Vettel beats Raikkonen to win German GP
It was a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium for Renault engines.
Vettel took the lead at the start from polesitter Hamilton and only gave it up during pitstops as has drove a measured race in front of his home fans.
The victory is Vettel's 30th career win and first at his home grand prix. It is also Vettel's first win in mainland Europe for almost two years, since the Italian GP at Monza in September 2011.
“It was a tough race; it was one of the toughest for a long time," said Vettel.
"I’m happy the race wasn’t two or three laps longer, as Kimi was a bit quicker towards the end. I’m very happy that it worked out and it’s very special. The team worked really hard to give me the chance to win this weekend and we got it.
"First of all you have to remember that it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to race in your home country; we have around 20 races, but there are obviously more than 20 countries, so it’s special to race at home and get so much support. I had a good start and then just focused on every single lap during the race. You don’t really think about where you are while you are racing, you can’t allow your mind to drift, but when the flag came out and the race was over I really let myself enjoy the parade lap and saw a lot of people in the grandstands cheering and waving flags. These pictures will remain in my head for a long, long time.”
Hamilton claimed 5th with a passing move on Jenson Button in the first sector of the final lap of the race, but he was no match for Vettel despite having the fastest car on the grid.
Hamilton said he has "nothing positive to say" about Pirelli’s tires, with the Mercedes driver and team-mate Nico Rosberg again suffering from high degradation in race conditions.
Having started from pole position, Hamilton immediately slipped back to third after making a sluggish getaway, before his troubles were compound by severe tire wear.
"I have to hold myself back because I've got nothing positive to say about these tires," Hamilton explained after the 60-lap race. "I don't understand why we struggled so much, but that's motor racing. The only positive is that we got some points out of it.
"It's a shame because the team is working so hard and doing such a good job. Clearly we've got a good car, but for some reason it just doesn't work on these tires."
Rosberg finished the race in ninth position, over 45 seconds behind winner Vettel.
Mark Webber snatched 7th on the final lap and would have done better if not for a lost wheel. Webber's crew did not get his right rear tire on and as Webber accelerated down the pit lane the wheel flew off and rolled down the pit lane at high speed where it hit a cameraman who had his back turned to the wheel and never knew what hit him.
“I knew we had lost the tire in the pit stop of course, but not that someone got hit by it," said Webber.
"That’s bad and I hope he is okay, that’s the main thing. Today was a bit of a nightmare and you want to wake up tomorrow and have another go at it. We had an excellent start and were in a great position leading up to the first stop with Seb, but we lost all of that. We lost a lot of points today and a chance to challenge for the win, but there’s no rewind button now.”
Sebastian Vettel (1st): "It was a tough race; it was one of the toughest for a long time. I'm happy the race wasn't two or three laps longer, as Kimi was a bit quicker towards the end. I'm very happy that it worked out and it's very special. The team worked really hard to give me the chance to win this weekend and we got it. First of all you have to remember that it's a privilege to have the opportunity to race in your home country; we have around 20 races, but there are obviously more than 20 countries, so it's special to race at home and get so much support. I had a good start and then just focused on every single lap during the race. You don't really think about where you are while you are racing, you can't allow your mind to drift, but when the flag came out and the race was over I really let myself enjoy the parade lap and saw a lot of people in the grandstands cheering and waving flags. These pictures will remain in my head for a long, long time."
