Vettel conquers Germany – F1 German GP

July 10, 2013 6:15 pm

Sebastian Vettel put to bed two ‘curses’ in his career on Sunday with a finely-judged victory in the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

The reigning World Champion had yet to win his home race as he accelerated away from the grid and into an early lead, swamping the slow-starting Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton while Mark Webber forced his way around the outside at the first corner.

As the leading trio made a break for it at the head of the pack, Felipe Massa was bewildered to find himself heading onto his 3rd lap with only 5th gear at his disposal; the Ferrari driver was left in a spin as he skated off the road at turn one and stalled the Scuderia. This was his first retirement in 14 Grand Prix’ in Germany.

Vettel's first ever German Grand Prix victory, and his first race win in July.

Vettel’s first ever German Grand Prix victory, and his first race win in July.

The Safety Car made an early appearance after Jules Bianchi’s Marussia roasted itself on the climb up the hill toward the final chicane. The Frenchman jumped clear of his flaming machine as the onboard fire extinguishers took effect and recovery crews rushed toward the stricken vehicle. They were foiled however as the Marussia started to roll down the hill and crossed the track, mercifully avoiding a collision with passing cars until it was plucked from danger by other marshals.

Vettel rejoined comfortably in the aggregate lead after his first stop under the Safety Car, but luck was not on the side of team-mate Webber as he made his move for fresh tyres; the Australian was left high and dry and on just 3 wheels after his right rear Pirelli was not attached properly. Miscommunication between his pitcrew resulted in the RB9 accelerating away as the errant tyre bounced through the assembled pitcrews of other teams before striking FOM cameraman Paul Allen. The Briton had been filming Grosjean’s release from his pitbox when the wheel hit him, and he was swiftly ushered to the circuit medical centre before being airlifted to Koblenz hospital for ‘observation’. He is understood to have suffered a broken shoulder and cracked ribs, but is not in any danger.

Webber made up ground as he was allowed to pass the Safety Car before it left the circuit on lap 30 and racing re-commenced. Vettel had his hands full with the Lotus pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean who had exploited the tyre efficiency of their svelte E21′s to cause the Red Bull some serious hassle. Grosjean was emerging from obscurity after failing to score points since Bahrain in April as he made his bid for the lead, but the Frenchman couldn’t quite get close enough to pass. Raikkonen stayed out longer than both his rivals and only pitted with 10 laps to go for the faster, softer compound Pirelli tyre in a trend started by Jenson Button who was running 5th for McLaren after a dogged performance.

Kimi Raikkonen pushed hard, but couldn't quite get the win.

Kimi Raikkonen pushed hard, but couldn’t quite get the win.

The Finn rejoined the track and put his foot down, but took a bit too long negotiating team-mate Grosjean and gave Vettel some much-needed breathing space as he continued onwards on his worn medium compound Pirelli’s. Despite a determined attack, the German held on and scored an emotional victory in front of his home fans. Grosjean secured a much-needed 3rd place, ahead of the indomitable Fernando Alonso who dragged his F138 into a potentially vital 4th place. Lewis Hamilton passed Button with just a single lap left on the board as his former McLaren team-mate was baulked by traffic, while Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg made last-gasp moves for 7th and 9th places respectively. Sergio Perez was 8th, and Nico Hulkenberg claimed a welcome 10th for Sauber.

“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.” Sebastian Vettel

Vettel continues to lead the hunt for the 2013 Driver’s Championship trophy on 157 points, while Kimi Raikkonen’s 2nd place has enabled him to close up on Fernando Alonso, with the Ferrari driver on 123 and the Finn on 116 respectively.

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