Vodafone-McLaren and Lewis Hamilton command and conquer at German F1 GP - Red Bull and Ferrari on podium

Nuerburg (Germany) /

Vodafone McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton silenced all of his critics with a supreme and beautifully judged drive to victory on Sunday afternoon, in a race which the 2008 Formula 1 World Champion described to his crew as �easy’ during his slowing down lap.

Beside the immaculate drive, the faultless pit stop strategy and the excellent timed pit stops showed once again, how important all factors contribute to a victory in a thrilling race like last Sunday’s Formula 1 GP.

Lewis Hamilton grabbed the lead from Red Bull’s Mark Webber at the start as Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel fought over third place on a track that was slightly slippery in some places from a very light shower just as the formation lap was done.

The 2010 German Formula 1 World Champion SebastianVettel initially took third when Scuderia Ferrari driver Alonso made a mistake, but the Spaniard later overtook him when the German Red bull driver lost crucial time first with a half spin in Turn 10 on the ninth lap, then with a rear brake problem.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton momentarily lost the lead to Australian Red bull driver Mark Webber on the 12th lap after a slow exit from the chicane, but immediately won it back going into Turn One.
A few laps later however, the Australian Red Bull driver took the lead after an early pit stop on Lap 14. The reshuffled order saw Mark Webber ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with Fernando Alonso in close distance.

Brazilian Ferrari driver Felipe Massa and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button on the other hand had meanwhile lost precious time during the starting phase of the race and had a lot of ground to make up.

Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber was the first driver of the leading trio to start the second round of pit stops (21.299 s), again for soft Pirellis on Lap 30. Lewis Hamilton and Alonso stopped on Laps 31 (20.496 s) and 32 (20.035 s) respectively, and this time McLaren got their man out ahead again to set the pace for the race.

All three ran as fast and as long as they could on their second sets of soft tires, which were faster than the harder compounds. Behind them, Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa had a great battle to keep a recovering SebastianVettel behind him..

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clearly had the pace to keep Fernando Alonso behind, as Mark Webber appeared to lose pace for a while. As the countdown began to the final round of pit stops, McLaren turned Lewis Hamilton round quickly again, as he was the first to stop on Lap 51 (pit time 20.403 s), and though Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso went two laps (pit time 19.975 s) later and Mark Webber another three beyond that (pit time 20.324 s), there was never any doubt about the outcome as the 2008 world champion won the german Grand Prix by 3.9s. Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso crossed the line 5.8s ahead of Red Bull driver Webber, but was driven home on the Red Bull’s sidepod after running out of fuel on the slowdown lap.

The long-awaited Felipe Massa –Sebastian Vettel duel was settled by Ferrari’s crew on the penultimate lap as both dived into the pits together but Red Bull disposed their man in a quicker manner, handing him fourth place, while Felipe Massa finished the race in a hugely disappointing fifth place.

Behind them, Adrian Sutil made tremendous use of a two-stop strategy to take an excellent sixth place for Force India after a measured drive, beating the three-stopping Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher who, like his fellow German driver SebastianVettel, spun in Turn 10.
The two silver cars were hunted throughout the race by Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber after the Japanese driver made a superb start, finishing in ninth place just ahead of Vitaly Petrov who had tough battles with Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi on his way to 10th place and the final point.

Sergio Perez was 11th in the other Sauber after an off-course moment, while Jaime Alguersuari was Toro Rosso’s top finisher in 12th ahead of Force India’s Paul di Resta who had to fight back from a spin in the third corner after the start.

Pastor Maldonado was Williams’ sole finisher in 14th after Rubens Barrichello hit mechanical trouble early on, the Venezuelan heading home Sebastien Buemi who survived a clash at the chicane which edged out first-lap spinner Nick Heidfeld.

After a post-race investigation by the stewards, Buemi was handed a five-place grid penalty for the next round in Hungary.

Heikki Kovalainen finished in 16th for Team Lotus, ahead of the battling Virgins of Timo Glock and Jerome D’Ambrosio. Tonio Liuzzi chased them hard, having overcome a challenge from HRT team mate Daniel Ricciardo, but the Italian retired due to an electrical problems, leaving the improving Australian rookie to finish 19th ahead of Lotus debutant Karun Chandhok who had a few off-course adventures over the complete race distance.

The highest profile non-finisher was Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button, who got stuck behind Renault driver Vitaly Petrov early on and lost a lot of ground before finally finding a way by. He was running sixth when he was called in to retire on Lap 35, due to hydraulic problems, thus scoring no points in his second consecutive race.

This hard-earned victory of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton moves him to third in the title chase on 134 points to Sebastian Vettel’s 216 and Mark Webber’s 139, with Fernando Alonso on 130, while Jenson Button lost vital ground by staying on 109. Red Bull extended their constructors’ points score to 355, with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on 243 to Ferrari’s 192. Mercedes GP pulled further ahead of Renault, with 78 to 66.

The next race is taking place in Budapest (Hungary) on 31.07.2011.



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