Sauber Formula One driver Sergio Perez (left) celebrates his runner-up position next to the winner, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso (center), and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton during the Malaysian Grand Prix podium ceremony at the Sepang International Circuit outside Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso scored a dramatic victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix yesterday when the Spaniard denied Sauber's Sergio Perez a first Formula One triumph in a race turned on its head by the weather.
The race started in torrential rain at the Sepang International Circuit outside Kuala Lumpur and was stopped for 51 minutes after eight laps but Alonso took charge on its resumption to register a shock 28th career victory in a car that had been outpaced in qualifying in the opening two rounds.
"A big surprise today the win," championship leader Alonso told reporters. "Our goal was to score as many points as possible. An unbelievable result, a great job from the team."
Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton repeated his third-place finish from the opening race of the season in Melbourne last weekend, with Red Bull's Mark Webber in fourth and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen fifth in his Lotus.
Australia race winner Jenson Button and world champion Sebastian Vettel both suffered mid-race collisions with the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan and finished outside the points.
Williams' Bruno Senna finished sixth in his best F1 finish, Force India's Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg were seventh and ninth, respectively, separated by Toro Rosso's Jules Vergne. Mercedes' Michael Schumacher was 10th for the final point.
Alonso started the race in eighth place but worked his way up to fifth by the red flag, passed Webber soon after the resumption and capitalized on a well-timed pit stop to get past Hamilton. The double world champion overtook Perez on the 17th of the 56-lap race and after initially dropping back, the Sauber closed to within a second of the Ferrari in the late stages and was on course to secure an unlikely victory.
His dreams of becoming the first Mexican to record an F1 victory since 1970 were shattered with five laps remaining, however, when he ran wide on turn 13 and slipped too far behind Alonso to catch him before the checkered flag.