Grand Prix 2013 German Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

So we leave the sunny shores of Great Britain behind and after a short cross channel hop and a chance to pick up some low tax cigarettes and alcohol we're off to the Rhineland in Germany and to the Nurburgring. If you fancy popping over, you could use the time to look around the place and have it valued, as it is currently up for sale.

Coming only a week after the British GP, the tyre debacle will still be very fresh in the minds of all who saw or took part in the race. It is extremely unlikely that any significant changes to the tyre construction will have taken place prior to the start of the race so all eyes will be on P1 to see if the lipped curbs of the, soon to be famous, turn 4 at Silverstone were responsible or was there a deeper issue with this year’s brand of boot?

For two of the home drivers at this race there will be a new focus on succeeding. For Vettel it was the rarest of things, a mechanical failure of a Red Bull, that saw his closest championship rivals close down his points total and put more pressure on. For Rosberg it was his second win of the season at Silverstone and with a clearly improving Merc, a chance perhaps to continue the momentum and mount a title challenge.

All of the top 4 teams go into the next round knowing that they have capable cars that can put them in the mix, so driver skill is becoming ever more important. We've seen that Mercedes can now maintain the pace of qualification in race trim but we've also seen that Red Bull and Ferrari have lost none of their speed while Lotus continue to bring home the points with Kimi.

Further back down the field McLaren have already fallen behind Force India in terms of race pace and are almost in danger of being swallowed up by the improving pace of the two Rosso cars as their drivers have found the inspiration to improve on their performances thanks to a departing Webber.

Williams are still struggling for points but as yet there is no danger of the "young" teams, as they are now being called on TV catching them up. As for Caterham and Marussia, well, they'll be at the track.

So, will the Mercs be on top at their second home GP or will the challenge come from one of the others??
It seems like the hierarchy of speed is currently Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus at the moment, it's almost a certainty to expect a silver car in the top 3 on the Saturday, but the Red Bulls still seem to have a small advantage on the Sunday, should be a great race if it's anything like the last race at Nurburgring
Vettel has never won in July.

He'd also never won in North America before this year...

I can't imagine the rear tyres will be a problem this race as the F1 Nurburgring is more like Canada and will be harder on the brakes. Budapest and Spa could be the problem circuits but there are 3 weeks between Germany and Hungary so it should be sorted out. If there are delaminations this weekend on the scale of Silverstone I'll be surprised.
Barring unforeseen events, I fully expect Vettel to win.
I suspect he may have eventually got past Hamilton on Sunday and he was definitely on course to pass Rosberg.

Mercedes seem to have made a step forward in terms of race pace and tyre wear but they will have a fight on their hands to beat Ferrari Alonso.

Renault Räikkönen will also be in the mix for the runner up spots.
For the sake of my last shred of dignity in the FF1 I hope you are right Brogan. I thought I was on for a reasonable haul this weekend.
The temperatures tend not to be too hot in Nurburg, so that must suit Mercedes (in a stark contrast to 2009, perhaps). I'm happy they seem to have decided that being quick on more tyres is a better bet than attempting to put-Sauber the field.
gethinceri - The onboard shows it all shifting fine in the laps previously, then they just suddenly shut down. anyhoo to Germany - Looks like it'll be sunny with the temps in the mid 20's (so fairly similar conditions to Silverstone)

I guess that Pirelli will be praying nothing untoward happens.
I thought that Vettel was in front of Rosberg from turn 1 onwards. The last three laps or so before Vettel's problem he was being pulled back by Rosberg.

From what I could see Hamilton was pulling away slightly from Vettel before his tyre blew and Rosberg had him pegged early on. I'm not sure Vettel would have Hamilton him on track later. Jumped in the pits, maybe. Then again, Webber was storming the last few laps. We can only speculate what might have transpired had that been Vettel chasing down Hamilton towards the end instead!
I remember Hamilton opening up just a tiny bit but obviously Vettel wised up to it after a few laps and was ever so slightly hauling it back, as you say. I guess we'll never know how it might have panned out! :)
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