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??
Chad Stewarthill...I did point out and I stand by my comment that blue flags are not enough to provide clean restarts, in fact if there are four or five lapped cars in front of the leaders on a restart, the outcome is likely to be chaotic and a ruined race.

Point taken Kewee but why let the lapped cars unlap themselves at all? Just make them move to the back of the crocodile, if they're not there already as Webber was (perhaps by sending them through the pit lane if necessary).

They haven't then been given a lap back unfairly, we don't have to wait another two or thee laps while they catch up the back of the pack again at ridiculously reduced speed (since by definition, the hazard would by this time have been cleared), and everyone can then go racing again straight away. Simples.
Several teams complained apparently as usually only about half a lap or so is given to those unlapping themselves, rather than being able to catch right back up to the pack.
Something that has been missed is that Webber was one lap and 67 seconds down. If he'd got a drive thru he would have been 2 laps down and after safety car would have been still one lap down.

And all people say is Webber just gets bad luck.
Well I thought that was a good race. Never any doubt for me on what to watch between F1 and tennis, despite being a tennis fan and being Scottish LOL

Nice to see different strategies, did see some good fights and good overtakes, along with a fight for the lead.

Vettel does, what Vettel does. Although he didn't have it that easy with both Lotus cars hounding him for the majority of the race. Might have got helped out by the safety car, as Grosjean was closing in on him with the better strategy, then again was helped out by Lotus pitting Raikkonen too late. Extends his lead in the championship with no consistent challenger, for all of us non Vettel fans, he seriously needs to have another DNF soon.

Raikkonen and Lotus were too little too late. Drove a stormer to bring the gap down, just needed a few laps more to get passed Vettel, but Lotus should have pitted him two laps earlier when the gap to Vettel was more, and he would have had extra laps to attack. They could have also left him out on tyres, as in commentray they said Webber had done 30 laps on the mediums with good wear, and we all know the Lotus is a better car with tyres, 6 more laps wouldn't have done much would it?

Grosjean was unlucky with the timing of the safety car, he looked on course for his first win, either that, or a crash into Vettel which would have done us all nicely LOL. Was strong all weekend, and drove a very good race, he dropped off quite a bit though towards the final few laps before Raikkonen passed. Held off Alonso for a good while to secure his second podium of the season. Lotus surely needed those points.

Alonso had a poor first stint. After that, he was on the pace, the timing of the safety car was perfect for him. Had a great battle with Hamilton, could have had 3rd which would have been out of nowhere, but was held off by Grosjean. With Webber out of the top 6 then, 4th was probably the best result available.

A late charge from Hamilton saw him secure 5th position. Kept us all entertained with overtakes and battles throughout the field, and a last lap overtake on his ex-teammate Jenson Button. Won't be pleased after we all thought Mercedes were right up there and back in the championship. Ross Brawn has came out saying that the tyre ban has hindered the car performance.

Button finished 6th and once again we saw him have a fight with his team mate, you got to love the racing between the two. At the start of the race Button resisted Perez into Turn 1 when he knew that Perez was on a different strategy. Perez returned the favour later in the race when Button was steaming around on the soft tyres. Good points for McLaren, as it seems that Force India maybe struggling with the tyre change.

Good recovery by Webber to finish 7th. Could have won the grand prix, but due to his tyre troubles in the pits we didn't get to see where he came out in respect to Vettel and co. Oh and, a good start??! :shocked:

Perez got a great start, had a go at irritating his team-mate and brought the car home safely. Without the safety car he would have probably kept 7th.

A gloomy 9th for Rosberg, after such a high in Silverstone, Mercedes has been bought down to reality. Hindered by getting eliminated in Q2.

Another point for Hulkenberg, looked hooked up this weekend. Could have had a higher result if it wasn't for the safety car, two consecutive points finishes for Sauber, albeit two 10th places. With their star man talking to Lotus and them struggling for money, the future doesn't look bright for them.

Not sure why people are complaining about Webber allowed to unlap himself, it's been the same for everyone throughout the season that's been a lap down.

Next up Hungary, a near miss for Lotus there last season, with them looking to be Red Bull's closest challengers for now, this has to be a victory for them.

After that, it's the much beloved Spa, could be back to back wins for Lotus, since they have the King of Spa, but with the team full of near misses, I can only see Vettel increasing his gap in the championship.
Another very entertaining summing-up Slyboogy.:thumbsup:

I agree about Hulkenberg, I thought he was somewhat unlucky not to get a better result, which would have given Sauber a much needed boost (not helped by Webber being allowed to unlap himself and catch the train back up, eventually passing Hulk to steal position and points off him :whistle:).

On the aforementioned Webber unlapping issue, I've always thought this particular safety car rule was daft, it was just highlighted for me on Sunday as an extreme example, that's why I've been so vocal in my displeasure. Not that I've got anything against Mark personally, there was nothing that he could have done differently. But for his mechanics not fitting his right rear properly, he may well have won the GP.

I was equally unhappy with the SC at Silverstone for similar reasons, and I'll happily apply my criticism retrospectively to all previous similar occasions. ;)
With the safety car and lapped cars issue there is no easy solution. Germany was a bit of a one off as the lapped car was one with leading pace and not a slower car which can get in the way. Obviously the rules have to be equal for everyone so what is acceptable for the slower teams must also be allowed when we have a faster car out of position.

