So Sebastian Vettel finally wins his home Grand Prix (and finally wins a race in the month of July) but it was more than a typical straight forward Red Bull win.
The Lotus drivers seemed to be quick all race long, helped by the hotter conditions on race day, and I thought during the 3rd stint after the safety car that Romain Grosjean would make a move on the leading Red Bull and disappear in to the distance.
Alas that didn’t happen, Seb managing to hold on despite reports of a KERS problem. Although I thought Kimi could have also got the win if he had stayed out and not made that final pit stop. From the live timing data I could see he was about 13s ahead before his final stop and setting comparable lap times to Vettel.
Of course there is no way of knowing if the tyres would have been able to maintain that pace, and I think Lotus didn’t want a repeat of the situation in Silverstone where they stayed out and guys on quicker tyres overtook Kimi in the closing stages of the race.
Lotus are always a bit of an enigma to me, yes they came alive in the heat during the race, but after a strong start to the season (hard to remember that Kimi won in Australia), recent performances seemed to have dropped off. I did wonder back in my post Canada thoughts that I thought this may have been down to the loss of James Allison, so I hope this result wasn’t a one off and they can still be quick at Hungary.
Part of me still thinks they are spending too much time on testing their DRD. Surely a system as complicated as that to perfect is taking resources away from other areas that they need to focus on? I made the same point last year when the DRD was on & off the car with regularity, one year later and it’s been the same.
Back to the German GP, one of the big talking points was obviously the unsafe release of Mark Webber during his first pit stop, in which the right rear was not correctly fitted, came loose and careered down the pit lane after Webber left his pit box to eventually strike FOM cameraman Paul Allen, causing him to suffer from a broken collarbone & bruised ribs.
Red Bull were fined €30,000 for this incident, which is very lenient in my opinion. I have made my thoughts clear on pit stop safety in a post from last year (found here) so I won’t re-hash the points I make in that. But clearly the need for sub 3s pit stops is increasing the likelihood of unsafe releases and this weekend was just evidence that the need for these quick pitstops has become out of control.
I wish Paul Allen all the best in his recovery, and here’s hoping that we don’t see any form of repeat of that incident any more.
One of the strangest sights I have ever seen during a GP was when Jules Bianchi’s driverless Marussia decided to roll back down the hill from the final chicane, crossing the racetrack as it did so with a tractor trying to chase it, all while the leaders of the GP were coming up to that chicane.
This was truly a bizarre situation, but one that can be explained by the regulations.
Article 30.5 of the 2013 Sporting Regulations states:
A driver who abandons a car must leave it in neutral or with the clutch disengaged, with the KERS shut down and with the steering wheel in place.
So Jules was just following the regulations when he walked away from the car, but obviously with the car parked on an incline, leaving it in neutral was only going to have the effect of causing it to roll back down the hill.
One last thought about the result of the German GP, 5 of the top 6 were all World Champions (the interloper being Romain Grosjean). This shows that despite the issues with tyres, strategy, safety cars, the cream always rise to the top.
Now the circus moves on to the Silverstone test before the Hungarian Grand Prix. I have read that Mercedes are trying to be allowed to run in this test, but I don’t believe that should be allowed. They were given the penalty and stopped from running in those 3 days, a penalty that they themselves recommended that they should receive, so a reversal of that decision would seem a weak standpoint from the FIA.
From Marussia’s announcement of who they will be running at the test, it doesn’t seem very likely that many teams would use their race drivers in Silverstone, especially with the restrictions the FIA has placed on the race drivers running during the test.
Nevertheless, as the test is open to the public, I may be in attendance next week, I haven’t decided for sure if I will make the trip up to Silverstone yet. If anyone will be there on Friday 19th, tweet me and let me know and if I do head up there, feel free to say hello if anyone spots me.
After that test, it’s onwards to Hungary. With a couple of weeks break, I will try and post more of my thoughts on the season so far. I have yet to mention in this post the lack of pace by Ferrari recently (although Fernando Alonso did set the fastest lap in the race at the Nurburgring), McLaren’s problems, the rumours surrounding Nico Hulkenburg and Sauber or the rest of the driver silly season.
A clear example of how Formula 1 never stops!