The Super Seven
1. Über Alonso
The Fernando Alonso that fell foul of tyre degradation and Webber’s end of race pace in Silverstone prevailed here in Germany. The strategy worked for him in qualifying superbly and here it preserved and protected his race win, giving the Spaniard a comfortable lead over his closest competitors of the Red Bull Racing duo. Alonso controlled the race with ease, and it was only in the latter stages of the race that he had any company in the form of a resurgent Jenson Button and then a suddenly interested Sebastian Vettel. But unlike Silverstone he had enough left in reserve to manage Button, who had chipped the gap down to under a second in places.
It would have been a sweet result if Lewis Hamilton could have emulated his team mate’s result on his 200th race, however it wasn’t meant to be. A right rear puncture scuppered his race completely, and his subsequent calls to be retired must have raised some eyebrows in his garage as he was then encouraged to continue.
Damage was certainly possible as Hamilton reported the car felt unstable, cue more team pep talks, but the he delivered a fastest lap and on lap 35 he was comfortable enough to overtake Vettel around turn 6. Which led to eyebrows being raised at Red Bull, with Button then 3 seconds behind Vettel, Hamilton was asked not to hold him up. On lap 58 Hamilton was wheeled into his garage, leaving him open to a penalty free gearbox change is he needs one. Although this is a great advantage under a ‘technical retirement’, it just doesn’t mesh well will the ‘spirit’ of racing.
3. Great Racing
Paul di Resta almost secured a point, but a Rosberg on fresh rubber nicked that, but the British driver was involved in two excellent demonstrations of racecraft. It was just a shame he was on the raw end of the deal both times. On lap 5 Raikkonen proved he wasn’t at all race rusty, and just to hammer the point home he followed Schumacher around the Force India on lap 15.
4. Sauber Sensational
Sergio Perez (along with Nico Rosberg) made up a fantastic 11 positions today, starting in a lowly 17th he rose through the ranks quickly and yet again showed his ability behind the wheel. The team itself commented on how they had lost points they shouldn’t have and were looking to make up for that. And that they did in Germany. The Mexican wasn’t alone in his plight, the recently rumoured under-pressure Kamui Kobayashi grabbed his best ever result of P4 (thanks to a Vettel penalty) which should go some way in apologising for mowing over his mechanics at Silverstone.
5. No Pace, Quiet Race
Mark Webber was the most notable loser today (bar Hamilton, but there’s not much you can do after a puncture), after his 5 grid place drop he did little to get further up the standings than that. Although he got past Hamilton at the start he was mired behind Maldonado much longer than he should have been, then a switch to the medium compound left him with little confidence in the car. A surprise tussle with Vitaly Petrov after a pit stop on lap 14 spoke of his day, much like Button at Silverstone, he was fighting with the wrong people.
6. Damage dogs drivers
It wasn’t just Hamilton whose race suffered as a result of some early doors bad luck. Romain Grosjean should have been able to haul himself up the field with definite pace here with the aptitude shown at Silverstone. However his day was an all too familiar repeat of his earlier 2012 outings, mistakes here and there and contact on his first lap resulted in a broken front wing and a puncture. Felipe Massa dumped his front wing into the back of Ricciardo within moments of the lights going out, which could have hampered his race, but he clawed himself up to 12th. Heikki Kovalainen was going well but after suffering a right front flap failure, all he could do was run to the end of the race.
7. Off Line
Red Bull Racing had a scare first thing when their engine mapping was put under the microscope, but after they were cleared it was just Webber’s 5 place grid drop they had to contend with. Until lap 66 anyway. Vettel tried to make a move on Button around the outside at turn 6, but as Button ran to the line but instead of backing out Vettel used the painted run-off area. Citing he had to use to the run off to avoid a collision Vettel thought he was safe, Button’s team had other ideas, and the stewards agreed. If he had given the place back Vettel would have finished 3rd, but after having 20 seconds added to his time he finished the day in fifth. Raikkonen got a trophy without having to participate in the podium interview and Kobayashi got his best ever finish.
7a. Record Breakers!
After pit stop woes became a race weekend norm for the McLaren garage, any clean tyre change was welcome regardless of time. But in Germany the crew pulled together a true blink-and-you-miss-it moment when Jenson Button’s car was stationary for an incredible 2.31 seconds.
Yes there were flashes, but they didn’t come at the right time. Button almost turned his fortunes around, but he was only given enough luck to muster second. Mercedes were struck down by fuel saving. Webber donned an invisibility cloak. Maldonado, although drama free, didn’t capitalise on his qualifying pace and paid heavily for tyre degradation. However Sauber made a timely reappearance and Raikkonen featured where he should be.
|Pole||F Alonso 1:40.904 (Ferrari)|
|Retirements||Hamilton||McLaren|| Puncture damage|
|Penalties||Vettel||Left track and gained advantage||20s added to race time|