• German GPR Race Recap: Vettel beats Lotus, SC & flying wheel mark race at the ‘ring

    Sebastian Vettel finally won the German Grand Prix, holding off a late charge from Kimi Raikkonen on fresh soft tyres. Romain Grosjean stood on the third step of the podium, after listening to Lotus and allowing championship fighter Raikkonen through. Fernando Alonso nearly caught him in the final ten laps, also on fresh soft tyres, but appeared to run out of fuel just beyond the finish line. The Nurburgring hosted an interesting race full of fighting for position, tyre strategy, a safety car, and a tyre bouncing through pit lane.

    Red Bull release Mark Webber with a loose right rear tyre. It bounded through pit lane and struck a cameraman in the back. He rejoined last, but managed to finish seventh. Jenson Button parlayed his decent qualifying into a points finish, ending the race sixth after continual battles with teammate Sergio Perez. He finished eighth, with Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten.

    In other strange happenings, Jules Bianchi’s Marussia attempted to rejoin the race without its driver, Bianchi having gotten out after the engine blew and caught fire. As the tractor attempted to retrieve it, it rolled backward onto the racing line in front of Vettel and Grosjean. That brought out the Safety Car. Vettel led through and after the SC. Though he started on pole, Lewis Hamilton could only finish fifth.

    The Briton looked set to repeat his feat as the most recent winner at the Nurburgring, as he had done so in 2011, but he lost out to both Vettel and Webber on the start. Hamilton also had terrible tyre degredation issues, switching to a three stop strategy while fighting Alonso for fifth. He dropped well down the order and pushed his way back through the field.

    Hamilton (1:29.398) stole pole from Vettel after the checkered flag during Saturday’s qualifying sessions as the latter so often does to the other drivers. Hamilton and Vettel had traded fast laps all through the three sessions, as well as during the three practice sessions, though it had appeared that fellow Mercedes driver Rosberg would join his teammate in the battle with the Red Bull drivers. It would not happen, as a critical misstep from Mercedes left Rosberg in the garage, feeling safe, late in Q2. Instead, the Nurburgring evolved and Rosberg dropped out in the session. His previously set time allowed him to only qualify eleventh, despite a strong showing earlier in the weekend.

    Webber qualified third, a tenth slower than his teammate in the final dash to a fast time. Raikkonen, Grosjean, and Ricciardo completed the first three rows for the starting grid. Ferrari looked to play strategy for Sunday, sending Massa and Alonso out in the closing stages of Q3 on the medium compound tyres, allowing them to flip their race strategy and qualify seventh and eighth, respectively. Button’s weekend looked better than other times this season, as the Briton qualified ninth. McLaren, too, had put Button on the harder tyre. Hulkenberg completed the top ten.

    Hamilton (1:31.754) led the first practice Friday morning, with Vettel picking up the lead that afternoon and Saturday morning. Rosberg was second fastest in the first session, with Webber, Sutil, and Raikkonen rounding out the fastest five as the weekend began. Alonso got off on the wrong foot, as electrical issues flummoxed Ferrari. He could not complete a single lap Friday morning, though he attempted twice.

    Vettel (1:30.416) led Rosberg in the afternoon, with Webber, Grosjean, and again Raikkonen the top five. Hamilton’s early speed slowed in the second session, leaving the Briton eighth fastest. Vettel (1:29.0517) again led Rosberg in the final practice. Webber, Alonso, and Massa rounded out the top five, as the Spaniard’s earlier issues seemed fully resolved. So too were the tyre issues that plagued the entire field at Silverstone, with not a single delamination or blown tyre through the end of qualifying.

    On the grid, Mercedes crew worked quickly on the right front of Hamilton’s pole sitting car with Ross Brawn looking on. The Mercedes had both a brake issue and a leaky fuel pump. His right front brake appeared to be stuck open and had smoked for about a minute while sitting on the grid. The crew worked quickly, and Hamilton sat in the car ready to go well before the formation lap.Meanwhile, Pic had dropped on the starting grid due to a gearbox change. Red Bull radioed Webber on the formation lap, “if you get wheel slip, hold the throttle.”

    Race Start:
    Hamilton got away well as the lights went out, but Vettel got the inside as Hamilton dove across to cut Vettel’s line. Webber came around the outside to take second from Hamilton, capitalizing on the free track ahead. He had nearly taken Vettel for the lead as well, but Vettel’s inside line kept him ahead on the exit. The field continued to push and jostle one another, as Massa managed to take sixth from Ricciardo. Alonso was unable to follow his teammate through.

    Further along the lap, Maldonado and Gutierrez scuffled, leading to the Mexican leaving a trail of dust behind him. Vettel led Webber by less than a second, with Hamilton, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Massa, Ricciardo, Alonso, Button, and Perez the top ten. Button and Perez fought over ninth, as the younger driver pushed his teammate wide into Turn 1 and took ninth from him.

    Perez continued to deal in close quarters, looking for a way around Alonso while attempting to hold off his teammate. Massa spun out on L4, ending his race after such a promising start. Massa spun to the left and slid to the right, having lost the rear into T1. Ricciardo was well behind, ruling out contact as a cause of the spin.

