After a tame start in Australia, today’s Malaysian Grand Prix felt like the real start to the 2012 Formula One Season. There’s nothing like a good thunderstorm to make a predictable race become essential viewing.
For Ferrari, Fernando Alonso showed his World Championship credentials. His display was imperious. To take pole in a Ferrari car that is clearly not the pick of the bunch (just look at Felipe Massa) is an unbelievable achievement, especially in only the second race of the season. The emotional reaction from the Ferrari garage told its own story.
Lewis Hamilton may not have finished at the front but he seems to be racing with a determined focus this year. His second consecutive third-place finish was due to some bad luck with the timing of his pit stops but he managed to remain calm. Even though his McLaren colleague had a horrid race today, both drivers have shown the rest of the drivers that they are potentially the ones to beat this year.
So far, the Red Bull team have been the biggest surprise. Have they had their 15 minutes of fame? Perhaps this is a bit early to say but they certainly aren’t the dominant force that we have become accustomed to seeing. In this race Sebastian Vettel was unlucky to clash with Narain Karthikeyan and Mark Webber still came fourth. However, there doesn’t seem to be the same confidence within the team. It’s only two races in so we shall see.
The conditions also provided a great story beyond the Championship race for the Mexican driver Sergio Pérez. He supplied Sauber with their best ever Formula One result, coming in second place. In fact, without a costly mistake towards the end of the race he might have challenged Alonso’s pole position.
There will be a short break now until the Chinese Grand Prix race begins on 15th April, but this season is already proving to be completely absorbing. Lets hope for some more showers!