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Ferrari's Alonso wins rain-hit Malaysian Grand Prix

March 26, 2012 -- Updated 1119 GMT (1919 HKT)
Spain's Fernando Alonso celebrates his victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
Spain's Fernando Alonso celebrates his victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fernando Alonso wins Malaysian GP for Ferrari
  • Mexico's Sergio Perez finishes second in his Sauber
  • Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton completes podium
  • World champion Sebastian Vettel out of the points

(CNN) -- Ferrari's Fernando Alonso won a rain-hit Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday holding off a thrilling challenge from young Mexican Sergio Perez.

Lewis Hamilton, who started from pole, finished third in his McLaren but teammate Jenson Button was out of the points.

Reigning two-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, second to Button in the season-opener, finished 11th after a late puncture.

Alonso, a two-time world champion and driving a Ferrari which has been uncompetitive in qualifying in the two races to date, showed his experience to hold off Sauber's rising star Perez with Hamilton a well beaten third.

The victory takes him to the top of the driver standings after two races with 35 points, five points clear of Hamilton.

The race was hit by a torrential downpour at the start which saw all the leading contenders rushing to change to wet tires.

A safety car was quickly called into action before the race was halted.

The win changes nothing. We are in a position that we don't want
Fernando Alonso

When it resumed, Hamilton lost first place after a slow pit-stop with Alonso eventually appearing at the head of the field.

But Perez looked to be the faster and set for his maiden victory until he overshot a corner on lap 50 out of 56.

By now racing on dry tires, Alonso held him off to claim his first GP win for eight months.

But in the post-race press conference he was realistic about his team's chances in the next few months.

"The win changes nothing," he said.

"We are in a position that we don't want. The goal was not to lose many points. "We did the job track side. So this is a positive news but coming to China and Bahrain there is a lot of stuff coming to the car and this is the real job to do," added the Spaniard.

Button, who started from second on the grid, made a rare mistake as he drove into the side of HRT's Narain Karthikeyan and lost his front wing. He eventually finished 14th.

Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber was fourth with former world champion Kimi Raikkonen fifth for Lotus.

Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, who started third on the grid, span early in the race and took the last points in 10th place.

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