Jenson Button has yet again proved he is simply a master in controlling changeable weather conditions as he drove a great race and profited from other's mistakes. Sebastian Vettel finishes second and still does a great job in the championship while Fernando Alonso is third.
Contrary to Friday and Saturday, the rain that was promised is now actually falling out on the track. In fact at the start of the race there is light drizzle, just like at the start of the GP2 race earlier today on the same track.
The track at the start is damp, but now very wet. As a result, all drivers have chosen to take the start on intermediate Pirelli tyres.
Sebastian Vettel started from pole position and easily retained that, ahead of Hamilton and Button. The Mercedes GP cars meanwhile shot away from the starting line. Rosberg quickly moved up to 4th, closely followed by his teammate. The Ferrari's as a result dropped two places early on, but Alonso took a place back on Schumacher just halfway through the lap.
All drivers are seemingly sliding all over the track. One lap later Alonso got past Rosberg, only to go wide one lap later in turn 3 and see Rosberg pass again. Alonso by then was already underneath the rear wing of Button and is clearly taking some risks to try to regain the positions he lost in turn 1 of the first lap.
On lap 5 Vettel is wide in the same corner, giving the lead to Hamilton. The latter had put up the pressure for several laps, often going side by side with Vettel through the corners. Vettel stuck his nose back on the track just ahead of Button.
By lap 8, Hamilton leads Vettel by 3.5 seconds. The Red Bull is closely followed by Jenson Button. 3 seconds further down is Rosberg, marginally ahead of Alonso. Meanwhile Massa slipped out in turn 3 as well but could rejoin in P9, behind Schumacher and Di Resta. Part of his left rear wing endplate however is gone and could slightly affect downforce for the remainder of the race.
On lap 10 Alonso got past Rosberg thanks to using the DRS system on the straight line.
On lap 11 Webber is the first to take on slick tyres, followed by Massa in the same lap. Both chose the super softs. One lap later Button changes as well while Lewis Hamilton posts the fastest lap.
On lap 13 its Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso who are in the pits for a change of tyres. Positions relative to Button stayed identical, but thanks to Button's tyres being well up to temperature, he gets past Vettel easily one lap later. Mark Webber who is on the same strategy as Button did the exact same thing to Alonso. The Australian however went onto a wet patch during braking for turn 1 but was lucky enough to stay ahead of Alonso by just a tiny margin.
So, 17 laps in the race, Hamilton is 7 seconds ahead of the duo Button and Vettel. 7 seconds further down is Webber closely followed by Alonso. The latter posts the fastest lap in lap 17 as he appears to become more competitive as the track gets dryer.
On P6 is Rosberg, 6 seconds down on Alonso. Di Resta is 7th, followed by Schumacher, Massa and Kobayashi.
On lap 20 Jarno Trulli parks his car in the pitlane, ending his race. Meanwhile his teammate escaped penalty as the stewards decided to take no action for an unsafe pit release. It emerged later on that Trulli's problem was an oil leak on his car.
On lap 25 a pitstop of Nick Heidfeld turns out badly. During the stop, the team had problems fitting the left rear wheel, seemingly keeping the car to a standstill longer than it could stand. When Heidfeld left again, blue smoke was already coming out of the left front exhaust, and by the end of the pitlane the car's left sidepod was already on fire. Heidfeld quickly parked the car on the gras and repidly jumped out of the cockpit.
Marshalls who came in to extinguish the fire were succesful, but after a few seconds a part of the left sidepod exploded, slightly injuring one of the marshalls. Once the car was extinquished, a car came to pull it rearward back into the pitlane into a safe area.
Meanwhile many many drivers pitted, including all of the front runners. Michael Schumacher abandoned the race on lap 28 while at the same time Massa just flew by Rosberg. Despite a good start, this race is not unfolding too well for Mercedes.
On lap 33 it is announced that Sergio Pérez is handed a drive through penalty for overtaking under yellow flag. Replays show that Pérez passed Kovalainen where Heidfeld's car was still not pulled out of the way.
On lap 35, halfway through the race, Hamilton still leads. He has got 6.7 seconds in hand over his teammate. Third is Vettel, 5 seconds behind Button. Webber is 4th, still closely trailed by Alonso. Massa 6th, Rosberg 7th, Di Resta 8th, Barrichello 9th and Alrguersuari 10th.
On lap 37 Alonso is the first to stop a third time. He dumps a set of super softs that were only 12 laps old, but their inability to pass Webber drove them to make such an early stop. Webber meanwhile didn't cover the stop and went on even on the next lap.
