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GP Week : Issue 163
There was little to shout about for Red Bull in the end at Hockenheim, as Vettel and Webber came away with fifth and eighth place finishes in what should have been a much better weekend. Webber’s troubles began when he was given a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change, dropping him to eighth, and then couldn’t find any pace from his RB8 during the race. He took the flag in eighth, just a fortnight on from his Silverstone win. Vettel took the flag in second, but was later demoted to fifth because he had passed Button off the circuit. Had he given the place back, he would likely have overtaken Button on the next lap anyway. A home race to forget for Mercedes with Schumacher dropping from third on the grid to seventh at the flag and Rosberg recovering from 21st on the grid to claim a point in tenth. Schumacher said seventh was his maximum after struggling for pace and pitting three times, while Rosberg was happy to score a point even if his poor qualifying was still a disappointment. He gained five places on the first lap before pulling off five mid-race overtaking manoeuvres to climb into the points on a three-stop strategy. McLaren’s season showed no hint of an upturn a the weekend, as they could only manage a second place finish despite looking like the car to beat in the dry. Hamilton and Button qualified poorly in the wet and Hamilton was punctured on the second lap, dropping him from contention. Button was held up by Schumacher early in the race, but once free of the German he closed in on Alonso and Vettel, climbing to second during the second round of stops. He couldn’t pass Alonso for the lead and his tyres then went off and Vettel came by, until the infamous penalty of course! Kimi Raikkonen climbs to fourth in the drivers’ championship with his (albeit retrospective) fourth podium finish of the season thanks to Vettel’s penalty. The Finn started only tenth but an early pitstop coupled with two overtaking manoeuvres saw him climb to fourth early in his second stint. It was a lonely race for him thereafter as he cruised to the flag. Grosjean endured a torrid weekend in the sister car, first with a poor qualifying session, then with a grid penalty and then first-lap contact which put him to the back of the field from where he was unable to find any representative pace. Alonso was masterful in the wet conditions to take pole on Saturday but had it all to do on Sunday in what was clearly not the quickest car on the grid. He drove his customary error- free race and crucially kept his tyres in great shape for the final laps of the race to fend off any last-gasp onslaught from Button or Vettel. The icing on the cake was main title rival Mark Webber’s failure to score heavily, thereby growing Alonso’s title advantage to 34 points. Team-mate Massa would have easily recovered to the points from 13th on the grid but for running into Raikkonen on the first lap. He had to pit for a new nose and dropped to the back. Nico Hulkenberg’s two world championship points for ninth place push Force India to just one point behind Williams in the battle for seventh in the constructors’ championship after a relatively competitive weekend for the Silverstone squad. Nico qualified a superb fourth but excessive tyre wear in the first two stints cost him time. He then pitted a third time and had to overtake team-mate di Resta to claim ninth in the wake of Mark Webber ’s Red Bull. A slow middle stint hit di Resta’s chances for points, before being overtaken by Rosberg in the final ten laps and finishing 11th. Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Lotus Ferrari Force India TEAM-BY-TEAM: GERMAN GRAND PRIX F1 >>> HOCKENHEIM 6/1 0 6/1 0 8/1 0 5/1 0 7/1 0 7/1 0 34 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: