Alonso takes 3rd consecutive win in Germany

Runners up Sebastian Vettel (left) and Jenson Button spray winner Fernando Alonso with champagne after Sunday's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Photo courtesy of Press Association

HOCKENHEIM, Germany- With his second pole position in a row the previous day, Fernando Alonso only had to lose his lead once because of a pit stop, but took the lead once again and dominated the Grand Prix of Germany at the Hockenheimring on Sunday afternoon to win his third consecutive race and increase his lead in the Formula One World Championship. Sebastian Vettel took second when he passed Jenson Button with only two laps to go.

“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, at the time of both stops and I knew that I had to concentrate, especially at Turn 6, defending my position by using the KERS. Then, in the third sector, there was no room for overtaking. I tried as much as possible to manage the tyres at all times. Clearly, I didn't have a moment to relax but I think I was calmer than the team in the garage and on the pit wall and our fans sitting in front of their televisions! If I think back to where we were in Jerez, or Australia at the first race, I have to thank everyone at Maranello for the fantastic way in which they reacted to the situation. After yesterday's pole, in the wet, the car seemed to be very strong, as we expected. 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. I always want to give 100% and work day and night towards this goal. I don't want anyone to come to Hungary better prepared than me, physically or mentally or more motivated than me and I always try and win this competition that runs alongside the one on the track.”

The race itself after two days of rain was perfect with clouds overhead, but no threat of any precipitation. Alonso got off to a great start, but in the middle of the grid, Felipe Massa ran into the back of Daniel Riccardo’s Toro Rosso, knocking the Brazilian’s front wing off and scattering debris everywhere. Romain Grosjean was also part of the problem, and the Frenchman had to pit to replace his front wing as well.

But the biggest victim of all this was Lewis Hamilton, who ran his McLaren’s left rear tire over the debris and punctured, leaving him to come in for new rubber and come out into the race in 22nd.

For the first 19 laps, Alonso and Vettel shot out ahead of the rest of the field and held a seven second lead over Button, who was now in third. Alonso pitted and came out in second, only to have Vettel do the same and rgain the lead for the rest of the race.

Ten laps later, Vettel managed to close in on the leader but began to experience a loss in his KERS system, which he could not do any more to defeat Alonso. But by lap 34, both of the top leaders came up to lap Hamilton, who was miffed and fought tooth and nail to unlap himself from the leaders. The Briton could not fight Alonso, but he managed to pass Vettel, thus giving the chance for Button to get close to the German. A few laps later, Button pitted and made a fast stop less than three seconds, to come out again and keep his position. On lap 42, Alonso and Vettel both came in for their final stops, with the Ferrari driver coming out in first. But by this time, Button had gained his position, and with the KERS still not working properly, Button passed Vettel for second and now by lap 48, had his sights straight on the leader.

But after all the frustration of the opening lap, Hamilton finally retired by lap 50 and became the only driver to stop for the day. Alonso increased his lead as Vettel final found his KERS back up to par to pass Button for second but could not get any closer to Alonso as the Spaniard continued his winning ways with his third victory in a row.

Kimi Raikkonen drove a smooth race to take fourth, while Kamui Kobyaschi was fifth in his Sauber. His Mexican teammate Sergio Perez was sixth, while Michael Schumacher finished seventh. Mark Webber was eighth, while Germans Nico Hulkenberg and Rosberg rounded out the top ten.

Despite now holding a 34 point lead in the championship over Webber, Alonso is confident that he can keep his streak going into next week’s race in Hungary.

“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 and finish the job in Hungary."

Mark Gero

A 12 year veteran writer who has covered race weekends for RIS for three years. Also did the same for the last two years, I have been a member of AARWBA.

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Volume 2012, Issue 7, Posted 2:42 PM, 07.22.2012