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Formula One: The season so far

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IOL mot pic jul20 F1 Webber Silverstone

AP

Mark Webber has served serious notice that he is a contender to take the Drivers' world title.

The 2012 Formula One season so far, ahead of the German Grand Prix on Sunday:

Australian Grand Prix - March 18

McLaren's Jenson Button threw down the gauntlet to two-times defending world champion Sebastian Vettel as he relegated the German to second in a flying start to the season. McLaren had locked down the front row of the grid and it was Button who nipped past pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton at the start and went on to dominate.

Vettel grabbed a giant slice of luck when a timely safety car intervention allowed him to steal second from Hamilton late in the race. Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished fifth.

Standings: Button 25 points, Vettel 18, Hamilton 15

Malaysian Grand Prix - March 25

A nearly hour-long storm interruption threw the race into confusion and left drivers fighting just to stay on the track. Alonso emerged from the chaos at the head of the field and drove his unrated Ferrari brilliantly to win the unpredictable race, chased all the way by Mexico's Sergio Perez who claimed a career-high second place for Sauber.

Hamilton, heading another grid 1-2 for McLaren, was happy to settle for third again after an early crash left Button outside the points alongside Vettel, who suffered a late puncture following a collision with Narain Karthikeyan.

Standings: Alonso 35, Hamilton 30, Button 25

Chinese Grand Prix - April 15

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg claimed what he termed an “amazing” first victory in 111 attempts as he led from pole position to take the Chinese Grand Prix in style. The German's faultless drive in Shanghai saw him home more than 20 seconds ahead of the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, for what was also Mercedes' first victory since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.

Webber was fourth and Vettel fifth after some frantic jostling for the other podium places. Alonso trailed in ninth.

Standings: Hamilton 45, Button 43, Alonso 37

Bahrain Grand Prix - April 22

Bahrain's controversial race went off without incident after a week of angry protests away from the desert circuit that put the non-sporting focus on reform demands in the Gulf state. Vettel led from start to finish to claim his first win of the year to take over as leader of the title race. He registered his 22nd career victory with a near-flawless drive from pole position. Second was Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, and the Finn's Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean.

Standings: Vettel 53, Hamilton 49, Webber 48

Spanish Grand Prix - May 13

Pastor Maldonado became the first Venezuelan to win an F1 race by triumphing at the Spanish Grand Prix before going on to play an heroic role in a dramatic blaze in his Williams team's garage. Maldonado's win, in just his 24th race, was also the team's first victory since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix and came on the weekend of team founder Sir Frank Williams' 70th birthday.

He later carried his young cousin to safety after the team garage was engulfed by flames. A total of 16 people were injured, one with severe burns, when the fire - believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in a fuel rig - broke out. On the track the Venezuelan produced a flawless race, holding off Alonso. Raikkonen was third.

Standings: Vettel 61, Alonso 61, Hamilton 53

Monaco Grand Prix - May 27

Webber steered his Red Bull to victory and claimed his first win this year and his team's third consecutive Monaco Grand Prix victory. It was Webber's second win in the race and the eighth of his career.

It also meant six different drivers had won the opening six races of this season - the first time this has happened in the history of the Formula One world championship. Webber started from pole to finish six-tenths of a second clear of Rosberg with Alonso third for Ferrari. Vettel was fourth ahead of Hamilton and Massa in the second Ferrari.

Standings: Alonso 76, Vettel 73, Webber 73

Canadian Grand Prix - June 10

Hamilton made it seven different winners in seven races when he drove with flawless speed and control to win in Montreal. He produced a magnificently judged performance in a race that passed off smoothly despite a weekend of student protests and police action resulting in around 60 arrests, to seize his first win of the year.

Grosjean of Lotus came home second after an equally well-judged race to finish ahead of Perez. Hamilton's triumph came five years to the day after he had claimed his maiden victory at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. It was his 18th career victory.

Standings: Hamilton 88, Alonso 86, Vettel 85

European Grand Prix - June 24

Local hero Fernando Alonso became the first man to win two Formula One races this year by driving his Ferrari to victory in Valencia. Alonso, who drove a superb race from 11th on the grid, was followed home by Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and seven-times champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes.

The race was punctuated by incident, with Lewis Hamilton of McLaren crashing out after a final-lap collision with Pastor Maldonado of Williams. Defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was forced to retire after dominating most of the race after starting from pole position, as was his nearest challenger, Romain Grosjean of Lotus.

Standings: Alonso 111, Webber 91, Hamilton 88

British Grand Prix - July 8

Red Bull driver Mark Webber served serious notice that he is a contender to take the Drivers' world title by winning a dramatic race at Silverstone. The 35-year-old Australian posted a near-flawless performance to come in ahead of Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso. Webber's team mate Sebastian Vettel took third.

There was an acrimonious collision when Pastor Maldonado of Williams drove into Sergio Perez's Sauber and a pit-lane accident when Kamui Kobayashi braked late and hit his own mechanics at a pit stop.

Home favourites and McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finished eighth and 10th.

Standings: Alonso 129, Webber 116, Vettel 100. - AFP

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