Hamilton storms to victory at the Nürburgring

Lewis Hamilton took his second Grand Prix victory of the season with a determined drive at the Nürburgring. The McLaren driver took advantage from rival Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber with his sensational race pace to score a win in the German Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in second position while pole sitter Mark Webber was only third for Red Bull Racing.

As for the battle for fourth, Sebastian Vettel pitted until the final lap to take the crucial track position over Felipe Massa in a race in the pits while changing to the prime tyre.

By finishing outside the podium positions, the championship leader’s remarkable run in coming first or second is over. And yet, Vettel still leads the standings with 216 points, 77 ahead over team-mate Webber and 82 over race winner Hamilton.

Webber almost got swamped at the start – no thanks to his car bogging down as the five red lights went out – with Hamilton instantly sweeping past him and the two Ferraris then going either side of the Red Bull into Turn 1. Neither made it through, and while Alonso held on in third ahead of Vettel, Massa was edged out wide and dropped to sixth behind Nico Rosberg.

Vettel would get past Alonso for third place when the Ferrari ran wide in the Mercedes-Benz complex on lap two, but six laps later the Silverstone winner was able to successfully retaliate into Turn 1. Soon afterwards, Vettel lost touch with the lead battle when he brushed the damp white marker line under braking for Turn 10 and snapped into a spin. He rejoined without losing track position, but the top three were long gone.

Webber was the first of the evenly-matched trio to pit on lap 14. The Australian initially lost time in traffic, but once in clear air he was able to start setting new fastest sector times, meaning that when Hamilton and Alonso pitted in unison on lap 16, they came out just behind the Red Bull.

Once the late-stopping Massa came in for his first tyre change, Webber finally found himself leading a lap for the first time this season, though he could not shake off Hamilton and Alonso.

Webber was again the first to come in when the second stops began on lap 30, with Hamilton and Alonso following suit over the next two laps.

This time the under-cut did not work. Hamilton rejoined ahead of Webber and determinedly fended off the Red Bull through the complex. Alonso managed to jump both of them, but Hamilton made the most of his warmer Pirellis to drive around the outside of the Ferrari at Turn 2 to retake the lead and then start edging clear, holding a three-second cushion while Webber began to drift away from Alonso.

With the prime tyres felt to be significantly slower, the leaders tried to stretch their third set of option as long as possible. Hamilton came in on lap 50, and though Alonso held on for two laps longer, the McLaren was able to stay narrowly in front.

Webber took a gamble in staying out longer and ran until lap 56 of 60 – finally taking the prime – but it did not pay off, as he rejoined still some distance behind Hamilton and Alonso.

Vettel fell behind Massa in the first pit-stops and spent the rest of the race on the Ferrari’s gearbox. Only when they finally pitted for the prime with just one lap to the flag did the championship leader manage to get fourth back.

Adrian Sutil’s best drive of the season brought him sixth place for Force India, as he made a two-stop strategy work to beat the Silver Arrows duo of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. The latter had been challenging his team-mate until losing time with a mid-race spin at Turn 10.

A great start and a two-stop strategy helped Kamui Kobayashi come through from P17 to ninth for Sauber, just ahead of Petrov, who lost ground by staying out too long on his first set of tyres.

As for Jenson Button, this was a disappointed race for the McLaren driver. A slow start dropped him to tenth, and he then spent the race in traffic, couped up behind Vitaly Petrov’s Renault for most of the first stint. Just after making it past Rosberg and into sixth spot, his car developed a hydraulic problem and had to retire.

Completing a disappointing day for the majority of the large home driver contingent, Renault’s Nick Heidfeld tangled with Paul di Resta’s Force India on the opening lap. The German earned a drive-through penalty for the incident, but by that time Heidfeld was out of the race after clashing with Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso on the approach to the chicane.

Red Bull Racing must be feeling the pressure as both Ferrari and McLaren are closing the performance gap. With Alonso winning the previous race at Silverstone and now Hamilton at the Nürburgring, the team must step up or risk losing the advantage as the Formula One World Championship enters the second half of the 2011 season.

