- German Grand Prix
Driver-by-driver run downLaurence Edmondson and Chris Medland July 24, 2011
Lewis Hamilton - 1st Crisis? What crisis? While it's true that McLaren and Lewis Hamilton were desperate for a win ahead of the German Grand Prix weekend, it's quite clear that the extent of their problems had been overstated. Hamilton thrived in the cold temperatures, which allowed him to lean heavily on the tyres without taking too much life out of them. All the aspects of his driving style that have attracted criticism this year helped him win in Germany, and a much deserved victory it was too.
Fernando Alonso -2nd After the race he made a good point that over the last three grands prix Ferrari has been very competitive on very different tracks and in very different conditions. Put simply, Ferrari's recovery is complete. A win was possible today if he had held off Hamilton after his second pit stop, but on cold tyres and with more to lose than gain he probably did the smart thing by giving the McLaren space. At the final stops Ferrari pitted him one lap too late for mediums, but that decision also had to consider Webber who was looking quick on the soft tyres.
Mark Webber - 3rd You have to feel for Webber; on the one weekend where he completely outdrove his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull wasn't quick enough to win the race. Much like Hamilton, he flourished in the cold conditions and could be more aggressive on the tyres without suffering the penalty of degradation. Unfortunately the Red Bull struggled in the low-speed corners, and despite being very competitive in sector two, that hit him hard on outlaps and inlaps - ultimately, that lost him the race.
Sebastian Vettel - 4th It was strange watching Vettel struggle to keep pace with the leading pack and the initial assumption was that there must be something wrong with his car. But aside from some minor brake issues, the Red Bull RB7 didn't miss a beat and he simply struggled in the conditions. But despite his worst weekend of the year, he only saw his championship lead drop by three points.
Felipe Massa - 5th One of his better races this year, but it still paled in comparison with team-mate Fernando Alonso. He got a good getaway from the grid but couldn't find a way past Sebastian Vettel into the first corner and lost a position to Nico Rosberg. That proved critical as he then spent nine laps stuck behind the much slower Mercedes and lost valuable time. When he did get past he made swift progress and worked his way back to fourth until a sticking wheel nut undid all his hard work at the final stop and he lost a place to Vettel.
Adrian Sutil - 6th The highest-placed two-stopper, he measured his race to perfection to take his best result of the season. It was a lonely 98 minutes out on track, but that suited him fine as he didn't have to take any life out of his tyres unnecessarily by fighting for position. The result was made even sweeter by the fact that it was in front of a large home crowd.
Nico Rosberg - 7th After Saturday's promising qualifying result, seventh will be something of a disappointment. It's clear that, although the Mercedes has improved, it is still no match for the front runners over a race distance. And to be beaten by Mercedes engine customer Force India will not have gone down well for the proud German marque.
Michael Schumacher - 8th It was actually one of his better races and he appeared to have better race pace than his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. However, a spin at the Schumacher chicane cost him dear and was a big blot on an otherwise promising afternoon. At the chequered flag he finished just 9.9s off Rosberg despite the problems.
Kamui Kobayashi - 9th Further proof that dropping out of the first session of qualifying is not such a bad thing. Kobayashi had two sets of fresh soft tyres available to him in the race and as a result was on brand new tyres after every pit stop. Combine that with a brilliant start that got him up to 12th (no doubt helped by his fresh tyres) and he found himself in the points by the chequered flag. But that's not to take away from his personal performance, which was further proof that he has the potential to be one of the stars of the future.
Vitaly Petrov - 10th Another frustrating result for the Russian, who was hoping to move forwards and not backwards from his qualifying position. He did a good job keeping Jenson Button at bay early in the race but it hurt his tyres and he had to stop earlier as a result. After the race he didn't mince his words, saying: "We need to look at why the likes of Sauber and Force India are finishing higher than us, and correct it as soon as possible."
Sergio Perez - 11th After the race he was clearly upset to be outside of the points, but commendably took full responsibility. "I am angry with myself because I made a mistake on lap eight," he said. "I went off and was on the grass. This was why I had to pit early and change tyres. This obviously was not what was planned in the strategy."After his strong race at Silverstone it's clear that his expectations have moved up a notch.
Jaime Alguersuari - 12th A reasonable result but nothing special compared to three consecutive points finishes at the last three races. He complained of problems under braking which won't have helped on a circuit where confidence in the brakes is crucial. Despite the problems he held off Paul di Resta on the final lap by 0.4s.
Paul di Resta - 13th - A promising afternoon was effectively ruined when Heidfeld slid in to the side of him in turn three, causing him to spin. From there on it was a case of playing catch up and fighting through the field prevented any chance of points, but a fastest lap within 0.1s of Sutil showed he too had the pace.
Pastor Maldonado - 14th - A quiet race for the sole-finishing Williams, as a strategy gamble saw him lose places late in the day. A decent start followed by an early pit stop saw him use the undercut of fresh soft tyres to climb towards the points, but he was unable to make the tyres last and a long last stint on mediums saw him slip back out of contention.
Sebastian Buemi - 15th - Having been excluded from qualifying he gambled on a wet set-up and the decision backfired as the rain never came. Despite gaining early positions the puncture gained from his collision with Heidfeld left him in his own race between the new teams and the rest of the midfield.
Heikki Kovalainen - 16th - Another solid job as he did all that he could to bring the Lotus home as best of the backmarkers, with another substantial gap to Virgin. It led to a lonely race as he was the only man to finish two laps down, but it's the maximum his car will give him at present.
Timo Glock - 17th - Finished where he would have expected - behind Kovalainen, but only held a 10 second gap over his team-mate as a brake problem prevented him running at full pace. Ensured he finished in case of rain or retirements.
Jerome d'Ambrosio - 18th - A trouble-free weekend saw him beat Ricciardo and Chandhok, and can take heart from the fact that he ran close to Glock and set a quickest lap 0.2s faster than his team-mate's best.
Daniel Ricciardo - 19th - Gained further experience by seeing the flag and was running much closer to Liuzzi before his team-mate retired, but will hope to start challenging the Virgins more in future races.
Karun Chandhok - 20th - Seeing the finish was an achievement as it gave him the experience he was looking for, but struggled with the Pirelli tyres, having numerous spins and finishing a lap down on the HRT in front of him.
Tonio Liuzzi - DNF - Made a good start from 23rd but was hampered with brake problems which limited his pace before an electrical issue ended his afternoon early.
Jenson Button - DNF - Had a poor start and was running tenth but matched decent pace with a good strategy to climb up to sixth with moves on Rosberg and Sutil. His pursuit of Vettel and Massa in the race for fourth was ended when a hydraulics issue caused him to retire on safety grounds.
Rubens Barrichello - DNF - Started strongly to run 11th after the first lap and with a two-stop strategy planned points were possible, but an oil leak forced him to reluctantly retire as Williams wanted to protect the engine.
Nick Heidfeld - DNF - A short and not very sweet afternoon, which started badly when he ran in to the side of di Resta in turn three. Having to recover from the back of the field Buemi then looked in the wrong mirror and moved across on him as he tried to pass around the outside, flicking his car momentarily airborne as he crashed out of the race.
Laurence Edmondson is a deputy editor on ESPNF1