Vettel Takes First Home Victory As Lotus throw down the gauntlet
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By:   |  07 Jul 2013   |  5:12 pm GMT  |  441 comments

Sebastian Vettel was today able to do something that he had failed to do his entire F1 career, as he took his first home Grand Prix win, holding off an impressive display by the Lotus pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

It was Vettel’s fourth win of the season and the 30th of his F1 career.

“It was a tough race; it was one of the toughest for a long time, ” said Vettel, who described his main emotion at winning his home race as “relief”.

“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.”

After taking the race lead from a slow-starting Lewis Hamilton in to the first corner of the opening lap, Vettel was able to extend his lead in the opening stint and looked to have a big gap as the early switches to the prime tyre took place.

At this point Mark Webber had sat in second place after also passing Hamilton at the start, but his race came in to trouble at his first pit-stop. An issue with the right-rear tyre was unsolved as his drove away from his pit-box, resulting in the tyre coming off the car and hitting an F1 Management cameraman, Paul Allen, in the pit-lane.

Reports state that he was taken to hospital, with a cracked bone in his shoulder and rib. Red Bull was fined by the stewards for the incident.

With higher air and track temperatures the Lotus car came in to its own. As the cars starting on the option tyre pitted for the prime compound around the six lap mark, Grosjean was able to run until thirteen laps in to the Grand Prix before making the switch to primes. This put Grosjean in the hunt for the race victory as he put himself in second place following his stop.

At this point Vettel held a comfortable twelve second gap between himself and Raikkonen, but that was undone by a Safety Car period as the race entered the halfway stage.

Jules Bianchi’s Marussia suffered a blown engine at the final chicane before rolling back across the track and down the hill, prompting the Safety Car and a flurry of pit stops.

When the race restarted it was how you were for the leaders, albeit much closer together. Grosjean began to pile even more pressure on the Red Bull driver with Raikkonen close behind. Lotus had hoped to stick to ‘Plan A’, presumably a two-stop race, but changed to three stops when their tyre wear became too extreme with seventeen laps still to run.

Grosjean was the first to make a third stop; Vettel following suit a lap later. This denied the Frenchman the chance of an under-cut an their positions remained unchanged following the stops.

At this point it appeared that Raikkonen, now in the race lead and fifteen seconds ahead of Vettel, would attempt to complete the race on his degrading prime tyres. But with eleven laps left he pitted for a second set of the soft option tyre, dropping to third and set about chasing Vettel for the win.

Grosjean let him past with little resistance and he closed to within a second of Vettel by the race end, but was unable to deny the World Championship leader of his 30th career victory.

He is now 34 points ahead of Alonso, and sees his team extend their Constructor’s Championship lead to 67 points over Mercedes.

Last week’s winners had a day to forget as Hamilton lost out to both Red Bull’s and suffered a lack of grip on the medium tyre following his first stop and spent much of the race in traffic. He made a late third stop and was able to pick his way through the pack to fifth place and maintain his team’s three point advantage over Ferrari in the teams Championship.

Nico Rosberg could not make up the ground lost in yesterday’s disappointing qualifying session and ended the day in ninth place after battling with Nico Hulkenberg for much of the race.

Alonso was the sole points scorer for Ferrari after Felipe Massa spun at turn one in the opening laps and retired from the Grand Prix. The Ferrari was unable to match the pace of the Lotus and Red Bull ahead, but Alonso was able to make the best of what was available. He sees his lead over Raikkonen in the Championship now cut to seven points.

McLaren had one of their strongest races of 2013, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez taking sixth and eighth places respectively. They were the first of the two-stop runners and this result gives them encouragement  in catching regaining fifth place in the Constructor’s Championship from Force India.

GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Nurburgring, Race
1. Vettel Red Bull 25 Pts
2. Raikkonen Lotus 18 pts
3. Grosjean Lotus 15 pts
4. Alonso Ferrari 12 pts
5. Hamilton Mercedes 10 pts
6. Button McLaren 8 pts
7. Webber Red Bull 6 pts
8. Perez McLaren 4 pts
9. Rosberg Mercedes 2 pts
10. Hulkenberg Sauber 1 pt
11. Di Resta Force India
12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso
13. Sutil Force India
14. Gutierrez Sauber
15. Maldonado Williams
16. Bottas Williams
17. Pic Caterham
18. van der Garde Caterham
19. Chilton Marussia

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1

Vettel reminds of Button… he is sitting in a car that is so dominate, and has a weak team mate…

These types of WDC hold no value to me.

