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German Grand Prix: Who was your driver of the day the Nurburgring?
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jul 2011   |  10:14 pm GMT  |  117 comments

A thrilling three-way battle for victory combined with strong performances all the way down the field made for an exciting race at the Nurburgring.

So who did you think was the outstanding driver at Nurburgring?

Lewis Hamilton
Drove the wheels off his McLaren to qualify second on Saturday behind pole-sitter Mark Webber. Made the perfect getaway to lead into Turn 1 and then spent the race jostling for the lead with Webber and Fernando Alonso. Pulled off a string of overtakes, including a spectacular move around the outside of Alonso into Turn 1 after the final round of stops, to come out on top and win his second race of the season.

Fernando Alonso
Refused to be downbeat after qualifying fourth, one place ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa. Made amends with a strong start to pass championship leader Vettel and slick pit from Ferrari saw him come out in the lead after the final stops. However, cold tyres meant he couldn’t defend the lead from Hamilton and settled for second – his third consecutive top two finish.

Mark Webber
Outperformed his team-mate in qualifying for the second successive race to take pole position at the venue where he scored his first F1 victory in 2009. A slow getaway allowed Hamilton to pass him, but the Australian battled hard against the Brit and Alonso all race long and ultimately finished third, one place ahead of team-mate Vettel.

Adrian Sutil
Qualified a strong eighth, four places ahead of Force India team-mate Paul di Resta, and stayed out of trouble at the start. Didn’t make any mistakes and passed Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg during the pit stops to finish sixth – the team’s best result of the season.

Kamui Kobayashi
Started 17th, one place higher than he qualified after Sebastien Buemi’s grid penalty, and jumped five places to 12th on the opening lap. The Japanese driver than maximised the team’s strategy to fight his way into the points and finish ninth – his seventh top ten finish of the season.

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Lewis deserved top spotat the nurburgring. Vettel had a strange day indeed.


I have never been terribly impressed with Vettel, lewis is a better starter, better in the rain, and he and alonzo are better passers. Vettel is only the best when he has pole but who other than webber wouldn’t be. We will see how good vettel is now that the big three seem to be of equal pace. Best driver, hamilton. 2 alonzo. Don’t mean to anger anyone, just my opinion. LET’S GO RACING, Y’ALL.


For me it was Sutil by a nose, I thought he was sensational considering the equipment he had underneath him.

Hamilton isn’t always my cup of tea but he was a very close second, a real virtuoso performance which demonstrated (incase we’d forgotten) what a great racer he still can be.


Hamilton lived up to the brochure this time. He won because he drove with his head as well as his heart. Sign of things to come?


Here’s an interesting stat I just worked out…

Hamilton has now been on the podium at every single circuit he has raced on in F1! Before yesterday, the Nurburgring was the only circuit where he hadn’t achieved a podium.

That’s very impressive!!


This Grand Prix confirms my observations:

1. The top two drivers are still Hamilton and Alonso (or Alonso and Hamilton, take your pick).

2. Under pressure, Vettel goes haywire: Montreal, Silverstone, Nurburgring.


Hi James I have to say nothing can take away that Hamilton was nothing short of brilliant! I also thought Sutil drove fantastically and he needed to put in a performance that we know he can put in. Then I have to say it although he spun I though Michael Schumacher comeback to finish in 8th and just under 10 seconds is was great! Apparently he lost something like 15 seconds? Please note I take nothing away from the nominees that you have nominated they all deserve some credit.

I don’t know if you remember but in Hungary 2005 you commented with Mark Blundell and Schumacher and Ferrari performance began to imporve and in Hungary he got pole and then kept Raikkonen behind him until the second round of fuel stops. Do you think with his upward trend in form he will get it right in Hungary? Mercedes has been improving and his pace has been stronger than Nico’s. Take nothing away from Nico is very consistent and that is why is scoring better than Michael.

I sure hope we will see up there this weekend!

I just finished your book The Edge of Greatness! Loved it!!


Thank you for that


What an amazing race! Lewis pulled something amazing out of the team and the car this weekend. He never gave up!

For Lewis to win the championship he needs to take 9 points or more off Vettel’s lead at each race. Unlikely I grant you, but with the odds at 25/1 and with a performance like we saw this weekend. it’s got to be worth a few pounds right?

My friends in Budapest are forecasting rain for the weekend… Go LEWIS!!


Totally agree with your choice of options James. Hamilton the clear winner, but I would say that after such a close race between the front three that whoever crossed the line first would have been the driver of the day. All three drove superb races, under pressure and chasing the win, yet very few errors between them.

Kobayashi almost goes unnoticed simply because we have come to expect him to move up the placings and he is so often in the points. Another great drive and I reckon he’ll have another year at Sauber before moving on to another team with more resources. Sutil had a great result today, kept it clean and stayed out of trouble and outpaced the Mercedes works team.

