Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel crossed the line this afternoon at the Nurburgring to take his first German Grand Prix victory in his Formula One career. Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were extremely close to the German but couldn’t make it past, while pole-man Lewis Hamilton suffered from tyre degradation to drop to fifth.
Lights out and the twenty-two drivers raced towards the tight right hander that is turn 1. After his devastating start at the last weekend in Silverstone, Mark Webber had perhaps the best start this weekend. The Australian joined his team-mate in passing pole-man Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1. Webber was took the outside line but ran quite wide and Sebastian Vettel slipped into first while Webber filed in second ahead of Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso.
The race had barely begun, lap four to be precise, when Felipe Massa suffered a bizarre spin into Turn 1. He came on the radio to tell the team that while trying to change gears his engine simply shut down – he was out of the race. Meanwhile, there was drama in the pitlane as Force India had a ridiculously dangerous release as they released Paul di Resta into the path of Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso. Neither driver made contact but this was due to Vergne’s quick reactions and a sharp stomp on the brake pedal. Despite being an obvious unsafe release, stewards decided to investigate the incident after the race.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were engaged in a tight battle for the lead of the race when Vettel pitted from the lead and gave Webber the lead. Webber pitted on the next lap but a problem with the rear right tyre saw the mechanics struggling to take the wheel from the car. They put the new Pirelli on, after several seconds, but Webber was given the green light before it was attached and he drove off. His loose tyre shot across the pitlane, missed the Lotus mechanics, hit a wheel gun, launched into the air and struck and FOM cameraman on the back of the head. It was a very heavy blow but luckily, the cameraman was later reported to be alright – although he was given a concussion by the flying Pirelli. Red Bull wheeled Webber back to the pit box, attached a new wheel and sent him on his way – albeit now lapped and 80 seconds down on the next man – Marussia’s Max Chilton.
While Nico Rosberg defied team-orders to hold off team-mate Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean was charging up the front and closing the gap to Sebastian Vettel. Vettel would have to pit soon and with Grosjean closing in it was a dangerous position to be in. Jules Bianchi came to Vettel’s rescue when his engine blew up in spectacular fashion and then burst into flames. The in-car fire extinguisher deployed and put out the fire but the Frenchman was out of the race. He climbed from his stricken Marussia but when the tractor came down to clear the car, it began to roll backwards down the hill from the final chicane. It rolled back, crossed the track and came to a rest against a UBS advertising board – Safety Car deployed.
It worked out incredibly convenient for Mark Webber who now managed to catch the back of the pack – which he had been 75 seconds shy of. Meanwhile, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne pulled back into the pits to retire his car as he had suffered a hydraulics issue. It was a devastating blow for the Frenchman who is struggling with Ricciardo for a possible seat at Red Bull.
On the restart, Sebastian Vettel bolted away from second placed Romain Grosjean while Mark Webber shot past Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic and Max Chilton before being held up by Esteban Gutierrez. Having been the fastest driver on track until then, Webber was now firmly held behind Gutierrez. The Saubers proved to be rolling road blocks as Lewis Hamilton was also stuck Nico Hulkenberg in the other Sauber.
Grosjean pitted from second and a lap later Vettel pitted from first while Kimi took the lead of the race – as Mark Webber set purple track times. Vettel rejoined ahead of Grosjean and began to chase down Kimi but was soon halted by Hamilton who had finally cleared Hulkenberg and was in no mood to simply let Vettel past. Finally both Vettel and Grosjean breezed past the pole-man while Raikkonen tried everything to extend the gap to Vettel, hoping to retain the lead during the pit stop.
With ten laps to go, Kimi pitted and Vettel took the lead with Grosjean right behind him. On the softer tyres, Kimi was naturally faster than Vettel and began to slowly but surely close the gap as we had our second nail-biting finish in a row. Lotus put into action some team-orders which saw Grosjean pulling over for Raikkonen who was incredibly close to the win… But just one lap short.
For the second week in a row, we finished the race thinking that just one more lap would see a different winner. Nonetheless, Sebastian Vettel crossed the line and took his first ever home victory and his first ever race win in July. Kimi was second, Grosjean third and Alonso fourth with Mark Webber taking seventh place from Sergio Perez on the last lap.
- Sebastian Vettel
- Kimi Raikkonen
- Romain Grosjean
- Fernando Alonso
- Lewis Hamilton
- Jenson Button
- Mark Webber
- Sergio Perez
- Nico Rosberg
- Nico Hulkenberg
- Paul di Resta
- Daniel Ricciardo
- Adrian Sutil
- Esteban Gutierrez
- Pastor Maldonado
- Valtteri Bottas
- Charles Pic
- Giedo van der Garde
- Max Chilton
- Felipe Massa – Suspected engine failure
- Jean-Eric Vergne – Hydraulics issue
- Jules Bianchi – Engine failure