    Pit Stops Begin (L5 of 60):
    Di Resta, Vergne, and Pic took advantage of the slowing field to pit. Force India released di Resta right as Vergne came by the box. The Frenchman had to brake heavily and di Resta wiggled his way out of the box. The stewards announced that they would investigate the possible unsafe release after the race. On the next lap, Ricciardo, Sutil, van der Garde, and Bianchi all pitted. Hamilton did so on L7, as did Gutierrez. Hamilton rejoined in tenth, between Rosberg and Maldonado.

    Meanwhile, Grosjean had informed Lotus that, “I’m much quicker than Kimi.” Vettel pitted on the next lap, looking to match the Mercedes undercut. That left Webber in the lead, as Vettel rejoined seventh and still ahead of Hamilton. Perez had also pitted on that lap. Red Bull called Webber to pit on the next lap. Raikkonen followed him in. Webber had a terrible stop, with issues on the right rear wheel. The mechanic frantically waved to indicate that the wheel was not on, but the rear jack man released anyway. The wheel came flying off Webber’s car, bouncing through the Mercedes pit. It smacked a cameraman in the back, knocking him to the ground.

    Webber turned off the engine on command without having left the pit lane. The team ran back and got him, put the wheels on properly and released him. That incident would also be investigated as an unsafe release after the race. Grosjean did not pit, flying along in the lead. He had nine and a half seconds over Alonso, with Button and Vettel behind. That order would not long last, as Vettel pushed through on Button, dipping neatly underneath the Briton.

    Grosjean continued to push in the lead while his teammate looked to take seventh from Hamilton. The Briton sat behind his teammate, complaining that they were on different strategy as the German continued to hold off Hamilton. Brawn soon got on the radio to remind Rosberg that Hamilton was, in fact, on a different strategy and to not hold him up. Alonso pitted on L13. for more medium tyres. As Hamilton continued to sit behind Rosberg, the German still refused to let him through.

    Grosjean pitted from the lead as L14 began, rejoining in third. Alonso had dropped to ninth and immediately set two race fastest sectors. Hamilton finally passed Rosberg. He, Button in third, Hulkenberg in fourth, Maldonado in eighth, and Bottas in tenth had yet to stop. Using DRS, Raikkonen made his own way through on Rosberg, who was unable to fight back in the next DRS zone.

    End L15 of 60:
    Vettel led Grosjean by three and a half seconds. Button, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Alonso, Maldonado, and Bottas completed the top ten, with the same men not yet to pit. Rosberg made his first stop on L17. Grosjean had been closing on Vettel as the laps progressed. Hamilton had been looking for any way around Hulkenberg, but the German pitted on L18 and stepped out of Hamilton’s way. Hamilton’s day would only get worse, as he complained of a lack of grip. Raikkonen pounced, taking fourth from him and the Brit struggled. Hamilton radioed later, “these guys are on different tyres than me, man.”

    Second Pit Stops Begin (L19 of 60):
    Ricciardo made his second stop, the first man to do so, on L19. So too did Bianchi. Alonso, however, had soon caught Hamilton. He pulled out to go around the outside, but ran out of straight to take fifth. Alonso tried the outside into T1, then the inside through T2. The radio feed had Hamilton asking if Rosberg was also suffering the same tyre issues, which was affirmed.

    Button made his first pit stop from fourth on L22 as did Maldonado. At the same time, Alonso went for another go at and over under with Hamilton. He could not pass and spent a turn side by side. Hamilton sounded less controlled as his radio messages continued. He pitted on L23, switching to a three stop strategy. He rejoined on another set of mediums. Bottas, Gutierrez, and Vergne all stopped on L24. At about the same time, Bianchi’s engine let go. He pulled to the side near the final chicane, the rear of the car on fire, and walked away.

    Safety Car (L25 of 60):
    In a horrible scare, Bianchi’s Marussia began rolling backward. It moved back out onto the track in front of Vettel and Grosjean, then rolled toward a marshal stand. It ran into an advertising sign, which stopped its progress. Vettel, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Alonso, Perez, Sutil, di Resta, Rosberg, Webber, and Pic all pitted as the SC deployed. Rosberg looked for a way to pass a Force India while entering the pit lane.

    Vettel led Grosjean, Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Maldonado, Perez, and Sutil were the top ten under the SC. Ricciardo, di Resta, Rosberg, Gutierrez, Bottas, van der Garde, Pic, Chilton, and Webber completed the running order. Vergne had retired with a hydraulic problem. Alonso, Button, Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Maldonado, and Bottas all had to stop for different tyres, as per regulations.

    Restart (L29 of 60):
    The SC returned to pit lane as L29 ended, on the start of the halfway lap. Vettel bunched up the field, then squirted away across the SC line. Vettel had plenty of lead into T1, though Perez looked for any way through on Maldonado for eighth. Webber made up position from dead last to sixteenth, passing Chilton, Pic, and van der Garde through the first two turns.

    Halfway (End L30 of 60):
    Vettel had a second gap to Grosjean at halfway, with Raikkonen, Alonso, and Button the top five, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Maldonado, Perez, and Sutil rounded out the top ten, covered by less than eight seconds after the restart. Though Vettel attempted to perform his typical feat of streaking away at the front, Grosjean nearly matched him. Even as they remained close, Raikkonen worked on catching his teammate.

