really nice feeling to have been on the podium here, but I think victory was also within reach. Twice in the race I was catching Fernando (Alonso). On the final stint, when I was on the hard tyre compound, my tyres had degraded quite a lot. It wasn’t easy and I went wide and touched a curb. I actually was lucky not to go off. Before that Fernando had just pitted on the perfect lap for dry tyres, just one lap before me, and I lost a bit of ground to him. It was very difficult to make the right calls today and I want to thank my team. They always called me in at the right time, the first stop after lap one was especially important and it was also good to take the hard compound in the end, as the medium compound was not working too well for us. It is only our second race in 2012 and I think we have a great season ahead of us. I knew we had potential to fight today, our car is not far away from the top cars and a good crew and a driver can also make a difference in such conditions.”


ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

DANIEL RICCIARDO - 12th

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“Unfortunately, after being delayed in the early stages, when I lost places after the start in the rain, I never managed to fight my way back into the points. I think there were moments in the race when I ran at quite a good pace, but I did not have that extra edge to move up the order. When the track was drying before the pit stops that is when I again lost time, so of course I am a bit disappointed, but there are still eighteen races remaining and I’m sure I will have plenty more opportunities to do well.�

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

JEAN ERIC VERGNE - 8th

“To from eighteenth on the grid to eighth and in the points at the end is great. I stayed out for a long time on the intermediates after the start and then the Red Flag came along to help me so I was able to switch to extreme wets on the grid. If I had to resume behind the Safety Car on the intermediates it would have been very hard to stay on track! As soon as the track was dry enough I came in again for intermediates but I lost a bit of time before I made the switch to slicks. After that 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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I was catching Di Resta, but with the backmarkers in between us I could not get close enough to pass, so I just managed the situation, concentrating on bringing the car home. So I am happy to settle for this eighth place and I plan to keep improving step by step. After these two opening races, the overall performance has been quite good and I feel we can make progress in China starting from this good base line.� 133

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

HEIKKI KOVALAINEN - 18

“That was one of those races when we could have had a really good result, but a bi didn’t really have a great balance on meant I’m just pleased to have got it home. I m the inters and had to come in for a new nose, and that dropped me back a few place my race. Despite that, it’s good that we got both cars home and we also showed a that can race on Sundays. Now we need to focus on getting more out of it in qualif the next race in China.”

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it of bad luck and a car I made a small mistake on es which basically ended again that we have a car fying and pushing on at

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

VITALY PETROV - 15th

“I am really happy with the performance today. We didn’t show the car’s true potential but today I was able to put in similar lap times to the cars ahead and didn’t make any m tricky conditions. The car felt good all afternoon and the team worked really well to he most out of it, both on the pitwall and with the stops, so I’m very pleased I’ve been able first race finish for the team and to start to show what we can do in races. This gives us to work from so it’s been a good Sunday, particularly in front of our home fans.”

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in qualifying, mistakes in the elp me get the e to record my s a good base


ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

PEDRO DE LA ROSA - 22N

“I must say I really enjoyed myself in that race. It really was the best race to make HRT. I don’t think anyone could imagine we would finish after starting from the pi issue with the fuel pressure that we were dragging over from yesterday, I was penaliz through penalty, we completed our first real pitstop… to sum up, a lot of things h the end, the car held out really well given where we were at the beginning. We h many things but this was a perfect test. My teammate also finished so that’s doub very happy for the team, we accomplished our objective. Now we have to go a little

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e my debut with it lane due to an zed with a drivehappened but, in have to improve bly satisfying. I’m e bit further.�

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ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN -

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“It was a very interesting race in really wet conditions. We were running in 10th at one point, which I think is the best position we’ve ever been in but unfortunately the rain stopped and the track dried out and it was impossible to keep ahead of the rest. I made a mistake, locking up the front, and went off on turn 9 but apart from that it all went pretty well. We finished the race, did some mileage and made up two positions from 23rd so that’s something to smile about. Everyone did a great job and we’re all really happy with the result, now we have to go on from here and try to progress in China.”