2 laps later Vettel tells his team his rear tyres are going off. Mark Webber then stops for a new set of prime tyres on lap 40 while Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap of the race, 2 seconds faster than Lewis Hamilton at that moment.
Hamilton stops on lap 41 for new options, just like Felipe Massa. Vettel does so one lap later but takes on primes, just like Mark Webber did earlier on.
With both Red Bulls now on the harder prime tyre, they appear to be looking to complete the rest of the race on one set of tyres. That will be a whopping 30 laps. One lap later Button also takes on the prime tyre, contrary to his teammate.
When he is back on track, Alonso is still flying on the supersofts and is right behind Button. By lap 45 though Vettel is getting faster than Alonso and easily gets along the Ferrari.
Hamilton is also getting into difficulties with the super softs. By lap 47 Button is close to a second a lap faster. Halfway through that lap though raindrops are falling again and Hamilton spins his car at the back of the circuit. He can rejoin without problems but Button takes the lead while Vettel is just one second behind Vettel.
That same lap Alonso pits to take on a set of prime tyres as the options were worn out. The Spaniard is ordered to push all he can, knowing that his tyres are 9 laps fresher than any other of the cars ahead of him.
On lap 50, Button leads Hamilton with 2 seconds. Vettel is another 1.6s down. Webber is 4th and 10 seconds away from his teammate. 5th is Alonso, 6th Massa, 7th Rosberg and followed by Petrov, Kobayashi and Alguersuari.
On lap 51 Button is wide into turn 3 and allowed Hamilton to take the lead again. One lap later Button took the lead back on the main straight but he went wide again in turn 2 and lost the lead once more to Lewis Hamilton.
As rain got more intense, Nico Rosberg meanwhile took on intermediate tyres in lap 52, with Hamilton doing the same one lap later. Surely his super softs were nearly at the end of their lifespan. Hamilton rejoined the track in P3, 4 seconds ahead of Alonso.
On lap 54 Webber pits as well, but he takes on a set of primes. At the same time Alonso breezes past Hamilton as the track is already drying again. At the end of that lap Hamilton is in the pits to change to dry tyres again, taking on a set of primes for the first time this afternoon.
At the very same moment Hamilton is handed a drive through penalty for forcing another driver off the track. After he spun his car at the chicane in turn 7 on lap 47, Hamilton was facing the wrong way and turned his car around right at the time when Button and Di Resta were coming along. Button got past, but Di Resta had to drive through the grass to avoid the McLaren, and hence Hamilton is penalised.
The short drizzly turned the order quite a bit around, with Jenson Button now leading without another McLaren being close. Button is 5 seconds ahead of Vettel and another 12 seconds ahead of Alonso. Webber is 4th, 30 seconds behind Alonso. Closely behind him is Massa and then Hamilton.
One lap later Alonso spins off in turn 9 but can safely rejoin the track without losing a position. Massa at that same time pits for another set of primes.
On lap 60 Heikki Kovalainen's race is over as he comes to a halt along the track.
Meanwhile an interesting fight is going on from Kobayashi on. He's got both Toro Rosso's on his tail. Sutil and Pérez are in there as well, although they're one lap behind. Three laps later most drivers got past a struggling Kobayashi, and when Webber and Hamilton caught up, he was a little bit too much in the way, blocking Webber and allowing Hamilton to get along Webber.
By lap 66 Vettel has given up on the win. He is 9 seconds behind Button. Alonso meanwhile is still giving it all and catching Vettel by more than a full second a lap. Vettel can take it easy though, having a comfortable margin over the Spaniard's Ferrari.
|2||1||Sebastian Vettel||RBR-Renault||70||+3.5 secs||1||18|
|3||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||70||+19.8 secs||5||15|
|4||3||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||70||+48.3 secs||2||12|
|5||2||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||70||+49.7 secs||6||10|
|6||6||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||70||+83.1 secs||4||8|
|7||15||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||11||6|
|8||18||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||23||4|
|9||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||69||+1 Lap||7||2|
|10||19||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||16||1|
|11||16||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||13|
|12||10||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||69||+1 Lap||12|
|13||11||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||68||+2 Laps||15|
|14||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||68||+2 Laps||8|
|15||17||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||68||+2 Laps||10|
|16||12||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||68||+2 Laps||17|
|17||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||66||+4 Laps||20|
|18||22||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||66||+4 Laps||22|
|19||25||Jerome d'Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||65||+5 Laps||24|
|20||23||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||65||+5 Laps||21|
|Ret||20||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||55||+15 Laps||18|
|Ret||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||26||+44 Laps||9|
|Ret||9||Nick Heidfeld||Renault||23||+47 Laps||14|
|Ret||21||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||17||+53 Laps||19|