Formula 1

Top five: F1's greatest wet races

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Alonso held off a charging Sergio Perez for an unlikely victory (©GettyImages)
Alonso held off a charging Sergio Perez for an unlikely victory (©GettyImages).

5. 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

I stay in Malaysia for the first race of this top five countdown looking back at the 2012 race where another monsoonal downpour caused a long stoppage but also one of the most unlikely results in recent times.

Heading into the race McLaren and Red Bull were dominant with Michael Schumacher also in the mix after qualifying, while Fernando Alonso in the horribly slow Ferrari was down in 8th.

Rain was predicted and duly arrived five minutes before the start with light rain causing all the driver's to start on the intermediate tyres.

At the start everyone got away well with Romain Grosjean moving up to third from sixth on the grid at the first corner, when the drivers rounded turn 3. However, the heavier rain began to arrive with a much wetter track than was expected.

At turn four Grosjean's good start was undone as he slid into Michael Schumacher causing them both to spin and drop down the order.

The Williams of Bruno Senna also struggled on the first lap sliding off at turn 6 though we was able to resume.

At the end of the first lap Sergio Perez in the Sauber pitted to change onto the full wet tyres as the heavier rain continued to fall.

The others would soon follow suit and by lap 7 almost all the drivers had switched onto the deeper treaded tyres.

Then on lap 9 the monsoon would really start and the final sector became undriveable causing a safety car and then a red-flag as the thunderstorm continued.

An hour on the grid ensued as the rain moved through and the track dried out, the race resumed with several laps behind the safety car and then fully resumed with several drivers pitting immediately for the intermediate tyres.

Lewis Hamilton was leading from Jenson Button with Sergio Perez moving upto third thanks to his early switch to the full wets.

As the drivers pitted Hamilton would drop down as a slow pit-stop cost him several positions to Perez and Alonso. On that same lap Button who pitted earlier for the inters would hit the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan forcing him to pit for a new front wing.

After all the events shook out Alonso was in the lead from Perez with Hamilton third. From there Alonso controlled the race and the midfield battled it out with lots of overtaking as the track continued to dry.

As the track approached slicks Perez who's Sauber was slightly faster than the Ferrari in the dry began closing in on Alonso by nearly a between half a second and one second per lap.

Perez was within a second before the track finally dried and it was ready for dry slick tyres. Perez stayed out a lap longer than most a move that cost him five seconds and the gap was six seconds when he resumed.

Entering the final ten laps Perez once again was almost a second per lap faster than Alonso and with DRS making overtaking easy it seemed the then 21-year-old would win the race, however with five laps to go the Mexican ran wide at turn 14 costing him time and gifting the win to Alonso.

Given all the troubles Ferrari had this win was one of the most unexpected wins in their history with Perez tying Sauber best ever result in second, Hamilton had to be content with third.

After his incident Button finished out the points while a late puncture also meant Sebastian Vettel failed to score as a result Alonso led the championship after one of his greatest wet-weather drives ever.

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