Lewis Hamilton has won the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring after fighting a battle all through the race with second placed finished Fernando Alonso and third man on the podium, Mark Webber. Only in the final stint did Lewis manage to pull a small gap to his closest competitors.
The German GP at the start looks set to be another epic race with everybody deciding to start on their qualifying dry weather tyres while light drizzle is falling on the track. More rain is expected during the race, but the teams are unsure when this could actually be happening.
The track at the start is still quite dry but with track temperature only 15°C, it's 20°C lower than during qualifying, and hence it could result in quite different performances on several cars.
DRS is also disabled until further notice due to the weather conditions.
Yet again Webber had a poor start from pole position that allowed Hamilton to take the lead before the first corner. Webber went in in second place, ahead of Alonso who fought off Vettel after taking the fight in the first series of corners. One lap later however Alonso lost third place after going off track slightly. He rejoined right behind Vettel without problems.
Nico Rosberg moved up to 5th, ahead of Massa. The Ferrari though it extremely threatening in the next few laps. Massa actually had a brilliant start but he had nowhere to go in turn 1 and had to settle behind the German Mercedes GP driver.
Sutil is 7th, Schumacher 8th, up from 10th. Petrov is 9th and Jenson Button only 10th after starting from 7th place.
By lap 6 Mark Webber closed the gap that Hamilton had pulled open on the first lap. The two men are just 1 second apart, just like Vettel and Alonso.
On lap 8 Alonso is back up to 3rd place after a clean overtake on the pit straight. Interestingly this is not the DRS zone, but instead Alonso chose to use all of his KERS to get along the Red Bull RB7 of the World Champion.
On lap 10 Vettel spins off the track after putting his right wheels on the gras while braking for the chicane up the hill. There is a tarmac run-off in that area, so he was able to rejoin quickly and stay ahead just half a second of Rosberg.
2 laps later Heidfeld attempts to pass Buemi into the chicane. The Renault driver took the outside in the braking zone and was rightfully aside of the Toro Rosso. Buemi however was looking in his left rear view mirror, moved to the right of the track and pushed Heidfeld into the grass. The German flew off over a bump and came to a standstill in the gravel trap, ending his race.
Another lap later Hamilton goes a little too wide into the chicane, allowing Webber past. Hamilton though made use of the better straight line speed of the McLaren to retake the lead in turn 1. The two though soon realised that this allowed Alonso to get extremely close. The top three is now within 2 seconds.
On lap 15 Webber is the first to make a stop, trying to make maximum use of a fresh set of tyres. Two laps later it appears to have worked as after Hamilton and Alonso stopped simultaneously, Mark Webber is ahead of both. Massa was just ahead of Webber there but he made his stop at the end of that lap, giving the race lead to Mark Webber.
Sebastian Vettel meanwhile made a stop as well and rejoined the track behind Felipe Massa. The championship leader is now down to 5th place.
On lap 24 Schumacher made the same mistake as Vettel did earlier by putting his right rear wheel on the grass, causing his car to spin. Schumacher was right behind his teammate and due to this incident dropped back to 9th, right ahead of Kamui Kobayashi.
On lap 25 Button makes his first stop, 10 laps later than the front runners. Clearly he is on a different strategy.
Sebastian Vettel's race just got a bit more difficult on lap 26 as he received a message from his team that a possible rear brake problem requires him to move brake bias forward as much as possible. This could explain why Vettel is unable to match his teammate's pace. He is almost constantly half a second behind a lap on the leader.
On lap 31 Webber makes his second stop right after Fernando Alonso clocked two fastest laps. Hamilton then leads the race, 8 tenths ahead of Alonso. The situation though only lasted for a single lap as Hamilton also went for his second pitstop.
Surprisingly, Hamilton managed to come out of the pitlane ahead of Webber. Even more interesting was Alonso's pitstop one lap later. The Spaniard was back on track ahead of Hamilton and Webber, but the McLaren had its tyres up to temperature already and managed to get around the Ferrari into turn 2.
Hamilton immediately took the advantage and put in a few fastest laps to create himself a comfortable cushion of nearly 3 seconds over Alonso. Webber is a further 3 seconds behind the Ferrari.
His McLaren teammate meanwhile had to retire with a hydraulics problem. Button had just moved up to 6th place after nice overtakes on Sutil and Rosberg.
On lap 41 Vettel makes his second stop. It proves to be no problem and he rejoins in 5th place still. Massa stops one lap later to cover Vettel and he is still ahead of the Red Bull. The difference though is still as tiny as before as Vettel has refound some of the pace he missed in the first half of the race.
On lap 48 it's suddenly Sebastian Vettel who posts the fastest lap of the race. He is still stuck behind Massa but hasn't really come in any position to try an overtake.
Petrov is the first to stop and switch the feared medium tyres. In free practice the medium tyres were nearly 2 full seconds slower than the softer Pirellis. Petrov's second lap on the medium compound though is good enough for his personal best, so it could well be that these tyre will behave well enough on this cool track.
Hamilton then makes the switch at the end of lap 51. His pitstop only took 3.7 seconds, triggering the Ferrari to come out as well. The team was ready but Alonso pitted only 2 laps after Hamilton. The Scuderia were triggered to switch the tyres by Hamilton's quick first sector, improving Alonso by half a second.
Hamilton still was ahead of Alonso after the stops, but Mark Webber decided to carry on just a bit longer on the options. After Webber's stop on lap 56, he is 6 seconds behind Alonso. With 4 laps to go that looks fixed as there is also not real threat behind him.
On lap 59 Massa and Vettel were still very very close to one another, and on their last possibility chose to dive into the pitlane simultaneously. Vettel seemed to have a better pitlane entry and inches from Massa going into the limiter zone. The Red Bull mechanics did the rest, and Vettel came out of the pits more than a second ahead of Massa. Vettel therefore finished fourth, Massa 5th.
Lewis Hamilton won the race in good fashion, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.
On the victory lap Alonso had to stop halfway through to ensure there was some fuel in the car left for the FIA to check out. As Alonso got a ride from Mark Webber on the sidepod of the Red Bull, memories come back of Senna getting a ride on Nigel Mansell's Williams about 20 years ago.
|2||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||60||+3.9 secs||4||18|
|3||2||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||60||+9.7 secs||1||15|
|4||1||Sebastian Vettel||RBR-Renault||60||+47.9 secs||3||12|
|5||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||60||+52.2 secs||5||10|
|6||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||60||+86.2 secs||8||8|
|7||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||59||+1 Lap||6||6|
|8||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||59||+1 Lap||10||4|
|9||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||59||+1 Lap||17||2|
|10||10||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||59||+1 Lap||9||1|
|11||17||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||59||+1 Lap||15|
|12||19||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||59||+1 Lap||16|
|13||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||59||+1 Lap||12|
|14||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||59||+1 Lap||13|
|15||18||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||59||+1 Lap||24|
|16||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||58||+2 Laps||18|
|17||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||57||+3 Laps||19|
|18||25||Jerome d'Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||57||+3 Laps||21|
|19||22||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||57||+3 Laps||22|
|20||21||Karun Chandhok||Lotus-Renault||56||+4 Laps||20|
|Ret||23||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||37||+23 Laps||23|
|Ret||4||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||35||+25 Laps||7|
|Ret||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||16||+44 Laps||14|
|Ret||9||Nick Heidfeld||Renault||9||+51 Laps||11|