Sunday, 7 July 2013

German Grand Prix: Keep rolling, rolling, rolling...

It would seem, on paper, that the result was decided from the start, with Vettel taking to the lead at the first corner and then going on to claim his first home win. It wasn't as straight forward as it would appear. A safety car on lap twenty-five threatened to scupper his race, when the entire field was bunched together, following an incident involving Luis Bianchi's Marussia race car.

On lap twenty-five Bianchi's engine let go in a huge plume of thick white smoke and proceeded to ignite in to licking flames. The Marussia would not have a been a problem and the safety car would not have been called in to action, had the car not started rolling backwards, down the back straight, towards oncoming traffic. It rolled across the circuit and came to a halt on the opposite side of the track, when it struck an advertising hording. Unfortunately for Seb and a few other drivers, the safety car had already been sent out at this point and it served to make the end of the race a little too close for their comfort.

By the end of the race it was a battle of the soft tyres versus the options, as the drivers who pitted on lap fifty, with only ten laps remaining, closed in on opponents on older tyres. Massa was excluded from the hunt, that saw his team mate Alonso catching and passing Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, because he had an apparently unforced spin on the first corner, resulting in his retirement.
Grosjean was instructed to allow his team mate, Kimi Raikonnen, to come past him and Kimi subsequently took the fight to Sebastian Vettel, making for a nail biting end to the race, for the Red Bull Racing crew at least. He was unable to make up enough time in the end, but got to within one second of the young German as they went through the final corner.

The big talking point was the incident in the pit lane, involving Mark Webber's Red Bull car. He had made a routine pit stop, during the first half of the Grand Prix, and was looking to come out in first place and challenge his team mate for the win. There were a couple of mistakes, firstly with getting the right rear wheel on to the car and then with the teams garage lights informing Mark that he could leave his pit box. The tyre came away from the car and bounced through a couple of pit crews and crashed in to an unsuspecting cameraman. The cameraman was rushed to hospital and, it has been revealed, he has a fractured shoulder and a number of broken ribs. It has also been revealed that Red Bull Racing have been fined 30,000 euro for the incident. I agree with that decision, since too many teams are simply releasing their cars, in too much of a hurry, under unsafe circumstances. Lets hope other teams learn from this incident as well and we can wipe this sort of thing out sooner rather than later.

 Race result:

1.deSebastian VettelRed Bull1:41:14.711
2.fiKimi RäikkönenLotus+1.008
3.frRomain GrosjeanLotus+5.830
4.esFernando AlonsoFerrari+7.721
5.ukLewis HamiltonMercedes+26.927
6.ukJenson ButtonMcLaren+27.996
7.auMark WebberRed Bull+37.562
8.mxSergio PerezMcLaren+38.306
9.deNico RosbergMercedes+46.821
10.deNico HülkenbergSauber+49.892
11.ukPaul di RestaForce India+53.771
12.auDaniel RicciardoToro Rosso+56.975
13.deAdrian SutilForce India+57.738
14.mxEsteban GutiérrezSauber+1:00.160
15.vePastor MaldonadoWilliams+1:01.929
16.fiValtteri BottasWilliams+1 Lap
17.frCharles PicCaterham+1 Lap
18.nlGiedo van der GardeCaterham+1 Lap
19.ukMax ChiltonMarussia+1 Lap
Did not finish
20.frJean-Eric VergneToro Rosso+38 Laps
21.frJules BianchiMarussia+39 Laps
22.brFelipe MassaFerrari+57 Laps