Lewis Hamilton beats Alonso and Webber in closely fought German Grand Prix
McLaren
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jul 2011   |  2:55 pm GMT  |  244 comments

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

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1

Great race – we are seeing some of the best F1 in years this year.

I’m puzzled by the poor starts by Mark Webber. You would think that ‘the start’ was one thing they could simulate to perfection and practice until the simulator fries. Maybe under the present ‘straight-line’ rules it could be practiced for real until the transmission dies. So why the problems? And why the drop in revs just before the get-to-go at Nurburgring?

2

Have trawelled through most articles and comments and haven’t found anything said in respect of Alonso’s fuel sample.

Has anyone got any info as to whether he should have been punished?

3

Can anyone tell me where Button would have ended up on his two stop strategy if his car had not broken down- it looks like it could have worked OK for him because the hard tyre was actualy seemed worked OK at teh end of the race?

4

More proper overtaking and no longer whacky, thanks to Pirelli for tweaking the tyres to a better and realistic level of degradation.

3 drivers from 3 teams battling it out was the best part.

Lewis drove hard and kept his composure. McLaren does better with Lewis’s aggression on a colder track. Congrats to Hamilton for the victory.

Was great to watch Alonso getting the best out of the cold track temperature from Ferrari’s problem, as usual. Hotter tracks will be coming soon though.

Bad luck again for Webber missing the victory again while he drove well too. Would love to see Mark on the top step of the podium.

And finally Vettel did not appear at the podium for a change but also due to the brake problem. Pressure seems to have shaken him too with quite a few mistakes.

What a flight from Heidfield, couldn’t miss this one.

All in all it was a good race.

5

Very consistent performances by Webber this year. Same point last year, he had 11 points less – and that’s without winning a race (3 wins same point last year). Too bad Vettel is so far ahead.

6

Hands down, nobody gives us entertaining drives than Hamilton, love him/hate him you can’t take that away from him. I was literally on my feet, for me his decisive move round Alonso was what won the race for him.

7

James, how much of it was a tyre issue in the Hamilton/Alonso pass.

I have to give credit to hamilton though because others would have waited for another spot to pass!

8

Ferrari had warm up issues, clearly. But Hamilton forced the issue and Alonso didn’t fight him off much.Interesting to compare with Hamilton’s fight with Webber in same circumstances a lap earlier

9

Good race! Enjoyed the dense action at the front…was good action down the field too. Thought Vettel was decidedly lack-lustre today.

Found myself smiling against my better judgement when Lewis won (because his ego is a problem for me these days), but more of a (disappointed) Button fan really. Not too happy about Button’s recent run of “bad luck”…

Valencia -> KERS failure. (but finished)

Silverstone -> Wheels! (DNF)

Germany -> Hydraulics! (DNF)

Hungary? (absolutely starving! badoom tsh!)

I predict a DRS failure at best…maybe also getting the wrong tyres at a pit stop.

The very worst I expect is for Ron Dennis to run out of the garage during a pit stop and hit Button over the head with a spanner…saying something along the lines of “drive this you lanky #$@%!”

Anyone else care to make a more outrageous prediction?

😉

10

Hamilton gave us a great and thrilling drive today. We are so blessed this season to have so many exciting drivers like Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Button and Vettel.

As Eddie Jordan pointed out during the race, Vettel still needs to prove that he is the complete package. It seems that whenever he is not on pole, he cannot seem to pull it off like Hamilton and Alonso can do, and that is the chink in his armour.

Give Hamilton a great car to drive and he will deliver the results. Alonso and Ferrari too are also coming into its own, so I am looking forward to a very exciting last half of the season. There definitely must be blood!

11

Good action all round but the lighthouse beam was fixed at the front. The action among Lewis, Alonso and Webber provided a good sunday setup. Lewis drove a good race by staying out in front and overtaking his rivals to make it count to the very end. Mclaren race strategy was very good today at making the right calls.

Also the thought Alonso running out of fuel shows he was pushing to the very end but did not suffer Lewis’s fate at Silverstone. As for webber, I can only say it’s his bad luck again for the Aussie. Enough talk about who is the complete race driver, I think most of the top runners have had their chances and as the season progresses, I hope to see more contenders even if Vettle has it in the bag for now.

