Alonso wins action-packed European Grand Prix


Nuerburg (Germany) : Fernando Alonso in a McLaren-Mercedes won a chaotic Formula One European Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring Sunday, overcoming a torrential rain shower at the start and more rain near the end to register his third GP win of the season.

Support TwoCircles

Defending champion Alonso overtook Ferrari's Felipe Massa with five laps remaining to secure victory while Red Bull's Mark Webber took third to claim his first podium finish of the season.

Massa was seen to exchange angry words with Alonso after the race over the overtaking incident, but the Spaniard waved him away. In the press conference, Massa then downplayed the incident.

"It is just something that happens. If other people want to make a lot out of it, then that is their problem."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire with technical problems while championship leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren finished out of the points in ninth spot after having to be lifted out of a gravel pit early on in the race.

Hamilton retains the lead in the drivers' standings with 70 points but is now only two points clear of Alonso. Massa moves up to third on 59 with Raikkonen now fourth on 52 points.

A torrential downpour at the start of the race eventually led to the race being red flagged, but not before an action-packed couple of laps where drivers poured into the pits to change to intermediate tyres.

However, even intermediates proved inadequate in the heavy rain as Hamilton, Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and both Toro Rossos all slid off the track at turn one, with Vitantonio Liuzzi nearly colliding with the safety car in the process.

Alonso was the first of the leading duo to pit and was promptly followed by Massa who made his third and what the Brazilian thought was his final pitstop.

But another rain shower saw the pair pit again on lap 54 to switch back to intermediates and Alonso managed to overtake Massa to secure an unlikely win.

Alonso said that he was surprised that he had managed to close in on Massa so easily. "I thought at first the Ferrari was faster, but we managed to close in on them and then everything went our way."

Massa too, said he was surprised. "I saw the McLaren come towards me and there was nothing I could do. It was just too fast and then he went past. The rain made it very difficult in the beginning and all the cars were struggling."

Webber held off Alexander Wurz while Coulthard completed a fine day for Red Bull with a fifth-place finish. Heidfeld won the battle with teammate Kubica for sixth spot while Renault's Heiki Kovaleinen claimed the final points place in eighth.

Webber admitted that he had been helped to third place by the rain. "But at the end all that really matters is the finish and we got some points today, so we are very happy. We will gladly take them," he said.

The next F1 race is the Hungarian GP on Aug 5 in Budapest.