Alonso celebrates controlled victory in Germany
22 July 2012 – Fernando Alonso has become the first treble winner of 2012, fending off Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button at Hockenheim. The German passed the Englishman on the penultimate lap but was later demoted to fifth because of an illegal overtake. Lewis Hamilton retired from his 100th race as Mark Webber finished eighth.
On the track, a great getaway allowed Alonso to lead comfortably into Turn 1, then fending off an early-race challenge from Vettel. Further back, team-mate Felipe Massa lost his front wing by hitting Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso; this resulted in an unscheduled pit-stop as Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna also came in for repairs following the first-lap dramas.
The out-of-the-box thinking from McLaren paid off on Lap 42, as Alonso and Vettel left the pits together. The Ferrari retook the lead, but Button dragged ahead of the Red Bull which then lost ground by running wide at the North Kurve on the following tour. As Alonso masterly managed his tyres while keeping Button at bay, the latter eventually dropped off the pace and was overhauled by Vettel on Lap 66 of 67; however, as the German accelerated past the Frome man with all four wheels out of the track confines, he was duly handed a 20-second penalty by the stewards.
Alonso’s victory is his third at Hockenheim, after 2005 and 2010, and extends his championship advantage over Webber to a very healthy 34 points, thus marking the first time this year that one driver has been over one race win ahead of the competition. Career victory number 30 leaves him just one slot behind Nigel Mansell for fourth in the all-time rankings.
Post-race development at Hockenheim:
Vettel docked 20 seconds, drops to fifth
With half of the 2012 Formula 1 season now complete, the action continues in Hungary next weekend before the customary summer break in August