Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has delivered under pressure in front of his home crowd to win the FIA Formula One 2013 Grand Prix and in doing so has achieved his maiden one at the Nurburgring.
Vettel will certainly remember this one in his race victory record as it is his 30th career win to date in what was his 110th Grand Prix start today.
"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," said Vettel.
The reigning World Champion may have made it look easy, but there was just a tiny margin of one second that separated him from second place man, Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus Renault car.
Raikkonen’s team mate, Romain Grosjean crossed the finish line next to take third place and completed the podium, which features the same line up of the top three drivers from the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier in the season.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso managed to improve on his qualifying position of eighth place today and although he missed out on a podium spot the Spaniard picked up a solid fourth place finish.
Alonso said, "This was a difficult race, we weren’t very quick and at some moments we were not competitive enough. In the first stint, we paid the price for being on used tyres, because by lap twelve they were already finished, which cost us some of the advantage we hoped to gain from our strategic choice."
Alonso’s team mate, Felipe Massa was not quite as lucky though and he spun out of the race at the first corner on just lap four. "At the start of lap four, when I was on the straight, at the moment when I braked, the rear wheels locked up and I couldn’t stop the car from spinning. When the car came to a stop, it was stuck in fifth gear and I couldn’t stop the engine from stalling," explained the Brazilian.
Yesterday’s pole sitter, Mercedes’ driver Lewis Hamilton, dropped down the field during the Grand Prix instead of going forward and maintaining first place. The Englishman did seem to pick up the pace in the final few laps though and secured fifth place for himself.
Hamilton’s fellow countryman, Jenson Button was one victim to Hamilton’s performance in the closing stages of the race, but the McLaren driver scored some valuable Championship points with his sixth place finish.
Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber ended up in a McLaren sandwich as he ended the race in seventh place and Sergio Perez finished the other side of him in eighth position. There was drama for Webber during a pit stop on lap nine, when he went to exit his pit box and the right rear tyre on his car had not been secured properly.
The tyre suddenly became detached from the car and bounced into the air, which saw the tyre then bring a camera man to floor on his back. The pit lane medical team came to the camera man’s aid, who has reportedly just suffered cuts and bruises from the incident. Webber was then told to switch off his engine via the team radio and they pushed his car back into the pit box to sort out the tyre problem, before he got racing again but had to do so from the back of the field.
The stewards were reportedly looking into the incident after the race, but it is yet to be confirmed as to whether or not they will take any course of action.
After failing to make it through to the top 10 shootout in qualifying yesterday, Hamilton’s team mate, Nico Rosberg redeemed himself today when it mattered. The German snatched ninth place from his fellow countryman, Nico Hulkenberg in his Sauber, who had to settle for the 10th and final point scoring position.
The rest of the drivers in the field from 11th to 22nd place missed out on the points either due to not making the grade or retiring from the race altogether. The Force India duo of Paul Di Resta and Adrian Sutil completed the race, but Di Resta’s was not without a controversial moment. The Scotsman was exiting his pit box after stopping for a tyre change and suddenly came into the path of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne who was entering his. The incident came to the attention of the stewards for the reason of an unsafe release, who were due to investigate it after the race and there have been no reports yet as to whether they will take any further action.
Di Resta may have had problems off the track while his team mate, Sutil could not match his three fellow Germans in the field to make it into a point scoring position.
Another team that suffered misfortune in the race was Williams. Both Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas were running in the top 10 during the race, but had to visit the pits for a tyre change late on and as a result they dropped out of the points. Their situation was not helped by a couple of pit stop problems either, when there was difficulty for the mechanics trying to remove the wheel nuts in order to change one of the tyres. The Williams team may sadly remember their 600th Grand Prix today for the wrong reasons instead of the right ones.
Of the three retirees in the race, Massa was also joined by Marussia’s Jules Bianchi on lap 23. The French man was forced to abandon his car just off the track, after the engine appeared to blow up which led to a temporary fire and shortly went out. Before Bianchi’s car could be moved to safety, it suddenly rolled from one side of the track across to the other and was stopped by an advertising board. The safety car was then deployed on lap 25 until lap 29 for marshals to rescue the car from the location it had unexpectedly moved to.
The third and final driver who retired from the race was Vergne, after the near miss in the pits with Di Resta, the French man continued in the Grand Prix, but had to bow out early on lap 26 due to a suspected hydraulic problem with his car.
Vettel’s special victory today will not only go into the history books, but also means that he has increased his lead further from Alonso in the battle for the Driver’s title. Vettel is very much in the driving seat with today’s race win, as he has pipped his closest Championship rivals to this prior to the three week break that the F1 fraternity now has, until they face their next challenge when the Hungarian Grand Prix takes place on 28th July.