Alonso leads from the front to claim German Grand Prix win

Alonso leads from the front to claim German Grand Prix win

HOCKENHEIM - Agence France-Presse
Alonso leads from the front to claim German Grand Prix win

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso leads ahead of Red Bull Racing’s German driver Sebastian Vettel after the start of the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring circuit yesterday. AFP photo

Fernando Alonso extended his lead in this year’s Formula One drivers’ world championship yesterday when he drove to a flawless victory for Ferrari in the German Grand Prix.

The 30-year-old Spaniard started from pole position and dominated the 67-lap race in consummate style as he came home 3.7 seconds ahead of local hero, defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.

Briton Jenson Button of McLaren, who had proved the potential of his revamped car for a long spell in the race, came home third after being passed by Vettel, who ran wide and off the track, on the penultimate lap.

The race stewards announced they were probing Vettel’s passing move, a statement that left the result unconfirmed pending the result of their decision and any chosen sanction.

Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Lotus ahead of Japanese Kamui Kobayashi and his Sauber team-mate Mexican Sergio Perez, who came home sixth. Seven-time champion and German hero Michael Schumacher, 43, finished seventh for Mercedes ahead of Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull and another German, Nico Hulkenberg, who was ninth for Force India.

Another German, Nico Rosberg, in the second Mercedes, finished 10th.

Third win of season

Alonso’s win was Ferrari’s 219th and the Spaniard’s third of the season after his triumphs in Malaysia and at the European Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver now has 154 points to 120 for Red Bull’s Webber. Vettel, if the stewards uphold his second place, has 118 after 10 of the season’s 20 races. “That was fantastic, again,” Alonso told the Ferrari team on their radio. “Tonight we make some parties on the plane!”

 Button’s podium finish was a boost for him and McLaren after they struggled in recent outings 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 that fell during practice and qualifying.

Alonso, who won on the last occasion a GP was staged at Hockenheim two years ago, briefly surrendered his lead after the first of two pit stops but he otherwise dominated the race.

Red Bull cleared after investigation

HOCKENHEIM – Agence France-Presse

Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull team escaped a penalty at his home German Grand Prix yesterday after stewards cleared them of a possible breach of the technical rules.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) had raised concerns, only hours before the 10th race of the season, about the engine torque mapping on the cars of Vettel and his Australian teammate Mark Webber.

However, stewards said the rules had not been breached.

“While the stewards do not accept all the arguments of the team, they however conclude that as the regulation is written, the map presented does not breach.......the Formula One technical regulations and therefore decide to take no action,” said an FIA statement.

Former race driver Derek Warwick, one of the stewards, told Sky television when asked whether there needed to be a clarification of the rules: “It’s certainly not the end of it.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said the timing of the controversy had been awkward.