German Grand Prix race result, 60 laps:

1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           1h37:30.334s
2.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +3.980s
3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +9.788s
4.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +47.921s
5.  Massa         Ferrari                    +52.252s
6.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +1:26.208s
7.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +1 lap
8.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +1 lap
9.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
10.  Petrov        Renault                    +1 lap
11.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
12.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
13.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
14.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth          +1 lap
15.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
16.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault              +2 laps
17.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +3 laps
18.  D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +3 laps
19.  Ricciardo     HRT-Cosworth               +3 laps
20.  Chandhok      Lotus-Renault              +4 laps

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:34.587

Not classified/retirements:

Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth                 44 laps
Button        McLaren-Mercedes             42 laps
Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth            23 laps
Heidfeld      Renault                      10 laps

World Championship standings, round 10:

1.  Vettel       216
2.  Webber       139
3.  Hamilton     134
4.  Alonso       130
5.  Button       109
6.  Massa         62
7.  Rosberg       46
8.  Heidfeld      34
9.  Schumacher    32
10.  Petrov        32
11.  Kobayashi     27
12.  Sutil         18
13.  Alguersuari    9
14.  Perez          8
15.  Buemi          8
16.  Barrichello    4
17.  Di Resta       2

1.  Red Bull-Renault          355
2.  McLaren-Mercedes          243
3.  Ferrari                   192
4.  Mercedes                   78
5.  Renault                    66
6.  Sauber-Ferrari             35
7.  Force India-Mercedes       20
8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         17
9.  Williams-Cosworth           4

Next race: Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring. July 29-31.

12 thoughts to “Hamilton storms to victory at the Nürburgring”

  1. Race winner Lewis Hamilton has said that his controlled, consistent aggression were key in taking victory at the German Grand Prix. Autosport.com has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton believes his aggressive style and reputation were key factors in a superb victory at the Nurburgring.

    The Briton, who equaled Stirling Moss’ record of 16 grands prix wins in Germany, said harnessing his typical aggression had helped him triumph over Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber as the trio remained locked in battle for the duration of the race.

    “Driving lap after lap within tenths of each other was about real perfection,” Hamilton said, “and with my aggressive style, I felt the moves I made were some of the most precise I have pulled in a while.

    “Being able to drive with your head all the time and getting it just right is massively satisfying. I was in a good space, and days like this pay off more than you could imagine.”

    Hamilton said victory was made all the more special by the pressure he and McLaren have been under lately, but that both parties need to replicate such performance on a consistent basis.

    “Every win is special, but with the emotion, effort and all the energy the team put into the car and the effort they put in, it just couldn’t feel better.

    “Coming into this weekend I said I would take it one race at a time. To win is massively positive for us, but there is a long way to go and it is about getting consistency.

    “If I say something now it could be a disaster, as the next race is going to be very, very hard. We are back in the fight though, and I hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going.”

  2. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has said that finishing in second was a fantastic achievement. Autosport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso said he was extremely happy with his second place in the German Grand Prix, especially after his Ferrari team had not the easiest of weekends.

    The Spanish driver had won the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, but started the race down from fourth place.

    Although Ferrari had a more difficult weekend because of the low track temperatures, Alonso fought for victory and finished less than four seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton.

    The Spaniard believes the result was a “fantastic achievement” for Ferrari.

    “I am extremely happy with today’s result,” said Alonso. “We had a weekend that probably was not the easiest one. We struggled a bit on Friday, in qualifying we were fourth, half a second from pole so no doubts that we struggled a bit more with the weekend.

    “But even with the difficulties we are second and fighting for victory, so this is a fantastic achievement. Second in Valencia, first at Silverstone and second here.

    “With three different rules, three different maps, we were constantly first and second on three different circuit and with different temperatures, so with all these conditions we saw consistency that put us in a good position to enjoy this final part of the championship.”

    Alonso believes Ferrari could be even stronger in the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend thanks to the higher temperatures and the softer tyres.

    “I am looking forward to a bit more temperature on the track. The soft and super soft tyre should be an advantage for us in terms of how we take on the tyres. In a week we will have a very interesting weekend again.

    “McLaren did a step forward, and Red Bull will be extremely strong, so it is challenging for us.”

    Alonso is now 86 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel, who finished in fourth today after his worst race of the year.

    Alonso, however, does not believe the German is feeling the pressure.

    “No, I don’t think so, it was a bad race or whatever happened. I think he spun at the beginning of the race and I don’t know how he was stuck behind Felipe. These thigns happen.”

  3. As for Mark Webber, who started the German Grand Prix in pole position, has warned that Red Bull Racing must improve or risk losing its competitive edge over McLaren and Ferrari. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Mark Webber conceded Red Bull needs to take a step forward in order to return to winning ways after being outperformed again in Germany.

    The Australian started from pole position but was unable to keep Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at bay, eventually going on to finish in third position, nearly ten seconds behind the Briton.

    It was the second race in a row that Red Bull, winner of six of the first eight races, was beaten and Webber admitted the team needs to improve.

