Tag Archives: German GP

Vettel survives Lotus onslaught to win German Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel has taken his first ever home victory at the Nurburgring, defending valiantly against Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages.

Both Vettel and Mark Webber swamped pole sitter Lewis Hamilton at the start, Mark almost snatching the lead, but was quickly pushed wide at Turn 1 by his teammate. Felipe Massa made a decent start, moving up to 6th, but a self-inflicted spin on Lap 4 resulted in yet another embarrassment for the floundering Ferrari driver.

Fernando Alonso didn’t perform well in the opening stint either. He was only 7th after the start, and made little progress on his opening set of prime tyres. However he seemed to gain pace after the first stop, and soon began to catch the leaders.

Webber kept up with Vettel’s pace after the start, but yet another botched pit stop ruined his race. Again, the rear left wheel wasn’t secured, and disaster struck when it fell off and collided with an FOM cameraman in the pit lane. Mark was wheeled back into his box, dropping him a lap down, while the cameraman was sent to hospital for checks.

High track temperatures meant both Lotus drivers were on fine form, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean putting heavy pressure on Hamilton in the first stint. An early pit stop for Grosjean propelled him into 2nd place, but Raikkonen wasn’t so lucky. He was stuck in the back of a train, led by Nico Rosberg, who hadn’t pitted quite as early, and held up his teammate and the Lotus up massively.

Nico was eventually instructed to release Lewis, which he eventually did on Lap 14, but the damage was done for Mercedes. Once Kimi got past the German, he quickly dispatched of Hamilton, and had to chase Grosjean down for 2nd.

In the middle of all these battles was Jenson Button. The McLaren driver ran a huge first stint, running as high as 4th up until Lap 20. The same strategy was applied by Nico Hulkenberg, another driver who appeared to be outperforming his car this weekend.

Romain had the advantage of a batter tyre strategy when chasing Vettel, but a Safety Car appearance ended that. It came out for a bizarre reason – after parking his Marussia with an engine failure, Jules Bianchi soon watched from the track barriers at the final chicane as his car began to roll across the track, almost colliding with race leader Vettel.

With all the frontrunners pitting earlier than expected, Grosjean’s advantage over Vettel was wiped out. Red Bull gained massively from the SC appearance, as Mark Webber was allowed to regain a lap, and was now able to fight his way back through the field.

Soon after the safety car, Vettel had to weather another problem – this time from his own car. His KERS began to malfunction, and Sebastian was forced to alternate between constant changes of the brake bias and occasional bursts of KERS to keep the system running. This allowed Grosjean and Raikkonen to close up on the leader.

Despite his KERS issues, Sebastian was able to fend off both Lotuses in his third stint. Lotus then opted for a split strategy to attack the Red Bull – Romain attempted to undercut Vettel, while Kimi ran a longer stint to outpace him.

Amazingly, neither worked. While Raikkonen may have been able to run until the finish, his team brought him in with 12 laps to go, surrendering the lead and possibly the win for a set of used soft tyres. Grosjean was ordered out of his teammate’s way, to allow a final attack.

Raikkonen wore down Vettel’s lead in the closing laps, getting tantalisingly close by the end, but was forced to concede defeat by the final corner. Sebastian extended his lead in the championship to 34 points, while Lotus took an impressive 2-3 finish, with Grosjean finally putting in another good drive this year.

Further back, Alonso put in blazingly fast laps on his last two stints to fight his way to 4th place, almost catching Grosjean in the process. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were locked in a last-lap battle for 5th, until a slow Caterham lost Button time and the position. Jenson was left fuming, saying: “When you’re fighting for position, you expect the backmarkers to move over, even if they’re fighting for position themselves.”

Off-camera, Mark Webber had a spirited drive, recovering all the way to 7th place. Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg couldn’t keep up with their teammates at all, while Nico Hulkenberg blasted his way from 15th to 10th in the final few laps, after pitting late for the option tyre.

This was a stunning win for Vettel – in a car not as fast as the Lotus, or as reliable as the Ferrari. Despite an extremely tense 30-lap battle, Sebastian remained cool and composed throughout, and this victory will be a huge stepping stone towards a potential fourth championship.

FOM cameraman hospitalised after pit lane accident

The FIA has confirmed that an FOM cameraman has been injured and taken to hospital, during an incident during today’s German Grand Prix.

Paul Allen was operating in the Lotus pit box, when he was struck by a stray wheel from Mark Webber’s Red Bull. He has since been trnasferred to hospital, and is reportedly conscious and talking to doctors.

