• German Grand Prix

Composed Alonso wins in Germany

ESPN Staff
July 22, 2012
Fernando Alonso's lead never came under threat and he extended his lead in the championship to 34 points © Press Association
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Fernando Alonso took victory at the German Grand Prix after a tense finish in which Jenson Button threatened the Ferrari but eventually finished second after a post-race penalty for Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso led from lights to flag and held off challenges from Vettel in the second stint and Button in the third stint as the race eventually came down to tyre management. Vettel passed Button on the penultimate lap but only after he ran off the circuit on the exit of the hairpin to get past. Vettel was given a retrospective drive-through penalty after the race and relegated to fifth place behind Button, Kimi Raikkonen and Kamui Kobayashi.

The race boiled down to a three-way fight after the first pit stops as Button started to close in on the lead two. He was helped in part by team-mate Lewis Hamilton who suffered a puncture at the start and found himself a lap down but in among the leaders. Hamilton caused havoc with Vettel's race by unlapping himself from the Red Bull and then went on to attack Alonso's Ferrari. He didn't find a way past but by the time the top three had pitted for the second and final time, Vettel had lost time and dropped behind Button. Hamilton eventually retired 11 laps from the end after complaining of a problem at the rear of the car.

Button then closed on the Ferrari and was within a second at one stage before he dropped off to manage his tyres. It was at this point that Vettel saw his opportunity to get his own back and on the penultimate lap he lined Button up in the DRS zone. Button closed off the inside line, forcing Vettel to go around the outside, but rather than try to undercut the McLaren the Red Bull held its line around the outside and out-accelerated Button while off the track. Button had no way to react but made a point of flagging the incident to his team over his pit-to-car radio. Meanwhile, Alonso had a clear road to victory and in taking the chequered flag he extended his lead in the drivers' standing to 34 points.

Raikkonen finished a distant fourth before the penalty and never looked like challenging the top three. The car looked fundamentally quick but he swapped to soft tyres rather than mediums at his first stop and that left him at a disadvantage compared to the lead three. The Lotus finished 5.5s clear of Kobayashi in fifth, who started on medium tyres from 12th on the grid and played out a measured strategy to take his joint best finish of the season. Team-mate Sergio Perez was on a more conventional strategy but still made impressive ground from 17th on the grid to sixth by the finish.

Michael Schumacher, who started third, had to three-stop as his Mercedes again struggled with degradation. He was running fifth for most of the race but dropped down the order at his third and final stop before fighting back to seventh at the finish.

Mark Webber had a day to forget in the Red Bull as he never looked comfortable and eventually settled for eighth. It was a far cry from his British Grand Prix performance, although he is still second in the drivers' standings, two points ahead of team-mate Vettel.

Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg rounded out the top ten after they both opted for three-stop strategies. The Force India had a tougher time of it after dropping from fourth on the grid while Rosberg came through the field from 21st.

Outside the top ten Felipe Massa collided with Daniel Ricciardo at the start and lost his front wing ahead of the first corner and the resultant debris appeared to cause Hamilton's puncture. Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna also suffered damage on the first lap putting both drivers out of contention.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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