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GP Week : Issue 126
Team-By-Team: German Grand Prix, Nurburgring Hamilton surprised all, including himself, by taking second place on the grid in qualifying, having ruled himself out of the fight for pole only 24 hours earlier. He turned that front row start into the lead on the first lap before going on to win despite falling behind Webber during the second stint. He was chased hard all the way, but held a constant 3- second lead over Alonso during the final half of the race. Team-mate Button was on for a sixth-place finish before having to retire with hydraulics problems. A poor start dropped him to tenth, putting him out of touch with the leaders. Red Bull were beaten for the third time in four races on Sunday, as their dominant start to the season was brought to a definitive end by the revitalised McLarens and Ferraris. They still have qualifying sewn up, with Webber having taken pole, but was not on the pace of Hamilton and Alonso during the race, further compounded by a late stop for primes at the end. Vettel was even slower and had a spin at turn 10 to blame for falling behind Massa, before beating him in the pits on the final lap to take fourth. Vitaly Petrov kept Renault 100% points-scoring record of 2011 going at the Nurburgring, after coming home in tenth place after a two- stop strategy. Starting ninth, he was one of the last drivers to make his first pitstop, and waited until lap 46 to make his second stop for medium tyres to finish the race. He had a comfortable six-second cushion to 11th place at the flag. Team-mate Heidfeld had an incident-filled ten-lap race. He hit di Resta at the start and was then pushed off the road by Buemi while trying to overtake into the chicane, forcing him into retirement. Schumacher may have finished ten seconds behind team-mate Rosberg, but it was he who enjoyed the better pace, having lost over 13 seconds with a spin at turn 10 on lap 23. On the same strategy as Rosberg, he recovered strongly and took eighth place at the flag. Rosberg had a rather anonymous race from sixth on the grid, finishing seventh after losing out in a battle with Massa during the first stint. He then lost out to the two-stopping Sutil, finishing the race 18 seconds adrift of his fellow German. An early first pitstop for Maldonado managed to elevate him up the order in the first half of the race, but the extra tyre wear during his second stint ultimately came back to bite him as he had to pit early for the second and final time, resulting in a longer stint on the slower medium tyre. He took the flag in 14th place. Barrichello didn’t even make it that far after retiring with an engine oil leak on lap 16. He had jumped Maldonado at the start and was running 11th when he had to park up. Alonso extracted the maximum from his Ferrari throughout the race and even led briefly when he emerged from his second pitstop, but ultimately fell just short of Hamilton’s pace. He battled with Vettel during the first stint, before overtaking Webber during the second round of stops to take second. He then pitted too late for the medium tyre at the end to be able to challenge Hamilton. Team-mate Massa enjoyed a race-long battle with Vettel for fourth, after overtaking him just before the first pitstops, but fell behind due to a slow final stop when they both pitted on the final lap. 32