Formula One got its second surprise winner in as many races as an early safety car period - and resulting pit-stop incidents - three Fernando Alonso a reward for his persistence at Renault this season.
Ironically, it was team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr that triggered the pace car, crashing out after 13 laps, but Alonso, whose gamble on light fuel and supersoft tyres appeared to have come up short, only inherited the lead when poleman Felipe Massa fell foul of Ferrari's automated fuel rig system and others, including points leader Lewis Hamilton were hindered by F1's safety car pit-stop rules.
Alonso was running fifth when the pace car withdrew, but Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica, respectively first and fourth were handed penalties for pitting while the pit-lane was closed, and both Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella were running one-stop strategies. Once in front, however, the Spaniard drove as well as he has all year to maintain his advantage as Hamilton made his way up from seventh.
Alonso was given a late scare when Adrian Sutil brought out a second safety car, allowing both Rosberg and Hamilton to close his healthy lead, but was able to pull away again once the field was released with eight laps to go.
Hamilton, meanwhile, decided to play it safe in the final few laps, opting not to chase down Rosberg with title rival Massa marooned outside the points and settling for third. Timo Glock claimed fourth for Toyota, heading a German 4-5-6 ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nick Heidfeld, while David Coulthard and Kazuki Nakajima were promoted to seventh and eighth after Kimi Raikkonen compounded a miserable afternoon for Ferrari by crashing out with four laps to run. That faux pas
was enough to hand McLaren the lead of constructors' championship to go with Hamilton's extended individual standings advantage.
Full report and result to follow...