    Further back, Hamilton wanted desperately to pass Hulkenberg for sixth but could not. At the front, Grosjean caught Vettel after the latter had a slow middle sector. Both Lotus drivers were quite close behind Vettel, each within a second of the car ahead. They crossed the start/finish with the same gap two laps in a row, only for Grosjean to dip a nose inside Vettel.

    Other scrappy drivers included Perez and Maldonado, with the former wanting desperately in front of the latter. He made the pass stick on the outside at T2. Hamilton was not so fortunate, with no way to pass Hulkenberg. He would be unable to do so, but gained the position as Hulkenberg pitted. Back at the front, Vettel had gotten a tiny gap back from Grosjean, who also had a bit more gap back to his teammate.

    Third Pit Stops Begin (L38 of 60):
    After Hulkenberg pitted for another set of the harder tyre, he still needed to stop again, not then having used the soft compound for the race. Webber pitted as well on the next lap. So did van der Garde. Vettel continued to eek out a margin as his race engineer encouraged him to “keep fighting.”

    Grosjean made his third stop on L41 after his Lotus had gotten a bit wiggly at the rear. Ricciardo also pitted for the third time on that lap. Raikkonen immediately set two sectors in race fast time. Vettel pitted from the lead, leaving Raikkonen to hope for a very fast in lap. Vettel rejoined in fifth, ahead of Grosjean. Gutierrez also pitted that lap. Despite responding to Grosjean’s stop, Vettel heard instructions to cover Raikkonen over the radio. Grosjean posted a race fast lap, sitting a second behind Vettel and closing.

    Sutil made his third stop on L44, even as Vettel and Grosjean closed on Hamilton in fourth. They made a neat train, leaving Raikkonen to gain more time in the lead. Vettel went to pass around the outside in T1, but could not make it stick. He continued to push, passing Hamilton into T3. Grosjean followed Vettel through the chicane.

    Hamilton immediately pitted for the third time. Speculation abounded that Lotus might attempt to two-stop Raikkonen to leave him in the lead, but he would require thirty-six laps of his wearing tyres. On the radio, Raikkonen indicated that his tyres were “not bad.” Another radio message informed those listening, as well as Raikkonen, that he could only be heard if he radioed just after T12.

    Meanwhile, Button had yet to stop more than once. He still needed to use the option and had fifteen laps remaining in the race. He finally made his second stop on L48. Rosberg pitted on the next lap for his third stop.

    10 Laps Remaining:
    Raikkonen pitted for his third stop from the lead as L50 began. Alonso followed him in. They rejoined third and fourth on the softer tyres, though Alonso went far too wide into T1. Hulkenberg also pitted further back. Hamilton forced the issue, going three wide with di Resta and Maldonado into T1. At the end of L50, Vettel led Grosjean, Raikkonen, Alonso, Perez, Button, Hamilton, Maldonado, di Resta, Webber, and Bottas. Maldonado had dropped out for his second stop. Williams gave him a dismal one, as the right front wheel gun refused to work properly. Perez took the position from Button by again forcing his teammate wide though T1. Button would return the favor on the next lap.

    Vettel had nearly two seconds on Grosjean, but only three and a half seconds covered the top three. On the radio, Lotus informed Grosjean that he should not hold up Raikkonen. Alonso continued to push, closing on Raikkonen but still three seconds back. Vettel soon held a two second lead over Grosjean. As he came across lapped traffic, Vettel lost a bit of time. It also allowed Raikkonen to catch his teammate. Alonso gained a bit of time on both of them. With another radio message to not hold up Raikkonen on the option, Grosjean let Raikkonen through and into second as they ended L55.

    Vettel had two and a half seconds on Raikkonen with five laps to go, with Alonso, in fourth, less than a second and a half behind Grosjean. He continued to push, soon within the DRS zone of Grosjean ahead. Though Vettel seemed safe, Raikkonen had only 1.6s to Vettel and three laps to get around him. Raikkonen flew through the sectors, continually gaining time on Vettel. Across the line to start the penultimate lap, Vettel had only 1.2s gap. He soon got into the DRS zone.

    Further back, Hamilton took out a large portion of Button’s gap, looking to pass his former teammate for fifth, he would go for it into the final lap. Button fought back, but could not hold off Hamilton. Vettel still had the lead as the final lap began, looking for his first ever victory in the German Grand Prix. In the end, he would do so. Raikkonnen could not catch the German, while teammate Grosjean rounded out the podium ahead of Alonso. He parked his car at T1 on the cool-down lap. It looked rather as though he ran out of fuel as he crossed the line.

