Welcome to the 2013 Formula 1 Großer Preis Santander von Deutschland at the Nurburgring. After eight races, the Formula One fraternity returns to the track hidden within the Eiffel mountains for the first time since 2011. We’re nearly half way through this year’s championship and after a retirement for Sebastian Vettel at last week’s British Grand Prix, the title chase has closed to 21 points between the German and second-placed Fernando Alonso.
Previous winners of the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring include Lewis Hamilton (2011) and Mark Webber (2009). Fernando Alonso stood on top of the podium here in 2007, though the race was then running under the title of “European Grand Prix”.
British Grand Prix Recap
After holding the lead off the line, Lewis Hamilton became the first victim of a series of tyre failures, on lap 8. Sebastian Vettel inherited the lead, but his race was ended with 11 laps to go after a gearbox failure crippled the championship-leading RB9.
Nico Rosberg took advantage of the situation to come home less than a second ahead of a hard-charging Mark Webber. Though he started fourth, the Australian fell to 14th by the end of the first lap and was fortunate enough to benefit from the two safety car periods.
After a trying Saturday, Fernando Alonso recovered to take the final podium place a mere 0.6s ahead of Lewis Hamilton in fourth. Though the Britton fell to the rear of the field after his tyre blowout, like Webber he capitalised on the safety car periods to climb back into the higher points-paying positions.
After a poor strategy call, Kimi Raikkonen was unable to challenge those ahead in the final laps of the race and finished a disappointing fifth. On a day when Vettel was destined to score zero, Raikkonen and Lotus will be disappointed to have come away with only 10.
Felipe Massa suffered, like Hamilton, Perez and Vergne, from a tyre blowout early in the race. Despite falling back, Massa too jumped back through the field to finish a strong sixth. He was ultimately behind his team-mate at the chequered flag, but a loss of only seven points is much better than it could have been.
Adrian Sutil’s race was barely covered, the German having qualified in sixth came home in seventh. But for a tussle with eighth-place Daniel Ricciardo the number 15 Force India may have barely received any television coverage on Sunday.
Paul di Resta recovered from a qualifying penalty to finish ninth, continuing his streak of points results to six.
Like Sutil, Hulkenberg anonymously crept into the top-10. On a day when all of the retirements were to drivers ahead of Nico on-track it was important the Sauber was there to capitalise on the opportunity.
After the British Grand Prix saga, Pirelli have opted to bring Kevlar-belted rear tyres for both the Medium and Soft compound tyres in Germany. It is the first time this combination has been seen since the Chinese Grand Prix.
Speaking of the tyre choice for this round of the championship, Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said,
“The Nurburgring is not on the whole an especially demanding circuit for tyres but there are still some distinctive aspects to look out for when it comes to tyre management, such as the kerbing on the chicanes,”
“We are expecting a performance gap of 0.8-1.0 second between the two nominated compounds, which should make the strategy options versatile.”
“We would expect a quicker race time with an average of three pit stops for most drivers,” Hembery said.
This will be the second time this year the Medium and Soft combination has been used.
Drag Reduction System
DRS will be available to drivers between turns 16 and one, as well as between turns 12 and 14. As has been the norm in 2013 at tracks with two separate DRS zones, there will be a recognition point before each zone.
No rain is expected all weekend. Temperatures are expected to get as high as 25°C during Sunday’s race.