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Race - Vettel holds off Raikkonen charge for first home win 07 Jul 2013

Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 7 July 2013 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 and Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9 fight for the lead at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 7 July 2013 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 leads Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 7 July 2013 Lap 24 and Jules Bianchi's Marussia stops amid a plume of smoke and flames Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F138 spins out of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 7 July 2013 Kimi Raikkonen passes Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean into the chicane on lap 56, releasing him to go after leading man, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel The first round of pit stops and Red Bull's Mark Webber loses his right-rear wheel, causing chaos in the pit lane Race winner Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 crosses the line.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 7 July 2013 (L to R): Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 celebrate on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Race Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 7 July 2013

Sebastian Vettel finally won his home Grand Prix with a finely judged drive under intense pressure from the Lotuses of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in Germany on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Bull driver grabbed the lead at the start after out-dragging polesitter Lewis Hamilton and fending off fast-starting team mate Mark Webber into the Nurburgring’s first corner. The world champion then controlled the pace as the first round of pit stops pushed Grosjean into a challenging position as the Frenchman ran a long opening stint for Lotus.

Grosjean led laps nine to 13 after Vettel had made his first of three stops, and resumed the chase thereafter. But he lost his advantage over team mate Raikkonen after an almost comedic - but thankfully harmless - moment on the 24th lap. Jules Bianchi’s Marussia ground to a halt on the rise to the NGK chicane on the 22nd lap, momentarily catching fire, and two laps after the Frenchman had abandoned it there - and before the marshals had recovered it - the red and black car began to roll slowly back down the hill, across the track.

Mercifully, nobody was approaching at the time, but the safety car was deployed and did not go in until the end of the 29th lap, with racing resuming on the 30th tour.

The safety-car period hampered Grosjean, but helped Webber. The Australian had been waved back out too soon after his first pit stop on the ninth lap, and his right-rear wheel became detached, bouncing down the pit lane. It subsequently struck an FOM cameraman on his left-hand side, knocking him to the ground. The cameraman remained conscious and was treated at the medical centre before being helicoptered to Koblenz Hospital for observation with a broken collarbone and two broken ribs.

Webber lost a lap before restarting, but was waved past the safety car to make up that lap before the race was allowed to restart.

By that stage Vettel had both Lotuses on his tail, and the fight was on. First it was Grosjean who launched the attack prior to his final pit stop on the 40th lap. Vettel stopped on the 41st, leaving Raikkonen to build a lead until he stopped, for soft Pirellis, on the 49th lap. With both Vettel and Grosjean on well-worn mediums, that clever split strategy from Lotus should have proved conclusive, but it took the Finn a while to catch and pass his team mate, who eventually let him by approaching the chicane on the 55th lap.

Raikkonen got the hammer down and closed down a two-second gap, but he ran out of time to launch a final attack and Vettel’s Red Bull crossed the line a second ahead of the Finn’s Lotus.

Behind them, Fernando Alonso’s stealthy race for Ferrari, which unlike the majority of the top 10 had started on the medium tyres, brought him to Grosjean’s tail in the closing stages. He had stayed on mediums for most of the race until taking softs on the 53rd lap for the last stint. At one stage it seemed a formality that he would pass the second Lotus, but Grosjean held on for a much-needed podium finish.

Hamilton’s was a tough race, in which he lost a lot of time trapped behind Nico Hulkenberg’s well-driven Sauber, but he was as feisty as ever as he hauled himself back to fifth place, passing the McLarens of Sergio Perez, then Jenson Button, in the closing stages.

Hamilton’s old team was back to its usual form with a great strategic race in which Button started on mediums, Perez on softs. The two raced each other wheel-to-wheel at times, but it was Button who had the upper hand this time as he took sixth. Perez couldn’t resist a charging Webber in the final laps, but finished eighth ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, whose qualifying woes were reflected in a tough race which brought him a deeply disappointing ninth ahead of Hulkenberg, who showed top form.

Paul di Resta beat Force India team mate Adrian Sutil on the latter’s home ground, leading home Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso which faded early and became mired in the midfield battle. Sutil and Sauber’s on-form Esteban Guttierez were 13th and 14th respectively, with the Williamses of Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas showing improved form to mix it with all of the midfield before finishing 15th and 16th.

Charles Pic brought his Caterham home 17th after a long fight with fast-starting team mate Giedo van der Garde, as Marussia’s Max Chilton was the final finisher. Besides Bianchi, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa retired after only three laps with an odd-looking spin going into Turn 1, while Jean-Eric Vergne pitted his Toro Rosso on lap 22 with hydraulic problems and did not continue.

The result increases Vettel’s points score to 157 with Alonso on 123 from Raikkonen on 116, Hamilton 99, Webber 93 and Rosberg 84. In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull have 250 to Mercedes’ 183, with Ferrari third on 180, Lotus on 157, Force India on 59 and McLaren on 49.

Two incidents remained under stewards' investigation after the race: Webber's unsafe release with the errant wheel at Red Bull, and an unsafe release of Force India's Di Resta into the path of Vergne.

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