Alonso wins German GP ahead of Massa in 1-2 Ferrari finish

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Alonso wins German GP to lead 1-2 Ferrari finish

HOCKENHEIM, Germany — Fernando Alonso won the Formula One German Grand Prix on Sunday after Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa appeared to let him to take the lead on instructions from the team.

Massa, racing on the first anniversary of a crash that nearly killed him, led Sunday’s race for 49 of 67 laps before he was passed by Alonso following radio conversations with the team.

“I don’t think I have to say anything to that,” Massa said when asked after the race about the instructions. “We work for the team.”

Team orders that interfere with the race result are forbidden under Formula One rules.

Ferrari team leaders were asked to report to the stewards after the race. No further details were immediately available.

Alonso, who is ahead of his teammate in the overall standings and still has a shot at winning the title, won his second race of the season and Ferrari finished 1-2 for the second time this year.

Sebastian Vettel of Germany was third in his Red Bull. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren was fourth.

After 11 of 19 races, Hamilton leads the overall standings with 157 points ahead of McLaren teammate Jenson Button with 143. Vettel has 136 points, tied for third with Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. Alonso is fifth with 123 points, 38 ahead of Massa.

“I can’t say I am fighting for the championship,” Massa said.

“This is a very strong result for the team, we just have to continue like this,” said Alonso, a two-time Formula One champion.

“In some parts of the race we were fighting very hard for first place, maybe it was a bit dangerous. It’s a difficult race to overtake. I saw him go a bit slower and I pushed,” the Spaniard said after his 23rd career victory.

“We are professional, we try to do the best for the team,” Alonso said.

The race had two decisive moments.

At the start, pole sitter Vettel moved wide to try to block Alonso. Massa, starting from third, used the gap to pass from the outside going into the first corner. Alonso also slipped past Vettel and the two Ferraris stayed in front for the entire race.

But on lap 49, Massa appeared to go slightly wide in a corner and Alonso easily shot past the Brazilian.

Alonso had been pushing Massa hard for several laps, and was heard telling the team on the radio, “This is ridiculous.”

Ferrari then told Massa that Alonso had the better car.

“Fernando is faster than you, did you understand that message?” Massa was told shortly before being overtaken.

“OK good lad. Just stick with him now,” Massa was told after he had been passed by Alonso.

Massa confirmed the radio conversation, but later also said he had been struggling after switching to harder tires.

“Some parts of the race I was quicker,” Alonso said. “It’s difficult to judge.”

Massa said Ferrari did not have team orders.

“For sure you always want to win. We don’t have team orders. If you can’t do the race you want, you have to think about the team. I am professional, and today I showed how professional I am,” Massa said.

“Everyone saw that I can win races, that I can be competitive. But I was struggling on hard tires.”

Alonso covered the 67 laps — a race distance of 190.5 miles — in 1 hour, 27 minutes, 38.864 seconds. He finished 4.1 seconds ahead of Massa and 5.1 seconds ahead of Vettel.

Vettel had hoped to win his home race but lost it at the start.

“The first five, 10 meters I couldn’t get off, I was lucky I didn’t stall the engine,” Vettel said.

“I couldn’t stay with Alonso and I was surprised to see Massa on the left. It was tough to keep pace with the Ferraris, they were quicker most of the race,” Vettel said.

Alonso, in his first season with Ferrari, won the opening race of the season in Bahrain, where Massa took second.

But Ferrari has struggled in recent races and Alonso finished 14th in the British GP two weeks ago.

“The most important thing is to feel comfortable with the car again, that we are competitive again,” Alonso said.

Massa required surgery for a fractured skull sustained one year ago when he was struck on the helmet by a heavy metal spring that had come off another car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Brazilian spent nine days in recovery in a Budapest hospital and was also placed in induced coma.

Massa returns to Hungary next week for the race there.

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