What are we to make of the Malaysian GP? I certainly didn't venture out there but had an adventure finding it live and free online. There it was live and in colour streaming direct into my living room where I began to soak up the atmosphere (but not the rain). And what a race it was Ferrari on first step of podium, Multiple incidents (some of which involved Narain), no points for Button, no points for Vettel, and a number of very odd, slightly hysterical radio calls.
Firstly that Sauber radio message to Sergio Perez. Absolutely right call by Peter Sauber to remind Sergio not to take any silly risks simply to take first place - Could he have done it? probably however, as Murray Walker always used to say "it's one thing catching up to the guy in front of you its another thing entirely to get past him". It's still hard to gauge just how good Perez is, he can certainly manage his tyres and maintain a position and, judging by Malaysia, he's very quick given the right package but I think there's still room for improvement and his consistency is something that will be key to his future success and that will be under scrutiny by the top teams this season.
I've read the Perez/Massa rumours - no matter what the truth of this matter is (and time will tell) I think that Peter Sauber is the right team leader to bring Sergio into 2013. A consistent and encouraging Team Owner, Peter has the wherewithall to bring out the best in his drivers. I think I made this exact point in relation to Kobayashi when rumours were flying about Hamilton's drive becoming available next year for McLaren. The Sauber Team is a good and nurturing environment and they have a history of bringing on good drivers - Massa and Raikkonen being the most memorable of the recent past. It is also a team which can get the best out of a driver, Heidfeld outperformed both of the aforementioned drivers away when they drove against him at Sauber (probably Nick's best period in F1).
A small team with a small budget Sauber have the capability of creating a strong car/driver pairing. the unfortunate thing is that they seem happy to compete within the Midfield without seeking to take that final step towards winning a championship. Perhaps it's a Swiss conservative ethic at work.
The next call (or series of calls) was/were made to Vettel on the last lap - first up the PIT PIT call, then (after listening to Brundle on commentary) stay out stay out, followed by pull the car over now - each time the voice got a little bit more hysterical. Okay so they wanted to change the Gearbox without penalty but that doesn't appear to have been on Vettel's mind given that he claimed the chequered flag and finished the race. Fair play Seb.
Seb and Jenson got involved with Narain and neither drove away from the impact. In Seb's case I'm not really that sure that Narain could do anything about it but he certainly felt the champion's ire with an untypical raised middle finger perhaps indicating that Seb wasn't going to end up on the top step that day.
Jenson's I thought was a racing incident and he took the loss gracefully and with humour. I think he knows that these results can happen and that McLaren are currently at the top of the heap.