Pecking order still unclear after two rounds

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 leads at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday 25 March 2012.Mar.27 (GMM) Even two races into the 2012 F1 world champi0onship season, it is pointless to declare the ‘pecking order’ of teams.

Indeed, the picture is muddled.

With Ferrari in deep trouble until the Sepang downpour, Fernando Alonso’s surprise win was therefore a “maximisation of misery” for the famous Italian team, according to Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper.

After Australia, and another qualifying lock-out in Malaysia, some elements of the media were already referring to McLaren as the “dominant” team.

But Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button struggled in Sunday’s race, as did the back-to-back reigning champions Red Bull, and the good qualifying performers, Mercedes.

“There is no such superiority as in the past year, or the past two years,” agreed Malaysia winner Alonso.

“Everything seems to be much more open.”

Now, the keywords are not Adrian Newey or Vettel or blown exhausts, but how individual teams and drivers use the 2012 generation of Pirelli’s tyres.

“This is probably the most important area at the moment,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner agreed, according to DPA news agency.

“Different cars are fast at different times,” he said, after Sauber’s Sergio Perez almost won the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Horner is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport: “If you are not in ‘the window’, you’re nowhere. And that’s different from tyre (compound) to tyre, and from driver to driver.

“I think the only good thing is that it will be a really good year for the fans,” he smiled.

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh agrees.

“No one is able to say with confidence how this year is going to pan out,” he is quoted by Germany’s Focus.

“And that’s as it should be.”

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