12

Great race from the top 3 finishers. I think that it once again shows that FA and LH are the top drivers in F1. Ron Dennis really blew it in 07. Nando is the most complete driver; Lewis the the fastest, and best passer but not as consistent and probably not as good a tester. Vettel is the best qualifier but does not have the race craft though he is the youngest and will develop it with more experience and a less superior car. Webber winning best of the rest for this race but in the same class as Button. Massa, Rosberg and present day Schumi, perhaps Koba in third class. Ferrari still having tyre temperature problems especially in cold weather; Macca has tyre wear problems especially in hot weather; both gaining on RBR. Good times in F1 if only the Newey car did not have the first half dominance it c/d have been one of the greatest years ever.

13

How can Lewis be the fastest and seb the best qualifier. Doesn’t make sense that to me.

14

I think LH is the fastest in race conditions. SV is marginally quicker in a clear track as in qualifying. We know that whenever SV qualifies on pole and has clean air in front of him, he usually wins. If all 3 are driving identical cars, I would place my bet on Alonso over an 18 race season, my bet on Lewis on a per race basis, and my bet on Vettel for a qualifying lap.

15

Excellent win Lewis, you have done what was needed. I really liked the overtake on Alonso, just like in the old days i.e. 2007 / 2008. Welcome back Lewis, keep this up and I am sure you can get past Redbull.

James, do you feel that Mclaren can perform well in cold chily conditions and that the race pace from Silverstone was similar apart from the under fuelling issues?. It has been mentioned that Mclaren had developed a new floor to aid in aero flow? thanks

16

Webber just can’t seem to get it together and go from pole to a win… it has to be mental at this point…

17

To win the championship, Vettel:

vs Button: If Button wins ALL remaining nine races, Vettel needs only finish 3rd in four and 4th in five of the races.

vs Alonso: If Alonso wins ALL remaining nine races, Vettel needs only finish 2nd in two and 3rd in seven of the races.

Hamilton: If Hamilton wins ALL remaining nine races, Vettel needs only finish 2nd in three and 3rd in six of the races.

vs Webber: If Webber wins ALL remaining nine races, Vettel needs only finish 2nd in five and 3rd in four of the races.

18

Perhaps you could calculate if Seb has one DNF this season. Everyone else pretty much has one. His turn will inevitably come in the second half of the season. That opens things up a bit.

19

It’s over isn’t it.

20

I wondered about that, so thanks for the info!! =)

It’s generally accepted that this year’s WDC fight over anyway.

21

Vettel was nursing a brake wear issue on the rear side. For those who say he cannot pass, please watch Chinese GP 2011 in which he got past the “mighty” Lewis before the end of first stint on the same set of option tyres. I mean, comeon, he has been doing such a stellar job in qualifying that he doesn’t really need to overtake too many people. So it’s not his sin that he’s qualifying well and that he’s not proving to his bashers that he can’t overtake. He’s anyday better than Mark who couldn’t win despite starting from pole for the umpteenth time.

22

May I offer a kind reminder that Vettel had a far superior car to anybody else on the grid back then?

23
Mark in Australia

Umpteenth time? I think he has had 8 pole positions. I am no stats hound, but I doubt Marks pole position conversion rate is THAT bad. For sure his starts are not totally electric but look at the other great starters in category. I think Schuy averages 4 or 5 positions this year on the first lap. His results are lightyears away from Marks’.

Great race all round. No one is immune to a bad weekend, as highlighted by JB and SV.

24

Totally agree Mark .. The original poster doesn’t realise that Seb himself said he couldn’t match Webber for speed this weekend…

25

Brilliant drive from Sutil. Perhaps his best yet in F1? I know he’s got better results, a 4th in Monza 2009 and a couple of 5ths but I think this outdoes anything he’s done before. I was not expecting him to finish so high but he made the two stopper work beautifully to beat the Mercedes.

He’s been impressive lately and has pretty comfortably outscored di Resta this season.

Although it must be said, in previous races he’s been at fault himself (as bad as Schumacher at losing his front wing!), these last two di Resta has been unlucky firstly with the pitstop in Silverstone and then Heidfeld here.

