Fernando Alonso, who has always been the Red Bull’s dangerman, has brought Ferrari back in Victory Lane last Sunday afternoon with a performance that owed a little to a delay during the second pit stop of Sebastian Vettel.
Having lost valuable time in the pits with a problem in a rear wheel, Vettel was 16.5s adrift of the Spaniard by the flag. He had teammate Mark Webber behind him and threatening to pass until team boss Christian Horner told them to “maintain the gap” while they struggled with their tires in the closing laps.
On their tail were McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa who were running in the fourth place.
The Englishman had beautifully driven from 10th on the grid, making up places fast during the early stages when rain during the midday obliged everyone to opt for Pirelli’s intermediate rain tires.
The series of stops to change them started on Lap Nine, which meant that nobody had to use the hard slicks but could run as many softs as they had available.
On the 15th lap, Hamilton overtook Alonso and ran third next to Webber and Vettel. On the 27th lap, however, a better stop for Alonso put the Ferrari ahead of the McLaren again. After the delay of Vettel on that lap, the Spaniard led the race.