Mark Webber (7th): "I knew we had lost the tire in the pit stop of course, but not that someone got hit by it. That's bad and I hope he is okay, that's the main thing. Today was a bit of a nightmare and you want to wake up tomorrow and have another go at it. We had an excellent start and were in a great position leading up to the first stop with Seb, but we lost all of that. We lost a lot of points today and a chance to challenge for the win, but there's no rewind button now."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "The most important thing today is that the cameraman who got struck by the tire does not appear to have suffered any life threatening injuries. It's a timely reminder that working in the pit lane is dangerous. Everyone reacted incredibly quickly and the most important thing is to hear that he seems to be fundamentally okay. Looking to the race, for any driver to win their home grand prix is something tremendously special and after the disappointment of missing out on the victory a week ago in Silverstone, Sebastian drove faultlessly today and can be very proud of what he's achieved in his home grand prix in front of the home fans. It's a huge result for him and very positive for the Championship. For Mark, it was a strong recovery drive; he got back on to the lead lap through the pace car and then fought his way back into the points. It's a great shame that we couldn't have both cars right up there today, but all credit to Mark for his very determined drive. We need to understand what went wrong in that first pit stop for Mark, but as I said, our main concern today is knowing that the cameraman is okay."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "We fought hard for that today. Kimi and Romain really pushed us hard, but Sebastian did a great job to win at home for the first time. Mark also drove a storming race, coming from a lap down to a points-scoring position. For Renault it is very positive to see three Renault-powered drivers racing for the win and ultimately to have a clean sweep of the podium. Although it certainly makes us nervous behind the screens!"
Fernando Alonso (4th):
Felipe Massa (DNF, Spin):
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal:
Luca di Montezemolo:
Jenson Button (6th): "There are a lot of positives to take away from this weekend; our pace was reasonably good; it's nice to be racing cars closer to the front, such as the Mercedes; our lap times compared to the four cars at the front weren't too bad either; and today's points are badly needed right now. Unfortunately, the two Caterhams fighting in front of me in the closing laps probably cost me fifth place. When you're fighting for position, you expect the backmarkers to move over, even if they're fighting for position themselves. It's a shame – those points could be so important for us later in the season. The Safety Car also didn't help our strategy – but we were a lot stronger this weekend than we've been for the past few races. We can be positive – as a team, we didn't put a foot wrong all weekend, and we got the best out of what we have. Overall, it's a positive day for the team – now we just need to find some more pace in the car."
Sergio Perez (8th): "My car performed a lot better today than it did yesterday. We had better pace and degradation than we'd expected: we managed a very long final stint, and I think we maximized everything today. We should be happy. After the Safety Car, it was like the start of a second race. I just focused on preserving the tires over that long stint – the car and tires performed very strongly, but we just lost out on the final corner. It was always going to be difficult to hold Mark [Webber] back. This is a good step on from Silverstone – it's been a very promising weekend, and I hope we can take another step forward for Hungary."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Both drivers did a fantastic job this afternoon – they managed the limits of the tire, pushed aggressively when it was needed and were always able to maximize the pace of the car. It's just a pity that they each lost position on the final lap. That was a little bit frustrating: we had terrible traffic at the end, so Jenson lost a couple of seconds at a critical point in the race. That enabled Lewis [Hamilton] to close him down quicker than normal and take a position that we felt we could have kept. The whole team did an extremely good job today: our strategy was perfectly managed, our pitstops were faultless, and the engineers maximized the pace of the car. We raced well, but we're still not where we want to be, although there are positives to take away from today. We'll be putting out heads down during the three-week break before Hungary and will be aiming to capitalize on the momentum we've gathered this weekend."
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd):
Romain Grosjean (3rd):
Eric Boullier, Team Principal:
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer:
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader:
Lewis Hamilton (5th): "That was really a tough race out there for us today. I didn't have a great start and the Red Bulls were much quicker off the line, dropping me back to third. We really struggled with the second set of tires which then compromised the rest of my race. It's a real shame as the team are working so hard and doing such a good job. We've clearly got a good car but for some reason, it doesn't work in these hot conditions. We'll keep working on it and the positive from today is that we were able to recover to fifth place with a good strategy and great pit stops, and we're still second in the Constructors' table. Hopefully we'll have a better chance at the next race but, for now, there's a lot of hard work ahead of us."
