Ferrari's Fernando Alonso won the rain-interrupted Malaysian Grand Prix in thrilling style on Sunday to claim his first victory in eight months and throw the early title race wide open.
Alonso survived a lengthy rain suspension, a rash of spins and mishaps and a strong challenge from Sauber's Sergio Perez to finish the year's second race ahead of the Mexican driver, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton third.
Spain's Alonso, a two-time world champion, was nobody's pre-race favourite in the clunky F2012, but he emerged from the chaos caused by torrential rains at the head of the pack and doggedly clung on for victory.
"It's an unbelievable result and a great job from the team," Alonso said. "We maximised the potential we had in our hands. It's a tough time for us at the moment but we will remember this Sunday."
Perez pushed hard for his first win and looked set to steal victory from Alonso until he dramatically overshot a turn on lap 50.
But he still managed seal his maiden trip to the podium -- and Sauber's best result since they reverted to the ownership of their founder, Peter Sauber, in 2009.
"I wanted the win and I thought it was possible," smiled the Mexican, who is rumoured to be in Ferrari's sights to replace the struggling Felipe Massa. "It never happened but I'm very happy and proud with this second place."