Things couldn't have gone much better for Fernando Alonso at the German Grand Prix. After two days of intense rain, the Hockenheimring was bathed in sunshine on Sunday, conditions that best suited the double-world champion. Alonso had previously hoped for a tranquil race, without incident or the intervention of the safety car, and above all dry. And that what was he got.
Starting from pole, Alonso maintained his position at the head of the grid and scarcely lost it all afternoon, save for a few laps when he went in for a change of tires. The Spaniard's driving skills were in evidence throughout and, unlike the British GP when he allowed Mark Webber to sneak past him at the last, Alonso managed the performance of his hard tires to perfection and warded off any pressure from his pursuers.
It was the Asturian's third victory of the season and one that lifted him 34 points above Webber in the drivers' championship standing. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was second after passing Jensen Button, third, on the final lap. That maneuver, however, is under investigation by race officials as Vettel appeared to leave the track in nipping past the Briton.
What the race proved more than anything, more so even than Alonso's own sang froid behind the wheel, is the inexorable improvement of the machine underneath it. Ferrari harbored little hope for the season during the opening exchanges but has now emerged as an unlikely favorite for both the individual titles and the constructors' prize.
Only Alonso and Webber have won more than one race — the Australian has two victories to his name — and the Spaniard has achieved pole position in the last two Grands Prix. It is also evident that the Red Bulls, theoretically the fastest machines in the competition, are struggling to overcome the Ferraris, which was unthinkable just a month ago.
Neither the McLaren of Button, the only driver who could have made things difficult for Alonso in the final phase, having recorded faster times than the Spaniard on many laps, nor Vettel's Red Bull, which harried the Ferrari from start to finish, could throw Alonso off track. For the first time this season, neither car was clearly better than the Ferrari.
"We were not the fastest on the grid, but the key to the race was starting on pole," said Alonso, who racked up his 22nd consecutive point-scoring race in Germany, just two shy of the all-time record held by Michael Schumacher. The Spaniard's victorious drive was the 30th win of his Grand Prix career.