Alonso claims European F1 grand prix
Mon, 25 Jun 2012 4:33a.m.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso thrilled home fans by winning an incident-packed European Grand Prix in Valencia to take the overall championship lead and become Formula One's first repeat winner of the season.
The Spaniard was joined on the podium by two former Ferrari champions – Kimi Raikkonen second for Lotus and Michael Schumacher third for Mercedes.
German Sebastian Vettel, world champion in 2010 and 2011, had led from pole and was heading towards his third consecutive victory in the port city when his Red Bull lost power in lap 32.
He parked up, tossing a glove at the wall in disgust.
It was the 29th career win for Alonso, who won his two titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006.
Alonso was helped by the mechanical problems that forced Vettel's Red Bull and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean out of the race, while McLaren's previous championship leader Lewis Hamilton crashed out in the closing laps.
It was still a momentous achievement on a twisty street circuit that had seen three of the past four winners start on pole and nobody win from lower than third place.
Grosjean had been competing for the top spot, and the chance of becoming the eighth different winner in eight races, when the Frenchman also had to retire with an alternator problem when placed second in lap 41 of the 57 lap race.
Hamilton was fighting to defend third place when he was knocked off the track by Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado's Williams, with two laps remaining.
The 2008 champion pounded the steering wheel with his fists in fury, before tossing it out of the cockpit.
Seven times world champion Schumacher made his way through the debris to grab third in his Mercedes, his first podium finish since he was at Ferrari in 2006 and first of a comeback that started in 2010.
Now 43, Schumacher was the oldest driver to stand on the Formula One podium since Australian Jack Brabham finished second at Brands Hatch in Britain at the age of 44 in 1970.
Alonso, who had said after qualifying on Saturday that the 'podium is out of reach', defied conventional wisdom to take his second victory after Malaysia in March Marussia's Timo Glock missed the race after failing to recover from a stomach complaint that forced the German to miss qualifying on Saturday.
The victory lifted Alonso, who had started 11th on the grid, to the top of the standings with 111 points, 20 clear of Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber, after eight of 20 races.
Results from the European Formula One Grand Prix:
1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:44:16.649
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus +00:06.421
3. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes +00:12.639
4. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 00:13.628
5. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India 00:19.993
1. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 111
2. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 91
3. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 88
4. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 85
5. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes GP 75
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