    Final Positions, 2013 German Grand Prix:

      Driver Team Gap Stops
    1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 3
    2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1.0 3
    3. Romain Grosjean Lotus 5.8 3
    4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 7.7 3
    5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 26.9 3
    6. Jenson Button McLaren 27.9 2
    7. Mark Webber* Red Bull 37.5 3
    8. Sergio Perez McLaren 38.3 2
    9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 46.8 3
    10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 49.8 3
    11. Paul di Resta* Force India 53.7 3
    12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 56.9 3
    13. Adrian Sutil Force India 57.7 3
    14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 60.1 3
    15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 61.9 2
    16. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1 Lap 2
    17. Charles Pic Caterham 1 Lap 3
    18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1 Lap 3
    19. Max Chilton Marussia 1 Lap 4
      Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 38 Laps 2
      Jules Bianchi Marussia 39 Laps 2
      Felipe Massa Ferrari 57 Laps

    *under investigation after the race for an unsafe release in pit lane


  • Nurburgring Quali Recap: Hamilton triumphs despite Merc’s strategy misstep, Vettel P2

    Lewis Hamilton (1:29.398) won pole for the 2013 German Grand Prix, beating out Sebastian Vettel at his home grand prix by just over a tenth of a second. As the qualifying sessions progressed, it appeared that pole would come down to a battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, as it did. Mark Webber finished Q3 third fastest, with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean filling out the top five for Lotus. Daniel Ricciardo comtinued his hunt to replace Webber at Red Bull, qualifying sixth. Ferrari chose a cagey strategy, putting both Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso on the medium compound for their final run in the final quali session. They qualified seventh and eighth fastest, respectively.

    Williams suffered a dismal Q1, with both Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado knocked out in the first twenty minutes of qualifying. Webber looked a bit shaky, as a lockup in his penultimate lap allowed him to go only thirteenth fastest. Still, he and Vettel had not used a set of softs to that point. Shockingly, Nico Rosberg lost out in Q2, as Mercedes kept him in the garage with what seemed to be a safe time. It was not, and the German got knocked out in Q2 as the track improved

    Mercedes looked set for a second triumph in as many weeks, as Hamilton (1:31.754) and Rosberg led the Friday morning practice session by a large margin over the rest of the field. Third fastest Webber could only manage a lap time a full second slower than Hamilton, while Vettel’s typical bad luck at home in Germany allowed him only the eighth fastest time. Sutil and Raikkonen rounded out the fastest five at the end of the first practice.

    Alonso had a dismal session, unable to complete even an installation lap. His Ferrari suffered electrical issues, forcing the Spaniard out of the car in the early stages of the session on his first install lap, then barely allowing him to get back to the garage on his second try much later.

    Vettel, though, seemed to have shaken off the morning’s slow pace after taking charge in the afternoon practice. He posted the fastest time (1:30.416), beating Rosberg by just over two tenths in the quick soft tyre runs. Though Rosberg separated the Red Bull teammates, Webber was third fastest and masterful in the race simulations. Grosjean and Raikkonen completed the fastest five for Lotus, with Alonso, far better than in the morning, sixth fastest. Hamilton sat eighth fastest at the end of the ninety minute practice.

    Vettel (1:29.517) again led Saturday morning, posting an early fast time, then beating the rest of the field by nearly seven tenths again in the soft tyre runs at the end of the hour long practice. Rosberg, Webber, Alonso, and Massa completed the top five. Raikkonen, Hamilton, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, and Sutil rounded out the top ten, with Button again slower than McLaren would typically expect, in eleventh. Teammate Perez was fifteenth fastest.

    Di Resta led the way onto the track for the twenty minutes of Q1, with no other driver immediately following. Bianchi left the garages next. Chilton soon followed, as did van der Garde and others. The Scotsman’s first time was slow, with Bianchi and Chilton soon posted faster ones, only to have di Resta go faster still. Early times were their typical mishmash as the order settled and the track evolved.

    After the first ten minutes, Maldonado (1:31.834) led Bottas, Gutierrez, di Resta, Sutil, Pic, Bianchi, van der Garde, and Chilton. Both Mercedes drivers had set times, but they were then outside the 107%, as both had issues heating up the tyres. Soon, Ricciardo leapt up to fastest, with Rosberg slotting neatly into the order two tenths slower than the Australian. With nine minutes remaining, Webber, Massa, Raikkonen, Grosjean, and Hulkenberg all still remained in the garage, though they began joining in soon thereafter. Hamilton beat his teammate to second fastest by a slim margin on his first properly fast lap.

    Alonso soon set out on three timed laps on the soft tyres. He went fastest (1:30.709) of all, beating Ricciardo’s provisional pole by nearly three tenths. Ricciardo, Hamilton Vettel, Rosberg, Vergne, Malonado, Bottas, Sutil, and Gutierrez completed the top ten with five minutes remaining. Alonso’s time would not long stand, as Raikkonen beat him to provisional pole. Massa, Button, Grosjean, and Hulkenberg had yet to set times.

    Massa went fifth fastest with just under four minutes remaining, leaving Sutil, Perez, Pic, Bianchi, van der Garde, and Chilton in the knockout zone with two and a half minutes remaining. Button had been there, but popped up to sixth fastest on his first fast lap. Raikkonen pitted, as did Alonso, Ricciardo, and Hamilton, with two minutes to go. As the top four they looked safe to move on to Q2. Webber had a lockup into the hairpin, but continued on after briefly stepping outside the bound of the track. He sat thirteenth fastest.