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- 21st


ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

TIMO GLOCK - 14th

“A great weekend again for us. We finished with both cars once more, which for the team and we have to be very happy with that. It was a difficult rac the right tyre choice and changed at the right time, going from the interm wets and then after the restart changing back from the extreme wets to the in straight away was the right thing to do and I just managed to keep the ‘i possible and keep them alive. Again, we were one of the first to switch to s to keep pushing to keep ahead of Kovalainen, so really well done to the tea and calm when the red flag came out. Proper job by the team and specifical done a great job in the first two races. Now we concentrate on improving ag

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is a great achievement ce but I think we made mediate to the extreme intermediates. Coming inters’ on for as long as slicks and we were able am. Everyone kept cool lly my car crew, who’ve gain for China.”


ROUND 2, 1, MALAYSIAN AUSTRALIANGRAND GRANDPRIX PRIX driver reaction

CHARLES PIC - 15th

“It was a tricky race today in difficult conditions. It was my first time with the extrem hard to know the best time to change to the Intermediate at my second pitstop. The with the clutch at the third stop, which is a shame as we lost some time. Overall I am as it was consistent with Timo on the Intermediate and at the end on slicks, which great job all weekend by everyone in the team as I know it has been very difficult, forward now to China and even more progress.”

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me wet tyre so it was en we had a problem happy with my pace is positive for me. A in many ways. I look


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 1

PRACTICE 1: HAMILTON T MOMENTUM GOING

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mere five days since they were switched off in Melbourne, Formula 1 engines were fired up again for first free practice of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend at Sepang and carrying the momentum from down under was Lewis Hamilton who posted the fastest time in the session by over half a second, on a hot day with 70% humidity! The Englishman, still smarting from missed opportunities less than a week earlier, was in determined mood and relished the fact that the MP4-27 was again quick out the box at the Sepang, a very different circuit to Albert Park. McLaren engineers have delivered a very handy package to their drivers from the word go. Hamilton’s teammate, and Melbourne winner, Jenson Button was down the order – ninth fastest – after his MP4-27 developed an oil leak which cost him about 20 minutes of track time. Nevertheless he ended the session without having a real go at a hot lap – for sure more to come from Button.

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TOPS AND KEEPS THE


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Second fastest after 90 minutes was reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull RB8, he traded fast laps with Hamilton around mid-session before focusing on runs using Pirelli’s hard rubber, which struggled for grip and were dramatically off the mediums – make that around 3 seconds slower – with comparatively little grip which caught out most drivers during the session. Up next were the Mercedes pair, again showing a good turn of pace in short bursts, with Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher fourth and fifth on the timing screens. Fifth fastest was Romain Grosjean, who had a delayed start to his morning due to an issue with the right rear of his Lotus E20 but showed handy pace during his runs. The top five were within a second of Hamilton’s best. Mark Webber had a trouble free session, getting into the groove, on his way to setting the sixth best time in the Red Bull RB8. Topping the timing screens briefly around the half hour mark was Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus E20 who eventually ended seventh fastest, just shy of his teammate’s best time. The Iceman has not taken long to dial himself back into the fray. The Force India pair, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, were eighth and ninth respectively with similarly Mercedes powered Button splitting them on the final timing sheets. Sitting out the first session for Williams in Malaysia was Bruno Senna, with the team’s reserve Valtteri Bottas on duty in the Williams FW34 - the young Finn ended the session 11th fastest, 0.059 seconds up on Pastor Maldonado in the sister car. Bracing themselves (and their legions of fans around the globe) for another torrid weekend are Ferrari who are showing all the signs of a team in deep crisis. Their pit garage was a scene of frenetic


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 1

activity as new parts – apparently rushed out from Maranello – being bolted on to the cars, all very last minute. As a consequence, perhaps, Felipe Massa was down in 13th and Fernando Alonso in 15th. The pair nearly two seconds down on 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