The FIA statement reads as follows:

"During the German Grand Prix, an FOM cameraman in pit lane was struck by a loose 
wheel. Paul Allen was hit on the left hand side.

Remaining conscious, he was treated at the circuit medical centre and then 
transported by helicopter to Koblenz Hospital.

The Briton has been kept there, under observation. Further information from the 
hospital will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

Hamilton scrapes pole position for German Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton endured severe pressure from Sebastian Vettel to take pole position at the Nurburgring.

Teammate Nico Rosberg was hugely frustrated to be knocked out in Q2, while Ferrari are taking up an alternate strategy for tomorrow’s race. Here is what happened:

Q1

Williams suffered a disastrous performance at their 600th Grand Prix weekend, with both drivers failing to make the cut.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

17) Valtteri Bottas – 1:31.693

18) Pastor Maldonado – 1:31.707

19) Charles Pic – 1:32.937

20) Jules Bianchi – 1:33.063

21) Giedo van der Garde – 1:33.734

22) Max Chilton – 1:34.098

Q2

Vettel’s 1:29.992 initially put him fastest, and indicated that the frontrunners were even faster than predicted. An impressive time from Romain Grosjean put him within 0.01 seconds of Vettel’s time.

The two Ferraris and Raikkonen soon knocked the Red Bull off its pedestal. However, the biggest shock of the session was when Nico Rosberg decided to stay in the garage, blinked, and found himself lying in 11th place. The Mercedes team were confident they would get through, but such was the pace of Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Button, Rosberg will start from 11th place.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Nico Rosberg – 1:30.326

12) Paul di Resta – 1:30.697

13) Sergio Perez – 1:30.933

14) Esteban Gutierrez – 1:31.010

15) Adrian Sutil – 1:31.010

16) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:31.104

Q3

With Rosberg out of the running, Hamilton was left to defend against both Red Bulls in Q3.

Both Ferraris and Jenson Button went out on the medium tyres, indicating that they didn’t feel that they were in the running. With Nico Hulkenberg opting not to set a time, this resulted in Daniel Ricciardo sealing an excellent 6th place on the grid.

A 1:29.622 for Vettel put him on provisional pole, with Hamilton soon retaking the lead. Webber’s first two sectors were faster, but a mistake at the end of his lap put him 3rd.

Sebastian’s final attempt put him a tenth ahead of Mercedes once again, but a stellar 1:29.398 from Lewis sealed his pole position. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean didn’t have enough pace to challenge, and lined up 4th and 5th.

Points standings after German Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Fernando Alonso 154
2 Mark Webber 120
3 Sebastian Vettel 110
4 Kimi Raikkonen 98
5 Lewis Hamilton 92
6 Nico Rosberg 76
7 Jenson Button 68
8 Romain Grosjean 61
9 Sergio Perez 47
10 Kamui Kobayashi 33
11 Pastor Maldonado 29
12 Michael Schumacher 29
13 Paul di Resta 27
14 Felipe Massa 23
15 Nico Hulkenberg 19
16 Bruno Senna 18
17 Jean-Eric Vergne 4
18 Daniel Ricciardo 2
19 Timo Glock  0
20 Charles Pic  0
21 Vitaly Petrov  0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Pedro de la Rosa 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan 0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 230
2 Ferrari 177
3 McLaren-Mercedes 160
4 Lotus-Renault 159
5 Mercedes AMG 105
6 Sauber-Ferrari 80
7 Williams-Renault 47
8 Force India-Mercedes 46
9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
10 Caterham-Renault 0
11 Marussia-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0

McLaren and Button set world record with 2.31 second pit stop

A new world record has been set for the fastest pit stop in history, achieved by the McLaren team, with the help of Jenson Button.

Button’s second and last stop at the German Grand Prix took only 2.31 seconds, an absolutely incredible record.

The previous record was believed to be held by Ricardo Patrese, at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1993. His Bennetton team apparently did the stop on 3.2 seconds, but there appears to be no footage of the pit stop itself.

However, this time around, the cameras were waiting to capture this record. At the moment, only a low-quality video is on YouTube, but the sheer speed is still clear to see:

Vettel penalised, drops to 5th place

Sebastian Vettel has been handed a 20-second penalty for his illegal overtake on Jenson Button.

With two laps to go, Sebastian took to the run-off area to pass Jenson, not having a single wheel on the track in the process. He emerged on the track ahead of the McLaren driver. The stewards decided that this constituted an illegal overtake, and served the Red Bull driver the penalty.