Two points all season, no points finish since Malaysia. I hope things turn for him soon.

26

Well, perhaps we’re closer to answering the long-pondered question, “can Vettel overtake?” His long stint behind Massa suggests ‘no’.

And it seems like more confirmation of the statement, “boy, can Hamilton overtake!” His overtake round the outside of Alonso suggests ‘yes’. And to those who say Lewis was on warm tyres, I say, so was Webber when he tried the same move on Hamilton a few laps earlier — in a faster car.

27

@ James Allen,

I understand KERS seems to be useless in Toro Rosso cars and only intermitently working in RB cars because of overheating. I’m right?

28

did anybody notice the snippy remark from lewis about his pass on alonso? Where alonso gave him credit. The only thing worse than a sore loser is a bad winner.

29

I hope you aren’t saying “It felt great” was a snippy comment. Of course he’s going to be elated to make a race winning pass on the drivers he considers to be his best opposition.

30

There is no love lost between these two, I prefer it like this as it makes the drama even more appealing when they are going at it on track.

This is what gives it the edge and if you look at the F1 legends, it’s very hard to say they were close mates or had something good to say about each other, regardless on weather they drove for the same team or an opponents.

A sport without emotions or baddies is one thats not played at all. It also creates something for us to talk about…I say more of it cause it makes good TV.

31

Some of us prefer the sport to the show, even when we watch F1. We watch it because is the top motor sport, not because of driver being enemies of each other…

32

Hi San,

It goes down to user preference. We all don’t like the same things.

33

unfortunately i don’t think hamilton’s let 2007 go, which is a shame as everytime he brings up alonso it just comes across really childish whereas alonso seems to have moved and sees his competitors on equal footing, and gives credit where credits due -even to petrov 🙂

34

What a race. He may not be the most consistent driver, but Lewis is a pleasure to watch and always ensures excitement, certainly when tangling with his old friend Fernando.

What becomes painfully clear is that we have, and may have again, a world champion who cannot overtake, even in this time of tyres, DRS and KERS. SV can only seem to win if he starts first and overtaking is done in the pit lane.

Well done Lewis! Well done Fernando!

35

Its clear now that RBR’s performance advantage at the front has been offset by both technical changes and the developmental efforts of McLaren and Ferrari.

From a championship perspective, Vettel’s points advantage at present inhibits the likelihood of a two-way battle for the championship as both Alonso and Hamilton are both on a roll–and there is every chance of these two taking points of eachother in the remaining races.

36

Hamilton was awesome today. Great drive by Sutil, Kobayashi too. I must say, Mercedes were really disppointing, again. I loved seeing a Grand Prix on that circuit again, and what a great race. I remember when it felt like part of the new generation of circuits, now it seems like a throwback!

37

Fabulous race!

Good stuff from the start to the end. I feel sorry for Massa, he drived good and deserved 4th place. Shame on Ferrari pit crew. They have to up their game.

Looking forward to next weekend!

38

its bit unfair to say alonso was caught napping …. everyone knows how foolish lewis can be at overtaking ….even he pushed webber wide, alonso just let it go ..

39

Hamilton wasn’t overtaking Webber… I can’t recall him being in many accidents when being overtaken, the better overtakers tend to respect others when getting passed as they recognise the situation and don’t just turn in for the sake of it.

40

so it was hamilton’s reputation of being reckless driver that gave im n1 spot rather than alonso being caught napping.I guess they all move when Lewis comes behind ‘cos he is such a bad and dangerous overtaker.

41

Hahahaha +!1

No-one moves for Lewis. He is the best overtaker in the business. Him and Fernando are in a different league to Seb/Mark/JB.

Fernando and Lewis are the best drivers I have seen since Schumi and Senna. And I’ve been wasting Sundays on this nonsense for over 2 decades!

42

Agreed Don. On their day Hamilton and ALonso are the best of the current drivers. Simply electrifying.

There is a lot of talk on Koby and others with passing but history will tell if they make it in the harder years after their ‘rookie’ year.

43

A great race up and down the field with many drivers playing their part.

F1 back on top.

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