Motor racing-Ferrari pair stumped by Malaysian rain storm

By Patrick Johnston

SEPANG, Malaysia, April 3 (Reuters) - World championship leader Fernando Alonso said he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time after being caught out by a prolonged rain storm at Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday.

As qualifying begun with light rain falling on the Sepang circuit, Alonso and team mate Felipe Massa chose to remain in the Ferrari garage believing the shower would pass quickly.

The rain strengthened, however, and they were eliminated in the first qualifying session while Red Bull's Mark Webber took pole position ahead of Mercedes' Nico Rosberg. Alonso finished in 19th place with his Brazilian colleague 21st.

"I thought we had no more rain for the qualifying," twice world champion Alonso told reporters. "Unfortunately it did rain so the track didn't improve at all in the last 10 minutes so we were in the wrong place at the wrong moment.

"But the race is tomorrow and not today so we keep the confidence high."

The Ferrari duo were joined by the McLaren pair of Jenson Button (17th) and Lewis Hamilton (20th) in being eliminated after the first session of qualifying.

"Hopefully I can change this situation," said Alonso, who won the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

"But for sure today we have been a little bit unlucky or we made some mistakes so tomorrow hopefully we avoid these mistakes.

The two Ferraris had been slower than expected in the morning's dry practice sessions and were left aiming to finish in the points on Sunday, when more heavy rain is forecast.

Massa said: "It will be a difficult race but we need to try to achieve the best, try to score points and that's what we're looking for."

[Source: Reuters UK]