July 08, 2013

Horse 1508 - Vettel Sneaks Off Into The Distance (Rd.9)

- stolen from the Telegraph

After the debacle of the British Grand Prix, Pirelli went away and designed and entirely new case construction for their tyres. As a result, the German Grand Prix saw no catastrophic tyre failures at all.

Lewis Hamilton who started from pole, found himself overtaken at the start by Sebastian Vettel and curiously Mark Webber who didn't have one of his usual poor starts. This grand prix was still going to be about who made the best use of their tyres and although drivers could get as much as half a second advantage out of the Soft tyres, the race was mainly characterised by timing of pit stops.

The first oddity was Felipe Massa who completely unaided, overshot the first corner, spun, and then the anti-stall control didn't kick in. With no way of restarting the car, Massa's Ferrari would remain stopped.

Mark Webber came in to replace his Soft tyres for a set of Mediums at the first change but an issue with the rear right wheel meant that he left before the locknut had been tightened. The rogue wheel parted company from Webber's Red Bull and merrily bounced its way down pit lane before it hit a cameraman at almost 100km/h, who was facing the other way.
All pit crews are required to wear a helmet and a full fireproof suit but no-one else in pit lane is. More than likely there will be a review of safety equipment and protocols for all people in pit lane as a result of this.
Red Bull has been fined €30,000 for an "unsafe release" whilst the cameraman remains under observation in hospital.

Up front, Vettel maintained his lead despite attempts by the two Lotii of Grosjean and Raikkonen to close the distance. Hamilton who had started on pole found that he didn't have the pace over a race distance and faded to fifth place.
Fernando Alonso who had a very quiet afternoon, was able to circulate about two seconds behind the two Lotii but could never secure any advantage at all. He finished within sight of the eventual winner but still in fourth place.

Romain Grosjean was for a while let loose and allowed to chase Vettel but never got close enough in the dying stages to enter the DRS detection zone; being as close as 1.035 seconds behind. Had he been just four hundredths of a second closer, he would have been able to open his rear wing and maybe challenged Vettel.
Lotus though, pulled rank and told Grosjean to let Kimi Raikkonen pass him, to gain extra championship points. Swapping the two drivers wouldn't change the amount of points that Lotus would get for the race but it would help to limit the deficit to Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel won his home grand prix for the first time, won his first ever race in the calendar month of July and continues to roll on for what is increasingly likely to be his fourth World Championship.

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