Alonso fends off Vettel and Button to win German GP at Hockenheim

Fernando Alonso powered to his third victory of the season in Germany

Fernando Alonso powered to his third victory of the season in Germany

Jul.22 (GP247) Fernando Alonso made no mistake in his lights to flag victory in the German Grand Prix, at Hockenheim, fending off a race long threat from Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button which gives the Spaniard an even greater championship points lead exactly halfway through the season.

Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2012.Two weeks earlier Alonso had victory snatched from his grasp at Silverstone, and it appeared that something similar would transpire at Hockenheim as Button and Vettel stalked the Ferrari driver relentlessly in the final stint of the race with the trio on the harder Pirelli compound tyres.

With ten laps to go, Button looked to be lining up a challenge on Alonso but the Spaniard had all the answers on the day and managed to stay ahead and in fact with half a dozen laps left he managed to pull away to score his third victory of the season.

Late on, with Alonso certain of victory, Vettel started to attack Button and with a couple  of  laps to go the Red Bull driver pounced at the hairpin, going around the McLaren which hogged the inside line and drifted out wide on the exit giving Vettel no room and as a result the German ran off the track as he powered out of the hairpin, and into second position in the process where he stayed until the chequered flag.

In parc ferme Button edged up to the German and said, “They are going to investigate your overtake you know.”
Vettel responded, “I didn’t know where you were.”

Stewards took a dim view of the move by Vettel and slapped him with a 20 seconds penalty after the race, which demoted him from second to fifth.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2012.For Alonso victory gives him 154 points in the world championship standings, 34 more than his closest rival and means that he has been in the points in all ten races so far this season.

He said afterwards, to Niki Lauda, on the podium, “I don’t really know politics but it is true that the situation is not great in Spain but a Spanish driver in an Italian car, designed by a Greek man is good to win here. We enjoy the win. Starting on pole was the key factor because it was difficult to overtake and we were not the fastest but we kept the position.”

Later the Spaniard commented on the race proper, “It was tough and not an easy race. Maybe we were not the quickest in dry conditions but we were competitive and it was enough to maintain the lead. Great strategy calls from the team to keep me ahead through the pit stops.”

“I knew it would be a long race to the end, with Jenson putting pressure, but the car was feeling good on top speed and traction and that was enough to keep the lead into Turn 6. After that overtaking is not so easy,” added Alonso

Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012 ahead of Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 (2nd). Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2012.Credit to Vettel who kept Alonso in his sights throughout the afternoon on home soil, but simply had no answer for the Ferrari when it mattered.

“The pace was there but it was extremely difficult when I was close to Fernando and Jenson we seemed to lose a lot and not be able to stay close enough to try to something under braking. I am not entirely happy, it could have been a bit better if it was clean air most of the race but that was not the case. Second place was the best we could get today and I am happy with that,” reflected Vettel prior to being demoted for his move on Button.

It was a great comeback for Button who started from sixth on the grid and had not been on the podium since China in April. The McLaren MP4-27 showing strong pace again in dry conditions, able to hunt down Alonso and Vettel, close the gap and the pit crew deliver an astounding 2.5 seconds tyre change which allowed Button to peel into second place (ahead of Vettel) after the final stop.

Jenson Button McLaren Third  3rd German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2012.Upon which the 2009 world champion set about chasing Alonso, but ran out of tyres when it which allowed Vettel to close up and overtake with the finish line in sight. But a couple of hours later he was re-instated in second place.

A good day at the office for the McLaren driver, “It was a close race and I couldn’t quite get Fernando at the end. When you are in the middle of three you really have to fight, and I was pushing a little bit more in the early part of the stint, whereas when you are in front you can coast a bit in the bits where you don’t need to push.”

“It was close but Fernando knows, as we all do, where to use KERS to keep someone behind you. I ran out of steam at the end of the straight and the gap was a little bit too big to get back. It was a fun race and it’s nice to be on the podium again. I had my feeling back the last two races but the pace hasn’t been there, but today it was. We are there or thereabouts at the front, still a little way to go,” concluded Button.

Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 2012 German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday 22 July 2012.Kimi Raikkonen made it four world champions in the top four positions (until Vettel was dropped down to fifth) when he crossed the line to claim fourth place, which later became third, for Lotus. The E20 seemed temperamental around Hockenheim, but Raikkonen did well to maximise the periods when it was operating optimally to and help himself to a healthy haul of points after starting tenth on the grid.

Next up were the Sauber duo of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez who crossed the line fifth and sixth respectively, after starting 12th and 17th. The impressive C31 more often than not the fastest piece of kit out there, and better grid positions may well have seen them challenge for a podium spot. They were also dealt a dollop of luck when Kobayashi inherited fourth place, thus his best result this season, after Vettel’s indiscretion.

Local hero Michael Schumacher started from third on the grid, managed to get a good start but thereafter spent the afternoon defending as his Mercedes W03 lacked pace to challenge for the top spots. With less than 20 laps to go Schumacher was in fifth with tyres worn and the Sauber pair closing in fast, when he decided to gamble and stop for a set of brand new soft tyres. But it did not pay off and seventh was his reward for the hard graft in front of his home crowd.

