Alonso Wins German Grand Prix


The German Grand Prix on
Sunday marked the halfway
point of the 20-race
Formula One season.
While it is far too soon to
say who the drivers’
champion might be when the
season ends in November,
Fernando Alonso, who has
so far proven to be the
best driver, continued his
victorious ways, winning
the race in a remarkable
way and adding to his
series lead.
By winning the German
Grand Prix, Alonso became
the first driver to score
three victories this year. He
led the race from start to
finish in one of his
strongest drives of the
season.
It was the 30th victory of
his career and his second
victory at the German Grand
Prix in Hockenheim, where
he also won in 2010, and it
was more evidence that
Alonso, a Spaniard driving
a Ferrari that has not been
the best car this season, is
at the peak of his talent a
week before his 31st
birthday.
Taking advantage of the
pole position, which he
earned in treacherous,
rainy conditions on
Saturday when faster
competitors like the McLaren
Mercedes and Red Bull cars
performed poorly, Alonso
controlled the race
perfectly, always leading by
just enough.
“Starting on pole was the
key part because it was
difficult to overtake,”
Alonso said.
Most important for Alonso,
the most consistent driver
this season, he improved
his lead in the drivers’
series. Alonso leads the
series with 154 points. In
second is Mark Webber in
the Red Bull car, with 120
points, while Webber’s
teammate, Sebastian Vettel
is third, with 110.
Vettel appeared to have
finished the race in second
position after a dramatic
chase in the final laps
against Jenson Button in a
McLaren Mercedes, who
finished third after Vettel
passed him with three laps
left.
But two hours after the
race it was announced that
Vettel had made an illegal
move in passing Button as
Vettel drove off the edge of
the track at the hairpin to
get past the McLaren
driver, gaining an unfair
advantage. Vettel was
given a 20-second penalty,
dropping him to fifth place.
Kimi Raikkonen of the Lotus
team moved to third place,
and Button claimed second.
The McLarens and Red Bulls
looked like the fastest cars
of the weekend, but Alonso
had scored a faster lap
during a difficult, wet
qualifying session on
Saturday. Vettel started
from second on the grid.
Button started only sixth.
“Definitely it was not an
easy race because we were
not the quickest on the
dry,” Alonso said. “But we
were quite competitive and
there were some good calls
on strategy by the team.”
Although he controlled the
race from the beginning,
Alonso’s Ferrari this year
has frequently run into
problems in the final laps of
races because the tires
wear out more quickly than
those of his competitors. On
Sunday, it looked as if the
same problem might occur.
The stakes changed with 25
laps left in the 67-lap race
when Button passed Vettel
after the German’s pit stop
to move into second.
Button had not won a race
since the season opener in
Australia in March, and he
was now perched directly
behind Alonso and
apparently in a position to
pass. Lap after lap, Button
pressured the Ferrari
driver. Then, however, with
just four laps left in the
race, Button had dropped to
1.9 seconds back as his
tires wore out, and now it
was he being hunted by
Vettel, less than a second
behind.
With less than three laps
left, Vettel passed Button at
the hairpin. But he was five
seconds behind the leader,
and only a breakdown of
the Ferrari or a mistake by
Alonso would change the
order.
Alonso held on, as he has
in taking advantage of
every opportunity this
year, winning in Malaysia in
April thanks to the rain, and
winning in Valencia, Spain,
in June thanks to a
breakdown of Vettel’s car.
Throughout, Alonso has
avoided making mistakes or
losing hope.
“It is true we were O.K. in
Valencia, but Red Bull was
quickest and we took
advantage of a mechanical
problem Vettel had,” Alonso
said. He then pointed out
that before the beginning of
the season, during testing
in Jerez, Spain, the car had
been an enormous two
seconds slower than the
leading cars.
“I think we have had a
good recovery, of when
you think where we started
in the Jerez test,” he said.
“But it means nothing
because there are still
another 10 races.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix
is Sunday, and Alonso said
it would be tight. “It’s a
short circuit and as we saw
this year, in two or three
tenths there are eight or
nine cars,” Alonso said. “So
we need to make a perfect
preparation and a perfect
qualifying, because you can
be out of the top 10 if you
miss a couple of tenths.”

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