Triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel finally broke his July jinx and home Grand Prix hoodoo after another strong drive to hold off a charging Kimi Raikkonen.
Vettel battled a KERS failure halfway through the race but managed to reset it and push on to fight off the attack from the two Lotuses. Romain Grosjean finished third.
In a race that was always going to be controlled by strategy, it certainly provided fans with interesting racing as teams were battling against each other to gain a strategic advantage for their drivers.
Although the race was clouded by safety concerns yet again, but to the relief of Pirelli, it wasn’t about tyres. Well, almost. A disastrous pit stop from the Red Bull team left Mark Webber cruising down pit lane with only three wheels.
The right rear wasn’t screwed on properly and flew off just after Webber left his box. The tyre sped through pit lane and unfortunately hit an FOM cameraman, knocking him to the ground.
Pit lane and Mercedes doctors were instantly on the scene and the cameraman, Paul Allen, was treated at the circuit’s medical centre. Reports later confirmed he was conscious and was transferred to Koblenz Hospital where the Briton will be kept there for further observation.
Mark Webber re-joined the race a lap down in 21st position and faced a long slog to salvage a decent result.
The issue of safety was raised again on Lap 24, when Jules Bianchi’s engine blew out due to an oil leak, sending the Cosworth-powered Marussia into a blaze of fire and thick white smoke and causing the young Frenchman to quickly jump out of his MR02. As a tractor arrived to tow it away, the car rolled backwards across the circuit and eventually stopped after hitting an advertising board.
This incident deployed the safety car which allowed Webber to un-lap himself and begin his charge through the field which eventually saw him steal seventh position off Sergio Perez on the final lap.
Fellow Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was the last retiree of the field on lap 26, suffering another hydraulics failure. This was the second consecutive race where Vergne has been forced to retire.
It was another day to forget for Felipe Massa who is struggling to convince Ferrari to keep him on for 2014. Massa, who had a good start by clearing Riccardo of sixth place, spun at the first corner on the third lap. The F138 failed to go into anti-stall, and Massa was left to watch the race from the garage and ponder what could have been, as teammate Fernando Alonso battled his was to an impressive fourth position.
Force India continued their mediocre weekend by failing to score a point. Paul di Resta finished 11th and teammate Adrian Sutil was two places behind in 13th.
To make matters worse for Force India, they incurred a €5000 fine for an unsafe release when Di Resta was released into the path of Vergne, causing him to slam on the brakes.
Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had poor starts in their Mercedes’, with Hamilton losing out to both Red Bulls and Rosberg – who qualified a lowly eleventh after his team botched his qualifying strategy on Saturday – dropping a place behind Di Resta.
The rise in temperature throughout the weekend highlighted the fact that Mercedes haven’t yet sorted out their tyre degradation in higher temps. Hamilton was quite vocal with the issue, complaining of no grip and asking whether Rosberg was suffering the same problem. The unexpectedness of the degradation forced Hamilton onto a three stop strategy.
McLaren had a solid race, one which they would be encouraged with given their run of poor outings in recent races. Jenson Button was easy on his tyres as always, which allowed him to sit at the front of the field for a majority of the race; however it was inevitable for his tyres to start to fade, which saw him fall to sixth with no help from the Caterham drivers when he was trying to lap them, and the Englishman was quick to criticize. Perez finished a further two positions back in eighth.
Lotus believed they had the fastest race car, which it seems they were right as Vettel couldn’t shake the attacks from Grosjean or Raikkonen. Grosjean eventually had to give up his position to teammate Raikkonen to better his chances in the championship.
2013 German Formula 1 Grand Prix – Final Classification (60 laps):
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||60||1:41:14.711|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||60||+ 1.008|
|3.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E21||60||+ 5.830|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||60||+ 7.721|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||60||+ 26.927|
|6.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||60||+ 27.996|
|7.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||60||+ 37.562|
|8.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||60||+ 38.306|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||60||+ 46.821|
|10.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||60||+ 49.892|
|11.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||60||+ 53.711|
|12.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||60||+ 56.975|
|13.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||60||+ 57.738|
|14.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||60||+ 1:00.160|
|15.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||60||+ 1:01.929|
|16.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||59||1 lap behind|
|17.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||59||1 lap behind|
|18.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||59||1 lap behind|
|19.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||59||1 lap behind|
|DNF.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||22||Hydraulics|
|DNF.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||21||Engine|
|DNF.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||3||Spin|