Lewis Hamilton of McLaren won a hard-fought German Grand Prix on Sunday, fending off challenges from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber of Red Bull for his second victory of the season.
Hamilton started second but took the lead from Webber by the first turn, and McLaren then successfully defended the position in a cat-and-mouse game of pit stops between the top teams. Alonso finished 3.9 seconds back in second place, with Webber 9.7 seconds behind in third.
“It was one of the best races I think I’ve ever done,” said Hamilton, who also won the third race of the season, the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai in April. “This is a massive step forward… and I hope we can keep the momentum going.”
The top three finishers were within three seconds of each other for long parts of the 60-lap race and they each took turns being in the lead because of the three pit stops made by all of the top drivers.
The most exciting lead change came on lap 33, when Alonso returned to the track in front after a tyre change, but was overtaken by Hamilton only a few meters after the pit lane exit.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was fourth — the first time all season he hasn’t finished first or second. After 10 of 19 races, he tops the standings with 216 points, followed by Webber with 139 and Hamilton on 134. Alonso is fourth with 130.
After starting third, Vettel fell back to the middle of the field, climbing back to fifth behind Ferrari’s Felipe Massa during the final laps. Both drivers exited for tyre changes at the same time and the speedy work of the Red Bull team allowed Vettel to come back out for the final lap ahead of Massa.
The championship continues next weekend at the Hungaroring in Hungary.
- Reporting from AP