Result: Sebastian Vettel wins the German GP, followed by Raikkonen and Grosjean
After Brit Andy Murray winning at Wimbledon, Triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel won the German Grand Prix for the first time in 6 attempts- fulfilling a lifelong dream of winning in front of his home crowd. Unlike Murray’s straightforward victory though, Vettel faced a stiff challenge by both the Lotus cars- almost passed by Raikkonen by the last lap of the race. ‘Happy that the race ended at 60 laps, not 61 or 62’, was the German’s response after squeezing home in first place- extending his championship lead to 34 points over Spaniard Alonso, and 41 points over Finn and potential future teammate Raikkonen . With Webber due to leave at the end of the season, there is speculation that the Finn may join forces with the German by 2014- though it is a proven fact over years that two equally strong champion drivers cannot race successfully for the same team. It is often necessary that one of the two is relatively new or less successful- as the pairs of Schumacher-Barrichello, Alonso-Trulli, Vettel-Webber and Hakkinen-Coulthard have demonstrated. The Rosberg-Hamilton partnership is already a bit unreliable, as was Hamilton’s previous disastrous association with Alonso for McLaren. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if Raikkonen can pose a stronger challenge for Vettel within the same team, considering Lotus is failing to qualify on pole or win any of the races this season.
A 34 point gap is massive- and Vettel must be already fancying his chances to become the first 4-time-consecutive Champion since his countryman Schumacher, with the 2013 looking like a bit of a non contest compared to the previous few seasons. There will be a 3-week break before the battle resumes at Hungary- with Alonso no doubt looking to start qualifying higher than the 3rd row, and the Mercedes cars looking to convert their poles to race wins. With Hamilton failing to win a single race this season despite 3 pole positions (and Rosberg winning 2), Vettel seems to be comfortable with sitting behind the Mercedes cars even during qualifying- confident of Red Bull’s quality come race day.
The German Grand Prix was a far cry from a week ago at Silverstone- where Pirelli tyres came away with the headlines after causing 4 retirements. It was a 3-horse race for a majority of the race at the Nurburgring, with the safety car towards the end making things interesting- with Vettel being hounded by the Lotus cars relentlessly.
Onto the Hungarogring, towards the second half of a season whose results seem to defy the fact that Qualifying and Race Day are less than 24 hours apart.