    “We weren’t quick enough today,” said Webber. “I did everything I could. I’m happy with the way I drove, but these guys had a bit of an extra margin, especially in back part of the stints. That made us a little bit exposed on strategy.

    “We know what we have got to improve on and we couldn’t give much more than we did today. I’m disappointed not to get a win, we had a good fight around the stops, so it’s mixed emotions.

    “You need to perform at a good level to get these. We keep learning and the progress has been decent but we need to improve.”

    Webber was happy to have outpaced team-mate Sebastian Vettel this weekend, but said the main concern was not the rival teams.

    “The last three races it has closed up, if you want to talk about the comparison between us two. But the main comparison was the competition: we got beaten in last race and got beaten here.

    “We don’t need to be Einstein to work out we need to work hard. We have to keep being consistent and learning. We have a great factory and reliability is good, so we will keep our head down and press on.”

    Webber, second in the championship behind Vettel, is still 77 points behind the German.

  4. Nick Heidfeld said his accident with Sebastien Buemi was unavoidable, when the pair made contact at the braking zone into the NGK chicane on lap 20 of the German Grand Prix.

    The Renault driver, who had just received a drive-through penalty for punting Paul di Resta into a spin on the opening lap, had been trying to recover from that incident when he attempted to pass Buemi’s Toro Rosso.

    Heidfeld, on the outside into the braking zone was closed down by the Swiss driver and the two cars collided, sending the Renault sideways across the grass and briefly airborne.

    “My start wasn’t too good,” Heidfeld told the BBC. “I lost some positions there when I collided with Paul [di Resta]. After that I tried hard to make up some positions. I overtook a couple of cars and came up behind Buemi. He was blocking me which was fully okay on the left side, on the long straight before the chicane.

    “But then I was next to him on the right and he just moved over, and there was nowhere to go. So he pushed me on to the grass and there was an accident, that couldn’t be avoided with what he did.”

    Heidfeld admitted that the incident with di Resta, which sent the Scot to the back of the field, was his fault entirely.

    “I was a bit sandwiched in the second corner, then on the third corner Paul was on the outside and a bit in front of me. I locked up the front wheels, I tried to avoid him, but just slid into him.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  5. For Jenson Button, this was the second race in succession he has failed to finish. Without that hydraulic problem, the 2009 world champion could have finished in fourth spot. Autosport.com has the details.

    Jenson Button believes that he could have finished in fourth position in the German Grand Prix had he not been forced to retire his McLaren with a hydraulic problem.

    The Briton, who made a bad start to the grand prix and dropped from seventh to tenth, had fought his way back up to sixth ahead of Nico Rosberg when he was forced to stop on lap 35.

    “I had a terrible first lap, I don’t know where I ended up, and then I couldn’t get past [Vitaly] Petrov,” Button told the BBC. “Eventually I did, and then I got back past the next two guys.

    “My pace was good compared to the guys in front, [Felipe] Massa and [Sebastian] Vettel, so it was all looking quite exciting. I had a lot of fun out there and then we had a hydraulic issue and I had to retire the car on safety grounds.

    “You never know what’s going to happen with hydraulics, because obviously the steering is hydraulic and so is the gearshifts and what have you.”

    Button added that he was out of the fight for victory, but was fully in the fight for fourth with Massa and Vettel.

    “The first three, there was no chance [of catching them] but the next two, yeah it was looking pretty good. Adrian Sutil who I passed before I passed Rosberg, was catching Massa and Vettel, so we would have had a good race.

    “I think in the end we wouldn’t have been in the top three but fourth was definitely possible. I was enjoying myself out there as well.”

  6. Michael Schumacher was left lamenting his spin during the German Grand Prix, although he said he was pleased with his result.

    The German Mercedes driver lost around 15 seconds when he spun on lap 23 of the Nurburgring race.

    Despite that, Schumacher charged back to eighth position, but was still sorry about his error.

    “My spin caught me by complete surprise, but that spot is known to be tricky in wet conditions, even if the conditions were not so wet today,” said Schumacher.

    “Anyway, it obviously cost me some positions which was a shame. Towards the end, rain could have helped but the chances were low so I did not count on it.

    “All in all, I am OK with the race. With the little improvements we have made, we can look forward to Hungary now.”

    Schumacher finished behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, who did not enjoy an easy race after his car did not handle as well as during qualifying.

    “I had a good start to the race today and made up one position on the first lap to be running in fifth place,” he said. “However I didn’t have a perfect set-up today and the car wasn’t working quite as well as in qualifying. I had some good battles with Massa but despite pushing hard, it was impossible to keep him behind me.

