Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has won his third race of the Formula One season in a close race at Hockenheim. Home-favorite Sebastian Vettel finished second on track but was classified fifth after a post-race penalty.
The Spanish double champion stretched his lead in the overall standings to 34 points by winning from pole position at the German Grand Prix on Sunday. For the third time in the season, Alonso was able to roll home ahead of the rest of the Formula One field in his Ferrari, effectively leading from start to finish.
Sebastian Vettel, seeking his first ever home victory, could only finish second on the track in his Red Bull.
“I tried everything. I'm fighting like a lion, I really am. I just had nothing left,” Vettel told his mechanics over team radio immediately after finishing the 67-lap race.
Vettel passed Jenson Button on the penultimate lap in controversial circumstances, going wide off the track and onto the run-off area at the exit of the turn six hairpin when he completed the overtake.
“They are going to investigate your overtake by the way,” Button told Vettel in parc ferme after the race, referring to the stewards.
“I didn't know whether you were inside or not, that's why I went out there,” Vettel replied to his McLaren rival.
About two hours after the race on Sunday, the stewards - with the help of ex-driver consultant Derek Warwick of Britain - awarded Vettel a 20-second time penalty for the pass, demoting him to fifth place. Button moved up to second.
It was the second controversy of the weekend surrounding Red Bull, after both cars were nearly disqualified for a suspected breach of the technical regulations prior to the race. Motorsport's world governing body, the FIA, ruled that the Red Bull's engine mapping did not breach the letter of the law - albeit suggesting that the rules might be adjusted in the future.
Flying Saubers, tire woes for Schumacher
Lotus Renault's Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth on track after a relatively quiet race, with the Sauber cars of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez behind him in fifth and sixth. Raikkonen was bumped up to third after Vettel's penalty, and Kobayashi to fourth, but Perez was too far back to gain a position.
Four-time German Grand Prix winner Michael Schumacher could only finish seventh after starting third on the grid after a wet qualifying session. Schumacher was unable to make do with just two pit stops in his Mercedes, as the rest of the front-runners did, and dropped back several places when he was forced to take his third and final pit stop. Running on fresh rubber late, Schumacher did set the fastest lap of the race.
Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber finished a disappointing eighth after his win last time out at Silverstone in England. Germany's Nico Hülkenberg and Nico Rosberg rounded out the points-paying positions in ninth and tenth.
British championship hopeful Lewis Hamilton was the only retiree at Hockenheim, he fell far back after sustaining a puncture early in the race and ultimately bowed out with about ten laps to go. He was running well outside the points.
Alonso now leads Mark Webber by 34 points in the drivers' standings, with Vettel 10 points further adrift in third. The leading trio are starting to pull out a gap against the next-best challenger, 2007 Finnish world champion Raikkonen.
Formula One's commercial figurehead Bernie Ecclestone did not attend the race, having said that he planned to beforehand. Public prosecutors in Munich are investigating potential irregularities in the 2006 sale of Formula One's commercial rights, having already sentenced a former banker to over eight years in prison over the transaction.
Author: Mark Hallam
Editor: Nicole Goebel