Kamui Kobayashi Sergio Perez sauber German Grand Prix Hockenheim 2012Schumacher reflected cryptically, “It was busy but in the wrong way. We did not have the bit extra to get Sergio Perez under pressure and start overtaking. It wasn’t qualifying I had to save fuel at certain moments. We take the result and see what happens in future. I think we might see some interesting happenings in the future that does not concern just one car but several cars. It will be interesting.”

What a difference two weeks can make in F1! Mark Webber, who won the British GP in such fine style, struggled all afternoon at Hockenheim. Compromised by a five place grid penalty, he never really recovered from eighth on the grid where he stayed until the end of the race, although he remains second in the championship standings he lost a big chunk of points to Alonso.

Force India again failed to deliver on their qualifying promise and Nico Hulkenberg spent his afternoon looking in his mirrors and battling, unsuccessfully, with the Sauber duo. In the end fourth on the grid became ninth when the chequered flag dropped and disappointment all round for driver and team.

Felipe Massa start damage Ferrari German Grand Prix HockenheimStarting 21st on the grid seemed to inspire Nico Rosberg, who avoided a start straight melee in front of him, and proceeded to carve his way through the field to claim a final point. Not the result he would have been hoping before the weekend began, but a good result on the day nevertheless.

Rewind to the start and drama started almost immediately, as the 24 cars dragged off the line, when bits and pieces started flying around the mid-pack area after what appeared to be contact between Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Fleipe Massa (Ferrari) and Bruno Senna (Williams) – all three were forced to pit for repairs and none of them getting back into any kind of point scoring position.

The result of the close encounter was a track full of debris on the next lap, which the leaders ran through without problem but luck was not on Lewis Hamilton’s side as he suffered a puncture and had to make his way round the track for new tyres. He made the change and rejoined, became embroiled with the leaders – much to Vettel’s disdain – and then parked to retire from his 100th grand prix.

 German Grand Prix, Hockenheim – Sunday, 22 July 2012

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 67 Winner 1 25
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 67 +6.9 secs 6 15
3 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 67 +16.4 secs 10 12
4 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 67 +21.9 secs 12 10
5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 67 +23.7 secs 2 18
6 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 67 +27.8 secs 17 8
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 67 +28.9 secs 3 6
8 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 67 +46.9 secs 8 4
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 67 +48.1 secs 4 2
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 67 +48.8 secs 21 1
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 67 +59.2 secs 9  
12 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 67 +71.4 secs 13  
13 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 67 +76.8 secs 11  
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 67 +76.9 secs 15  
15 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 66 +1 Lap 5  
16 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 66 +1 Lap 18  
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 66 +1 Lap 14  
18 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 66 +1 Lap 19  
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 65 +2 Laps 16  
20 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 65 +2 Laps 20  
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 64 +3 Laps 23  
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 64 +3 Laps 22  
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 64 +3 Laps 24  
Ret 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 56 +11 Laps 7  

Note: Sebastian Vettel penalised 20 seconds for illegal overtaking manouevre

 

  • F1

    Go Kimi Go!

  • Psych4191

    The Sauber would win if they could just Qualify better. Had they qualified in the top 5 they both would’ve run away with it like BMW did in Canada 2008.

    Also, it’s worth mentioning that Maldonado made 0 collisions today…. buuuuuuut he finished in 15th, -10 spots, 1 lap down. Fun stuff.

  • Matthias O’keeffe

    Great race from Michael… Although he lacked pace, but still managed to defend his spot from Mark Webber…

  • Ahmad Khan

    An absolutely masterful drive by Alonso, constantly driving under pressure by both Vettel and Button. Despite not having a faster car to simply pull away, he defended superbly, made the right calls and pushed when mattered. The drive of a true champion.
    Alonso WDC 2012

  • Lol.

    VETTEL WHY YOU NO PLAY BY RULES

  • Ahmad Khan

    @psych4191
    The reason BMW won in Canada 2008 was the collision b/w Kimi and Hamilton at the end of the pitlane, taking them both out. They did not simply run away with the race

  • Psych4191

    @Ahmad, They finished 23 seconds ahead of Coulthard. I’d consider that running away. It’s not like Kimi and Hamilton did their screw up on the pitlane in the last lap.

  • Butterfly

    News Flash: they gave Vettel a 20sec penalty dropping him to 5th.

  • Ahmad Khan

    @psych
    Dude, what I meant was the front running cars got taken out, leaving them in the lead from a then-not-so-good red bull. Its not like they wud hve won had the Kimi n Hami incident not occured

  • Forza Ferrari

    Absolutely flawless drive by Fernando! Fantastic! As a Ferrari fan I couldn’t be happier. Felipe could’ve done a lot better though. Really disappointed with him :( That silly mistake at the start cost him the race and it also could have cost him the place at Ferrari for next year. A real shame. But all in all I’m very happy with the result of this race. Masterful drive by Fernando! Go Ferrari!!!

  • fools

    Alonso Grande!!!! Bravo…Beautiful win…pure driving talent!

    Out-drove +6.9 finishing gap and defended:

    -Vettel
    -Button
    -Hamilton

    Not once did any driver wet or dry out paced Alonso or pass him. He drove like a pure racer. That Ferrari nose is looking better and better ;)

    WDC ON PACE ALONGSO

  • fools

    *Alonso