    “Seventh place is OK but we know that we have some work to do to maximise our latest upgrades in the race. I have a great team behind me, both the engineers and the boys in the garage, so I am confident that we will do this and we will see what happens next week in Hungary.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  7. Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi has said that it was race strategy that earned him a ninth place rather than outright pace that lead to a points finish. Autosport.com has the details.

    Kamui Kobayashi insists that strategy rather than pace was responsible for his rise from 17th on the grid to ninth at the flag.

    The Japanese driver made phenomenal progress on the opening lap as he jumped five places to 12th, giving him the platform to score his seventh top ten of the season.

    Kobayashi insists his team were still struggling for pace at the Nurburgring however, and came through the field due to the stargety it adopted.

    “The fact we have scored points is down to a very good pit stop strategy,” Kobayashi said. “Our pace just wasn’t good enough here.

    “My start was good, and I was able to overtake both Williams during the race, but it was impossible to get Michael (Schumacher) – he was way too fast on the straights.

    “However, I’m happy we managed to score after a bad qualifying, and I want to thank the team for an excellent job. I hope we will be performing better at the next race.”

    Kobayashi’s team-mate Sergio Perez also made up places during the race, moving from 15th to 11th, but blamed himself for not matching Kamui and scoring points.

    “I am not at all happy. Given our grid positions we knew it would be difficult to get some points today, but, as Kamui has shown, it was possible.

    “I am angry with myself because I made a mistake on lap eight, which is why I had to pit early and change tyres. This obviously was not what was planned in the strategy.

    “We recovered a bit from there, but not enough for points, which were my aim.”

  8. Adrian Sutil delivered Force India’s best performance of the season as he finished a strong sixth at his home grand prix in Germany.

    Sutil enjoyed a relatively quiet run to sixth, even passing compatriot Nico Rosberg in the pit stops, but said the clean air had allowed him to fully demonstrate the potential of the car.

    “It was a great race today and I’m so pleased to get this result for the team because we really deserved it,” Sutil said. “We had a great car all weekend and everything just went perfectly.

    “I spent most of the time running in clean air so I could really show the potential of the car, and to get this result in my home race also makes it extra special.

    “This is just the start though, because we still have lots of work to do in the coming races to score lots of points and catch up with the teams ahead of us.”

    Team-mate Paul di Resta said Sutil’s pace was a small consolation for his own race, which was compromised by a clash with Nick Heidfeld on the opening lap.

    “Once again it’s a frustrating end to my weekend because I had a great chance to score some points today. It’s a shame because we came here with a great package and we had a good strategy for the race.

    “I pushed hard to recover, but points were just out of reach today.

    “The good news is that Adrian has brought in a lot of points and showed just how competitive the car is.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  9. Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi received a five-race grid penalty in the following Grand Prix after a clash with Renault’s Nick Heidfeld at the NGK chicane. Autosport.com has the details.

    Sebastien Buemi will lose five places on the starting grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix after he was given a penalty at the Nurburging.

    The Toro Rosso driver was deemed to have caused an accident with Renault’s Nick Heidfeld, after squeezing the German out of the track when approaching the chicane during the race.

    Heidfeld crashed out of the race after making contact with Buemi’s right rear tyre, with the Swiss having to pit to changes his tyres.

    The FIA stewards deemed Buemi was at fault and have imposed a five-place grid penalty for next weekend’s race.

    “Heidfeld drove into me at the chicane and I got a puncture on my right rear,” said Buemi. “So I had to pit and change tyres, which compromised our strategy even more and with no rain, that was really it.

    “It has been a disappointing weekend in which we cannot be satisfied with our performance, therefore all we can do is look ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix and at least we don’t have long to wait for that.”

    The penalty comes after Buemi was disqualified after yesterday’s qualifying following a fuel irregularity.

    Heidfeld was given a drive-through penalty for a crash with Paul di Resta at the start of the race, but the German did not have time to serve it. The FIA said it will not take any further action against the Renault driver.

  10. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel has said that the team must step up following a disappointing result at the Nurburgring. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Sebastian Vettel says his Red Bull team must improve after the world champion was soundly beaten by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the German Grand Prix on Sunday.

    Vettel finished a distant fourth in his home race following a mid-race spin, having only managed to pass Felipe Massa’s Ferrari in a pitstop race on the last lap.

    Afterwards Vettel admitted that Red Bull’s rivals are closing the gap to the championship leaders.

    “Generally I think fourth anyway was probably our maximum today which is not satisfying but you know we have to accept it and go from there,” he told the BBC.