Nico Rosberg (9th): "The car didn't feel so nice to drive today. We struggled a lot with the rear tires and that's why we weren't able to match the pace of the guys in the front. Even so, I had a bit of fun when I changed to the option tires and could really push to at least score a few points. But we need to understand the new tires a bit more because it seems that the new construction has shuffled things around, especially in these hot conditions. We have to do a lot of work in the next weeks to make sure we arrive in Hungary in good shape."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Our first thoughts today go to the cameraman who was struck by an errant wheel in the pit lane. Happily, he does not appear to have suffered serious injuries but it was once again a reminder of the dangers of our sport and underlines the need for constant vigilance in terms of safety. Today was a race of two halves for us. In the first part, we were once again overstressing the tires - particularly on the prime compound - and our performance fell away as a result. However, as the temperatures cooled off a little and things settled down, both drivers had respectable pace and were able to fight their way back through the field. Lewis and Nico kept pushing until the final lap and were rewarded for their commitment and determination. At one point it didn't look like we would come away with much at all from this afternoon, so there has to be a certain satisfaction in saving 12 points today. We have said all along that there is still a question mark over our performance in hotter conditions, and today's race showed that we still have work to do. We have made big steps forward since Bahrain and Barcelona, where we particularly suffered with hotter track temperatures, and our performance was much improved compared to those races. But we have not yet done enough to convert our Saturday pace into race-winning speed in all conditions on Sunday. The three-week break until Hungary will give us an opportunity to think about how we can make further progress on our tire management as well as continuing to develop the core performance of the car."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We had a real character-building afternoon here at the Nürburgring. Neither of the drivers could find any grip on the prime tire in the first part of the race and it mirrored similar experiences we have had so far this season. We managed to recover in the second half, though, and our result was pretty respectable in the end given how things looked after the first 30 laps. Well done to both drivers for squeezing the maximum out of the car today. After such a successful weekend in Silverstone, it feels a little bit like a night and day difference for us. We need to get our heads down at the factory, properly analyze our performance and keep working hard because we know that we will see similar temperatures in Hungary to what we experienced here."
Nico Hulkenberg (10th): "It was an extremely tough race. I was fighting on every lap, but this is what we were able to get out of it. To be honest, I expected we would have better pace today, but we didn't. The car didn't feel as good as I expected it would either. I thought, and hoped, we could fight with McLaren, but, unfortunately, they were too fast for us today. It was a race with a lot of overtaking and wheel-to-wheel battles, which are always fun. However, having to fight for positions all the time is never good for the strategy, as it's tough on the tires and you lose time. Nevertheless, this weekend was better than the previous ones. We didn't have an update on the car, we experimented with the set-up, which worked well."
Esteban Gutierrez (14th): "From the beginning to the end we were fighting for positions, so it was a very tough race. It was difficult to overtake, because we were lacking speed on the straights. My rhythm was quite reasonable and I tried to do my best. The strategy wasn't ideal, although everything went to plan, but we pitted just before the safety car, which didn't make it any easier."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "One point is not exactly what we expected after a strong qualifying, but the safety car period didn't play into our hands. Nevertheless, we move on to the test in Silverstone and to the next Grand Prix with confidence. We were able to improve, particularly in qualifying, and we want to continue to improve. Nico delivered a strong performance. The last stint particularly was absolutely thrilling. Of course, we are not where we want to be, but we made a step in the right direction."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "We elected to split the strategies with the tires at the start. Esteban started on the soft tires, Nico on the medium. Unfortunately, the timing of the safety car was at the worst moment for us as a team - eight laps into Nico's second stint on the medium tires and immediately Esteban had pitted. Therefore, it was going to be difficult to recover and score points from there. Nico did a good job in the last stint to get tenth place, which is good for the morale of the team."
Paul di Resta (11th): "It's not been the easiest of weekends for us, but in the final part of the race it looked like we were on course to score some points. In the end we just ran out of tires during the last couple of laps, but it was always going to be risky with our two-stop strategy, especially as we had to pit under the safety car. There were times in the race when the car was working well, but I really struggled with the first set of mediums and was not happy with the balance. Things improved quite a bit for the final stint, but by then we were out of position. It's a bit gutting to miss out on points so we need to unleash our potential and get back to our usual form in Hungary."