Hamilton’s best. At the foot of the timing sheets were the HRT duo, over 7 seconds adrift of the morning’s fastest lap and about a second down on their closest rivals – Marussia. The Spanish outfit still 152


clearly not ready to ply their trade at the highest level. Nevertheless between Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa they notched up 26 laps, with the veteran Spaniard tallying up 18 of these. The Sepang track surface was

still very green, as daily afternoon rains prevail in the area, and as a result just about everyone was struggling for grip. The medium tyre is going to be vital and grid position may not be as important as having a spare set of mediums for the race. 153

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 1 23 March 2012 - Sepang Free Practice 1 Result Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

No 4 1 8 7 10 2 9 11 3 12 19 18 6 14 5 17 20 16 21 15 24 25 23 22

Driver Lewis Hamilton Sebastian Vettel Nico Rosberg Michael Schumacher Romain Grosjean Mark Webber Kimi RäikkÜnen Paul di Resta Jenson Button Nico Hulkenberg Valtteri Bottas Pastor Maldonado Felipe Massa Kamui Kobayashi Fernando Alonso Jean-Eric Vergne Heikki Kovalainen Daniel Ricciardo Vitaly Petrov Sergio Perez Timo Glock Charles Pic Narain Karthikeyan Pedro de la Rosa

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Team McLaren-Mercedes Red Bull Racing-Renault Mercedes Mercedes Lotus-Renault Red Bull Racing-Renault Lotus-Renault Force India-Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes Force India-Mercedes Williams-Renault Williams-Renault Ferrari Sauber-Ferrari Ferrari STR-Ferrari Caterham-Renault STR-Ferrari Caterham-Renault Sauber-Ferrari Marussia-Cosworth Marussia-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth

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Time 1:38.021 1:38.535 1:38.813 1:38.826 1:38.919 1:39.092 1:39.128 1:39.298 1:39.323 1:39.440 1:39.724 1:39.783 1:39.896 1:39.910 1:39.980 1:40.099 1:40.247 1:40.469 1:40.857 1:41.085 1:43.170 1:44.580 1:45.360 1:45.528

Gap Laps 19 0.514 21 0.792 21 0.805 19 0.898 17 1.071 20 1.107 22 1.277 23 1.302 15 1.419 19 1.703 23 1.762 23 1.875 16 1.889 21 1.959 23 2.078 23 2.226 19 2.448 23 2.836 25 3.064 23 5.149 18 6.559 14 7.339 8 7.507 18


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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 2

PRACTICE 2: HAMILTON O MERCEDES POWER RULES

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ercedes power claimed the top four slots on the timing sheets after the second free practice session of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, with Lewis Hamilton ending the first day at Sepang fastest of all and unbeatable in the McLaren MP4-27 all day. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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OWNS DAY ONE AS S


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 2 Next up was seven times world champion Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes AMG W03, followed by third quickest Jenson Button in the McLaren and Nico Rosberg in the other Silver Arrow – a clean sweep of the top four positions for Mercedes power. McLaren looked very much on top of

their game, the garage in Malaysia oozing confidence and their drivers delivering on track. Hamilton was consistently at the sharp end and is also doing long runs – ending the day 0.361 seconds up on the next best. Practice days do not get any better. Ditto Button’s side of the garage, where

an oil leak that struck in t was repaired, and the Aus set about doing the busin proceedings. Schumacher has star at Sepang and won on thre weekend the German appe his disposal, although the W bursts but it’s effectiveness tyre management – is susp evidence. Whatever the ca

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ted on pole five times ee occasions and this ears to have a strong car at W03 appears hot in short s on long runs – including pect, based on Melbourne ase the Mercedes pair did

34 laps each, bettered only by one other driver in the afternoon session. Up next was a Ferrari powered car, but not out of the Maranello factory, but rather one belonging to that energy drinks lot – the junior team, Toro Rosso – with Daniel Ricciardo setting the fifth fastest time. No matter how bad the Ferrari F2012 is, nothing will stop Fernando Alonso squeezing every ounce out of the beast and again he dug deep to end the day sixth fastest. By contrast teammate 161

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the morning session stralian GP winner also ness at the sharp end of


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 2

Felipe Massa was down in 16th, nearly 1.5 seconds down on the Spaniard. Mark Webber was quickest of the Renault powered brigade, ending the session seventh fastest in the Red Bull RB8 and the only other driver within a second of Hamilton’s best. 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

Toro Rosso rookie Jean Eric Vergne ended eighth on the timing sheets – thus both Toro Rosso cars in the top ten. Ninth fastest was Romain Grosjean in the Lotus E20, with world champion Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top 162


ten in the other Red Bull RB8. Notably, out of the top ten was Kimi Raikkonen who spent a great deal of time in the pits tinkering with the Lotus E20 setup. Word is that the Finn is still looking for the optimum comfort zone in the cockpit, the Lotus mechanics

working hard for their money in the Sepang humidity and heat. Improving, albeit still at the wrong end of the timing sheets were the HRT pair – now ‘only’ five seconds off the top pace but at least doing a fair share of meaningful laps. 163 yallaf1

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 2 23 March 2012 - Sepang Free Practice 2 Result Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

No 4 7 3 8 16 5 2 17 10 1 18 12 11 14 9 6 19 15 21 24 20 25 23 22

Driver Lewis Hamilton Michael Schumacher Jenson Button Nico Rosberg Daniel Ricciardo Fernando Alonso Mark Webber Jean-Eric Vergne Romain Grosjean Sebastian Vettel Pastor Maldonado Nico Hulkenberg Paul di Resta Kamui Kobayashi Kimi RäikkÜnen Felipe Massa Bruno Senna Sergio Perez Vitaly Petrov Timo Glock Heikki Kovalainen Charles Pic Narain Karthikeyan Pedro de la Rosa

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Team McLaren-Mercedes Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes Mercedes STR-Ferrari Ferrari Red Bull Racing-Renault STR-Ferrari Lotus-Renault Red Bull Racing-Renault Williams-Renault Force India-Mercedes Force India-Mercedes Sauber-Ferrari Lotus-Renault Ferrari Williams-Renault Sauber-Ferrari Caterham-Renault Marussia-Cosworth Caterham-Renault Marussia-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth

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Time 1:38.172 1:38.533 1:38.535 1:38.696 1:38.853 1:38.891 1:39.133 1:39.297 1:39.311 1:39.402 1:39.444 1:39.464 1:39.625 1:39.687 1:39.696 1:40.271 1:40.678 1:40.947 1:41.464 1:41.681 1:42.594 1:42.874 1:43.658 1:43.823

Gap 0.361 0.363 0.524 0.681 0.719 0.961 1.125 1.139 1.230 1.272 1.292 1.453 1.515 1.524 2.099 2.506 2.775 3.292 3.509 4.422 4.702 5.486 5.651

Laps 28 34 30 34 33 27 29 33 22 25 35 26 20 16 29 28 34 33 25 20 18 24 18 22


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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 3

PRACTICE 3: ROSBERG Q SCENE FOR HOT QUALIFY

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ico Rosberg topped the final free practice session of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend at Sepang and set the scene for a fascinating qualifying shoot-out with as many as a eight drivers in with a shot at top slot on the grid – although one of them would be forced to drop five places after qualifying…

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QUICKEST AND SETS YING


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 3 McLaren no doubt with ammo to spare, which they will probably unleash in the important afternoon session; the likes of Red Bull, Lotus and of course Mercedes will also fancy a shot at pole when the chips are down and the pressure on in Q3.

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Meanwhile, Rosberg confirmed that the Mercedes W03 is pretty handy in short hot lap bursts and could well be heading for their first pole in the modern era of F1 as they attempt to emulate their golden age at the pinnacle of the sport in the fifties.

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Meanwhile, Rosberg confirmed that the Mercedes W03 is pretty handy in short hot lap bursts and could well be heading for their first pole in the modern era of F1 as they attempt to emulate their golden age at the pinnacle of the sport in the fifties.

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McLaren are likely to have ammo to spare, which they will probably unleash in the important afternoon session; the likes of Red Bull, Lotus and of course Mercedes will also fancy a shot at pole when the chips are down and the pressure on in Q3.


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 3

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The Red Bull pair made their presence felt with Sebastian Vettel second and Mark W ebber third fastest; Vettel 0.443 seconds off Rosberg’s best. Up next were the Lotus pair – the team having an incident packed early morning in Sepang after a fire engulfed their hospitality area. On track Raikkonen’s car required a gearbox change which means the Finn will drop five places on the grid and, compounding the frustration, is the fact that he is still not to 100% comfortable with the steering on the E20. Nevertheless the black and gold cars were fourth and fifth at the end of the session – Raikkonen fractionally faster than teammate Romain Grosjean. Australia winner Jenson Button was sixth fastest in the McLaren MP4-27, with Lewis Hamilton ninth quickest - but the smart money will be on the Vodafone backed duo to do the business in qualifying. For sure their big guns were not rolled out in the practice session. Notably Hamilton did only eight laps, least of all, in the session. Again showing handy pace – and a huge leap forward from last year were Williams. Both Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna at the sharp end of proceedings during the course of the session. Maldonado ending seventh and Senna 12th. Michael Schumacher was 0.899 seconds down on Mercedes teammate Rosberg, but was one of the nine drivers within a second of the top pace. Fastest Ferrari powered driver – again not a red car – was Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber who rounded out the top ten, while the boys from Maranello endure another torrid couple of days in the early stage of their already compromised 2012 campaign. Fernando Alonso was 13th on the timing screens and Felipe Massa down in 18th…


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX free practice 3 24 March 2012 - Sepang Free Practice 3 Result

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Team Mercedes Red Bull Racing-Renault Red Bull Racing-Renault Lotus-Renault Lotus-Renault McLaren-Mercedes Williams-Renault Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes Sauber-Ferrari Williams-Renault Sauber-Ferrari Ferrari Force India-Mercedes STR-Ferrari STR-Ferrari Force India-Mercedes Ferrari Caterham-Renault Caterham-Renault Marussia-Cosworth Marussia-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth

Time 1:36.877 1:37.320 1:37.338 1:37.356 1:37.382 1:37.404 1:37.455 1:37.663 1:37.776 1:37.977 1:38.091 1:38.178 1:38.246 1:38.285 1:38.423 1:38.640 1:38.794 1:39.209 1:39.704 1:40.189 1:41.901 1:42.007 1:42.464 1:43.378

Gap Laps 16 0.443 15 0.461 12 0.479 13 0.505 13 0.527 12 0.578 13 0.786 15 0.899 8 1.100 17 1.214 20 1.301 15 1.369 17 1.408 16 1.546 13 1.763 11 1.917 18 2.332 16 2.827 15 3.312 14 5.024 14 5.130 14 5.587 14 6.501 17 Hoch Zwei

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Pos No Driver 1 8 Nico Rosberg 2 1 Sebastian Vettel 3 2 Mark Webber 4 9 Kimi RäikkÜnen 5 10 Romain Grosjean 6 3 Jenson Button 7 18 Pastor Maldonado 8 7 Michael Schumacher 9 4 Lewis Hamilton 10 14 Kamui Kobayashi 11 19 Bruno Senna 12 15 Sergio Perez 13 5 Fernando Alonso 14 12 Nico Hulkenberg 15 16 Daniel Ricciardo 16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne 17 11 Paul di Resta 18 6 Felipe Massa 19 21 Vitaly Petrov 20 20 Heikki Kovalainen 21 25 Charles Pic 22 24 Timo Glock 23 22 Pedro de la Rosa 24 23 Narain Karthikeyan


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX qualifying

QUALIFYING: HAMILTON BUTTON AND SCHUMACH

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ewis Hamilton led home a McLaren 1-2 in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, notching up his second pole on the trot this season and his first top slot start in Sepang, with his teammate Jenson Button lining up beside him on the front row and seven times world champion Michael Schumacher lining up his Mercedes third on the grid. As in Australia, Hamilton did the business in one awesome lap early on in Q3 – clipping every apex and delivering a lap of near perfection around the tricky Hermann Tilke designed venue. It was the 2008 F1 world champion’s and McLaren’s first at the circuit.

