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.
- 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
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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.