Sebastian Vettel finally won his home grand prix in Germany as he resisted big pressure from Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean at the Nurburgring.
As the Lotus duo took turns to hound Vettel for most of the race, it looked unlikely that the Red Bull driver would be able to cling on for victory, but he ultimately managed to after a dogged drive.
Polesitter Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes was swamped by the faster-starting Red Bulls off the line, as Vettel and Mark Webber moved into an immediate 1-2. Hamilton lost further ground with heavy tire wear as the race progressed.
Webber stayed right with his teammate until the first pit stops, when he was sent out before his right-rear wheel was fully attached.The errant wheel then struck a cameraman, who was treated at the medical center for undisclosed injuries and transported to a nearby hospital.
While Mercedes’ fortunes ebbed, Lotus moved in the opposite direction. Grosjean ran 13 laps on softs in his first stint — far better than anyone else managed — and that jumped him from fifth to second. The Frenchman then chased Vettel down, though he could not get closer than two seconds behind.
A safety car just mid-distance closed things up and brought Raikkonen from 12sec down into contention. The caution period was required after Jules Bianchi’s Marussia retired in a cloud of smoke and flames, and then began drifting back across the circuit on the chicane approach after its driver had got out.
The leaders made their second stops behind the safety car but could not make it from there to the end. Grosjean was first to pit, with Vettel reacting on the next lap and staying ahead.
Raikkonen ran 10 laps further then pitted for softs, allowing him to charge back past Grosjean (who obeyed a team order to not delay the Finn) and then catch Vettel. But the world champion had just enough in hand to hang on and win by a second. Grosjean resisted a similar late surge from Fernando Alonso to keep third.
Alonso’s Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa spun out at the first corner just four laps in while running sixth. Hamilton ended up fifth, passing two-stopper Jenson Button’s McLaren on the last lap.
Webber was brought back to the Red Bull garage and given a new wheel, then recovered from a distant last to seventh, just ahead of McLaren’s Sergio Perez. Nico Rosberg could make little progress from 11th on the grid and finished ninth ahead of countryman Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber.
Daniel Ricciardo faded from sixth in qualifying to 12th, between the Force Indias. Williams appeared to have a shot at points for a while, before pit stop delays hampered both its drivers.
PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTSGerman Grand PrixNurburgring, Germany;Classified:Pos Driver Team 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 3. Grosjean Lotus-Renault 4. Alonso Ferrari 5. Hamilton Mercedes 6. Button McLaren-Mercedes 7. Webber Red Bull-Renault 8. Perez McLaren-Mercedes 9. Rosberg Mercedes 10. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 12. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 14. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 15. Maldonado Williams-Renault 16. Bottas Williams-Renault 17. Pic Caterham-Renault 18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault 19. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth DNF. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari DNF. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth DNF. Massa Ferrari World Championship standings, round 9: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 157 1. Red Bull-Renault 250 2. Alonso 123 2. Mercedes 181 3. Raikkonen 118 3. Ferrari 180 4. Hamilton 97 4. Lotus-Renault 159 5. Webber 93 5. Force India-Mercedes 59 6. Rosberg 84 6. McLaren-Mercedes 49 7. Massa 57 7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 24 8. Grosjean 41 8. Sauber-Ferrari 7 9. Di Resta 36 10. Button 33 11. Sutil 23 12. Perez 16 13. Vergne 13 14. Ricciardo 11 15. Hulkenberg 7 All timing unofficial