Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso became the first to win three races this year as he held on to a tough yet controlled win in the German Grand Prix yesterday. He maintained a one second gap throughout the race, which was just enough to hold off the challenges from world champion Sebastian Vettel and later Jenson Button.
He maintained this gap in a calculated drive preventing both the Red Bull and the McLaren to make use of the DRS overtaking zones. The Spanish ace now extends his championship lead over second placed Mark Webber by 34 points.
Vettel’s overtaking move on Button at turn 6 for P2 was under investigation initially and later ruled illegal by the stewards as he had placed all four wheels of his RB8 outside the track. He was given a 20 second penalty that saw him demoted to P5, further denting his championship hopes.
Kimi Raikkonen was promoted to P3 following Vettel’s penalty and Kamui Kobayashi a career best P4. Behind Vettel were Sergio Perez, Michael Schumacher, Mark Webber, Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg.
At the start of the race it was all about choice of tyres for the first stint. Ferrari hadn’t forgotten their loss from Silverstone following a miscalculated strategy where their man had to relinquish the lead in the dying stages to Red Bull’s Mark Webber. They weren’t going to repeat that mistake this time around however, and opted to start Alonso on the Pirelli soft compound yellows.
When the tyre warmers came off they revealed the entire grid were more or less thinking the same. Alonso darted across Vettel to block off any threat of a turn 1 move. Behind him Michael Schumacher attacked. In the middle of the pack Felipe Massa ran into one of the Toro Rossos breaking off his front wing. The irony of it all was that a lap later, Lewis Hamilton drove over this very debris and picked up a nasty left rear puncture and retired later. He was the only DNF at Hockenheim, an unpleasant way to end his 100th Grand Prix start.
But he didn't go out without a fight. On lap 35 on fresh rubber, Lewis found himself faster than the front runners albeit a lap down. In his attempt to unlap himself he first overtook a disgruntled Vettel and then began to attack race leader Alonso. The blue flags waved in utter confusion all around the circuit. This enabled Jenson Button to close the gap down to the Ferrari and Red Bull. On the way home, flying out of the circuit in a helicopter, Lewis tweeted to his fans “Ain't no puncture gonna stop me! We can still do this, together!!
This coupled with the post race interviews by three time ex-world champion Niki Lauda on the podium showed the drivers in great spirit and attitude even in defeat.
As for Fernando, he took his 30th race victory that puts him one behind Nigel Mansell in the top five most-winning drivers list. And he's still driving.