Malaysian Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso crashes out after just one lap


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The Independent Online

Fernando Alonso's Malaysian Grand Prix lasted just one lap following a foolish decision made by the Spaniard and Ferrari.

From second on the grid on a wet Sepang International Circuit, the double world champion damaged his front wing shortly after the start.

Yet although it was askew, and as he battled with Red Bull's Mark Webber for position, he and the team made no call for the Spaniard to pit for a new nose.

As Alonso and Webber went side by side down the home straight and into lap two, the wing gave way and lodged underneath the front wheels, forcing him off track into turn one.

Before that steady rain for half-an-hour, rather than a short, sharp torrential downpour that often strikes mid-to-late afternoon, began to fall 40 minutes before the start.

But it was enough that even on the lap where the cars make their way to the grid for preparation there were problems as Webber, Jean-Eric Vergne, Max Chilton and Valtteri Bottas all slid off the track.

Bottas, in particular, required a new front wing for his Williams after damaging it running across the gravel.

By the time the five red lights had disappeared the rain had cleared, albeit with the track still wet enough in parts that the entire field started on the intermediate tyres.

After three laps polesitter Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull held a 3.8-seconds lead to Webber, with Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes a further 1.8secs adrift in third.

The trio were followed by Hamilton's team-mate Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button in his McLaren, Ferrari's Felipe Massa and second McLaren of Sergio Perez.

Soon after the first flurry of pit stops unfolded as teams made the call to switch from the inters to the mediums, with Hamilton making an unfortunate error.

The 28-year-old drove into McLaren's pit box where he was quickly waved through by his former team's pit crew before finally changing tyres with his own team.

Another incident saw Vergne drive into Caterham's Charles Pic in the pits as his Toro Rosso team unsafely released the former.

After 13 laps Webber had taken up the lead by 2.2s to Vettel, with Hamilton a further 2.3 away and closing, followed by Rosberg, Button and Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg who had made great strides.