    Massa soon took provisional pole as more drivers popped back to the garages in the final seconds of the session. Webber moved up to twelfth, then pitted. Perez looked set to be knocked out, but had time enough for another fast lap after the checkered flag. Di Resta moved up to twelfth on soft tyres, with Perez just barely managing to move on to Q2, by going fourteenth. In the end, Massa (1:30.547) led Raikkonen, Alonso, Ricciardo, Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Button, Grosjean, Vettel, and Sutil as the top ten in Q1. Webber finished thirteenth, though both Red Bull drivers remained on the harder, medium compounds.

    Knocked Out in Q1:
    17. Valtteri Bottas
    18. Pastor Maldonado
    19. Charles Pic
    20. Jules Bianchi
    21. Giedo van der Garde
    22. Max Chilton

    Vergne set out for the fifteen minutes of Q2 first. Gutierrez and di Resta soon followed, as did Hulkenberg and Raikkonen. Vergne’s first lap was faster than his Q1 lap, as it would be on soft tyres, but was off the pace. Di Resta quickly bettered him. All but the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers were lapping, five minutes into the session. Raikkonen (1:30.575) took provisional pole, with di Resta six tenths slower. Grosjean slotted between the two, with Vergne, Hulkenberg, Gutierrez, and Sutil the seven drivers to have then set a time. Hamilton’s first lap (1:30.152) put him on the provisional pole.

    McLaren had by then sent Button and Perez out to lap, as Alonso went third fastest, a half second off his former teammate’s time. Hamilton still led the session at halfway, with Raikkonen, Alonso, Grosjean, Massa, di Resta, Vergne, Hulkenberg, and Gutierrez the top ten at that time. Sutil and Ricciardo had set times, with the McLaren boys yet to complete their first timed lap, and Red Bull still serenely sitting in the garage.

    Button went tenth fastest on his first lap, with Perez unable to beat even Ricciardo’s time. Perez was well off the pace, as his lap was in the one thirty-sevens. Vettel and Webber joined the fray with just under six minutes to go. They, the McLaren drivers, and Gutierrez were then the only men lapping. Perez soon put his lap closer to the rest of the field, just three hundredths slower than Ricciardo. Grosjean soon rejoined as well.

    More drivers trickled back onto the track with four minutes to go, as neither Red Bull could beat either Mercedes driver’s first sector time. They were, however, faster by multiple tenths through the second sector. Vettel’s first fast lap (1:29.992) put him on top, with Webber third fastest. Grosjean soon slid between Vettel and Hamilton.

    Only Mercedes remained in the garage with two minutes to go, then the Red Bulls pitted. Vergne, Hulkenberg, Butotn, Sutil, Ricciardo, and Perez were in the knockout zone with one minute remaining, even as Alonso took provisional pole. Teammate Massa soon bested him by more than a tenth. Perez went eighth fastest, with Perez soon dropping to ninth, then tenth. Ricciardo moved up to seventh, even as most of the drivers in the relegation zone bettered their times.

    Button had looked safer, only to  be dropped to tenth as Raikkonen moved up to second fastest. Meanwhile, Rosberg, having remained in the garage, dropped into eleventh by Raikkonen’s fast time. In the end, Massa (1:29.825) led Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel, Grosjean, Hamilton, Webber, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, and Button on to fight for pole in Q3.

    Knocked Out in Q2:
    11. Nico Rosberg
    12. Paul di Resta
    13. Sergio Perez
    14. Esteban Gutierrez
    15. Adrian Sutil
    16. Jean-Eric Vergne

    Ricciardo left the garage first, with Alonso and Massa close behind. Nearly all of the drivers were out quite quickly for the ten minutes of Q3. Soon, only Button and Hulkenberg had yet to leave pit lane two minutes into the session. Most drivers were out on used soft tyres, barring the Red Bull drivers. They appeared to be using fresh softs. Neither Ferrari driver completed a timed lap, as both posted an install lap and returned to the garage. So too did Ricciardo. Raikkonen (1:29.970) set the first time, only to have Vettel beat him by just under three tenths. Grosjean managed only to go slower than his teammate.

    After the first hot laps were completed, Hamilton (1:29.540) held provisional pole. Vettel, Raikkonen, Webber, and Grosjean completed the top five with five minutes to go. They were the only drivers then to have set a time. As most drivers returned to the pits, Alonso, Massa, and Button lapped. Button soon quitted the field, gaining a new set of tyres after a quick stop.

    By the time two minutes remained, all the drivers had rejoined the circuit. Alonso and Massa went out on fresh mediums, as Ferrari clearly looked toward Sunday. Button, meanwhile, radioed that “I’ll be surprised if we can beat the Ferraris, guys.” He was also on the harder tyre.

    As the seconds ticked away, drivers looked to finish their single hot laps. Vettel took the provisional pole, but Hamilton had beaten his first sector time, behind him on the track. Webber could not beat Hamilton’s previously fast time and sat third fastest, as Raikkonen and Grosjean were both slower in fourth and fifth. Hamilton pushed hard, beating Vettel to pole by just over a tenth. Further back, Massa out-qualified Alonso, while both Button and Hulkenberg aborted their laps and did not post a time in Q3.

