Masterful Alonso Rules Germany
HOCKENHEIM, Germany – Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso drove an absolutely faultless race in Germany on Sunday afternoon to become the first three-time Formula One winner in 2012.
Alonso was under consistent pressure, first from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and later from McLaren’s Jenson Button, both of whom got within less than a second of the Ferrari at times.
The Spaniard never put a wheel wrong nor lost his nerve and pulled away in the closing stages as Button faded and was repassed by Vettel.
It looked for a long while like a race McLaren could – should – have won, but Button never managed to get close enough to make a pass and as his tires faded he was bested by Vettel.
However, the manner in which Vettel passed him going into the hairpin on the 66th lap is being investigated by the race stewards as he went outside the track limits.
Vettel argued that he was just giving Button room and that he couldn’t be sure where he was. Button disagreed.
All of the leaders made two pit stops, as did Kimi Raikkonen who didn’t make a late charge this time but hung on for a solid fourth place for Lotus after a strong race, and the duelling Saubers of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.
They started on different tire strategies, however, with the Japanese driver holding on for fifth as the Mexican came under pressure from three-stopping Michael Schumacher who finished just a second behind for Mercedes.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber was an unusually subdued eighth, with the three-stopping Force India of Nico Hulkenberg salvaging only ninth after a mighty fight with the Saubers early on. Nico Rosberg put his Mercedes in the final points paying spot in 10th.
Lewis Hamilton, making his 100th Formula One start, had a disaster of a day as he cut his left-rear tire on some debris on the third lap and dropped to the back of the field.
A very long – 28-lap – stint on medium Pirellis helped him to climb back and later he played a key role in Button’s race as he caught and passed his team mate and Vettel to unlap himself and was chasing Alonso when the latter stopped for the last time.
Hamilton’s pace was to no avail as he eventually became the only retirement with mechanical problems after a dismal day.
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