It was a lights-to-flag victory for Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix as he continued Ferrari’s resurgence in the past few races and score the maximum points once gain. Red Bull sorta remained in the hunt with Sebastian Vettel finishing in second position ahead of Jenson Button in third. But that is not a foregone conclusion as his late race overtaking move over Button is under investigation by the stewards for having done so outside the track!
Kimi Raikkonen was a fine fourth for Lotus ahead of the two Saubers of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez in fifth and sixth, Michael Schumacher in seventh, Mark Webber in eighth, Nico Hulkenberg ninth and Nico Rosberg in the last point scoring position in tenth.
Alonso controlled the race from the start and remained ahead all through except for the pit stops as Ferrari called the perfect two-stop strategy and chose the right set of tyres this time around for the second and third stints. The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa suffered a lost rear wing at the start and the debris from that ultimately ended Lewis Hamilton’s race causing a right rear puncture. It was a better result for the second McLaren of Jenson Button as he steadily moved up the order as the updates and the dry race worked well for McLaren.
Fernando Alonso continued his & Ferrari’s upturn in form as he grabbed pole position for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in a wet n’ thrilling qualifying session. The two Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were second and third fastest. Webber though has a five place grid penalty for a gearbox change so Michael Schumacher will inherit third place for tomorrow’s race.
All the action came at the fag end of the session as a drying track meant it was best until the very end and it was Ferrari & Alonso who elected to strap on a fresh set of warmed up wet weather tyres and set his two fastest laps right at the very end. Though the Red Bulls were fast enough, it seemed Vettel was held up by his own teammate Webber as he set his fastest time.
Michael Schumacher was fourth fastest for Mercedes with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg fifth, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado in sixth, the McLarens of Jenson Button & Lewis Hamilton in seventh and eighth, Paul Di Resta ninth and Kimi Raikkonen in tenth.
The German Grand Prix returned to Hockenheim after a year and it was a wet welcome for the drivers as the practice and qualifying sessions were affected by rain. The first session started off in the dry but the rain came during the second session but though it eased off, there still was enough water on the track to force the teams to set their lap times on the full wets.
Ferrari announced their revival with a one-two at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim as Fernando Alonso took victory with teammate Felipe Massa finishing 2nd. Sebastian Vettel finished 3rd from pole position with Lewis Hamilton finishing 4th and Jenson Button 5th. Mark Webber took 6th place ahead of Robert Kubica in 7th, Nico Rosberg in 8th, Michael Schumacher in 9th and Vitaly Petrov in 10th.
But the victory will have a twinge of controversy in it as team orders – which are banned – might have come into play in deciding he outcome. Massa was leading the race after the first lap and despite Alonso’s attempts to string together a passing manoeuvre, Massa held fort. There’s no disputing that Alonso was quicker and the same was conveyed to Massa rather un-discreetly in lap 47, who “magnanimously” gave up his lead and settled for second place. I still think Alonso would have passed Massa on the track and all this needn’t happen…but the Ferrari hierarchy obviously didn’t want to wait and watch!
Half of the race outcome was decided at the start itself as pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel’s over-exuberance to hold off Fernando Alonso meant he had kept the door wide open going into turn one and Felipe Massa took full advantage of it and stormed into the lead. Alonso himself managed to outbrake Vettel into the second corner and halfway through the first lap, we had a Ferrari 1-2 at the head of the order. Down the order, Mark Webber had a bad start and dropped off behind both the McLarens – who themselves had a decent start and managed to hold position. Toro Rosso had a forgetful start as Jaime Algersuari barged into the back of teammate Sebastian Buemi into the hairpin and took off the rear wing off his car and that meant an early retirement for Buemi. Lotus’ Jarno Trulli was another early retirement with what looked like a driveshaft problem.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel clinched Pole Position for his home race – the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim – from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso by a mere two thousandths of a second as they battled out for the fastest lap all throughout the Qualifying Session. Ferrari’s had another reason to rejoice as Felipe Massa took P3 with the second Red Bull of Mark Webber in P4. The McLarens occupy the third row with Jenson Button P5 and Lewis Hamilton P6. Robert Kubica, Rubens Barrichello, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg complete the top ten.