I think Massa deserves credit too, he drove fantastically well under some pressure with Vettel behind him without making any errors, defended well and fairly. I think it’s a little off people saying how the team should feel ashamed for letting him down in the pit stop – the reason pit stops are loved is because anything can happen. The pressure is intense, the slightest evenuality can lose major time and in moments the mechanics go from sitting around watching telly to intensely pressured activity needing split second timing. If pit stops were cut and dry then everyone would do what Vettel did and let the pit crew make the difference.

On the subject of Vettel I don’t think he had a bad race as many are saying. It was just his lack guile. I just think he struggles when he isn’t at the front in a vastly superior car. It will take a number of far more racy, combatative performances for him to change peoples opinions on his ability. Whilst I understand that he doesn’t need to chase points, I can’t believe that Alonse or Hamilton, or Webber too, wouldn’t have put more effort into passing. Not that Vettel will care one bit what people think so long as he in winning!


Have to give it to Hamilton this time – brilliant performance. However, I wouldn’t call his move on Alonso “spectacular”. It was cheeky and bold, but not as outstanding as people try to make it look. Hamilton had the advantage of warmed up tyres and Alonso chose not to be too agressive. And before somebody comes with the argument of similar Webber vs. Hamilton battle not long before – yes, I know, I saw it and hats off to Hamilton for keeping his place. I still reckon an attacking Webber is quite a different thing to an attacking Hamilton and also Alonso tends to be less aggressive towards other drivers than Hamilton.

All in all, great drives by all top three drivers. Hamilton wins it fair and square for me. Good job by Sutil and Kobayashi as well :).


I am often quite critical of Hamilton, but he was simply stunning all weekend.

There can be no other choice for driver of the day.


I voted Sutil this round, felt he deserved credit for his two stops to be placed sixth.


Where is Jenson in that list? Maybe he deserves more than anybody in Macca some recognition. The English dominates his team mate in Canada: 101 – 85! After Europe GP, he was 109 – 97 over LH. I still remember Monaco 2010 and even Bahrein 2007. Bad luke from one side of the garage if you are Hamilton’s team mate. Ok, Ok you probably will rubish the facts explained in plain English but two races out in a row by team mistakes it is too much for a thinker or a gift for a Lewis supporter.

GP after GP I see the face of Ron Dennis and I think: poor Jenson.


I’m undecided. It seems unfair to pick one of the top three drivers as it condemns the others. It was the three of them who made the race. Alonso and Hamilton were on top of their cars, pushing them to the limit all the way through the race. Hamilton did make a mistake, the chicane, and it cost him a position, albeit only for a few seconds.

Those top three though were superb. It was what GP racing is all about. After the final tyre stop when the race was all but resolved we than had the excitement of the battle between Vettel and Massa.

So I’m abstaining. Bit of a cop-out I suppose. hamilton probably thoroughly deserves the award but got the bonus of the win. Wanting more is just greedy.


James – a quick Rules Query:

When Massa exited the pit lane after one of his pit stops, Webber was coming down the main straight. They were clearly racing for position around Turn One. Massa had the inside line and arguably position. However, in maintaining his position Vs Webber, he pushed Webber outside the painted white line of the racing track. Not only was Webber forced to have all 4 wheels off the ‘track’, but in pushing him – Massa also clearly had all 4 wheels off the track. Is this FIA legal?

Great website by the way, I check it every day – thanks!


No idea. Good question though. I’ll ask in Budapest this week


Easy one : Hamilton.

Spoke with modesty in the lead-up and downplayed his chances then let his driving do the talking both in quali and the race.

Clean and strong overtaking togetherwith really fast laps when they counted. Excellent stuff.

Re Vettel : still think it’s a bit early to be saying that he can’t race unless he’s leading. Quite possible that he was happy to pick-up points and thought it was a bit dangerous to go sticking his nose down the inside of Massa !

Championship is almost-certainly a lost cause but suddenly we have the chance of seeing some new podiums.

Memo to Webber : the snide comments are getting old. To say that the overall result was a good thing (i forget the exact words): Its getting a wee bit tiresome methinks.


Webber is the only one from the top teams that seems to not be afraid to say what he wants. We always see corporate friendly, bland, boring and predictable comments from most of the others.

I think it’s the complete opposite of a wee bit tiresome.


Totally agree re your comments that Webber is refreshing compared to most others (who are overly corporate-aligned, repetitive etc etc).

I just get the feeling that lately he is saying things purely/solely for the theatrical value and to create a bit of friction. Just a percepton of course, could be totally incorrect ! Cheers.


Clarification :

MW’s exact words were “I hope so” when asked if these sorts of results would continue for remainder of season.


It was another great race but JA summed it perfectly on twitter

“Great win for Hamilton, based on great quali, great start and the overtake on Alonso after the second stops.”

I’d add re-pass of Webber, and Hamilton finally saying he needs to let his driving do the talking. The frame of mind he was in Monaco and Canada one of those moves would have ended in tears. Perhaps he’s accepted the championship is gone, but he can still put some great races together. Alonso looks like he in good form too. So we could have more great races in the second half of the season.


