German Grand Prix 2012: Fernando Alonso clinches Hockenheim win
Fernando Alonso clinches third victory of season after winning German Grand Prix ahead of Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso stretched his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 34 points after holding off Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button to win the German Grand Prix.
The Spaniard is the first driver to win three races this season after leading from pole and maintaining his composure to clinch victory at Hockenheim.
“It was tough, definitely,” said Alonso. “I don’t think it was an easy race because maybe we were not the quickest on dry conditions. But we were quite competitive, enough to maintain the lead.
“Also there were some good calls by the team in terms of strategy in the first stop and then obviously in the second stop when Jenson pitted. We had to react, Sebastian and me.
“After that it was a long race, 27 laps to the end with Jenson putting a lot of pressure, but the car was feeling good, so it was enough to keep the lead into Turn Six. And then after that it is not possible to overtake in the last sector, so you try to control the tyres and, a little bit the race.”
Defending world champion Vettel passed Button with two laps to go but was demoted to fifth place after being handed a 20-second penalty because race stewards decided the German “left the track and gained an advantage when he re-joined”.
Button said after the race: “I don’t think there’s anything I need to say. You can see the footage and see what you think yourself.”
Vettel, meanwhile, defended his actions but accepted the penalty. “I wasn’t sure where he was,” said the Red Bull driver. “I couldn’t see him in that moment, so decided to give enough space and went off line on the slippery paint and I was able to stay ahead and get past him.
“The only intention was not to crash and to give him enough room. I have respect for him and I didn’t want to squeeze him. It was good to be on the podium at the home race, but I have to respect the steward’s decision.”
Button was rarely more than a second behind leader Alonso but was unable to close the gap on the Ferrari driver.
“It was a close race and I couldn’t quite get Fernando at the end,” he said. “When you are in the middle of three you really have to fight and I was pushing a little bit more in the early part of the stint, whereas when you’re in front you can coast a bit in the bits where you don’t need to push.”
Lewis Hamilton’s race was severely hampered by a puncture early on and the McLaren driver eventually retired with gearbox damage.
German Grand Prix 2012: Race result
1 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:31:05.862
2 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren +00:06.949
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus – Renault 00:16.409
4 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber – Ferrari 00:21.925
5 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull – Renault 00:23.732 #
6 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber – Ferrari 00:27.896
7 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 00:28.970
8 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull – Renault 00:46.941
9 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India – Mercedes 00:48.162
10 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 00:48.889
11 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India – Mercedes 00:59.227
12 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 01:11.428
13 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 01:16.829
14 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso – Ferrari 01:16.965
15 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams – Renault 1 lap
16 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham – Renault 1 lap
17 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams – Renault 1 lap
18 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus – Renault 1 lap
19 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham – Renault 2 laps
20 Charles Pic (France) Marussia – Cosworth 2 laps
21 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT – Cosworth 3 laps
22 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia – Cosworth 3 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT – Cosworth 3 laps
Ret. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 11 laps
# – denotes 20 second post-race penalty