Fernando Alonso storms to his second consecutive victory at Hockenheim

By on Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fernando Alonso has shown further dominance at the top of the Drivers’ Championship throughout the German Grand Prix, storming to his second consecutive race victory this season. Sebastian Vettel completed a late and slightly controversial overtake on Jenson Button to finish 2nd, with the Briton clinging on for 3rd.

Unlike the previous two days, the Hockenheimring was bathed in glorious sunshine. At the start, Fernando Alonso enjoyed a beautiful getaway, whereas further back his team-mate Felipe Massa endured a torrid start and lost his front wing heading into turn 1. This left debris strewn across the circuit, and inevitably the field tore through it on the next lap. Both Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean were forced to pit at the end of the opening lap, due to damage sustained on the first lap.

Lewis Hamilton suffered a monumental blow to his race chances, as the 2008 World Champion picked up a puncture due to the debris from Massa’s front wing. The McLaren driver was forced to limp back to the pits, with the tyre delaminating as the lap progressed. Before returning to the pits, a disgruntled Lewis Hamilton was heard on the team radio stating the team should retire his car. However, the Briton continued on after his mechanics changed his tyres in the pits.

By lap 12, the first round of pit stops were already underway as Kimi Raikkonen opted to pit for Lotus. The Finn was quickly followed a lap later by Nico Hulkenberg, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg. Due to the lack of knowledge on how the Pirelli tyres were going to work, varying strategies were carried out as the pit stops unfolded.

Race leader Fernando Alonso pitted on lap 18, as local hero Sebastian Vettel assumed the lead. However, throughout the next couple of laps both Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button finally pitted, with the latter enjoying a highly competitive race. When Sebastian Vettel finally pitted, Alonso retook the lead at the front. The Red Bull driver returned to the track just behind the surging Kamui Kobayashi, however Vettel quickly found a way around the Sauber.

With Lewis Hamilton suffering a dismal race at the back, the British driver found himself in a difficult position after making his second pit stop. The McLaren driver was just behind the leading duo of Alonso and Vettel, albeit a lap down, with his team-mate Jenson Button striving to catch the leaders behind him. Instead of allowing his team-mate through, Lewis Hamilton decided to un lap himself by quickly closing down and passing Vettel. The German driver was switched on to the McLaren’s tactics, and allowed Hamilton past.

This therefore allowed Jenson Button to continue to reel in the leading pair, and thus handed Button the ability to pit first with the intention of leapfrogging both Alonso and Vettel. The Briton completed this stop on lap 41, and when Alonso and Vettel both decided to pit a lap later Jenson Button was comfortably ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

With his team-mates tactics working beautifully in Button’s favor, the 32-year-old then set his sights of taking the lead away from Fernando Alonso. After greatly assisting his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton finally retired on lap 58 with a points finish evidently impossible for the British star.

Try as Button may, he failed to take the lead away from Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of the race. As Alonso opened up a considerable gap at the front, Button began to fall into the clutches of Sebastian Vettel, who made his move on lap 65 and controversially took 2nd place away from the McLaren driver by running off the circuit in the process. The stewards will naturally be taking a long look at Vettel’s error, with a penalty looming ominously over the German’s 2nd place.

However, Fernando Alonso had no such worries to contend with as the Spaniard stormed to his third race victory of the season, and 30th of his colorful career. The Ferrari driver now heads to the Hungaroring in Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix in a highly commanding position, as the rest of the pack strive to catch the dominant Asturian driver.

Pos Driver Team Time
 1.  Alonso        Ferrari                    1h31:05.862
 2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +     3.732
 3.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +     6.949
 4.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    16.409
 5.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +    21.925
 6.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +    27.896
 7.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    28.960
 8.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    46.900
 9.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    48.162
10.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    48.889
11.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    59.227
12.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:11.428
13.  Massa         Ferrari                    +  1:16.829
14.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:16.965
15.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +     1 lap
16.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
17.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +     1 lap
18.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +     1 lap
19.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +    2 laps
20.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps
21.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +    3 laps
22.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +    3 laps
23.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    3 laps

Fastest lap: Schumacher, 1:18.275

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