Fernando Alonso dominated the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim from pole position to win his third race of the season for Ferrari and increase his lead in the Formula One World Championship. The other podium positions went to Britain's Jenson Button and Finland's Kimi Raikkonen.
After two days of heavy rain, racing conditions were perfect, with no threat of any further inclement weather. The Spaniard Alonso got off to a scintillating start, but in the middle of the grid Felipe Massa shunted into the back of Daniel Riccardo's Toro Rosso, knocking the Brazilian's front wing off and scattering debris everywhere. Romain Grosjean also got tangled up and the Frenchman also had to pit to replace his front wing. But the biggest victim was 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who drove his McLaren's left rear tyre over the debris and punctured, leaving him to come in for new rubber and re-enter the race stranded way back in 22nd position.
For the first 19 laps, Alonso and Germany's home hero Sebastian Vettel battled up front and held a seven-second lead over 2009 champion Button. Alonso pitted and came out in second, only for the defending champion Vettel to follow him in, which allowed Alonso to regain the lead for the rest of the race.
Ten laps later, Vettel, roared on by an enthusiastic home crowd, closed but couldn't really exert any meaningful pressure on the leader Alonso. By lap 34, both of the leaders came up to lap Hamilton, who fought tooth and nail to dodge the leaders. The Briton could not prevent Alonso from continuing on his merry way, but he managed to pass Vettel, thus giving Button a chance to close in on the German. A few laps later, Button pitted quickly and maintained his position.
On lap 42, Alonso and Vettel came in for their final stops, with the Ferrari driver coming in first. Button passed Vettel for second and, by lap 48, had his sights firmly set on hauling in the leader.
After all the frustration of the opening lap, Hamilton finally called it a day on lap 50. Alonso increased his lead as Vettel finally got back up to speed to overtake Button for second spot but he had passed outside the lane, something that would cost him his place after race stewards determined that it was illegal to do so. Vettel could not get any closer to Alonso as the Spaniard continued his winning ways with his third victory of the season. As for the rest of the grid, Kamui Kobyashi was fourth in his Sauber, while Vettel was finally demoted to fifth. Sergio Perez was sixth with Michael Schumacher finishing in a respectable seventh. Aussie Mark Webber took eighth, while further Germans in the shape of Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg rounded off the top ten.
German GP Top 10
- 1 Fernando Alonso
- 2 Jenson Button
- 3 Kimi Raikkonen
- 4 Kumi Kobayashi
- 5 Sebastian Vettel*
- 6 Sergio Perez
- 7 Michael Schumacher
- 8 Mark Webber
- 9 Nico Hulkenberg
- 10 Nico Rosberg
*Vettel demoted to 5th (from original 2nd place) for passing Button off the track
"It was a very close race from start to finish," said Alonso. "We did not have the quickest car. McLaren and Red Bull had a little bit extra but not enough to get past. The team took a few strategic decisions that were spot on.
"We must keep focused, avoid problems with reliability or with the pit stops and I know that when it comes to that, I can count on the best team, a team that is used to winning a lot. All I have to do is think about driving and helping the team."
Alonso is confident of extending his winning streak going into next week's Hungarian Grand Prix.
"I expect to go well in Budapest and there is no reason to be pessimistic," Alonso confidently expressed. "However, I am not forgetting that Red Bull and McLaren were quicker. I said that the month of July would be crucial, with 75 points up for grabs in four weeks and so far we have brought home 43, so we will try to finish the job in Hungary."
1) Fernando Alonso - 154
2) Mark Webber - 120
3) Sebastian Vettel - 110
4) Kimi Raikkonen - 98
5) Lewis Hamilton - 92
6) Nico Rosberg - 76
7) Jenson Button - 68
8) Romain Grosjean - 61