    “Next week is the next race and it looks like McLaren and Ferrari are getting quicker and quicker so we need to work harder on our car to try and improve it in order to be back on the podium and maybe stand on the top step again.

    “Of course it’s not satisfying but I think we have to accept that today other people were quicker than us,” he added. “As I said surely I’m not happy so I have to come back next time but for now I think they [McLaren] have been working and improved their car so we need to make sure that we come back.

    “I didn’t feel very good all weekend, I never got to the pace probably that Mark [Webber] had in the car and as I said I struggled to keep up after the three or four laps of the warm-up stage is over to keep up with the top two or three cars.”

    Webber, who remained in contention for the victory for much of the race, having started from pole and finished third having lost out to Hamilton and Alonso in the final round of pitstops, concurred with his team-mate’s assessment.

    The Australian admitted afterwards that there was nothing more he could have done to improve his chances of winning the race.

    “I think it’s clear to see,” he said. “Everyone is reasonably intelligent up and down this pitlane when it comes to performance so we know that in the last race at Silverstone which has normally been a very, very good track for us, Ferrari were very quick there.

    “Today there was not much more we could have done to challenge for the victory and we hung in the fight as long as possible but in the end we got outpunched.

    “We know that the prizes and points are handed out on Sunday afternoon,” he added. “Saturdays have always been a strong area for us, the team and the car, it’s not something that we inherently design in the car. We want to do it on Sundays as well so it’s something the team will work on and chip away at.

    “We have good people and we know what we need to do to try find some more performance on Sundays.”

  11. Ferrari has confirmed that the FIA was able to extract the mandatory one litre of fuel required for post-race checks from Fernando Alonso’s car after the race.

    Alonso was told to stop by the team on the slowing down lap because he was low on fuel – and if the minimum amount required could not be extracted then he could have risked disqualification from the event.

    However, after his Ferrari was returned to the pits, Ferrari said that it passed FIA checks – and there was no issue either from the governing body about him not being able to complete the slowing down lap.

    Team principal Stefano Domenicali said: “They did the fuel sample as after the race there had to be one litre of fuel. It is all done. So nothing has happened. It was just a precaution.”

    Domenicali refused to elaborate on the reasons as to why Alonso did not have enough fuel to complete the slowing down lap.

    The FIA also stated that Mark Webber would not face any sanctions for stopping on the return to the pits to pick Alonso up – even though it could have been viewed as a breach of the rule requiring cars to proceed directly to parc ferme.

    Source: Autosport.com

  12. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso hopes the McLaren team can help him win the drivers’ championship in a way of preventing Red Bull Racing taking the title this season. Autosport.com has the story.

    Fernando Alonso says that he will need McLaren’s help if he is to stand any chance of winning this year’s drivers’ crown.

    Alonso, who has finished first or second in the last three races, reckons that it will not be enough to simply beat Red Bull for the rest of the season – he needs McLaren to finish ahead of the runaway championship leaders as well if he is to overhaul the points deficit.

    Asked about his chances of winning the championship in 2011 he replied: “I think it’s still the same [situation] and it’s still very difficult and we need some help from Red Bull.

    “If they keep finishing the races even third or fourth is enough for them,” he added.

    “But as I said yesterday, if there is a small chance to win the championship we need the best McLaren possible, because they need to be on the podium constantly and we have to be in front of them as well.

    “But we need to have a very competitive McLaren as they were today and hopefully in Budapest we can be both on the podium and not Sebastian [Vettel].”

    The Spaniard added that he believed that his recent string of results proves that Ferrari’s mid-season revival is well on-track.

    “We had a very good race [today], starting fourth again,” he said. “In the race we were as quick as the leader in all the stints so we need to keep improving because qualifying is our weakest point at the moment but in general I am extremely happy.

    “I finished second in Valencia, won in Silverstone and finished second here. Three different tracks; three different temperatures; three different maps in the exhaust. So that confirms the consistency of our car at the moment and the real improvements that we did.”

    Ferrari’s team principal Stefano Domenicali also believes that the results of the last two grands prix could signify a turning point in the season for the Italian squad.

    “The most important thing… if we see this kind of performance we can have a different second half of the season in order to try and challenge Red Bull because they are still ahead and very strong,” he told the BBC. “I think we need to take it race-by-race.

    “If you remember last year in Germany we were very strong and then we went to Hungary and we were 1s off the pace from the Red Bull. So I think the only signal that for me is great is to see that in the certain conditions the car has improved but let’s wait and see.”

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