Adrian Sutil (13th): "It turned out to be quite a disappointing race and for whatever reason we've just not had the pace this weekend. I struggled a lot with the tires and had to convert from a two-stop race to a three-stop race, which was not our plan. I also lost some time at my final pit stop and after that the points were just too far away."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "It's disappointing to end our run of points finishes, but Paul came very close to picking up the final point today. Ultimately his two-stop strategy wasn't quite enough to fend off our competitors in the final few laps, but we came close to pulling it off. Adrian's race was also decided by tire wear because we had to switch him to a three-stop strategy mid-way through the race. Overall we were missing some performance and didn't have the pace to make the strategy work. Both Paul and Adrian were unable to pass the Williams of Maldonado after the safety car, which compromised the strategy. With three weeks until the next race and a young driver test before that, we will work hard to ensure we can recapture the form we've shown earlier in the season."
Pastor Maldonado (15th): "It was a good race for us today as we put everything together and we were on for some points. It's disappointing to finish where we did today after the problem with the pitstops but we have to look at the positives and move forward from this."
Valtteri Bottas (16th): "We didn't get a good start today as we had a few problems getting away from the line. We also lost some time in both pitstops so we need to work out what happened there. The race pace was better than we had seen previously this weekend which meant that we could have been challenging for points, but unfortunately it wasn't to be."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: "We started the race on medium tires, and as most of the cars around us started on softs we had the opportunity to run out of sync and make up some positions. We were targeting a two-stop strategy for both drivers which we made work. Pitting before the safety car also worked to our advantage. The drivers drove a clean race and managed the tires well but we lost a lot of time in our pitstops. We had a problem getting the front-right tires off both cars and also a problem on the left-rear during Valtteri's final stop, which resulted in the drivers not being able to finish in the positions they deserved. We are now investigating what happened to make sure we can fix this for the future. Overall, our strategy, the higher track temperatures and our tire management enabled us to be in a position to compete for the top ten."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "We were a lot more competitive in the race than we have been in previous Grands Prix and were fighting for points. It was a shame to lose time in the pitstops, but there are definite positives we can take away; we've made a step forward on the race pace, which is what counts."
Daniel Ricciardo (12th): "A frustrating and rather dull race for me. After the start, I was able to hold position on the Option, but once we pitted for the Prime 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. I did try to push more, but the car wouldn't take it and I began to lock the brakes and slide too much, as I didn't have enough grip. This meant I had to drive more smoothly, but it was very frustrating going round and round, gradually slipping backwards. I can't explain why for now, so we will need to look at the data to see why we were just too slow for much of the weekend."
Jean-Eric Vergne (DNF, Hydraulics): "There's not much to say today, because after not having a good pace all weekend, today there was no change. I found the car very difficult to drive right from the start, then there was the moment at my pit stop, when I had to brake hard to avoid Di Resta who was released from his pit right in front of me, which cost me more time. On lap 23 the team told me they had spotted a fault with the hydraulics and called me in to retire. It's extremely disappointing, as this is my second consecutive race retirement. A weekend to forget."
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Naturally, it is disappointing not to score any points this weekend, especially after Daniel had secured a sixth place on the grid. In the current era of Formula 1 where retirements are rare, it is particularly frustrating that we had to call Jean-Eric into the garage with a hydraulic problem. We didn't have the pace we needed today and Daniel did what he could, fighting with the Saubers and Force Indias, finishing ahead of one of each of them, but we were not quick enough to chase the McLarens, which were very strong today. For these reasons, we just fell out of the points zone. As for our strategy, it was fairly clear that three stops was the way to go for the majority. We knew this weekend would be a bit more difficult for us, as the track would not be best suited to the characteristics of our car. However, we have a few new updates planned for Hungary and before that we have two weeks to try and make further progress with our car."
