Vettel wins at home, Lotus excites!
This weekend the F1 calendar took us to James May’s favorite place in the world… the Nurburgring, and what a race it was. Luckily we were spared from the Pirelli fireworks of the British GP as a new kevlar banded tire construction was used. No blowouts were a plus, especially since this drivers statement came out just before practice began. With tire tensions mounting, the weight was on Pirelli this weekend, and they delivered.
Lewis Hamilton looked good in qualifying to edge out the boys and put the Mercedes on pole, but thats about the extent of his dominance. Off the start the W04 was swarmed by the ever dominant Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber. Hamilton slowly made his way back to 5th at the end of lap 60. Sebastian Vettel finally takes a win at his home Grand Prix, but you get the sense that nobody really cared. Just a few weeks ago Vettel’s winning comments were cut short by exuberant Canadian’s chanting “A-LON-SO, A-LON-SO!”
Fernando Alonso put his Ferrari in 4th place thanks to tire strategy. Felipe Massa had another good start, but spun into the gravel and retired early. Mark Webber looked to be in good shape until a catastrophic accident occurred in the pits. Webber’s RB9 was released before his rear right tire was securely fastened and the tire broke free, impacting a cameraman. Thanks to a lengthy safety car, Webber fought his way back from last up to 7th. All the talk is about who will replace Webber at Red Bull, but Ferrari must be accepting CVs for Massa’s spot already this season. Maranello can’t be pleased with his performance.
And now the elephant in the corner. Lotus made a terrific showing on Sunday, locking out the second two podium slots (Kimi Raikkonen followed by Romain Grosjean). Whether it was down to the tires or midseason tweaking, the two E21’s looked mighty quick bearing down on the lead Red Bull. Even Vettel admitted “I’m very happy that the race ended after 60 laps and not 61 or 62.” Raikkonen closes the points gap between Alonso to 7.
McLaren begins to show some signs of life after finishing 6th and 8th (Jenson Button and Sergio Perez), largely in part to stellar driving. It looks like the days are numbered for Button at McLaren. Wonder how he’d fit in as Sebastian’s #2?
Oh yeah, Bianchi’s Marussia was on fire and rolled back across the track. Make’s you wonder what is going on in that factory…