Mon, Jul 23, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Alonso leads from the front to win German Grand Prix

Reuters, HOCKENHEIM, Germany

Fernando Alonso led from pole position to the checkered flag to win the German Grand Prix for Ferrari yesterday and extend his lead at the top of the Formula One championship to 34 points.

Germany’s world champion Sebastian Vettel finished second for Red Bull, overtaking McLaren’s Jenson Button on the penultimate lap in a controversial move that stewards were investigating.

Vettel, who has yet to win his home Grand Prix and indeed any race in July, went wide and off the track to get past the Briton.

Alonso’s win was Ferrari’s 219th and the Spaniard’s third of the season.

The Ferrari driver now has 154 points to 120 for Red Bull’s Australian Mark Webber, who finished eighth. Vettel, if the stewards uphold his second place, has 118 points after 10 of the season’s 20 races.

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 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 to the heavy rain that 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 world champion otherwise dominated the race.

Webber, winner of the previous race at Silverstone, had started eighth after a five-place demotion on the starting grid for an unauthorized gearbox change.

Earlier, the Red Bull team escaped a penalty after stewards cleared them of a possible breach of the technical rules.

The International Automobile Federation had raised concerns, only hours before the race, about the engine torque mapping on the cars of Vettel and his teammate 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,” an FIA statement said.

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.”

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