This drops Vettel to 5th place in the German Grand Prix standings, while Kimi Raikkonen now inherits third position. Kamui Kobayashi’s day has been improved, the Japanese driver moving up to fourth.

The points standings will be up soon to reflect this change.

Stewards to investigate Vettel pass

Sebastian Vettel’s second position is under threat, as the stewards have announced an investigation into an illegal overtake in the German Grand Prix.

Two laps from the end, Vettel approached the hairpin of the track, on the outside of Jenson Button. While the McLaren gave him room at the exit, Vettel went straight to the run-off area, floored the throttle, and re-entered the track ahead of the McLaren.

On the team radio, Button stated:

"I’m not sure that was correct the way Sebastian got past.

The most important thing is he wouldn’t have overtaken me if he was on the circuit."

Both drivers dodged questions on the matter afterwards, so it will be left to the stewards to see if Vettel keeps his 2nd place. Personally, I feel that Vettel made no attempt to legally pass Button, and wouldn’t have been able to overtake him without putting all 4 wheels off the track.

Update: Here’s a video I found of Michael Schumacher doing the exact same thing 9 years ago. No penalty (or investigation) was given. (Overtake at 2:45)

Alonso takes dominative victory at Hockenheim

Fernando Alonso has taken his 3rd victory of 2012, as he continues to assert his authority over the rest of the field. The Ferrari driver crushed the opposition, dominating the race from start to finish. Sebastian Vettel pipped Jenson Button to 2nd on the second-last lap, but is under imvestigation for an illegal pass.

The Saubers took 5th and 6th places, taking an alternate strategy, while Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton all suffered disastrous races. Here is what happened:Fernan

At the start, Alonso held his lead against Vettel, while Nico Hulkenberg defended against Michael Schumacher. First-lap carnage resulted in Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean all pitting for repairs.

Lewis Hamilton had slipped down to 10th, and it soon became clear why – his rear left tyre was flat, and the McLaren crawled back to the pits.

The Saubers were 10th and 11th, and Kamui Kobayashi made a brave move on Perez. However, he appeared to hand the place back several laps later. Once clear, he moved past Paul di Resta for 9th. Meanwhile, Hamilton continued to complain of a damaged car, but still set times comparable to the frontrunners.

Teammate Button was making progress, taking Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher in a matter of laps. By the first set of stops, he was comfortably 3rd, and being told that he could win the race.

Further back, champions Raikkonen and Schumacher went wheel-to-wheel, the Mercedes driver making a daring move, passing the Lotus for 5th. However, he failed the pace to stay ahead, and was re-passes several laps later.

After pitting, Mark Webber was released into 11th position. He struggled on the prime tyres, taking his time passing Pastor Maldonado and Paul di Resta, both of which were off the pace. He tried a move on Kamui Kobayashi, but the Sauber driver defended his position well.

The battle for the lead began to materialise, with Vettel closing in on Alonso, and Button keeping a wary eye on the two, 5 seconds down the road. Interestingly, the lapped Lewis Hamilton began to come into play.

Going faster than the Ferrari or Red Bull, Hamilton passed Vettel on the straight, to the annoyance of Sebastian. Soon after, he was all over the back of Alonso, who didn’t feel the need to let him past. This allowed the top 3 to bunch up before the second round of pit stops.

Button was the first of the trio, taking on the primes once again. Both Alonso and Vettel pitted in response to the McLaren, but Jenson’s move had already placed him in 2nd place.

While Hamilton had passed the leaders, and assisted Button in his battle, he had run out of steam himself. Pushing for so long had ruined his 1-stop strategy, and was forced to pit from 16th place. With 10 laps to go, he gave up, and pulled into the garage to reture. Meanwhile, Webber was having a similarly torrid afternoon, stuck in 10th place and not going anywhere.

The Caterhams duelled for 20th place at the hairpin, with Heikki Kovalainen eventually winning out.

Up front, Fernando held firm against the McLaren’s charge, and soon Vettel began to hassle Button for 2nd place. With heavily worn tyres, he couldn’t stop Vettel’s assault, although the Red Bull took to the run-off area to take the position – something that may be investigated by the stewards.

While this battle was going on, Alonso had pushed out a sizeable lead, and comfortably took the chequered flag, having dominated the whole race. Vettel led home Button by 3 seconds, while Kimi Raikkonen’s 3-stop strategy failed to pay off.

Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez impressed with 5th and 6th for Sauber, taking different tyre strategies to the rest of the field. Michael Schumacher, running a 3-stopper, chased them down at the end, but was forced to settle for 7th. Webber was a disappointing 8th, while Nico Hulkenberg and Nico Rosberg concluded the top 10.

Alonso now leads the driver’s championship by 34 points to Webber, with Vettel only 2 points behind his teammate. Kimi Raikkonen, with 95 points, is now ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Perez penalised for impeding Raikkonen and Alonso

Sergio Perez will drop 5 places on the grid for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix.

The Sauber driver was found to have impeded both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso during Q2. He finished the session 12th, but will now drop down to 17th position for the race.

The stewards stated that the penalty was imposed “due to the driver being involved in two similar offences in the same session.” After the incident with Raikkonen, the Lotus driver complained to his team over the pit radio.

Perez is the fourth driver to suffer a grid penalty this weekend. The other three are Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean, all for unscheduled gearbox changes to their cars.

 

Alonso takes commanding pole position in soaked qualifying

Fernando Alonso will start from pole position for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver mastered the wet conditions, beating his rivals by nearly half a second.

The Red Bulls were 2nd and 3rd, but Mark Webber has incurred a gearbox penalty, and will drop to 8th place. Michael Schumacher impressed for most of the session, eventually taking 4th. The McLarens struggled in Q3, while Felipe Massa languished back in 14th. Here is what happened:

Q1

With the threat of rain imminent, most drivers went straight out onto the track as the session began.

Fernando Aonso was first fastest with a 1:16.7, but the two McLarens went faster by several tenths, with Hamilton leading the charge.

Both Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean were informed that their laps were negated, as they took advantage of the run-off area at turn 1. It didn’t faze Vettel though, as the Red Bull moved up from 15th to 5th.

As Hamilton improved on his time by 0.1 seconds, and was joined by Kamui Kobayashi, the imminent rain clouds convinced most drivers to conclude their runs early. Kimi Raikkonen was one of the few to stay out, slashing over half a second off Lewis’ time, still on the medium tyre.

Several off-track excursions left Grosjean in the drop zone, but the Lotus driver moved into 12th place with 2 minutes to go.

Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg went 2nd and 3rd, pushing Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber near the drop zone. Incredibly, both them and Vettel struggled massively trying to improve – the Red Bulls only 10th and 13th, and Schumacher jumping up to 17th in a last-gasp lap.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:16.741

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:17.620

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:18.531

21) Charles Pic – 1:19.220

22) Timo Glock – 1:19.291

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:19.912

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:20.230

Q2

As expected, the rain fell for Q2, and intermediates were the way to go.

The conditons caught out most of the drivers, particularly Romain Grosjean, who slipped and slided across the track lap after lap. The rain got worse as the session continued, so those who set their laps early were at an advantage. This left Hamilton and Schumacher comfortably on top.

However, the worsening conditions caught out several top names, particularly Grosjean and Felipe Massa.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:39.789

12) Sergio Perez – 1:39.933

13) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:39.985

14) Felipe Massa – 1:40.215

15) Romain Grosjean – 1:40.574

16) Bruno Senna – 1:40.752

17) Nico Rosberg – 1:41.551

Q3

The rain eased slightly for Q3, but the two McLaren cars exited the pits still on full wets. A spot of standing water caught out Nico Hulkenberg on the back straight, the Force India spinning into the gravel trap, but managing to keep going.

Fernando Alonso’s 1:44.7 put him on top, until Vettel pipped that time by a single tenth. Hamilton was set to challenge for top spot, but nearly lost the McLaren at turn 8.

On his next lap, Lewis improved on Sebastian’s time by half a second. Schumacher then took an astonishing 1.7 seconds off that, but Vettel swiftly retook the top spot.

Mark Webber then took another half second off that time, then Alonso slashed another 0.7 seconds off the fastest time. Entering the final lap, Vettel and Webber moved within several tenths of the Ferrari, while Schumacher remained 4th. As the McLarens timed their last laps poorly, they were unable to challenge the frontrunners, leaving Alonso to improve again on his time, and take a commanding pole position.

Nico Hulkenberg took a career-best position of 5th place, with Pastor Maldonado just behind. Button and Hamilton were 7th and 8th, with Di Resta and Raikkonen finishing up the top 10.

Since Mark Webber has incurred a gearbox penalty, he will drop 5 places to 8th place.

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