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Malaysian GP: Excellent sixth place for Senna

A happy Bruno

By Andrew Hooper
March 25 2012

The 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix would be run under a mixture of weather conditions from heavy rain to a drying track. For the Williams F1 team Bruno Senna would come through all this to secure an excellent sixth place. This was despite having an early spin in the race after hitting his team-mate Pastor Maldonado. Pastor would retire late in the race with an engine issue.

 Malaysian GP Race Review

Qualifying for the fifty six lap 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix would see Williams F1 drivers Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna finish in eleventh and thirteenth positions. On pole was Hamilton from Button, Schumacher, Webber, Vettel, Grosjean, Alonso, Perez, and
Raikkonen. Raikkonen was starting from tenth after a five place grid penalty for a gearbox change. Prior to the start of the race there was a few spots of rain and concern over what weather conditions there would be early in the race as there were black clouds over the circuit. The rain would get heavier prior to the start with the cars sitting on the grid. Tyre choice would be difficult but the intermediate tyre would be the tyre of choice for the start. The grid would move off for their parade lap except for the HRT of De la Rosa who would have to be pushed off the grid. With the rain not falling heavily there was a question as to how long the intermediate would last.

The grid would come around and from up and as the lights went out it would be Hamilton away first with Button second. Grosjean was up to third with Schumacher fourth. But Webber was able to move up to third as Schumacher spun at Turn four. For Williams was
Pastor was tenth and Bruno twelfth. Perez would pit after lap one while Pastor had moved up to seventh. Bruno would have a spin after making contact with Pastor early in the race and would be forced to pit with Perez switching to full wets. Lap two and Hamilton was leading by 1.6 seconds from Button, Webber, Vettel, Alonso, Rosberg, Pastor, Raikkonen, Kobayashi, and Massa in tenth. Bruno was running in twenty fourth as Di Resta also pitted. Schumacher was down in thirteenth after his spin as twelfth placed Massa pitted on lap four. Both Marussia drivers would pit while Massa had taken on the full wet with the track now very wet.

Grosjean would go out ending in the gravel as we also had Button and Alonso pit, taking on the full wet. There was now a rush of drivers coming in including Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Petrov, and Kovalainen all coming in. Pastor was now sixth and Bruno twenty second. Hamilton was still leading from Webber, Vettel, Rosberg, and Pastor. Lap six and both Hamilton and Webber would pit followed by Vettel, Rosberg, Pastor, Raikkonen, Kobayashi, and Schumacher. Hamilton was able to get back out in front of Button with Perez third. With the track now with a heavy covered with water the Safety Car would be deployed. Button would describe the last sector like a lake. Webber was fourth from Alonso, Vettel, Vergne, Massa, Rosberg, Karthikeyan, Hulkenberg, Di Resta, Raikkonen, Pastor and Schumacher in fifteenth. Vettel was able to pass Vergne for sixth while on lap eight Bruno would pit again. Pastor was in fourteenth as the rain continued to fall. Vergne was the only driver still on intermediates as the field continued to run behind the Safety Car. But the race would be Red Flagged and the cars would stop on the grid. The teams would cover their cars
with large foldout gazebos.

The rain was easing on certain parts as the Williams mechanics kept busy clearing the water away from the team pit box. It was announced that the race would restart at 17:15 local time with everyone starting on full wets behind the Safety Car. All the gazebos
would be packed away and the drivers would get back into their cars. More heavy rain was not expected as the field moved away behind the Safety Car, starting lap ten. Now it was a question of when racing proper would start. Pastor was in thirteenth and Bruno twenty third. There was still a lot of spray around the track but the drivers would say that it was time to start racing. The Safety Car would come in at the end of lap thirteen with it likely that there would be a rush of drivers coming in for intermediates. De La Rosa would be given a drive through penalty for team personnel been on the grid.
Button would pit along with Rosberg, Raikkonen, Kobayashi and fro Williams Bruno would come in. Hamilton was leading from Perez and Webber. Webber had to fight off Vettel at Turn four but Alonso was able to get past Webber for third. Hamilton would pit with
Perez now leading. Alonso, Webber, Massa, Di Resta, Pastor, Schumacher, Ricciardo, and Kovalainen would all pit. But there would be problems with Hamilton's pit stop seeing him go past his marks. He could not be released due to cars coming in while Perez still lead. Button would make contact with the rear of Karthikeyan's HRT. Perez, Vettel, Vergne, and Hulkenberg would all pit while Button would be forced to pit with replays showing Button making contact after a poor passing move on Karthikeyan. Button's nose was replaced as well as his tyres. Alonso was now leading from Perez, Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen, Webber, Massa, Di Resta, and Vergne in tenth.