    Final Qualifying Times for the 2013 German Grand Prix:

      Driver Team Time Laps
    1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.398 14
    2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:29.501 14
    3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:29.608 14
    4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:29.892 15
    5. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:29.959 16
    6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:30.528 16
    7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:31.126 17
    8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:31.209 15
    9. Jenson Button McLaren no time 16
    10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber no time 13
    11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:30.326 10
    12. Paul di Resta Force India 1:30.697 18
    13. Sergio Perez McLaren 1:30.933 16
    14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:31.010 17
    15. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:31.010 15
    16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:31.104 12
    17. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:31.693 8
    18. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:31.707 6
    19. Charles Pic Caterham 1:32.937 8
    20. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:33.063 9
    21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:33.734 8
    22. Max Chilton Marussia 1:34.098 9

    Thanks to formula1blog.com

  • Simonsen laid to Rest

    Allan Simonsen has been laid to rest in his hometown of Odense in an emotional service.

    The Odense Cathedral was overflowing with family and friends from all over the world.

    Nine-times Le Mans 24 Hour winner Tom Kristensen, David Richards, his team-mates at Le Mans this year, former team-mate Dominik Farnbacher, Jan Magnussen, Jason Watt, Thorkild Thyrring, John Neilsen and Lars Erik Neilsen were all seen paying their respects to Allan and his family.

    Former Aussie GT racer Bryce Washington and friend Jon Hart also paid their respects at the funeral.

    V8 Supercars will be running the featured picture on their cars this weekend at the Townsville 400 which was designed by long time friend Jon Hart.

    “My sausage dog was Allan’s southern hemisphere dog. He absolutely loved it. We feel that the design is a fitting and appropriate tribute for a champion bloke and a champion driver,”

    More Tributes will be given to Allan by other Motor racing categories in Australia such as, The Dunlop Series and the Australian GT plus individual V8 Supercar team Brad Jones Racing.

    Aston Martin Racing boss Richards was among those to deliver eulogies. Richards spoke of a driver who touched so many people around the world and who had tremendous spirit and courage.

    Simonsen, 34, lost his life behind the wheel of the #95 Aston Martin in the early stages of the Le Mans 24 Hour race 10 days ago.

    Formula 1 Blog sends a teddy bear hug to Allan’s family, partner Carina and their baby Mie-Mai.

    Thanks Formula1blog

  • Silverstone GPR Race Recap: Rosberg wins, tyres fail in thrilling British GP

    Nico Rosberg won the 2013 British Grand Prix, holding off a late charging Mark Webber, who had dropped to fifteenth on the start. Silverstone was the site of a particularly thrilling race, as two different leaders fell out of leading position, two Safety Cars, and multiple tyre delaminations marked the dicey race. Fernando Alonso completed the podium after slicing through the field in the final seven lap sprint. He was not the only driver pushing through the field, as it seemed every driver had a scrap with every other racer up and down the field throughout the grand prix.

    Though Lewis Hamilton looked like he would win after starting on pole and keeping the lead in the early stages, he lost a tyre on the Wellington Straight. Hamilton, Massa, and Vergne all lost their left rears in dramatic fashion, leading to the first SC deployment. Perez would suffer his second delamination on the weekend later in the race. Red Bull had also found cuts on Vettel’s left rear on his pit stop in the midst of the melee. Sebastian Vettel had inherited the lead from Hamilton, only for the German to suffer a gearbox failure and loss of drive with ten laps remaining. As he parked on the pit straight, the SC came out fro the second time, leading to that final seven lap sprint to the end.

    Hamilton (1:29.607) seemed determined to take pole for his home grand prix, despite getting a late start to Q1 after greeting the crowds on the pit straight. He and teammate Rosberg, who had led two of the three previous practices, led the way through Saturday’s qualifying sessions. Vettel and Webber were also quick, with Vettel leading the timesheets at the end of Q2, but were unable to catch the Mercedes duo in the mad rush to fast laps after the flag in Q3.

    The British skies cooperated for qualifying, staying fairly clear and sunny for all three sessions. That didn’t help Button, who managed only eleventh for McLaren. Also disappointed were Raikkonen and Alonso, who qualified ninth and tenth. Ricciardo, Sutil, and Grosjean filled in between Webber and Raikkonen. Every driver below fifth would move up a position, as di Resta dropped to the rear of the grid. The stewards disqualified his fantastic fifth place qualifying time after he and his Force India weighed in at 1.5kg underweight after qualifying.

    Ricciardo led the first practice, notable mainly for lack of running. No one left the garages in the Friday morning downpour as the forecast indicated that no more rain would fall on the weekend. The young Australian set the first time of the ninety minute session when less than fifteen minutes remained in it. Hulkenberg, Maldonado, Hamilton, and Gutierrez completed the fastest five. Rosberg led the afternoon practice and again Saturday morning’s practice. Webber, Vettel, di Resta, and Grosjean were amongst the top five in those two sessions. Massa caused a red flag Friday, his third race weekend in a row with a crash, after losing the rear and landing in the barrier at Stowe.

