Monday, July 25, 2011

German GP: Race Summary

Rain was expected on Sunday as the cars lined up at the start of the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. However it was dry as the red lights went out, and what a start it was.

German GP paddock before race. Photo by @VoxVocis
Hamilton had a fantastic start and quickly made his way ahead of the field. Webber appeared to have his hands full defending first place from Hamilton and preventing his team-mate from overtaking him: he prioritised keeping the other Red Bull car behind him. At one point, Vettel was in a Ferrari sandwich however Ferrari's Alonso managed to stay in front and they settled into this order: HAM, WEB, ALO, VET, ROS, MAS by the end of the first lap.

Alonso, Hamilton and Webber traded first place several times, but the McLaren driver was ahead for most of the race.Great pit-stops, bold non-DRS overtaking moves and a perfectly-timed strategy call to change to prime tyres, meant that Hamilton finished the race ahead of Alonso and Webber. His second win this season and his 16th career win.

2nd Win for Hamilton

In the final laps of the race, Massa (running 4th) and Vettel (5th) were involved in a F1 version of 'Chicken': waiting to see if the other driver would pit first for the compulsory switch to prime tyres. They both had no choice but to pit on the FINAL lap, however Red Bull's pit crew finished Vettel's tyre-change faster than Massa's Ferrari, and therefore relegated the Brazilian to 5th place and 'gifted' Vettel two extra WDC points.

Four drivers didn't see the chequered flag: Button developed hydraulic problems and had to retire, Heidfeld was shunted off the track by Buemi (who later received a 5-grid place penalty for the next race), Liuzzi and Barrichello also suffered DNFs. In the fight amongst the rookies, none of them were able to score points although Perez just missed out on points; finishing in 11th position. 

The rain came down after the champagne celebrations: perhaps if it had arrived any earlier, it might have been a different race. But somehow, I doubt the winner of the German GP would have been different.

Photo courtesy of and @VoxVocis. Video by McLarenGooner10