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GP Week : Issue 126
It was an error-strewn grand prix for Red Bull driver – and regular race winner – Sebastian Vettel, whose first second-row start of the season led to his first non- podium finish of 2011. Vettel’s run of misfortune started at the first corner, when he was overtaken for P3 by Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso. On lap 10, the German driver span at Turn 10, flat-spotting his tyres and making him vulnerable to the approaching Nico Rosberg, who was less than half a second behind Vettel when the RB7 was pointing in the right direction. The damaged tyres put the defending champion at a disadvantage, but he hung on till lap 16 before pitting for the first of three stops. As the race was approaching its mid- point, Vettel was warned of rear brake issues, and asked to adjust the bias forward, compounding his difficulties. On lap 43, Vettel missed the chicane, but did not gain any advantage – or subsequent penalty – from doing so. The highlight of the defending champion’s race was his pitstop overtake of Massa on the penultimate lap of the race, without which Vettel would have finished in P5. “I felt good [about the stop],” the Red Bull driver said after the race. “Obviously I entered in to my pitbox first and when I got out obviously you can’t wait to leave the box after the boys have changed the wheels and it was nice to see that the Ferrari was still stationary so it was down to them, they did a very good job in the end. “ We were pushing Felipe very hard all race trying to lead him in to a mistake, I think both of us were right at the limit, the cars were pretty nervous and generally I think fourth anyway was probably our maximum today, which is not satisfying. “But we have to accept it and go from there, next week is the next race and it looks like McLaren and Ferrari are getting quicker and quicker. So we need to work harder on our car trying to improve it in order to be back on the podium and maybe soon on the top step again.” Sutil gets season- best result for Force India For any driver, securing a season-best result for the team is something to be proud of. But to accomplish that feat in front of a home crowd is better still. With his P6 finish at the German Grand Prix, Adrian Sutil achieved Force India’s best result of the season thus far, while also launching his team above Toro Rosso in the constructors’ standings. It was an incident-free afternoon at the Nurburgring for the German driver, who was able to manage both tyres and fuel load for a clean finish and 8 championship points. “It was a great race today and I’m so pleased to get this result for the team because we really deserved it,” Sutil said. “ We had a great car all weekend and everything just went perfectly. The tyres lasted well and we definitely made the right calls with the strategy, which helped me beat Nico [Rosberg] in the final stint. “It was actually quite a lonely race for me because I spent most of the time running in clean air so I could really show the potential of the car,” the Force India driver continued. “ To get this result in my home race also makes it extra special and I’d like to thank the fans for their support this weekend. But this is just the start because we still have lots of work to do in the coming races to score lots of points and catch up with the teams ahead of us.” Error-strewn race for Vettel saved by Massa’s slow final stop 30