Lewis Hamilton won a tense three way battle for victory in the German Grand Prix, beating Fernando Alonso and the pole sitter Mark Webber.
It was Hamilton’s second win of the season and the 16th of his career.
It was a great weekend for Hamilton, his result set up by a stunning qualifying lap and a great start, where he took the lead from pole sitter Mark Webber on the run down to Turn 1.
And the victory was topped off by his overtake on Alonso after the Spaniard had emerged ahead of him from his second pit stop.
“If we keep pushing these are the kind of results we can get,” said a delighted Hamilton over the radio on the slow down lap.
“It couldn’t have been any better, we didn’t expect this. I feel great. It was one of the best races I’ve ever done.”
It was another tense and exciting race with Webber, Hamilton and Alonso all competitive, closely matched and enjoying battling each other. There were some great battles between them which brought the race alive. The three of them are separated by just nine points now in the championship.
In contrast it was one of runaway points leader Sebastian Vettel’s more low key races, he lost out in a battle with Alonso then made a mistake, then got undercut by Massa at the first round of pit stops. Brake problems were clearly part of the problem.
Drizzle had been in the air intermittently in the morning and a few minutes before the start rain was falling. But it wasn’t enough for the drivers to go with anything other than soft slick tyres.
It was a chilly day, the track temperature just 15 degrees.
Webber had a poor start record this season and again, as at Silverstone, he lost the lead off the startline. Lewis Hamilton took the lead into Turn 1, while behind Webber Alonso and Vettel battled over third, passing and repassing each other several times on the opening lap.
Paul Di Resta and Nick Heidfeld dropped to the back of the field after an incident.
Rosberg got a great start up to 5th ahead of Massa, whose engineer Rob Smedley radioed his driver that he had to get past the Mercedes or his race would be ‘ruined’.
Alonso attacked Vettel repeatedly and got past him on lap eight, clearly using KERS and drafting down the inside of Vettel into Turn 1.
Soon afterwards Vettel made a mistake, spinning off the track and losing seven seconds in the process.
Nick Heidfeld had a messy day, causing an incident with Di Resta at the start, but he didn’t have a chance to serve the penalty because he was taken out by Buemi who didn’t see him as he tried to pass him into the chicance.
Massa got past Rosberg on lap 12 and a lap later the leaders got stuck in to each other. Hamilton ran wide at the chicane and Webber passed him into the final corner, but Hamilton used KERS and the McLaren straight line speed advantage to repass him on the pit straight.
This allowed Alonso to join the fight and the top three battled hard.
Webber pitted on lap 15 and managed to undercut Hamilton who waited two laps to react. Alonso also pitted on lap 17 and he rejoined third. Vettel was passed by Massa and came into the pits. He rejoined behind Massa who stopped a lap later.
Webber tried to push to open a lead over Hamilton and Alonso, but wasn’t able to.
The top three circulated within 2.8 seconds of each other.
Vettel was nursing a problem with the rear brakes and had to move the bias forwards.
At the half way stage the leading trio of Webber, Hamilton and Alonso were within 1.6 seconds of each other.
Webber pitted on lap 31, Hamilton came in a lap later and undercut him. As Webber tried to repass, Hamilton gave him a little nudge to the outside which was enough to knock his momentum.
Alonso pitted a lap later and came out ahead of Hamilton, but he pulled off the pass around the outside of Turn 2 which Webber had failed to make on him. It was a classic Hamilton move and really caught Alonso napping.
Button was on a two stop strategy, his race having been somewhat compromised by a poor qualifying and a poor start, but just as he was making some progress, passing Rosberg for sixth place, he had to retire the car with a hydraulics failure.
Petrov was the first to go onto the slower medium Pirelli tyre, followed by Kobayashi. When Petrov began setting personal best lap times and the Japanese driver went immediately quicker than his team mate on the older soft tyres, the picture was clear.
Hamilton went for mediums first, Alonso followed but had a messy in lap and stayed behind his old rival, while Red Bull gambled by leaving Webber out on the old soft tyres, but as his tyres had been on since lap 31 they didn’t have enough left in them and he rejoined third almost eight seconds behind second place Alonso.
Massa and Vettel played cat and mouse over coming in for medium tyres right up to the final lap. They came in with Massa ahead, but a faster stop for Red Bull meant that Vettel came out ahead, giving him fourth place.
GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Nurburgring, 60 laps
1. Hamilton McLaren 1h37:30.334
2. Alonso Ferrari + 3.980
3. Webber Red Bull + 9.788
4. Vettel Red Bull + 47.921
5. Massa Ferrari + 52.252
6. Sutil Force India + 1:26.208
7. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap
8. Schumacher Mercedes + 1 lap
9. Kobayashi Sauber + 1 lap
10. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
11. Perez Sauber + 1 lap
12. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1 lap
13. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap
14. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
15. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Lotus + 2 laps
17. Glock Virgin + 3 laps
18. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 3 laps
19. Ricciardo HRT + 3 laps
20. Chandhok Lotus + 4 laps