Formula One

 
                    === Alonso dominant in German GP win ===
 
 Hockenheim,  Germany (Sports  Network) - Fernando Alonso from Ferrari extended
 his  lead in  the Formula One world championship standings by winning Sunday's
 German Grand Prix with a superb performance at the Hockenheim circuit.
 
 Alonso  started  on the pole  and relinquished the  lead briefly in the 67-lap
 race  when he made his first pit stop. The Spaniard had to fend off challenges
 from  Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Jenson Button, but he finished
 3.7 seconds ahead of the field to claim his season-high third win and the 30th
 of his F1 career.
 
 "We   enjoyed   the  race,"  Alonso   said.  "We  were  competitive  yesterday
 (qualifying)  in wet  conditions, and today, starting on pole, I think was the
 key  factor, because  it was  difficult  to overtake.  We were  maybe not  the
 fastest, but we kept the position."
 
 It's  the second  time in three years  Alonso has won the German GP. When this
 race  was  last contested on this  2.842-mile, 17-turn course in 2010, his win
 was  surrounded in controversy. Felipe Massa was robbed of a potential victory
 after  his  Ferrari team instructed him  to move aside and allow his teammate,
 Alonso, to take the lead with 20 laps remaining. Massa finished second in that
 event.
 
 Vettel and Button each took turns in challenging Alonso for the lead, trailing
 him by less than one second at certain times.
 
 Alonso  and  Vettel pitted  for final time  on lap 42.  Alonso came out first,
 while  Button, who made his last stop one lap earlier, squeezed into second as
 Vettel was returning to the track.
 
 Vettel  passed Button and reassumed the second position during the penultimate
 lap.  But  race stewards investigated Vettel's  maneuver when he drove off the
 track while overtaking Button in the hairpin.
 
 Stewards  later determined  that Vettel gained an advantage on Button after he
 ran  off the  track at the exit of  the hairpin. They elected to give Vettel a
 drive-through penalty, which when imposed after the race, meant 20 seconds was
 added to his finishing time.
 
 Vettel  crossed the  finish  line 3.7  seconds behind  Alonso,  but after  his
 penalty was assessed, he was demoted from second place to fifth.
 
 "At the end of the race, Jenson's tires were gone, and I was able to close the
 gap  again," Vettel said.  "It was then a question of when, rather than where,
 and  I  tried to outbreak him.  He opened the break  again and then was up the
 inside.  I wasn't  sure where he was. I  couldn't see him in that moment, so I
 decided  to give  enough space and went  off line on the slippery paint, and I
 was able to stay ahead and get past him.
 
 "The  only  intention was  not to  crash and to  give him  enough room. I have
 respect  for him,  and I didn't want to  squeeze him. It was good to be on the
 podium at the home race, but I have to respect the steward's decision."
 
 Vettel, who hails from nearby Heppenheim, Germany, has yet to win a grand prix
 in his home country.
 
 Button  was elevated from  third to second in the finishing order. He made his
 first  podium appearance  since finishing second in the April 15 Chinese Grand
 Prix.  Button, who won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, has struggled
 since China.
 
 "Sebastian  Vettel's pass was a pretty straight forward matter," he said. "The
 rules  state that  you can't go off  the track to gain an advantage. The thing
 is,  there  would have been  more opportunities for him  before the end of the
 race,  as my rear tires were damaged. That's because I had to push hard to try
 and  catch Fernando Alonso,  which meant I had nothing left for the end of the
 race."
 
 Button's  McLaren teammate,  Lewis Hamilton, had a disappointing finish in his
 100th  career  F1 start.  Hamilton suffered  a puncture  in his left-rear tire
 after  running over debris  in the opening laps. He later retired with a 24th-
 place result.
 
 "I  saw the debris  come up and it damaged (the tire)," he said. "The car felt
 terrible after that, and the rear floor was damaged."
 
 Hamilton won last year's German GP, which was held at the Nurburgring circuit.
 
 Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen finished third, while Kamui Kobayashi placed fourth, and
 his Sauber teammate, Sergio Perez, sixth.
 
 Michael  Schumacher from Mercedes crossed the line in seventh, followed by Red
 Bull's  Mark Webber,  who won  the most  recent grand  prix two  weeks ago  in
 Silverstone,  England.  Nico  Hulkenberg  from Force  India  and  Schumacher's
 teammate, Nico Rosberg, completed the top 10.
 
 Alonso,  a  two-time world  champion, has  now accumulated  154 points for the
 season.  Webber  is a distant 34  points behind Alonso, while Vettel, the two-
 time defending F1 titleholder, trails by 44.
 
 07/22 13:14:43 ET

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