For Williams Pastor was down in twentieth while Bruno had been able to move up the order to be fourteenth. Lap sixteen and Alonso was leading by 2.4 seconds over Perez. Hamilton was over four seconds behind Perez. Button was down in twentieth one place behind
Pastor. Bruno was under attacking by Ricciardo and the Torro Rosso driver would get it done seeing Bruno drop to fifteenth. DRS was enabled with Both Ricciardo and Bruno getting past Kobayashi. Bruno was now fourteenth while Pastor was down in nineteenth.
Hamilton was dropping away from Perez while Alonso was able to increase his lead. Vettel was able to pass Rosberg for fourth using his DRS going into Turn one. Senna was looking to get past Ricciardo and would do so taking thirteenth while Raikkonen would also pass Rosberg for fifth. Pastor was now seventeenth as on lap twenty five Button would pit. He would take another set of intermediates. Webber would pass Rosberg for sixth while for Williams Bruno would pass Schumacher for twelfth. Perez was now 6.0 seconds behind Alonso with Hamilton 8.5 seconds behind Perez. Ricciardo would pit.

Massa would make a mistake allowing Di Resta past for eighth. Vergne looked to also pass Massa but was not able to do so. Rosberg would pit from eighth on lap twenty seven. Bruno would pass Hulkenberg for eleventh and was looking to get past Massa. Massa would
pit allowing Bruno to get past for ninth and into the points. Alonso was now 7.7 seconds ahead of Perez with Hamilton a similar margin behind Perez. Bruno was 1.1 seconds behind Vergne while Pastor was now up to thirteenth, but he was 8.4 seconds behind Kobayashi. Bruno was not catching Vergne quickly as Kobayashi passed Schumacher for eleventh. The track had now dried considerably as Webber started to close in onto Raikkonen for fifth. Bruno's progress forward had halted while it was reported that there was a possibility of another shower. Perez was starting to close the gap to Alonso with it been 6.3 seconds after lap thirty three. Bruno was now 1.8 seconds behind Vergne. At the front Perez would close in onto Alonso and after lap thirty nine he was 1.3 seconds behind. We now would see drivers coming into to take slicks with the track now dry enough.
We would have Webber, Di Resta, Senna, Schumacher, Pastor, Rosberg, Button, Petrov, and Ricciardo had all come in. Alonso and Vettel would be the next of the drivers to come in followed by Raikkonen, Vergne, Hulkenberg, and Kobayashi. But Perez who was
leading had stayed out still on the intermediates. But would pit on lap forty two seeing Alonso come back into the lead. Hamilton would also pit having, like Perez, not pitted earlier. Bruno was now in eight and right behind Di Resta while Pastor was in
eleventh and 4.4 seconds behind tenth placed Hulkenberg. Bruno had been able to get past Vergne in the pit stop. Alonso was now leading from Perez, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, Raikkonen, Di Resta, Bruno, Vergne, and Hulkenberg. Pastor was closing in onto Hulkenberg with the gap now 1.6 seconds after lap forty three. Hamilton was 11.4 seconds behind Perez while Perez was 5.7 seconds behind Alonso. Both Williams drivers were looking to move up the order and Bruno would pass Di Resta for seventh using his DRS.
Bruno was now right behind sixth placed Raikkonen.

Pastor was right behind tenth placed Hulkenberg. Lap forty seven and we would see Vettel suffer a left rear puncture seeing him pit. He would return while replays showed that Vettel's puncture was as a result of it making contact with the front wing of Karthikeyan as Vettel went past the HRT. Bruno was now in sixth while after lap forty eight Perez was 0.9 seconds behind Alonso. Six laps remaining and it was looking very much like Perez would pass the Ferrari of Alonso. Pastor was still behind Hulkenberg but with Vettel's pit stop he was now in ninth. Bruno 1.9 seconds behind fifth placed Raikkonen. For Perez he would lose a lot of time when he would run wide seeing him now over five seconds behind Alonso. It was a driver error as Perez ran wide at Turn thirteen. Bruno would lose time to Raikkonen with Pastor still looking to get past Hulkenberg. Perez would continue to push closing the gap to 3.9 seconds to Alonso after lap fifty three. Bruno was running a lonely sixth while Pastor was still trying to get past Hulkenberg. But for Pastor his race would take a turn for the worse when smoke would start to come from the rear of his FW34. He would be forced to pit ending his race.

Vettel would be told that he should pit to retire the car but they would change their minds telling him to stay out but it was again told to stop the car. At the front Alonso would complete his final lap to take victory in the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix. Perez was second from Hamilton, Webber, Raikkonen, Bruno, Di Resta, Vergne, Hulkenberg, and in tenth Schumacher. For Williams to see Bruno come home in sixth was an great change in their circumstances with both Bruno and Pastor looking to be very much out of a
points scoring position in the early stages of the race. It must be very disappointing for the Williams team to see Pastor lose his tenth place in the final laps of the race. Neither driver gave up and it was a fine sixth for Bruno.

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Malaysian GP: Excellent sixth place for Senna
Williams F1 (IP Logged)
25/03/2012 15:36
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