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McLaren masterclass in Malaysia

Fernando Alonso proved at the weekend that when it comes to taking a Formula One car to its absolute maximum lap-after-lap, he's still the daddy.

At Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, and in heat that only lizards and Flavio Briatore find comfortable, Alonso dominated.

Malaysian Grand PrixMalaysian Grand Prix 2Malaysian Grand Prix 3Malaysian Grand Prix 4A quarter of a second down on Ferrari's Felipe Massa in qualifying, Alonso overtook the Brazilian on the run to the first corner, while team-mate Hamilton (starting fourth) made Kimi Raikkonen and Massa look like chumps by monstering them both into the first turn.

That made the McLarens one and two into the first corner, the position they held until the end.
Alonso and Hamilton were equally impressive - the Spaniard for buggering off and Hamilton for withstanding immense pressure from third-place Raikkonen at the end of the race.

Massa, while arguably the quickest driver/car combo over one lap, showed he's still prone to impetuousness in a race situation. An attempted overtake on Hamilton on lap three was clumsy and effectively ruined his race.

Fifth place in the race and sixth in the championship (11 points behind Alonso) is not what the Brazilian was expecting after dominating pre-season testing.

Nick Heidfeld yet again impressed in the BMW, despite a slight coming together with his team-mate Robert Kubica in the first corner. The BMWs are looking very strong - expect a race win before the season's out.

Fisichella drove well, as he does when the mood takes him, to grab four places in the first corner. A sixth-place finish was strong, and team-mate Kovalainen will be happy with his first World Championship point after finishing eighth. But reigning champ Renault will not be pleased with its start to 2007.

So, McLaren is back on top after nearly two years without a win. Alonso has proved that he's the best driver in F1 at present, and Hamilton is looking increasingly like the real deal.

But there was another driver in Malaysia who stunned: Nico Rosberg. The young German didn't finish the Grand Prix after hydraulic problems, but for the majority of the race he was fighting hard in the top eight against much faster cars.

The thought of Rosberg and Hamilton going wheel-to-wheel at some point this year gives you goosebumps. Saying that, Alonso's form at the moment is such that he could probably drive around them both. One-handed.

Nick Trott

F1 drivers standings after two (of 17) Grands Prix:

F Alonso 18
K Räikkonen 16
L Hamilton 14
N Heidfeld 10
G Fisichella 7
F Massa 7
J Trulli 2
N Rosberg 2
H Kovalainen 1
R Schumacher 1

© Source: article on topgear
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