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Alonso leads McLaren one-two in Malaysia
April 08, 2007 18:56 IST
Double world champion Fernando Alonso celebrated an emphatic victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, while British rookie Lewis Hamilton finished second to hand McLaren their first one-two since 2005.
The Spaniard's runaway success ended McLaren's drought, with that team's first win since October 2005, and gave him the championship lead with 18 points to Kimi Raikkonen's 16 for Ferrari.
Former McLaren driver Raikkonen, who dominated the season-opening Grand Prix in Australia on his Ferrari debut, finished third ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld in fourth.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who started on pole position, could manage no better than fifth after skidding onto the grass during a dogfight with Hamilton early in the race.
Alonso, who left Renault for Mercedes-powered McLaren at the end of last season after winning the last two titles, was full of praise for his "perfect" new team.
"To win a formula one grand prix with two different teams is something special...a dream come true and part of history," Alonso told a news conference.
"We knew our chance was to overtake the Ferraris at the start, and to see Lewis in second was even better."
The 25-year-old said the McLarens had got much closer to Ferrari since the opening race of the season but he had not expected such a decisive result.
"We learned some lessons (in Australia) that for sure we will be using in every race," he said.
"Over here we have some developments in the car but it's a surprise we are here."
Alonso, starting on the front row beside Massa, squeezed up the inside of the Brazilian at the first corner to take the lead while Hamilton forced his way past both Ferraris from fourth in another breathtaking start for the Briton.
Massa turned on the pressure for several laps before a costly braking error sent him bouncing across the grass.
"I think to see two Ferraris behind you, two red blobs in the mirrors, and knowing that they are slightly lighter and quicker than you, it's very difficult to keep them behind," Hamilton told a news conference.
"Felipe (Massa) had a couple of moves but fortunately I was able to trick him into outbraking himself."
After Massa slipped down the order Hamilton was able to open up a comfortable lead over Raikkonen in third, but the Finn came back strong in the closing laps, whittling away the deficit to less than a second.
Hamilton was made to sweat but held on to take his second podium place in only his second grand prix.
"That was the most difficult race I've ever had," declared Formula One's first black driver, who ran out of water halfway through the hottest race of the year.
"We worked extremely hard to make sure I was fit enough for this race. I drank and drank all day to make sure I didn't dehydrate."
Sauber's Heidfeld recorded his second fourth place of the season ahead of Massa and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella took sixth for champions Renault.
His rookie team mate Heikki Kovalainen scored his first point by claiming eighth spot while Toyota's Jarno Trulli finished seventh.
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