Fernando Alonso was pushed and approached, but never caught as he drove a seemingly-flawless race to win the 2012 German Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Spaniard was pressured alternatively by two-time defending Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel and by Jenson Button, but neither could spoil Alonso’s day and his trip to the top of the podium. He is the first F1 pilot to win three races this season.
“Maybe we were not the quickest in dry conditions, but we were competitive and it was enough to maintain the lead,” said Alonso. “It was tough. Not an easy race.”
Although the gap behind him closed to less than one second at times, Alonso wouldn’t be denied on this day and won the German Grand Prix pulling away. After a review of an incident on the final lap, Button was awarded second place and Kimi Räikkönen moved into third.
Vettel was initially credited with second place in the unofficial race results, but a review of his pass on Button during the closing stages of the race noted that the German driver left the track confines while trying to get around Button. Race officials assessed Vettel a 20-second penalty, dropping him to fifth in the final race standings. Vettel admitted, after the race, that he had taken a wide line.
“I decided to go off the circuit to make it safe for both of us,” the defending world champion said. “The last thing you want to is make contact. When we were side by side, I tried to give him (Button) enough room but it’s difficult to see.”
An interesting side note sees Alonso getting back-to-back wins in Hockenheim. The German Grand Prix alternates between race tracks in Hockenheim and Nürburg. Alonso won at the Hockenheimring in 2010, when the grand prix was last held there.
The win in Germany was the second in three races for Alonso and solidifies his grip on the Formula 1 world championship standings. Alonso closes out the first half of the 2012 season with 154 points, 34 more than his nearest challenger Mark Webber and 44 ahead of Vettel, who sits third.
The second half of the Formula 1 season begins with the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend (July 27-29), in Budapest.