2
Danny Almonte

Lotus are a joke. They can only dream of lucking into a win through tire management. I’m not a fan of their approach to racing. It must be the only option they have since they don’t have qualifying speed. They require too many variables to go their way to benefit from their strategy.

3

Starting to believe that Vettel will pass Schumachers seven world titles. The team and driver are just on fire i cant see Ferrari even with Alonso at the wheel getting close.

Vettel to clinch the title with a few races to spare. Amazing.

4

Its not amazing at all…

Newey is dominating and nothing more…

Webber is obviously a weak team mate, and is the only one really racing Vettel.

It’s a two horse race, where one horse been tranqualised by his owner…

5

I feel robbed of seeing what Webber had for Vettel yesterday if there had been four wheels on his car the whole afternoon. Conspiracy theorists reply here please.

6

The car that trigger the safetycar, was parked and not moving at all… how come it begun moving on its own.. somebody must have push the car, it looked to me solidly parked… not inching backwards, next thing I know a tractor is chasing a car…. come some body explain what happenned?.

7

Vettel Vettel all the way ! His dominance reminds me of the “Red Barons” Ferrari years. If the Vettel-Newey combination continues for another 10 years, i can totally see Seb rewrite every F1 record out there.

8

The tyre stops in 2-3 seconds are super impressive.

I remember when Williams were winning all their races back in the early 90’s (Pre-refueling)they used to take 9-10 seconds to change 4 wheels/tyres!

Fantastic Progress!

9

MAny people here, above, are writing off this season to another Vettel-Red Bull championship; I say, remember what Murray says, “Anything happens in Grand Prix racing, and it usually does.”

Having already predicted Red Bull’s strong form, now I’ll say that the Vettel-Red Bull championship is NOT in the bag.

They have managed to divide the competition, nicely, so that their main rivals keep on changing, thus no other team has been able to mount a sustained challenge. Of course they have Mark Webber under full control, so no threat there to their prized blockhead munchkin.

So are there any dark clouds on the horizon?

History tells us, repeatedly that there are!

Because of the overriding development race, teams may have been keeping updates, more easily replicatable, and adaptable to other teams, in the bag. The question is, is there anything, ‘in the bag’ for the rest of the season?

I believe we have just started to see the Lotus trick, their double DRS, which seems to have an extremely long maturation cycle, thus Lotus have taken it out of the bag to refine, prior to the summer break, with comparative confidence that it will not be replicated this year.

The Lotus is emerging as the fastest car with this trick and the tires in Germany.

But even with a faster car, it will be hard to beat Red Bull, who have so many superlatives in their team performance armoury to draw upon.

In Budapest we’ll likely see some other teams bringing tricks from their bags, but right now the trajectory looks good for Lotus, and of course Red Bull keep on charging.

It ain’t over until it’s over!

10

According to Brundle/Croft, the double DRS was put back into the bag.

11
Grayzee (Australia)

I know the Webber unsafe release got a lot of media attention. but why is there not a bigger outrage at the Force India unsafe release?

Verne has stamp on the brakes to avoid hitting Di Resta, and had they collided it couls have a lot worse that a wayward tyre………I would have thought that incident should have warranted a drive through at least..and a paltry $5000……..pathetic!

12

@ Tom and goferet

Thanks for the good wishes! i wish you both many happy hours of Motorsport viewing and generally just an excellent time in life!

BTW James thanks for a great website. I’m fairly new to the site and I find it has the best articles and comment sections around. Keep up the great work!

13

Thanks, tell your friends!

14

@ Goldeneye76

Congrats on the daughter mate. Wishing you a quick and trouble-free birth.

Good luck

15

I feel sorry for he cameraman. Hearing flown to Koblenz ringed larm bells. Volunteer firefighter and i have seen too many people flown to Koblenz, glad it turned out good.

But wanting a harder penalty,…

Was there a penalty at all when Hamilton raced back to box last race and shooting tyre pieces around.

If you watched, the steel pieces where.like whips, extenting the radius of the tyre and thereforflying with a higher velocity.

Shouldn’t there a speed limit or red flags for potential deadly damaged cars?

16

Why is nobody talking yet other spin by Massa – why has there been no talk about his future surely there has to be a better alternative – unbelievable he has been at ferari for 8 years now

17

Does anyone know how many fans were at the track on Sunday?

18

Was someone at fault with the backward rolling Marussia? Did Bianchi put it in neutral even though he shouldn’t have?

Were Marussia fined for the incident?

19

With Raikkonen looking to be the closest challenger of Vettel now, would it not be awkward if he signed for RBR before the end of the season?

