Fernando Alonso led from pole position to the chequered flag to win the German Grand Prix for Ferrari, while Germany’s world champion Sebastian Vettel was stripped of second place for an overtaking infringement.
Race officials said that Vettel left the track as he passed McLaren’s Jenson Button on the penultimate lap in a controversial move.
Vettel, who has yet to win his home grand prix and indeed any race in July, went wide as he and the Briton went through a corner side by side. He was handed a 20-second penalty that demoted him to fifth.
Button moved up to second place, ending a run of disappointing performances, and Finland’s 2007 Kimi Raikkonen took third for Lotus.
Alonso pleased with win
The Ferrari driver, who clinched his third win of the season, was a satisfied man. “It was tough,” said Alonso. “Maybe we were not the fastest in dry conditions, but we were competitive to retain the lead. Great strategy calls from the team to keep me ahead through the pit stops. I knew it would be a long race to the end, with Button putting pressure.
“But the car was feeling good on top speed and traction and that was enough to keep the lead into Turn 6, and after that overtaking is not so easy.”
The Ferrari driver now has 154 points to 120 for Red Bull’s Australian Mark Webber, who finished eighth. Vettel has 110 after 10 of the season’s 20 races.
Button’s podium finish was a boost for McLaren, who moved ahead of Lotus into third place in the constructors’ standings, but it was soured for the team by Lewis Hamilton suffering a puncture early in his 100th race and having to retire.
Alonso started on pole and held off challenges from Vettel and then Button as he stormed to victory in warm, sunny conditions, a stark contrast from the heavy rain which fell during practice and qualifying.
Alonso, who won on the last occasion a Grand Prix was staged at Hockenheim two years ago, briefly surrendered his lead after the first of his two pit stops but the double champion otherwise dominated the race despite being under intense pressure throughout.
Vettel angry with Hamilton
Webber, winner of the previous race at Silverstone, had started eighth after a five-place demotion on the starting grid for an unauthorised gearbox change.
Meanwhile, Vettel was angry with Hamilton for trying to overtake him while one lap behind.
“That was not nice of him, I don’t see why he’s trying to race us, its stupid to disturb the leaders,” said the German, who gesticulated at the McLaren as it went past.
Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi finished fourth for Sauber, after Vettel’s demotion with Mexican teammate Sergio Perez ending sixth.
Germany’s seven times world champion Michael Schumacher was seventh, ahead of Webber and two more Germans — Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2012.