I’ll go for Lewis on this one. That’s the kind of races and racers we need in F1. It’s all about performances that catch you out of surprise, that are not expected before the weekend and are earned with fights throughout the race. Lewis fought every battle like his life depended on it. Brilliant. Alonso was great too.


Just about the easiet selection so far. Lewis was head and shoulders above anyone else at the circuit this weekend, extracting more from his car than the rest of the field. Stunning performance in qualifying then converted into a hard fought win with the Alonso overtake a highlight, along with the Webber defence on the same corner.


I think Sutil was the outstanding performer as T1-3 on the opening few laps for a mid field team is extremely treacherous – Hamilton got the gift of a poor start by Webber & never had to look back. Winning by less than 10 secs does not elevate you to awesome performance or driver of the day especially when that covered the top 3! All three would then be equally justified if you look at their overall performance vs their team mates. It is starting to annoy me with the BBC & press that every time he wins it is his best ever. Great drive yes, but best ever … A Force India beat both Mercedes, that is an awesome performance & fully deserves the driver of the day.

A few things were on my mind the whole race but I didnt hear an answer or comment so here goes

a) Hamilton was over a second quicker than his team mate in quali where he is normally 0.3-0.5 quicker.

b) Hamilton was 10kph faster in a straight line than other cars. Didnt use his new DRS that much as he was normally in front.

c) Alonso ran out of fuel (down to 1ltr) on the slow down lap.

My thought was that the other teams didnt gamble and went for a mix set up of dry & wet running – more downforce & less fuel as slower expected lap times of wet running. Hamilton has nothing to lose in the championship & took the gamble of a dry race set up. With no rain (even though it was widely predicted) it paid off. I was hoping for some rain to see if I was correct about his set up.

In contrast to all the above, Hamilton appeared to have a lot of front end grip which contradicts the dry set up gamble, did he get an upgrade that Jenson didnt & that was why he was 1sec faster?

Vettel was not a happy camper the whole weekend & with a rear brake issue for part of the race stood no chance of a podium.

It was also clear to see that McLaren were the most effected by the blown diffuser row.

Christian Horner was not too distressed after the race & seemed quite relieved to be heading towards Hungary.



Really in the end despite all the action in between the result came down to who pitted first for that last stop. With all the talk of the harder tyre being 2 seconds slower Mclaren took a gamble and blinked first anyway, this time it paid off.

No good for the constructors that Jenson had another unfortunate DNF either.


Hamilton was the best on the track!


Amazing race!

Lewis may have done some questionable moves and behaved strangely in previous races, but this Sunday he was absolutely fantastic!

Actually, I can’t explain even to myself, how he did what he did – being more than a second faster than Button in Qualification in the same car! Or was it the same?

Does anybody know if Lewis used some other car configuration/updates to Jenson? James?

This year’s WDC is probably already finished, but in this particular race Lewis was a champion, perfect to the very edge of perfection.


Great drives by Alonso, Sutil and Kobayashi, and Webber made his team mate look ordinary today. However there can be only one driver of the day and Lewis Hamilton stood head and shoulders above his peers today with a near flawless drive with some amazing passes.


James how about giving us an option of a No.2 and No.3 choice, perhaps even a second and third poll? To me Lewis out drove Alonso and Webber in what I suspect is a car that is not quite as quick as either the Ferrari or the Red Bull. That makes him top in Germany.

However I am so impressed with Sutil and Kobayashi! Sutil out drove his car, an Kobayashi fought up the field from so far back… Stunning drives!


I’m an Alonso fan but this is the first time in my life that I have voted for Lewis. Not because he drove around the outside of the Ferrari but because of his tenacity and controlled aggression, something he himself mentioned after the race. We all know he put in a very good lap in qualifying but in the race also he was very good.

After coming under pressure from Mark and being overtaken on the track, he was vicious and immediately came back, one of his traits. Had he not done that, he would have been swallowed by Alonso as well, as Ferrari was fastest of the trio at that time. And then after coming out behind Alonso, it was quite visible that Alonso had cold tires and very little grip in turn 1 but Alonso gave him far too much space at the following bend and Hamilton as always was more aggressive than any other driver would have been at that time and did drive around the outside and then pulled away and maintained his lead till the end. But it wasn’t only down to him, it was also down to his Mclaren which was the fastest car of the day.

Alonso did everything right the whole weekend except not making life harder for Lewis when coming out of the pits, just like Lewis had done to Mark the last lap. I think Alonso matches Lewis for everything speed, overtaking, defending, race craft, qualifying but what Alonso does lack at time is that aggression, he does have it but the extra aggression at times is sometimes lacking, well it has been Lewis Achilles heel this season but nonetheless . Alonso was happy with his second place but I think his team and he himself threw away the win. Had he retained his lead after the stops, he’d have probably made it to the chequered flag as the victor.

But then all in all, Lewis was excellent and so was Alonso. My vote goes to Lewis just because Alonso lacked that extra aggression after his pit stop although I know and understand that he had cold tires and 150 Italia does take time to heat up the black gold. Alonso should have made life harder for Lewis, had he done that, i’d have voted for him because he deserved it.

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