20

James, here in Aus. we get the F1 on channel 10 as you know. Is the feed we have the same as the rest of the world? I know there are different commentaries but is the picture the same. The reason for asking is when you read some of the comments here and elsewhere you get the impression that some people were watching a different race.

21

Yes, the pictures are the same

Sometimes it seems like people were watching a different race!!

22

Don’t mean to be picky James, but Mark was in first place when he pitted. Vettel having pitted the lap before. We’ll never know if he would have come out ahead had the pit stop not be botched.

23

Sadly it seems that the rest of this season is merely re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic. I suggest that everyone saves alot of time, effort and money and just give the drivers and constructors titles to Vettel and Red Bull and not bother about the other races because it’s getting dull now. I don’t know which race others watched but once he got into the lead there was never any danger that he would lose it. The Lotuses were always too far back to make a lunge, even with DRS.

Luckily for me my baby daughter arrives in August. So it looks like I’ll be watching Spa and then that’s it ’til 2014. Singapore, Japan, Korea and India are all Red Bull tracks so the titles will be sewn up by Texas.

Technical excellence is the name of the game but domination is killing off the interest.

24

I completely agree, on everything. In fact I think it would be safe to say that most teams have just forgotten this year. maybe Ferrari and Lotus will throw a little effort into the rest of 2013 but I think everyone is over the whole “Red Bull era” and frankly I wouldn’t blame most teams for focusing on next year now that we know who has won the C’ship.

Good luck with your daughter mate, I’ll be watching the local V8SC C’ship here in AUS (much more exciting that the current F1 joke)and the cricket. Might tune in for Interlagos just to see whats going on 😛

25

Here’s a question: if we continue from the trajectory of the German GP, the rest of the season will go down to the wire between Red Bull and Lotus (of course this is totally hypothetical, since things most certainly will change, only the degree of change being in question), but if it went like that, and Lotus managed to win with Kimi, would Kimi be more likely to stay at Lotus?

26

Well done to Vettel. good drive and at least his team mate was cleared out of the way to make sure he got the win 😉 well done RDB racing, Horner & marko cough cough!

27

Too much tyre talking, I mean come on Pirelli has dominated so far the sport this season and people are loosing interest… Having red bull again on podium, and more complaints about tyres by mercedes this time, more interest is lost, unless it would get hotter/coledr and/or ferrari delivers updates,, apart from that can’t wait for next season at least we will be talking about engines, turbos and hope not about sounds and tyres. Ferrari is back on the strategy front that’s news from German gp 2013.

28

It was a good race, but it should be completely overshadowed by two close calls in terms of safety.

The first one is the tyre incident involving cameraman Paul Allen. Thankfully, he is reasonably okay, but I feel the Lotus pit crew, who were in the pit lane at the time should have stopped that tyre before it got airborne, before it smacked into Allen. They just decided to step out of the way, obviously not wanting to help Red Bull, but not thinking about the dangers of a rolling tyre going down pit lane and the impact it could have on totally innocent workers, such as TV cameramen. Lotus should feel just as bad as Red Bull for happened. The fine for Red Bull, and the non-punishment/investigation into the role of Lotus in this incident isn’t enough. Improvements must be made to safety of cameramen, and pit-lane reporters.

The second one is the weird, but dangerous incident involving Jules Bianchi’s car. That car should have never rolled back down the hill, and I think Bianchi forgot to make sure the car wouldn’t roll back before he got out of the car. Is there any explanation to this?

I don’t rant too often, but these incidents should have never happened, and if you go by what happened at Spa last year as a precedence; Red Bull, Lotus and Jules Bianchi should receive a one race ban. That is my view.

29

And about the Bianchi incident.. the car was on fire, he was just probably thinking in not being burned or worse.

30

But you still got to keep your composure in even the most difficult situations, and he didn’t do that.

31

What, are they Supermen???? That tyre was already going bonkers by the time it came to the Lotus pit crew… absurd assumption

32

But they still could have stopped the tyre going any further than what it did.

33

In an unsafe release situation like we have seen this weekend and it is not the drivers fault why not doc the team championship points (Not the driver)as a penalty rather than a token 30k that these teams wouldnt even blink at. Or include a fine as well as point deduction and in this RBR case give the fine to Mr Paul Allen!

34

Massively unlucky for Maldonado and Bottas, who both actually looked like they would comfortably score points until their final stops. Both undoubtedly outshone the car to run 7th and 8th so late in the race, and so comfortably.. Big shame.

35

They should limit the pit stop length to a minimum of 5 seconds.

That way there would be absolutely no hurry to release a driver early.

The incident was also incredibly dangerous and they should have also deducted points, say 50, from the team.

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