The German Grand Prix returned to Hockenheim after alternating with Nurburgring last year and it was off to a wet start as Friday’s first practice and Saturday’s third practice sessions were marred by rain. Qualifying, however, remained dry and contrary to form and expectations, it was Ferrari and not McLaren who were taking the fight to Red Bull.
Alonso has been quickest throughout the weekend and finished atop the timesheets during Friday’s practice session but Vettel topped Saturday’s practice session. During the first two qualifying sessions, it was Alonso who held the upper hand as he set fastest times both times and even held pole position during the initial runs in Q3. For their second runs, Ferrari elected not to release Alonso a bit later and the traffic ahead of him might have contributed to his not matching Vettel’s lap – although the difference was a mere 0.002 seconds!
The German Grand Prix at Hockenheim saw McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton score his second successive victory – this time in a dry race but with a feisty drive nonetheless. A brief safety car period in the middle stints caused a few hiccups for him, when his over 15 seconds lead to Ferrari’s Felipe Massa all but evaporated and McLaren’s decision of not to call him in for refuelling when the pitlane opened saw him relinquish the lead when he eventually stopped a few laps later. But he more than made up for it with few smart overtaking manoeuvres over Massa first and Piquet later. Of course, he moved over his teammate Heikki Kovalainen but whether that was an overtaking move or a team order can’t be said for sure! The hero of the day however was Renault’s Nelson Piquet, who scored his first-ever podium finish in 2nd place. Starting from 17th on the grid, a one-stop strategy saw him leapfrog the others after the safety car period and he was leading the race after Hamilton had pitted. Hamilton eventually overtook him but second place was still a sweet gain. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was third in an average drive where he just didn’t have the pace to stop Hamilton’s overtaking moves nor challenge for second place.
Fourth place went to BMW’s Nick Heidfeld for whom it was a good result after starting 12th. Heikki Kovalainen finished fifth and compatriot Kimi Raikkonen could only manage 6th place in what was a rather forgetful weekend for him. Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel were the last point-takers. There were only three non-finishers – Honda’s Rubens Barichello was involved in a skirmish with the Red Bull of David Coulthard and lost his nosecone in the process; Mark Webber suffered a failed engine and Toyota’s Timo Glock had an accident as the accelerated out of a corner and the rear suspension gave way, thus prompting a Safety Car period which nearly cost Hamilton the victory.
The Championship lead is now outrightly held by Hamilton with 58 points with Massa on 54. Kimi could muster only 3 points and he’s on 51 whereas Kubica adds just 2 points to his tally of 46. The next race is the Hungarian Grand Prix in two weeks time and if Kimi doesn’t want Massa and of course Hamilton to runaway with the lead, nothing less than a victory would do. Maybe with an added DNF for Hamilton & Massa
The German Grand Prix (now that the European GP’s moved to Valencia) has alternated to Hockenheim this year and McLaren and Lewis Hamilton have thrown down the gauntlet for the second half of the F1 season by grabbing pole position at the Grosser Preis Von Deutschland. The second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen is in 3rd place with Felipe Massa’s on P2 in the best of the Ferraris. Kimi Raikkonen had a miserable qualifying and P6 is the best he could manage. Jarno Trulli of Toyota and Fernando Alonso of Renault line up ahead of him in P4 & P5. BMW’s Robert Kubica, Bed Bull teammates Mark Webber and David Coulthard – with Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel in between them – complete the top 10.
Owing to the dastardly plan of my CableOp of race-day-telecast-only, I missed the Qualifying session but did catch the highlights on the Web . Massa looked to have P1 wrapped up after he bettered Kovalainen’s spirited but flawed run with a lap of 1:15.8 secs but Hamilton swooped down at the last possible instant to clinch P1 with a 1:15.6 secs lap. See how he grid lines up here.
With only nine more races to go and with two unknown tracks of Valencia and Singapore in the fray, the Championship race is a three-way-tie between Hamilton, Massa and Kimi with Kubica just 2 points back. This race’s winner can take the outright lead and then build upon it race-by-race. And oc course, a DNF will do more harm than good for the title contenders. So all four must tread cautiously now. Its anybody’s game to win now!
Image Courtesy: ITV F1