Ferrari and Alonso victorious at his home-race in Valencia
What made his victory even more rewarding, was the fact that neither one of his contenders, namely Lewis Hamilton driving for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes nor German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel finished, which meant that Fernando Alonso went back into a comfortable Formula 1 world championship lead.
What happened during the race itself however would have never let anyone be able to predict this result. As a matter of fact, German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel easily ruled the twisty track round the Spanish port for the first 34 laps. The German took off from pole position and could not be challenged as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was busy keeping Romain Grosjean behind him. Then on lap 10, Grosjean finally found a way past Lewis Hamilton, but the Lotus driver could by that time not do anything about the advantage of Sebastian Vettel.
Everything was going according to plan for the German Red Bull driver and Formula 1 double World Champion till Jean-Eric Vergne driving for Toro Rosso collided with Heikki Kovalainen's Caterham on the 27th lap, prompting the deployment of the safety car on the 28th. It closed up the field
But that was just the start of a dramatic Grand Prix held in Valencia. Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso had steadily been moving up the ranks ever since the lights went off, jumping to eighth place. He was up to third when the safety car came out, but grabbed a place from Grosjean on the 34th lap when the race restarted and thus inherited the lead upon Vettel's retirement.
The Frenchman on the other hand never gave up and kept the gap at less than a second, but just as a great battle came into prospect, he too suddenly slowed down on the 40th lap and stopped by the side of the track with a suspected alternator failure.
That left Hamilton back in second place, delayed after yet another pit-stop drama, this time with the left-front wheel after the front jack failed miserably. He was busy fending off an emerging Kimi Raikkonen in the other Lotus, who had lost out to the Williams of Pastor Maldonado at the start and then tried getting back into a challenging position. He finally passed by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton with three laps to go as the McLaren's tires were finished, but this did not leave the Iceman enough time to challenge the leading Ferrari.
Lewis Hamilton was under extreme pressure from Pastor Maldonado in the closing laps as the Williams driver closed in, but after running side-by-side for several corners they finally collided, thus Lewis Hamilton's Vodafone McLaren Mercedes being sent into the wall with 12 crucial points for the Formula 1 World Championship standings lost.
All of that set the scene for Mercedes AMG driver Michael Schumacher and Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber to sweep through the ranks after late tire stops, on the 44th and 38th laps respectively. They swept by Mercedes AMG of Nico Rosberg, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' Jenson Button and Sauber's Sergio Perez, then the Force Indias of Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, before the misfortune of both Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado elevated Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber to third and fourth places. For the German it was the first podium since October 2006, which is exactly 2093 days back.
Nico Hulkenberg clung on for an excellent fifth for Force India, but Di Resta lost sixth to Mercedes AMG driver Nico Rosberg on the final lap. Jenson Button had yet another unspectacular race to eighth in the second Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, holding off Perez as Pastor Maldonado slumped to 10th without his front wing after the collision of Lewis Hamilton.
The Venezuelan was followed home by his Williams partner Bruno Senna, who got a drive-through penalty for a collision with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, who had enjoyed fourth place prior to the first round of pit stops. Bruno Senna later inherited his team mate's single point when stewards added 20 seconds to Pastor Maldonado's race time over his crash with Hamilton.
Daniel Ricciardo ran as high as third at the restart, as most of the main runners pitted under the safety car, but was soon shuffled back by those with fresher tires. He survived a collision with Caterham's Vitaly Petrov to take 12th ahead of the Russian and his recovered team mate Kovalainen, which became 11th after Pastor Maldonado's penalty.
Behind them, Charles Pic was Marussia's only starter as Timo Glock remained unwell with his intestinal infection, and the Frenchman was 15th ahead of Felipe Massa, who was in the hunt for some good points until his Ferrari was face-lifted by Kobayashi's Sauber. The Japanese Sauber driver retired and was handed a five-place grid penalty for the next round in UK.
The HRTs both finished this time, with Pedro de la Rosa leading Narain Karthikeyan home in 17th and 18th. After the race, Vergne received a 10-place grid drop for the next round and a â‚¬25,000 fine for his collision with Heikki Kovalainen.
Fernando Alonso now leads the championship standings on 111 points, from Mark Webber on 91. Then comes Lewis Hamilton on 88 and SebastianVettel on 85, as Nico Rosberg moves to fifth on 75 and Raikkonen to sixth on 73.
In the constructor's standings, Red Bull have 176 to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' 137, Lotus's 126, Scuderia Ferrari's 122 and Mercedes AMG's 92.
Valencia - Abu Dhabi - Cairo
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