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Scuderia Ferrari and Fernando Alonso shine at Hockenheim

Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso drove a fantastic race in Germany on Sunday afternoon to become the first three-time winner of the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship. Fernando Alonso was under consistent pressure, firsat from German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel and later from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Jenson Button, both of whom got within less than a second of the Ferrari during the race. Unfortunately for Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel, the Spaniard neither committed a slight mistake nor lost his nerve and pulled away in the closing stages as Button faded and was repassed by Vettel.

It looked for a very long time like a race which Vodafone McLaren Mercedes could have won, but Jenson Button never managed to get close enough to utilize the DRS to find his way by going into the hairpin and as his tires eventually hit the cliff.

However, the manner in which the Formula 1 double world champion passed him going into the hairpin on the 66th lap was subsequently investigated by the race stewards as he went outside the track limits. The German Redbull driver Sebastian Vettel argued that he was just giving Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button enough space to avoid any collision. Jenson Button however disagreed with this point of view.

The stewards eventually decided in the Briton’s favour and handed Vettel a 20-second time penalty, which moved the German down into fifth in the race results and promoted Jenson Button into second, Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen into third and Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi into fourth.

All of the leaders visited their pits twice, including Kimi Raikkonen who did not go for a late attack this time but enjoyed a strong race. Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi started on different tire strategies, however, with the Japanese driver holding his position as the Mexican came under pressure from three-stopping Michael Schumacher who finished just a second behind for Mercedes.

Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber was an unusually submissive eighth, with the three-stopping Force India of Nico Hulkenberg finishing only ninth after a huge fight with the Saubers in the early stages of the race. Paul di Resta in the other Force India was again on a different pit stop strategy, and by the end his tires were too worn out after only two stops to fend off Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg who climbed from 21st on the grid to take the final point from the Scot.

Brazilian Ferrari driver Felipe Massa collided with Daniel Ricciardo at the beginning of the race and thus compromised his race and had to fight back to 12th place, decently passing the Toro Rosso of Ricciardo just before the end of the race. Behind the Australian, team mate Jean-Eric Vergne was 14th ahead of Pastor Maldonado, who looked as a threat for Williams early on before falling back.

Vitaly Petrov drove a feisty race for Caterham to beat his team mate Heikki Kovalainen quite easily. The latter finished 19th as Williams’ Bruno Senna and Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, both delayed by first lap incidents, took 17th and 18th. Charles Pic was never challenged by Marussia team mate Timo Glock, and they were separated by the feisty Pedro de la Rosa in his HRT, with Narain Karthikeyan bringing up the rear in the second Spanish car.

But where was Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton? His 100th race turned out to be a disaster as he cut his left-rear tire on some of the Massa/Ricciardo debris on the third lap and dropped to the back of the field. A 28 lap long stint on medium Pirellis helped him to climb back and later he played a key role in Jenson Button’s race as he caught and passed his team mate and Sebastian Vettel to unlap himself and was chasing Alonso when the latter stopped for the last time. German Redbull driver Vettel was not amused and spoke with harsh criticism after the race. The speed of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton became the only retirement with mechanical problems after an unlucky day.

The latest Grand Prix win puts Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso even further ahead in the title chase with 154 points to Mark Webber’s 120 and Sebastian Vettel's 110. Kimi Raikkonen takes fourth from Lewis Hamilton, 98 to 92, with Nico Rosberg sixth on 76 and Jenson Button seventh on 68. In the constructors' Formula 1 World Championship, Red Bull has 230 points to Ferrari’s 177, McLaren’s 160 and Lotus’s 159.

Hockenheim - Cairo - Abu Dhabi

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