    Race Start:
    Hamilton got a good start as the lights went out, staying ahead of Rosberg, who lost second to Vettel. Webber’s start returned to its horrible consistency, bogging the Australian down into the pack to fifteenth. He had been clipped by a Lotus, damaging his front wing. Massa, though, got a fantastic start, managing to jump to fifth through the first few turns. Alonso dropped to tenth from his ninth place start after getting stuck behind the Webber/Grosjean touch. At the end of L1, Hamilton led Vettel, Rosberg, Sutil, Massa, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Grosjean, Alonso, and Button as the top ten. Webber had moved up to fourteenth with a pass on Maldonado.

    Alonso looked particularly racy, pushing through on Grosjean after they spent a few corners where to wheel. Di Resta also had the bit between his teeth, moving up to seventeenth from his twenty-second starting position. He soon passed Maldonado for sixteenth. Alonso passed Grosjean not long after, taking eighth. Webber had moved back up to twelfth and began worrying Button for eleventh, after teammate Perez had passed the Briton. Webber took the position handily with the aid of DRS.

    At the front, Hamilton had a two second lead, only to have his left rear tyre fall apart on the Wellington Straight on L8. He slowly made his way back to the garage, dropping ot eighteenth, and rejoined with a set of hard tyres. Grosjean pitting on L10, as did di Resta.

    End L10 of 52/Tyres Fall Apart/Pit Stops Begin:
    Grosjean and di Resta pitted from sixth and thirteenth, respectively. Almost immediately thereafter, Massa spun out with a left rear puncture, just as he was, coming out of The Loop. Alonso, Webber, and Gutierrez all pitted on L11 in a flurry of seeming responses to the tyre issues seen on track. Massa finally got to the garage, having dropped to the final position. Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Button, and Bianchi all pitted on the next lap. Rosberg, Sutil, Hulkenberg pitted on the next lap .

    Meanwhile, Alonso passed Grosjean, then Vergne. Just as Vettel pitted from the lead, Raikkonen looked for any possible way around his teammate. Grosjean had caught up Vergne. Perez also pitted, having shuffled up to third in the pit stop melee.

    As Vergne stacked up the Lotus teammates, his Toro Rosso’s left rear tyre fell apart as well, directly in front of Grosjean and Raikkonen. Just as the Lotus radio message telling Grosjean that Raikkonen was faster than he was broadcast on the world feed, Vergne’s tyre exploded, with bits flying into Raikkonen’s face.

    Safety Car Deployed (L16):
    Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Bottas, and Pic all pitted just after the SC came out, while Red Bull told Vettel to stay off the kerbs. There was some speculation that cars were cutting their tyres on kerbs, as Perez’s Friday practice delamination came from a puncture. Vettel led Rosberg, Sutil, Alonso, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Perez, Webber, and Button behind the Safety Car. Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Gutierrez, Hamilton, Maldonado, Vergne, Bottas, Pic, Bianchi, Chilton, van der Garde, and Massa completed the running order then.

    Despite the damage incurred, none of the affected drivers had retired. Massa pitted for the second time under the SC. On the radio, Red Bull informed Webber than they had found cuts on Vettel’s left rear during the pit stop and asked him to be careful of his left rear. It was amongst the many similar messages, keeping drivers aware.

    Restart (L21):
    The race restarted after the marshals swept the track as clear as possible. The field was well strung out behind Vettel, who seemed unwilling to stack everyone up until the final moment before the SC left the track. Vettel got going through Stowe, a bit earlier than expected. Rosberg had no chance to take the lead, though Webber had a go at Perez, with Button jut behind the Australian. Webber took the position around the outside, moving up to eighth.

    Alonso was also pushy, looking for any way into third around Sutil. At the front, Vettel soon had more than a second over Rosberg, with Sutil another two back. Further back, Hamilton nearly made contact with Gutierrez, attempting to pass the Sauber driver on the inside.

    Massa in eighteenth looked for any way around Vergne and Bottas directly ahead. Vergne went a bit wide, with Bottas following, allowing Massa to close up and take Bottas easily with DRS. Hulkenberg and Vernge pitted on L26, just after Massa’s pass on the Williams. Meanwhile, Raikkonen had closed to a half second behind Alonso in fourth.

    Halfway (End L26):
    Vettel led Rosberg by two and a half seconds at halfway, with Sutil, Alonso, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Webber, Perez, and Button completing the top ten. Hamilton was twelfth, Massa fifteenth. Gutierrez made his second stop on L28. Only Massa, Hulkenberg, and Vergne had yet made a second stop.

    Ricciardo continued to push, taking sixth from Grosjean and setting off after Raikkonen. A bit further up the track, Alonso had caught up Sutil again, looking for fourth. Meanwhile, a bit of wing sat at the entrance to Stowe after Gutierrez’s wing sort of exploded in carbon fiber bits.

    Second Pit Stops Begin (L29):
    Meanwhile, Raikkonen made his second stop. Gutierrez did so on the next lap, with a nose change. Alonso and Grosjean pitted on L31. Alonso’s release was very close to Grosjean entering, with the Spaniard pausing in McLaren’s nearly empty pitbox to allow Grosjean into his own box. Vettel had gained another half second on Rosberg, but was not streaking off into the distance.

