By using a two-stop strategy, Fernando Alonso of the Scuderia Ferrari became the first driver to win two Grands Prix in the 2012 season, taking the Formula 1 championship lead thanks to an emotional victory on home territory in Valencia.
Alonso qualified 11th on the grid but made up 10 places with two short stints on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre and a longer stint of 29 laps on the P Zero White medium.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was leading by 20 seconds after qualifying on pole, until a safety car period halfway through the race. The German came in for a set of mediums that he hoped would take him to the end of the race after two stints on the soft tires, and re-joined the race in the lead.
But shortly after the re-start, Vettel retired with a technical problem and local hero Alonso went in front, having also stopped during the safety car period to bolt on his final set of medium tires.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was following a similar strategy to Alonso and was in a strong position to challenge the Ferrari until he succumbed to a technical problem as well, on lap 40.
The final podium positions were only decided in the closing laps, after a dramatic finish characterised by incidents and overtaking. Kimi Raikkonen was second for Lotus ahead of Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher.
Once again, three different cars and engine manufacturers were represented on the podium, driven by three world champions.