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Team order controversy returns as Alonso wins

25 July 2010

Fernando Alonso has secured his second victory of the 2010 F1 season, but it proved to be a somewhat hollow success after team-mate Felipe Massa was told to allow the Spaniard through.

At the start of the race, Massa had jumped into the lead with pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel being so focused on defending from Alonso that he failed to notice the Brazilian blasting up the outside on the run into turn one.

Alonso got ahead of Vettel into the opening corner to put the Ferraris into first and second and the top three managed to break away from the chasing pack, which was headed by the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton had battled ahead of Mark Webber on the opening lap of the race after going down the inside into the hairpin, with Webber running fifth and Jenson Button sixth – the defending champion having been forced to lift off at turn one to avoid running into the rear of Vettel's Red Bull.

After the top three made their stops, Alonso was able to put Massa under pressure as the Brazilian struggled to come to terms with the harder compound tyres with Alonso making a move for the lead on lap 20 as they pair lapped Bruno Senna and Timo Glock heading into the hairpin.

Massa was able to retain his lead and a series of quick laps allowed him to open up an advantage of more than three seconds, before Alonso responded to bring the gap back down as the two leaders made their way through the backmarkers. Vettel meanwhile had been close to the squabbling Ferraris before losing time passing Senna having been lucky to avoid running into the Hispania man.

It looked like Massa was set to celebrate the first anniversary of his accident in Hungary with a popular victory, before race engineer Rob Smedley came on the radio to tell the Brazilian that 'Fernando is faster than you. Confirm you understand'.

While team orders may be banned, ironically as a result of Ferrari's actions in the past, it appeared to be a clear request for the Brazilian to cede position and on lap 49, he slowed exiting the hairpin to allow Alonso through – with Smedley then coming back on the radio to tell his driver he was sorry.

Alonso pulled away from Massa through the closing laps of the race to take the chequered flag just over four seconds clear of his team-mate, with Vettel closing on the Brazilian through the final laps of the race to finish a second further back. The German managed to secure the fastest lap of the race as he attempted to fight his way up to second place.

Massa's reaction at the finish told its own story, as he missed out on victory and Alonso took the chequered flag for the second time this year.

In their first race running the blown diffuser, McLaren came home fourth an fifth but more than 26 seconds down on the leader. Having made his move for position on the opening lap, it would prove to be a somewhat boring race for Hamilton who retained his championship lead while Button took fifth.

Button ran a longer opening stint that the majority of his rivals at the front of the field and it proved to be the right call for the defending champion as he was able to rejoin the race ahead of Webber and went on to follow his team-mate home.

Webber was unable to match the pace of team-mate Vettel and wasn't helped by the fact that he was forced to back off as the race wore on with the team reporting high oil consumption.

Robert Kubica was seventh while Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher ensured a double points finish for Mercedes in eighth and ninth. Schumacher had made a good start to get up to eighth on the opening lap of the race but lost out during the pitstops to slip behind Rosberg in the final standings.

Vitaly Petrov completed the points in tenth place ahead of the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi despite the usual battling drive from the Japanese driver, with the Williams of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg outside the points in twelfth and 13th place. The pair paid the prize for losing positions at the start despite Hulkenberg running a long first stint in an effort to make up positions.

Pedro de la Rosa also elected to run a long opening stint but his gamble failed when he was forced into making a second stop for a new nose after running into the rear of the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen – who was forced to retire as a result.

Jaime Alguersuari was 15th for Toro Rosso but faces questions from his team over an incident on the opening lap when he ran into the rear of team-mate Sebastien Buemi at the hairpin and put the Swiss driver out of the race, while Tonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil were down in 16th and 17th for Force India.

Capping a miserable weekend for the team, both drivers were forced to pit after the opening lap but were then forced to come in again after the team fitted the wrong drivers tyres to the two cars. The fact that Sutil would set the fastest lap at one point later in the race was an indication of the potential that was there for the team.

Timo Glock was the leader of the new teams in 18th ahead of Bruno Senna, with Lucas di Grassi, Sakon Yamamoto and Jarno Trulli all failing to finish.


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