    Hamilton had a go on di Resta, attempting to dive down the inside of the Scotsman. He was unable to make the pass, though both were very close. Ricciardo and Button pitted on L33, with Webber having done so the lap before. Hamilton had pushed so hard on di Resta, he got caught up by Raikkonen and Alonso, who both dove through to shuffle Hamilton two spots back. Soon thereafter Webber followed suit. Just after, Sutil, di Resta, and Perez all pitted, with Force India having just enough space between the teammates to service one then the other without waiting.

    Alonso continued to look for any way through on Raikkonen, but was unable to make a pass stick. Rosberg made his second stop from second position on L35. Vettel made his own second stop as L36 ended. He rejoined still in the lead. Meanwhile, Webber had slid through to take fourth from Alonso. Hamilton pitted, as did Massa, on L37. Vergne retired on that lap.

    Hamilton had rejoined next to di Resta, who dove under to take the position. Hamilton went back at him, passing, only to have di Resta tae the position under DRS. They continued to dice through a number of corners, only to have di Resta seemingly keep the position. Even under DRS, Hamilton could not quite retake the Force India, despite di Resta’s damaged front wing after earlier contact with Hulkenberg. Hamilton held back for a few moments, then made his final dive to keep eleventh.

    After nearly the entire field had completed their second stops, Vettel led Rosberg by nearly two and a half seconds, with Raikkonen, Webber, Alonso, Sutil, Ricciardo, Perez, Button, and Grosjean the top ten. Massa was thirteenth. Soon thereafter Button passed Grosjean for ninth. The race continued to be full of drama as Ricciardo looked for any way through on Sutil for sixth. After that scrap, the racing continued as Hamilton took ninth from Grosjean.

    Second Safety Car (L42)/ 10 Laps Remaining:
    In another dramatic twist of fate, Vettel slowed and cruised to a stop on the pit straight, having “lost drive, lost the gearbox.” Alonso dove into the pits for a third stop, just as the SC was announced and before it was deployed. Rosberg also pitted once he made his way back around, as did Webber, Grosjean, di Resta, and Massa.

    On the radio, Raikkonen wondered why he hadn’t been called to pit, but was informed that it was “too late now” and “stick to the plan.” Under the SC, Rosberg led Raikkonen, Sutil, Ricciardo, Webber, Perez, Button, Alonso, Hamilton, and Grosjean the top ten. Massa, Maldonado, Hulkenberg, di Resta, Pic, Bottas, Bianchi, Gutierrez, Chilton, and van der Garde completed the running order.

    Restart (L45 of 52):
    Rosberg streaked away on the restart, with Raikkonen lagging just a bit. Di Restamoved up to eleventh as the track looked to have far more racing grooves than usual. With just seven laps remaining, drivers were looking for any way through. Alonso managed to take Button before they attained Copse. Perez lost his left rear on the straight, dropping out of sixth and to the garage and out of the race. Alonso was nearly caught out by the flying rubber. Meanwhile, Massa pushed Button. Even racier, Webber took third from Sutil. Alonso looked to pass Ricciardo, leaving Ricciardo to block. At the next turn, Alonso went to the inside and took fifth. Hamilton followed him through, dropping Ricciardo to seventh.

    Webber had soon caught Raikkonen. He went to the outside of the Finn, who managed to keep the line. Through the DRS, Webber seemed ready to take second, only to have Raikkonen fight back. They went side-by-side, but the Red Bull moved up to second. Alonso dove down the inside of Sutil for fourth, with Hamilton again attempting to follow him through. He was unable to do so and tried again. Sutil managed to keep the position.

    Webber seemed ready to catch up Rosberg, who was just over a second ahead, but Rosberg responded with more speed. Meanwhile, Alonso on fresh tyres had caught Raikkonen with three laps remaining. He soon slid through on Raikkonen to take the final podium position with two laps to go. Webber had managed to gain slightly on Rosberg, but he seemed unlikely to catch and pass the German with so little left in the race.

    Hamilton soon took fourth from Raikkonen, the Finn’s older tyres slowly losing their grip. His teammate Grosjean pitted to retire as the final lap began. Webber had just over a second to catch Rosberg as the final lap began. He visibly decreased the distance to Rosberg by the first DRS zone. Rosberg managed to hold on to the gap to take the checkered flag first. Alonso similarly held off the charging Hamilton to maintain third.

    Final Positions, 2013 British Grand Prix:

      Driver Team Gap Stops
    1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 3
    2. Mark Webber Red Bull .7 3
    3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 7.1 3
    4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 7.7 2
    5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 11.2 2
    6. Felipe Massa Ferrari 14.5 4
    7. Adrian Sutil Force India 16.3 2
    8. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 16.5 2
    9. Paul di Resta Force India 17.9 3
    10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 19.7 3
    11. Pastor Maldonado Williams 21.1 2
    12. Valtteri Bottas Williams 25.0 2
    13. Jenson Button McLaren 25.9 2
    14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 26.2 4
    15. Charles Pic Caterham 31.6 2
    16. Jules Bianchi Marussia 36.0 2
    17. Max Chilton Marussia 67.6 2
    18. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 67.7 3
      Romain Grosjean Lotus 1 Lap 4
      Sergio Perez McLaren 6 Laps 3
      Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 11 Laps 2
      Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 17 Laps 3

    read the entire 2012 Silverstone Grand Prix Redux here, with the quali recap also available here