Charles Pic (17th): "My start was ok – I passed Chilton but I had to brake hard in turn one and pretty soon I had a big vibration from the front right. We were always going to stop pretty early so we didn't have to change strategy too much, coming in at the end of lap four to go onto the primes. In the second stint the deg level on the tires was good. We were looking at stopping earlier to cover one of the Marussia pitstops but as the tires were performing well we could stay out. For once we had some luck with the timing of the safety car and boxed for another set of mediums, coming out behind my teammate in 17th. As we'd changed the plan under the safety car I had to manage that second set of mediums and they were holding up well until I had a slow puncture on lap 35 and had to box unexpectedly. The unplanned stop obviously ruined the strategy which is a real shame as we would have been right up with the pack ahead who were all bunched up because of the safety car. That's pretty frustrating but there's not much you can do in those circumstances. Because of the stop I came back out last but passed Chilton and with a few laps to go I passed Giedo whose tires were gone and from there it was just a question of getting it to the finish."
Giedo van der Garde (18th): "I made a great start, passed two cars and then did Vergne on the first lap so by the end of lap one I was up to 17th. The car felt pretty good but we wanted to get the softs out of the way quickly so we stuck to the plan and came in early to go onto the mediums which had held up well on the long runs in practice. The first set of mediums was performing ok but we adapted the plan, pitting on lap 20 for another set of the harder compound. I'd just seen the first blue flags when the safety car came out so I was able to get the lap back and when the race restarted I was in 16th, behind Bottas' Williams and Gutierrez, and ahead of Charles. From that point it was honestly a bit of a lonely race! I was focused on making sure I could get the car to the finish without any problems, and we didn't have any more blue flags until towards the end of the race so it was all pretty trouble free. I boxed again on lap 35 and from there it was all about bringing it home. That was a long final stint so the tires were completely gone towards the end and my pace had dropped a lot, but both Charles and I were clear of our nearest rival so it was a pretty straight run to the flag with him. Despite the final place I think this was another small step for me. My tire management in the race improved a bit today and I've been working on it all weekend. We now have a small break until the next race in Hungary so I have time to head back to the factory, do more work in the sim and come back in Hungary aiming to continue to progress."
Max Chilton (19th): "Not an easy race today. We both struggled with our starts and the opening few laps and then I started to close the gap to Charles and Jules; I was happy with the car. Unfortunately for Jules he had an engine problem so I knew that I had to do my best to get some reward for the Team. In the middle stint there was nothing between us and Caterham and then the safety car came out and stirred up everyone's strategies. We made the right call, but just suffered with rear tire wear with 10 laps to go. On the whole I was happy with my performance and speed today."
Jules Bianchi (DNF, Engine): "Obviously it is very disappointing to end my race so soon, due to an engine problem on lap 22. I got a very poor start and it was a real battle to recover from that and stay ahead of Pic. I had just completed my second pit stop and got ahead of Van Der Garde when the engine let go, but I think we had the pace to be able to fight to keep both Caterhams behind had I continued. The car felt well-balanced and we were showing the usual more positive race pace. It has been a less than straightforward weekend so perhaps this was just not destined to be our race and we just have to look ahead to the next one in Hungary."
John Booth, Team Principal: "An incredibly disappointing result for the Team today but perhaps one which, when digested on Monday morning, will be viewed more favorably. It is clear we had much more potential today and Jules' unfortunate engine problem meant that we were unable to beat our nearest competitors. We don't yet know the cause but I am sure working with Cosworth tonight we will be able to make an initial assessment of what went wrong. What was pleasing today was to see Max running very much at the same pace as Jules and the Caterhams throughout the race and he only lost out due to a more oversteered balance today, which meant that his rear tires suffered later in the stint. We now move on to the Young Driver Test and thereafter the Hungarian Grand Prix in three weeks' time."
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