German Grand Prix: Winners and Losers

© Paul Gilham/Getty Images

© Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Winners

Sebastian Vettel (Q2, R1)

A victory at home will be sweet for Sebastian Vettel, who had been thwarted by his team-mate and Lewis Hamilton the last two attempts he went for victory at the Nurburgring. After a pair of strong starts by the Red Bulls, it was Vettel leading Webber for the entirety of the first stint. While Sebastian took the first pit-stop and came out still in a race-winning position, team-mate Webber was again the victim of a wheel fitting issue. On a day when his Australian team-mate looked to have the pace to challenge for victory, Sebastian’s bad luck from Silverstone flipped in Germany and virtually eliminated his main contender from the front order. From there it became a race of consistency and was only hindered by a mid-race KERS failure. While Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen mounted separate attacks on the race leader, Sebastian was once again flawless and headed the Lotus pair across the line. A couple more races like that and the German will all but have sealed this year’s championship.

 

Kimi Raikkonen (Q4, R2)

Raikkonen came alive in the final parts of the race. After being out-paced by Grosjean early in the event, while Romain set about  chasing Vettel armed with a new set of soft Pirellis, Raikkonen turned the tide with 15 laps to go and forced his team-mate to play second-best. It’s a shame for Raikkonen that the team took so long to get Grosjean out of the Finn’s way, as with a couple extra laps chasing Vettel he may have had the opportunity to steal a win from under the World Championship leader. Germany was a strong turnaround for Lotus after the disaster that was the British Grand Prix and the team will be hoping for a few more races like this in the coming months. For Raikkonen second will be bittersweet. The result signalled Lotus’s return to the front order, but despite the strong showing he still finished behind the man he is chasing in the standings.

 

Romain Grosjean (Q5, R3)

Grosjean’s surprise resurgence to the top shocked just about everybody. The Frenchman, who has failed to score a point since the fourth round of the season, made a stunning comeback to secure the fifth podium of his career. It’s been a tough few months for Grosjean and word of his performances becoming unacceptable to the team has begun to spread. He didn’t manage to beat Kimi on this occasion, but if he can keep up the performance he showed in Germany he’ll be on-track to outperform Raikkonen in the future. The question is whether or not he can maintain such competitiveness.

 

McLaren (Q 9, 13. R 6, 8)

McLaren had easily their strongest race of 2013 so-far in Germany. Due mostly to strong strategy, the Woking pair went from Ninth and 13th on Saturday to sixth and eighth on Sunday. Not nearly the race-winning pace a team of McLaren’s calibre would be expected to deliver at Mercedes’s home race, but a definite step in the right direction. One can only hope for the sake of McLaren that the team has made substantial improvements to the car, though Saturday’s pace would suggest results like these all depend on the tyres provided for each weekend. Button turned the books to overtake Perez, though he wasn’t without complaints again. With a new team-mate and a struggling car, the pressure looks to be getting to the 2009 World Champion.

 

Losers

 

Williams (Q 17, 18. R 14, 16)

The German Grand Prix of 2013 was the team’s 600th race, but again the two Williams cars came home pointless. The long season continues for the Grove squad and with every passing race the team looks further and further away from its rivals ahead. Admittedly the team was on course for points (possibly even a double-points finish) until they failed to get the tyres on Maldonado’s car on time during the final stop. But they weren’t the only people to have issues with tyre fitting during the race and can only blame themselves for their problems. It’s the Hungarian Grand Prix next and let’s hope Williams can get some points on the board before the Summer break.

 

Max Chilton (Q 22, R 19)

A second off his team-mate’s pace in qualifying and then in the race. He hasn’t looked like improving all year. Max is starting to become an embarrassment – even by Marussia standards.

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