“Meanwhile, at the Weekend: Vettel enjoys Nurburgring success”
Formula One, German Grand Prix (Rd 9, July 7th)
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel took his first victory on home soil on Sunday with a brilliantly executed victory at the Nurburgring.
Vettel and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber jumped poleman Lewis Hamilton at the start with Vettel drawing a narrow lead, until a pitstop error took Webber out of the running.
A mid-race safety car period to retrieve Jules Bianchi’s stranded Marussia closed the field up, allowing the Lotus’ of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen to attack. Grosjean initially led the pair; however Lotus swapped the order, allowing Raikkonen to challenge Vettel; however the Red Bull proved too quick to displace.
Raikkonen remains 41 points adrift of Vettel in the standings, although he scored some luck when he closed back to the leaders under the safety car. A short final stint gave Raikkonen pace; however his soft tyres faded as he closed in Vettel.
Grosjean’s took 3rd after holding Fernando Alonso at bay to the flag. The Spaniard drove a quiet race initially, giving way to a late, but unsuccessful push for the podium.
Hamilton fell to 5th as his Mercedes encountered tyre difficulties in the warm weather. He was running 6th late on, until a move former McLaren teammate Jenson Button on the final lap.
Webber’s race was ruined when a pitstop error led to a wheel falling off his RB9 and clattering an FOM cameraman. The Australian was wheeled back to his box, falling a lap behind, although he regained much of that ground under the safety car. A charge up the order, including a late move on Sergio Perez, gave Webber 7th when much more was possible.
Perez collected another four points for McLaren following a solid drive, finishing ahead of a quiet Nico Rosberg (9th) and Nico Hulkenberg (10th).