Vettel penalty lifts Button to second place

BRITAIN’S Jenson Button hailed the pace of his McLaren after snatching a surprise second place at the German Grand Prix yesterday.

Button was promoted one place after Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel landed a 20-second penalty for an illegal overtaking manoeuvre at Hockenheim.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso extended his lead in the drivers’ championship with a third win of the season but Button’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire with gearbox trouble.

“We have done a good job and we have good pace – there is no one quicker than us at the moment and we can fight for the win in the next few races,” said Button.

“I’ve had some difficult races. The last two I have felt confident in myself and the team but we weren’t quick enough so to come here and fight at the front for the victory was a very special feeling.”

World champion Vettel was punished by stewards after the race for passing Button when running off the track at a hairpin bend on the penultimate lap.

Alonso’s victory lifts the Spaniard 34 points clear of Vettel’s team-mate Mark Webber in the standings after the Australian finished eighth.

Vettel earlier called Hamilton “stupid” for refusing to move aside while a lap behind.