Vettel fends off Lotus to win home GP

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Sebastian Vettel has won his home Grand Prix at the Nurburgring despite close challenges from both Lotus cars throughout the second half of the race. Kimi Raikkonen finished a close second with Romain Grosjean ending third, just ahead of Alonso.

The weather is great for the German GP, even particularly warm for this venue.

As the lights went out, pole sitter Hamilton did not enjoy a perfect start and was passed by both Red Bulls even before the first corner, despite defending fiercely to Vettel. Raikkonen also had a go but couldn't get his move stick, maintaining third, ahead of his teammate. Massa moved up a position into 6th, ahead of Ricciardo, Alonso. Perez passed his teammate on the mediums on lap 2 - after gaining 3 places in the opening lap - to move up into 9th, dropping Button to 10th.

On lap 4 Massa spins off under braking for turn 1, immediately ending his race as he engine stalled.

As early as lap 5 drivers start to pit, including Di Resta, Vergne and Ricciardo one lap later. The unsafe release of Di Resta into the path of Vergne is to be dealt with after the race.

At the end of lap 6 Hamilton pits to switch to the medium tyres. He was quite close to Webber before the stop and rejoins the track in 10th place. One lap later Vettel pits while at the same time Grosjean tells his team he is much quicker than Raikkonen who is just ahead of him.

Webber stops on lap 8 but is serviced slowly. Immediately following his exit, the right rear wheel rolls off the car and hits a camera man. It does look like he is uninjured, fortunately. Webber put off the engine before the team roll his car back into the box to fit the tyre properly. The Australian returns to the track a little bit later but is entirely at the back of the field, one lap down.

Grosjean meanwhile is flying following the pitstop of Raikkonen. On lap 10 he leads, ahead of Alonso who is 10 seconds down. Vettel is third after passing a number of medium tyre starters. Button is 4th, Hulkenberg 5, followed by Rosberg who leads Hamilton and Raikkonen.

On lap 12 Alonso pits to take on another set of medium tyres. He is the first of the drivers who started on mediums to stop. Grosjean pits from the lead one lap later, switching from the soft to the medium. The 13 lap stint of Grosjean was impressive, considering that everybody else pitted and got rid of the soft tyres after about 7 laps.

At the end of lap 14, in the chicane, Raikkonen finally gets past Rosberg and is now on the move to take on Hamilton. His team mate at Lotus, Romain Grosjean also moves up a place in the same corner by passing Button.

On lap 15, Vettel leads Grosjean by 3.4 seconds, but the Frenchman is clearly faster at the moment. Button is third, ahead of Hamilton, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Maldonado, Bottas, Ricciardo, Perez, Sutil, Di Resta, Gutierrez, Rosberg, Vergne, van der Garde, Bianchi, Pic, Chilton and Webber.

On lap 19 Raikkonen gets past a struggling Hamilton who complains to his race engineer of a total lack of grip. Alonso is now closely behind to also have a look at the Mercedes. The result is a close fight with Hamilton defending perfectly until he dives into the pitlane on lap 22.

On lap 23 the engine on Jules Bianchi's car lets go. The driver quickly gets out of the car at the uphill chicane. A few second later though the car starts rolling backward over the track. Obviously this triggered a safety car, and that sees a lot a pitstops as a consequence.

4 laps later, at the end of lap 29, the SC gets off the track. Positions are VET GRO RAI ALO BUT HUL HAM MAL PER SUT RIC DIR ROS GUT BOT VDG PIC CHI WEB. Vergne has meanwhile abandoned the race due to a hydraulic failure.

By lap 36 Vettel still has not managed to pull a gap on the two Lotus cars. The black and gold Lotuses are like shadows on the Red Bull but nobody has yet managed to put up a passing attempt. Alonso is 2 seconds down on RAI while Button followed another 3.5s further. Hulkenberg is 6th at 3 seconds from Button but he has Hamilton closely behind him.

On lap 37 Perez finally passes Maldonado to take 8th. Sutil is the next to try to pass the Williams as he's only one second behind. Ricciardo, Di Resta, Rosberg, Gutierrez and Webber are all close as well, seperated by less than a second each.

On lap 38 Hulkenberg pits and takes on another set of medium tyres.

On lap 40 Grosjean pits, followed by Vettel one lap later. Their relative positions remain unchanged while Raikkonen continues longer on this set of medium tyres. Alonso meanwhile is also stretching this stint as he needs his final stint to be on softs. On lap 45 Vettel comes up behind Hamilton and loses two seconds on Raikkonen before managing a pass on the Mercedes. Grosjean on the other hand is unable to sneak through as well and passes half a lap later in the chicane.

12 laps from the end, Button pits and gets out of the way for Vettel. Button is taking on soft tyres.

At the end of lap 49, Raikkonen pits for softs, just like Alonso who is about 4 seconds behind the Finn.

At the start of lap 51, Vettel leads, ahead of Grosjean (+1.5), Raikkonen (+2.3), Alonso (+4.4).

Meanwhile at Williams the pitstop for Maldonado goes wrong, throwing away a points scoring position. The front right didn't get on immediately, making it a pitstop of more than 20 seconds for the Venezuelan.

On lap 55 Raikkonen gets past his teammate as Grosjean is asked not to hold Kimi up as the latter is running on softs. 5 laps from the end, Vettel still leads, ahead of Raikkonen (+2.5), Grosjean (+0.6), Alonso (+1.4).

Positions at the front remained unchanged, despite a strong fight from the option runners at the end. Hamilton moved up to 5th in the closing stages while Mark Webber still finished 7th after the safety car played nicely into his favour.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamLapsTimeGridPts
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault60Winner225
27Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault60+1.0 secs418
38Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault60+5.8 secs515
43Fernando AlonsoFerrari60+7.7 secs812
510Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG60+26.9 secs110
65Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes60+27.9 secs98
72Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault60+37.5 secs36
86Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes60+38.3 secs134
99Nico RosbergMercedes AMG60+46.8 secs112
1011Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari60+49.8 secs101
1114Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes60+53.7 secs12
1219Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari60+56.9 secs6
1315Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes60+57.7 secs15
1412Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari60+60.1 secs14
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault60+61.9 secs18
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault59+1 Lap17
1720Charles PicCaterham-Renault59+1 Lap22
1821Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault-+1 Lap20
1923Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth-+1 Lap21
Ret18Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari-+38 Laps16
Ret22Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth-+39 Laps19
Ret4Felipe MassaFerrari-+57 Laps7