Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso scored a sensational victory for Ferrari – and Spain – in an action-packed 2012 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe in Valencia on Sunday afternoon, despite starting only 11th. And on a day when neither Lewis Hamilton nor Sebastian Vettel finished, Alonso went back into a healthy world championship lead. For the first 34 laps Vettel and Red Bull owned the twisty track round the Spanish port. The German lit off from pole position and could not be challenged as Hamilton kept Romain Grosjean bottled up behind his McLaren. Grosjean finally found a way by Hamilton on the 10th lap, but the Lotus driver could not then do anything about Vettel as a largely processional race went past its halfway point.
But then Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso collided with Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham on the 27th lap, prompting the deployment of the safety car on the 28th. It closed up the field until the 34th lap, when racing started again. Vettel immediately leapt back into the lead, but by the end of the lap his Red Bull was missing. It had coasted to a stop by the side of the track.