F1 2012 German Grand Prix result: Hamilton retires as Alonso wins at Hockenheim
LEWIS Hamilton’s landmark 100th Formula 1 race turned into something of a disaster with the McLaren driver retiring from today’s 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes star from Hertfordshire suffered an early puncture and was left to fight it out at the back of the field, being lapped by the leaders.
Hamilton eventually retired from the race after 56 laps, not long after his third stop for tyres, damage caused by the puncture being the reason for Lewis prematurely driving into the garage.
McLaren test driver Gary Paffett tweeted after the race: “@LewisHamilton really unlucky to pick up a puncture. Very surprised there was no safety car with that much debris on the track. Dangerous!”
A dominant Fernando Alonso took the chequered flag in Germany from pole position for Ferrari to extend his world championship lead with his third victory of the season.
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Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel controversially overtook Jenson Button on the penultimate lap to cross the finish line second.
Vettel passed Button after running wide off the track and his move is being investigated by race stewards.
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Button said over the radio: “Did he not just pass me off the circuit?”
Hamilton’s McLaren teammate eventually took the third step on the podium in the provisional results after starting the race from sixth on the grid.
Button was later promoted to second in the final standings after race stewards penalised Vettel with a 20-second penalty, dropping him to fifth.
“I think the important thing from this weekend is that it proves the upgrades are working,” said Button afterwards.
Kimi Raikkonen was third in the revised standings for Lotus ahead of the Sauber of Kamui Koyabashi, with Sergio Perez next across the line in sixth.
The top 10 was completed by Michael Schumacher, Mark Webber, Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg.
After a slow getaway at the start, Stevenage-born Hamilton – seventh on the grid – soon dropped down to eighth.
The 2008 F1 world champion then suffered a left rear puncture on the first corner at the start of the second lap after running over carbon fibre debris from an earlier collision and dropped down the field as he limped back to the pits.
Hamilton suggested retiring from the race there and then but came in for new tyres and the 27-year-old Hertfordshire motor racer found himself down in 22nd place after a pitstop for Primes.
Hamilton said over the team radio: “The car doesn’t feel right.”
The pitwall replied: “OK Lewis, we’re looking into it. All tyre pressures are fine.”
Running more than a minute down on Ferrari race leader Fernando Alonso, Hamilton responded: “The car doesn’t feel very stable.”
The McLaren pitwall told him: “You are faster than the cars behind at the moment. You were three-tenths quicker than Jenson on the last lap.”
In fact, Hamilton was the fastest man out on track at that point on fresh rubber, albeit down in 22nd place.
On lap eight, he set the quickest lap of the race so far. Hamilton was told: “You are the fastest car on the circuit.”
The message to Lewis from the pitwall was then: “You are still on the lead lap, all it takes is one Safety Car and we’re right back in this. Your pace is good.”
He closed the gap on the back markers and started to claw his way up the field again, while teammate Button battled for a potential podium finish.
After coming in for tyres, Button returned to the track in fourth place and moved up to third when Kobayashi entered the pits for the first time.
The pitwall told him: “OK Jenson, our pace is strong. We are fighting to win this race.”
Being blue flagged, Hamilton found himself lapped by race leader Alonso and second-placed Vettel after his second stop for tyres, with Button running third just behind him.
However, Hamilton’s pace on fresh rubber was such that he then set the fastest lap of the race.
The pitwall told Lewis: “There’s no harm in driving as fast as you can and trying to get past these guys.”
That’s exactly what he did and he unlapped himself by overtaking Vettel at the hairpin, helping Button in the process.
Button entered the pits a second time a lap ahead of the leading pair and took Vettel as the German exited the pits. Button’s second pitstop was a new world record with a stationary time of just 2.31 seconds.
Vettel, however, regained second place late on with his controversial manoeuvre after running wide with all four wheels off the track.
The German was stripped of that podium in the stewards room.
The F1 circus heads to Hungary next weekend for the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix.