Vettel takes pulsating German Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel has never won at home in Germany or in the month of July during his storied Formula 1 career, yet he did so today holding off a strong fight from the Lotus F1 Team, the bizarre 60 lap race going right to the very last lap.
The Lotus F1 Team machines of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen held pace with Vettel for much of the race, the team making the call to switch positions in the final few laps. This saw the Finn get himself to position two but also to charge towards the lead, closing Vettel’s advantage to underneath a second on the final lap. It was arguably Grosjean’s finest Formula 1 drive coming home third.
The Frenchman held out Ferrari’s only points finisher, Fernando Alonso – who was on a tear in the final part of the race. His team-mate Felipe Massa watched much of the race from the sidelines after a failure into turn one at the end of the opening lap.
Vettel admitted after the race that his Red Bull-Renault suffered a KERS issue for several laps during the event and Raikkonen suffered a radio problem in most parts of the circuit.
Australia’s Mark Webber made one of the starts of his much maligned Formula 1 getaways, a run wide at turn one seeing him fall behind his German team-mate. The race was looking to be spectacular for Webber, who is due to move to Porsche in its LMP1 program next year, however it all fell apart in his first pitstop on lap eight.
A bungle at the right rear of the Canberran’s Infiniti Red Bull Racing machine saw him leave the box, only to lose the offending tyre. The tyre bounced down pitlane only to knock a hapless FOM cameraman to the deck. Inexplicably, the cameraman was not wearing any form of safety gear. International media has reported he is battered and bruised but otherwise well despite the incident.
The Red Bull team were able to drag Webber back to his pitbox, re-attach a new Pirelli and send him on his way.
Soon after rejoining the track, Webber’s lost race took a positive turn when Jules Bianchi pulled off with a failure to his Marussia. Bianchi exited the red and black machine only to see it free roll back across the circuit as leader Vettel was approaching at incredibly high speed.
With the car being retarded by trackside foam signage, the Safety Car was triggered. This allowed Webber to re-gain his lap and placed him at the back of the crocodile for the restart.
He was able to recover to finish a spectacular seventh. Webber split the McLaren’s of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, the pair’s inter-team battle continuing.
After being swamped by the Red Bull racers off the line, Lewis Hamilton drifted back to fifth at the finish. After yesterday’s qualifying debacle, Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg snuck into the top 10 in ninth.
Daniel Ricciardo drifted to 12th in his Toro Rosso, being the sole Italian-Austrian machine to get to the finish, with Jean-Eric Vergne retiring with a hydraulic issue.
Nico Hulkenberg recorded another points finish for Sauber whilst much discussion surrounds his position within the team and the financial position of the Swiss outfit.
Both Force India’s had a poor run, finishing outside the top 10 and the Williams’ had a tough 600th race start, finishing 15th and 16th.
Vettel has extended his Championship lead to 34 points over Alonso, with Webber fifth in the Title race, 54 points from his team-mate. In the Constructor’s Championship, Red Bull is leading Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 by 69 points, with Ferrari one point further back.
RESULTS – Formula 1 German Grand Prix:
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
7. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
8. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari
11. Paul Di Resta Force India-Mercedes
12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari
13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault
17. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault
18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault
19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth
DNF. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari
DNF. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth
DNF. Felipe Massa Ferrari