Ferrari's Fernando Alonso mastered the streets of Valencia to become the first driver to win two grands prix this season
Matt Burt
24 June 2012

Fernando Alonso became the first double race winner of 2012 when he scored a popular victory in a thrilling European Grand Prix in Valencia today.

The race around the port area of the Spanish city was fairly processional in the early stages, but exploded into life with car failures, clashes, crashes and plenty of overtaking.

For the first half of the race, it looked unlikely that anyone would threaten Sebastian Vettel, who stormed into a commanding 20sec lead after starting from pole position.

The Red Bull Racing star's advantage was eradicated by a safety car period, and shortly after the race resumed his Renault-powered car ground to a halt out on the circuit with a mechanical issue.

That left Alonso – who had qualified a lowly 11th – at the head of the field, chased by a threatening-looking Romain Grosjean, but the Frenchman was also forced to retire when his Lotus suffered a suspected alternator failure.

Alonso still couldn't relax, because Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen were only four seconds in arrears and seemed to be conserving their tyres for a late attack on the Ferrari.

In fact, it was Hamilton who experienced severe rear tyre wear and, as Alonso waltzed away at the front, the Briton was passed by Räikkönen and then came under pressure from fourth-placed Pastor Maldonado.

The Venezuelan's attempts to overtake the gripless McLaren ended in tears when Maldonado – half on the track and half on the rumble strip – T-boned Hamilton and sent him crashing into the wall.

The front wing of Maldonado's car was damaged and he dropped down the order, elevating Michael Schumacher to a surprise podium – his first since 2006. After the race Maldonado was given a 20sec penalty, dropping him out of the points-paying positions.

Alonso broke down in tears of joy on the podium after the race and the win couldn't have come at a better time for Ferrari – Maranello's big boss, Luca di Montezemolo, made a rare appearance at a race on Saturday. The Spaniard now leads the points standings as Formula 1 prepares for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 8 July.

Provisional results

European Grand Prix, round 8/20, 24 June 2012

1 Fernando Alonso, Ferrari

2 Kimi Räikkönen, Lotus

3 Michael Schumacher, Mercedes

4 Mark Webber, Red Bull

5 Nico Hulkenberg, Force India

6 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes

7 Paul di Resta, Force India

8 Jenson Button, McLaren

9 Sergio Perez, Sauber

10 Bruno Senna, Williams

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Comments
18

24 June 2012

My 3 favourites made the podium, so it was an enjoyable result from my point of view. Hamilton was very unfortunate, Maldonado really ought to calm down, he could have easily passed him later in the lap. Vettel was so far ahead, though, it looks ominous for the upcoming GPs. This race was definitely a big bonus for Alonso, and mitigates the disappointing finish to the Canadian GP. It appears that McLaren are very hard on the tyres: Alonso reeled in Hamilton towards the end of the first stint, as he did in Canada. Hamilton again faded at the end of the second stint due to tyre issues. Lotus have the best tyre wear, with Ferrari and Red Bull having 'normal' rates of wear, but McLaren are lagging behind now after such a dominant opening to the season. Button has been left in the dust of late.

18 December 2012

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24 June 2012

I used to like this car.

24 June 2012

Maldonado given 20 second time penalty for putting Lewis in the wall and Vergne €20,000 fine and 10 place grid penalty for driving into Heikki.

24 June 2012

There is now no doubt in my mind that Alonso is currently the best F1 driver. I loathed his brashness and arrogance years ago, but now finally he's all trousers and less talk. What a driver he's evolved into. Ferrari must be as proud of him as Schumacher.

24 June 2012

quite a good race, shame about grosjean, he may have had the pace to win, hamilton could also have won if the pit stop hadnt gone wrong, brilliant drive from alonso, totally agree with manicm, i never liked alonso's apparant arrogance, but he now seems to be not only a better driver but also a better sportsman than before. dont forget webbers drive from 19th..ish on the grid, superb drive, and vettels pace was definately worrying, 2+ seconds a lap quicker than hamilton from lap 1 on

24 June 2012

Clearly the class of the field, Alonso keeps pulling performances from seemingly nowhere in an underperforming and poorly conceived Ferrari. Incredible. 2012 has to be title number 3. Probably my favourite podium of the year so far with three super champions. The season keeps improving in my view.

25 June 2012

That was the most exciting race I have seen in ages.  Brilliant driving from Fernando, absolutely peerless.  Schumacher was excellent as well, plenty of perfect defence as well as attack.

Vettel was, of course, very unlucky to break down when he was running away with the race.  But his loss was our gain as it yielded a fantastic race for the spectators.

Hamilton and Maldonado were both silly - Hamilton should have yielded an untenable position and Maldonado simply needed to wait a few corners to inevitably gain the position.  But in the end they both ended up empty-handed.  Silly boys, and highlighted the different plane on which a driver like Alonso operates.

25 June 2012

Probably the best race of what appears to be the best season in many years. Alonso really earned his victory today, in a comeback of epic proportions. We'll never know whether he would have been able to hold back Grosjean or even catch Vettel (he was managing his tyres very well this time around), but boy, what a race! It was heart-pounding all the way.

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