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TAKES POLE FROM HER


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX qualifying

As in Australia, Hamilton did the business in one awesome lap early on in Q3 – clipping every apex and delivering a lap of near perfection around the tricky Hermann Tilke designed venue. It was the 2008 F1 world champion’s and McLaren’s first at the circuit. No big celebrations, or air punching, from Hamilton as he parked in parc ferme. But a huge smile as he 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

removed his bright yellow helmet, said it all: mission accomplished. An important pole in context of his duel for supremacy within McLaren. Hamilton said afterwards, “It’s been a good weekend so far. It’s been a tough day with the changeable weather and the temperatures climbing. We made some set up changes to the car, we still managed to do some good times – 180


even with these guys pushing behind. Everyone is under the same amount of pressure. We all put pressure on ourselves. It’s very intense and the most exciting part of the weekend. I really enjoy it. I don’t know if the best place to start is here. It’s a long haul down to Turn One. The key is looking after our tyres and hopefully our car is in a much better position for the race tomorrow.”

Once again Button nabbed second on the grid, as he did in Australia, and a McLaren 1-2 in the grand prix is theirs to lose – the Woking squad taking on the role that Red Bull enjoyed last year of having a dominant car in their possession, at least for now. With Melbourne as inspiration, Button will fancy his chances of nabbing maximum points again on race day. 181

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX qualifying “Qualifying has been pretty good to me in the last two races so I can’t complain too much. It’s good for us as a team to be on the front row again. It’s nice to hear all your mechanics cheering in the background. I wanted it the other way round, but Lewis did a great job. It’s going to be a fun Turn 1,” said Button who won the 2009 Malaysian GP. Claiming his best grid spot since his return to F1 at the beginning of 2010 was Schumacher in the Mercedes AMG W03, the seven times world champion and three times winner at Sepang

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showed a good turn of speed behind the wheel of a car that is clearly to his liking. he ended the session a quarter of a second up on his team mate Nico Rosberg, who was 8th quickest. Schumacher last qualified in the top three for a grand prix, when he took second place on the grid for the 2006 Japanese GP as a Ferrari driver! Sharing the second row with Schumacher is the Red Bull RB8 of Mark Webber whose time of 1 minute 36.461 seconds in Q3 was identical to Kimi Raikkonen’s best in the Lotus E20.

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good race car. We know everyone will be struggling with tyres so we just have to be a little bit better.” Splitting the two black and gold cars, sixth on the timing screens, was world champion Sebastian Vettel who probably realised early on that his Red Bull RB8 will struggle to match the outright pace of the Mclaren and opted to do Q3 with a set of hard tyres and thus saving a set of primes for the race. This could be the shrewdest move of all come the race and it is undoubtedly a decision made with an eye on race strategy.

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The Finn, who will drop five grid places, down to tenth, due to a gearbox change, has not taken long to re-adapt to the latest F1 cars. His team mate Romain Grosjean also impressing, today with the eighth best time. Fourth fastest Webber said, “It’s fantastically challenging and I’m looking forward to seeing how the race pans out. We need to look at our straightline performance. We know that the Mercedes are strong in a straight line. The car balance and performance was better than in Melbourne and we have a


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX qualifying

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner commented, “It was a good lap by Mark [Webber]. The grid is pretty close. Lewis [Hamilton] did a very, very strong lap. We’ve seen that they’re quick. Hopefully we can have a strong race. We decided to go with a different strategy with Seb 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

[Vettel]. I think the harder tyres are more durable, it’s just a different strategy. I don’t think we had the single lap pace to take on McLaren. In the race we elected to do something different with the two cars so we’ll see if it makes a difference tomorrow.” 184


Ninth quickest on the day, was Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F2012 who again dug deep to deliver a time 1.3 seconds off the top pace. His under fire teammate, Felipe Massa, failed to make it out of Q2 and will start the race from 12th on the grid.

Sergio Perez, made it into Q3, and ended tenth fastest in the Sauber C31 while his team mate Kamui Kobayashi barely made it into Q2 and was slowest in the session. He will start from 17th. In the mid-pack, Williams failed to deliver despite what promised to be a 185

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX strong pace. Both their drivers making blatant mistakes when it mattered. Maldonado was particularly lucky not to hit the wall after a cross gravel and grass excursion in Q2, while Senna appeared to struggle in traffic. They will start 11th and 13th respectively. Also down the order, and also not living up to their pre-season testing form, were the Force India duo with Paul di Resta set to start from 14th and Nico Hulkenberg from 16th. The team owned by beleaguered billionaire Vijay Mallya has slipped down the pecking order in between seasons. Daniel Ricciardo was again the better of the two Toro Rosso boys and will start his first Malaysian GP from 15th while rookie teammate Jean Eric Vergne failed to make it beyond Q1 and will start from 17th. Others who took an early shower were the usual suspects: Caterham duo Heikki Kovalainen (19th) and Vitaly Petrov (20th), Marussia pair Timo Glock (21st) and Charles Pic (22nd) while both HRT’s made the cut with Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan set to share the back row of the grid and get their season off to a belated start…at last. Last word to McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh “I am proud of the team and the drivers, but it’s a long, hard race. Lewis and Jenson are free to do what they want to do. Lewis will feel he wants to come out of first corner in the lead after what happened in Australia. For us it will be a little bit tense for the first few seconds of the race.” 28.03.2012 ISSUE 11

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Ercole Colombo


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX qualifying 24 March 2012 - Sepang Qualifying Result Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

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N 4 3 7 2 9 1 1 8 5 1 1 6 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2


Driver Lewis Hamilton Jenson Button Michael Schumacher Mark Webber Kimi RäikkÜnen Sebastian Vettel Romain Grosjean Nico Rosberg Fernando Alonso Sergio Perez Pastor Maldonado Felipe Massa Bruno Senna Paul di Resta Daniel Ricciardo Nico Hulkenberg Kamui Kobayashi Jean-Eric Vergne Heikki Kovalainen Vitaly Petrov Timo Glock Charles Pic Pedro de la Rosa Narain Karthikeyan Q1 107% Time

Team McLaren-Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes Mercedes Red Bull Racing-Renault Lotus-Renault Red Bull Racing-Renault Lotus-Renault Mercedes Ferrari Sauber-Ferrari Williams-Renault Ferrari Williams-Renault Force India-Mercedes STR-Ferrari Force India-Mercedes Sauber-Ferrari STR-Ferrari Caterham-Renault Caterham-Renault Marussia-Cosworth Marussia-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth HRT-Cosworth

Q1 1:37.813 1:37.575 1:37.517 1:37.172 1:37.961 1:38.102 1:38.058 1:37.696 1:38.151 1:37.933 1:37.789 1:38.381 1:38.437 1:38.325 1:38.419 1:38.303 1:38.372 1:39.077 1:39.306 1:39.567 1:40.903 1:41.250 1:42.914 1:43.655 1:43.974

Q2 1:37.106 1:36.928 1:37.017 1:37.375 1:36.715 1:37.419 1:37.338 1:36.996 1:37.379 1:37.477 1:37.589 1:37.731 1:37.841 1:37.877 1:37.883 1:37.890 1:38.069

Q3 1:36.219 1:36.368 1:36.391 1:36.461 1:36.461 1:36.634 1:36.658 1:36.664 1:37.566 1:37.698

Laps 14 14 14 19 13 14 14 14 16 17 14 15 13 15 14 13 12 7 9 6 8 8 4 6

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ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX big picture from sepang

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Ercole Colombo


ROUND 2, MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX

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