Fernando Alonso profited from the arrival of the safety car, as well as the late retirements of three key rivals, but it was a hugely emotional victory in front of his Spanish fans. He is now Ferrari’s championship leader after starting the Grand Prix from 11th on the grid. He shared the Podium with two other former World Champions, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher.
Alonso said after the race “It was more for my own feelings and for the people in the grandstands. I know it’s not the best time in Spain at the moment, with the crisis and all the problems that people have.”
Schumacher achieved first podium since returning to Formula One, having come from 12th on the grid. The seven-time Champion had no idea where he had finished after the late drama. He went on to say: “The team and I have been criticised here and there, particularly lately, and this is the best way to answer criticism, to go back and deliver as we did today.”
Alonso was promoted to third after a pit-stop problem for Lewis Hamilton, and the retirement of Romain Grosjean and race leader Sebastian Vettel who has an alternator failure on lap 35.
It was a dramatic end to the race of Lewis Hamilton, who was fending off an attack from Williams driver Pastor Maldonado to keep his third place. The two entered the chicane side by side and Maldonado was momentarily pushed off the track, he re-entered straight into the path of Hamilton who was sent crashing into the wall and out of the race with less than four miles to the finish line. Maldonado has been given a 20 second post-race penalty by stewards for causing a collision, this drops him out of the points and promotes his team mate into tenth.
After the race Hamilton said “Today was just a bad day in the office, but that’s motor racing, and I’m already looking forward to the next grand prix, my home race at Silverstone. Big congratulations to Fernando, he did a great job today to come from all the way back.”
This is the revised 2012 European Grand Prix result after Pastor Maldonado demotion:
1 Fernando Alonso - Ferrari
2 Kimi Räikkönen - Lotus-Renault
3 Michael Schumacher - Mercedes
4 Mark Webber - Red Bull Racing-Renault
5 Nico Hulkenberg - Force India-Mercedes
6 Nico Rosberg - Mercedes
7 Paul di Resta - Force India-Mercedes
8 Jenson Button - McLaren-Mercedes
9 Sergio Perez - Sauber-Ferrari
10 Bruno Senna - Williams-Renault