By Brian Homewood
HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso will enjoy the psychological boost of spending the August break on top of the Formula One championship whatever happens in Hungary next weekend after a display Ferrari described as perfect.
Alonso, who led from pole to chequered flag on his way to winning Sunday's German Grand Prix, now has a 34 point lead over Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber and is sure to lead the standings through to Spa in September.
He won glowing praise from his team for the way in which he held off challenges from Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Jenson Button at Hockenheim.
Two wins and a second place in his last three races have suddenly put the 2005 and 2006 champion in a commanding position in a season which, until the European Grand Prix in Valencia, had been wide open.
"It was like a 67-lap qualifying run," said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.
"I find it hard to remember watching from the pit wall such a tight race. Fernando was perfect, not one mistake, not one hesitation, pushing to the maximum for an hour and a half. What a driver."
Alonso's 30th career win extended his run in the points to 22 races in a row, making him the most consistent driver on track as well as the only one to have won three races this season.
He turns 31 in Budapest on Sunday where he could also celebrate a 31st win.
Domenicali said Ferrari still had plenty of work to do, with rivals still having the benefit of faster cars.
"We have seen how quickly things can change this season, therefore we must keep concentrating to the maximum especially on the reliability front," he said.
"I said that the month of July would be crucial with 75 points up for grabs in four weeks and so far we have brought home 43 so we will try and finish the job in Hungary," said Alonso.
The Spaniard, who said before Hockenheim that it was the first season he could remember in which he had not been suffering any sort of pain, slipped into Spanish football clichés as he discussed his chances.
I can count on the best team, a team that is used to winning a lot," he added. "I always want to give 100 percent and work night and day towards that goal."
While the drivers' championship has spread out, the constructors' contest remains a three-horse race after McLaren's upgraded car performed impressively.
Jenson Button's second place moved McLaren above Lotus into third place and kept them in touch with leading pair Red Bull and Ferrari after disappointing outings at Valencia and Silverstone.
"Ferrari are doing a great job at the moment but we know they're beatable," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
"I think it's important to place some of the credit for Jenson's second place with our pit crew: their second stop for Jenson was the fastest Formula One pit stop of all time, with a stationary time of just two minutes 31 seconds."
"The underlying news is that we were very competitive..There's a lot of races ahead and I think we can have some great results," he added
(Editing by Alan Baldwin)