Letting the cars drop back through the field and altering the timing would seem to be the easiest solution but if this had happened on Sunday webber would have had extra life in his tyres and more fuel which meant he can push that much harder. Lapped cars should have to complete the same race distance so letting them by is the only practical solution although the FIA should allow the lapped cars to move round at full race speed and not the delta set for the SC period.
Lapped cars are only allowed to overtake once any incident is cleared so there is no danger of cars running at high speed into marshals on the track but no overtaking should still be enforced.
I've never liked this "lapped cars can now overtake" business. It is a tricky one but as a basic principle I think all lapped cars should drop to the back of the field EXCEPT cars lapped BECAUSE of the safety car deployment.

I don't think this should be too difficult considering the race director and teams all have the driver tracker and telemetry to know where their chaps should be. The 'dropping back' can be safely achieved either off the racing line on track or via use of the pit-lane. Those released after the hazard has been cleared should be given a Delta comparative to a good lap time referenced from the period prior to the SC deployment. We have seen in race-off''s that an F1 car can catch a GT in little over one lap so a good lap should see them up with tail ender's within a lap. I don't know how long that was on Sunday but it seemed longer for Mark to get round.

Oh, and blue flags should be vigorously deployed accompanied by compulsory radio calls to back-markers to obey and clear the racing line within two BF's during the first lap of the restart. That's as much help as "unlapping" chaps should get. There has to be some element of chance, after all.

As we were reminded in one of the commentaries at the weekend, this is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. It's also the 21st century FFS!
I believe that the reason lapped cars are allowed to unlap themselves is because in certain cases where a competitive car finds itself lapped but is making progress to unlap itself on merit and suddenly a safety car is thrown then the competitive car could given the right circumstances be two laps down and any chance of a decent result would be unfairly taken away from the driver...
Yes and Button paid the price again due to backmarkers in this race without them he probably would have held on to 5th.

Just to keep this thread on topic you understand..;)
A bit of comparison from last year!
Last year top five after Germany:
1 Fernando Alonso 154
2 Mark Webber 120
3 Sebastian Vettel 110
1 4 Kimi Räikkönen 98
1 5 Lewis Hamilton 92
Vettel was third and 44 points off the lead, Kimi keeping consistent in fourth and Webber second, 34 points off the lead.
This year after Germany:
1 Sebastian Vettel 157
2 Fernando Alonso 123
3 Kimi Raikkonen 116
4 Lewis Hamilton 99
5 Mark Webber 93
This year, Kimi in third and 41 points off the lead, Lewis keeping consistent in fourth and Alonso second, 34 points off the lead.
All of the top five have more points than last year, as in 2012 first compared to 2013 first not driver compared, the gap between third and fourth though in 2012 was 12 points, this year 17 points.
This season, however, has arguably the fastest car in first but this season is still far from over.
Hmm nice half season snapshot there. Fernando and Kimi well in with a shout but long odds on Lewis and longer on Mark. However, Seb's going to need some more bad luck or a brainfade or two to lose it, methinks.
Vettel - the lucks falls for him 9 times out of 10 usually


I forgot thanks but it was a strange performance from Nico having been one of the fastest all week to nowhere in the race.. whether its because the temperature increase really hurt his performance


As for the lapped cars the reason they do that is so they don't get in the way of the front runners on the restart
The only message we have from when Webber was ahead was "Multi 21" - Webber to win, hold position. I cannot see a team would suddenly endanger the safety of everyone, while disadvantaging Vettel in the Championship.
I think it was all going according to plan till the traffic light guy unceremoniously signalled for Webber to go and ruined it all.:whistle:

Of course unfortunate aftermath wasn't part of the script unless your name is Flabber Briatotre (Not to be confused with the Italian)
Point taken Kewee but why let the lapped cars unlap themselves at all? Just make them move to the back of the crocodile, if they're not there already as Webber was (perhaps by sending them through the pit lane if necessary).
Your quite right Chad, I never have understood why they always find the most complicated solution regarding safety cars. I hope they're not trying to learn from NASCAR where they have the lucky dog rule. In case your unfamiliar, in NASCAR the lead driver of those that are a lap down is given a free pass to join cars on the lead lap when there is a caution. He's referred to as the lucky dog. Not a very popular rule in NASCAR either I might add. Hope Bernie doesn't read this site or soon we'll have sprinklers hosing down corners, short cuts, and lucky dogs and none of us will have a blind idea what's going on. LOL
I really find the use of the word "luck" inappropriate when it comes to motor racing if you think of it as a team sport, which it most definitely is.
A mechanical failure has nothing to do with luck or the lack of it, neither does a bungled pitstop, a spin or a miscalculated strategy.

I think it's time to give Vettel and Red Bull the credit that's due to them. Red Bull are a fantastatically efficient team and have been for the past few years now. They consistently produce the fastest car, have a lead driver who gets the best out of it and these days seem to get Vettel's race strategy almost invariably spot-on. We are seeing it time and again.
Surely, if they are that efficient they would get Webber's strategy right as well. The only thing that can possibly explain his 'mishaps' must be bad luck then?
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