Safety is always a primary concern in Formula 1, so before we get to Sebastian Vettel's first home win and the German GP's other particulars, let's start off with an update on Paul Allen, the cameraman who was injured in a pit-lane accident during the race. He is currently down with a cracked shoulder, broken ribs and a concussion after being hit by Mark Webber's right-rear tire, which hadn't been properly secured by the usually faultless Red Bull crew. Fortunately, Allen's injuries are not very serious. Red Bull, meanwhile, has been fined 30,000 euros for "unsafe release from a pit stop."
On to the results of our German Grand Prix predictions.
1. No rain and no safety car for the race. Half a point. It was all glorious sunshine for race day, but when Jules Bianchi had a spectacular engine failure on Lap 23, an alarming situation brought out the safety car: The Frenchman's abandoned Marussia rolled backward across the back straight, hitting a trackside advertisement board before the marshals could safely emerge from the sidelines to recover it.
The lengthy safety-car period then closed the field up, providing opportunities specifically to Kimi Raikkonen, who had lost time behind the Mercedes cars after his first tire swap, and to Webber, who had been over a minute down on the leaders after his team's pit-lane mishap.
2. Fernando Alonso will qualify outside the top five, but he will finish within it. A whole point. Even if Ferrari had opted to run soft tires on the final Q3 hot laps, a top-five starting position would've been unlikely for either driver. The medium rubber was indeed the better choice for the Italian squad; that way, both Alonso and Felipe Massa could do longer first stints than the forerunners, who were on soft boots.
Of course, the strategy--any strategy, for that matter--would require the driver to not spin and stall his car. That's exactly what Massa did three laps into the race. So much for his fans (we're sure he still has fans) who likely anticipated a better weekend for him after he'd kept his nose clean through all practice sessions and out-qualified his teammate on Saturday.
Alonso, for his part, was able to pull off a damage-limitation exercise on a day when faster cars are running slightly out of reach. He just about burned out his Ferrari's fuel load giving chase to Grosjean in the closing stages, but had to settle for 4th after a hard-fought race.
3. The Aussies will prevail over their teammates on Sunday. The costly pit error ruined Webber's chances early on, but the half-point Daniel Ricciardo gives us is a formality since his teammate failed to make it to the end due to hydraulics failure.
The younger Aussie went backward from his P6 starting position, saying that "once we pitted for the prime (medium) tire, I really struggled for pace and couldn't push as hard as I wanted to in order to get more out of the car." He finished out of the points in 12th.
4. Nico Hulkenberg won't finish in the top 10, while his three other compatriots will score points. So, one German didn't score and three went on to cross the line in the top 10. We were wrong, however, in singling out Hulkenberg as the potentially pointless man--he hung on to 10th place behind Nico Rosberg, while Adrian Sutil finished the proverbially unlucky 13th.
The Force India form seemingly vanished to thin air this weekend. Was it the nature of the track that led to this, or the tire revision? The team has three weeks to look into what has gone wrong for them.
5. A German team on pole and for the win. We should've played the percentage game and gone for a German team on pole and a German driver for the win. Mercedes got P1, as expected, with Lewis Hamilton notching up the top spot after Rosberg got a surprise Q2 exit. But the Brit couldn't hold on to his position off the line, and found himself in the middle of the Red Bull sandwich going into turn one.
After that, it wasn't Mercedes but Lotus that figured prominently in the top battle. Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen took turns in making Vettel work extremely hard for his first-ever home win and July victory. Raikkonen was left wondering at the end of 60 laps whether it had been the right decision to make a final stop for soft tires with 10 laps to go. He was in the lead at that stage, and felt that his medium tires were still returning decent times.
Well, maybe next race, he'll be the one who gets lucky. See you in three weeks' time for the Hungarian GP.
Total score: 2.5 out of 5
|GER||Starting grid||Race results|
|Pos||Driver (Team)||Quali (Start Tire)||Driver (Team)||Time/Gap|
|1||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||1:29.398 (S)||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||1hr 41:14.711|
|2||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||1:29.501, +0.103 (S)||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||+1.008|
|3||M. Webber (Red Bull)||1:29.608, +0.210 (S)||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||+5.830|
|4||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||1:29.892, +0.494 (S)||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||+7.721|
|5||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||1:29.959, +0.561 (S)||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||+26.927|
|6||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||1:30.528, +1.130 (S)||J. Button (McLaren)||+27.996|
|7||F. Massa (Ferrari)||1:31.126, +1.728 (M)||M. Webber (Red Bull)||+37.562|
|8||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||1:31.209, +1.811 (M)||S. Perez (McLaren)||+38.306|
|9||J. Button (McLaren)||no time set (M)||N. Rosberg (Mercedes)||+46.821|
|10||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||no time set (M)||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||+49.892|
|11||N. Rosberg (Mercedes)||1:30.326, +0.928 (M)||P. di Resta (Force India)||+53.771|
|12||P. di Resta (Force India)||1:30.697, +1.299 (S)||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||+56.975|
|13||S. Perez (McLaren)||1:30.933, +1.535 (S)||A. Sutil (Force India)||+57.738|
|14||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||1:31.010, +1.612 (S)||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||+1:00.160|
|15||A. Sutil (Force India)||1:31.010, +1.612 (S)||P. Maldonado (Williams)||+1:01.929|
|16||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||1:31.104, +1.706 (S)||V. Bottas (Williams)||+1 lap|
|17||V. Bottas (Williams)||1:31.693, +2.295 (M)||C. Pic (Caterham)||+1 lap|
|18||P. Maldonado (Williams)||1:31.707, +2.309 (M)||G. van der Garde (Caterham)||+1 lap|
|19||J. Bianchi (Marussia)||1:33.063, +3.665 (S)||M. Chilton (Marussia)||+1 lap|
|20||G. van der Garde (Caterham)||1:33.734, +4.336 (S)||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||retired|
|21||M. Chilton (Marussia)||1:34.098, +4.700 (S)||J. Bianchi (Marussia)||retired|
|22||C. Pic (Caterham)||1:32.937, +3.539 (S)||F. Massa (Ferrari)||retired|
Legend: M—medium compound; S—soft compound.
Notes: Listed qualifying laps 17-22 set in Q1; 11-16 in Q2; and 1-10 in Q3. C. Pic originally qualified P19 but was given a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
|1||S. Vettel||157||Red Bull||250|
|5||M. Webber||93||Force India||59|
|7||F. Massa||57||Toro Rosso||24|
|9||P. di Resta||36||Williams||0|
|22||G. van der Garde||0|
Photos from Infiniti Red Bull Racing