Friday practice for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix didn’t really happen, with fog preventing the drivers from being allowed to take to the track. So it seemed like a good time to raid the archive and look back at Lewis Hamilton’s 2011 victory at the Nurburgring – which we're streaming in full in the video above.
What a difference nine years makes. Back in 2011, it was Lewis Hamilton, then driving for McLaren, who couldn’t catch a break, while Sebastian Vettel could do no wrong – Hamilton courting controversy seemingly wherever he went, while reigning champ Vettel was high on the hog, a full 80 points clear of Red Bull team mate Mark Webber by the time the championship headed to the Nurburgring for round 10.
Hamilton arrived in Germany having taken just one win so far that season (Vettel had six), and having never taken a point at the track previously. And after being well off the pace of the Red Bulls in practice, things weren’t looking great for Hamilton – until a sterling qualifying lap saw him take P2 on the gird, just 0.055s off Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
Four key moments
1. An incisive start from Hamilton – Hamilton made a bold getaway off the line as Webber bogged down, the McLaren driver immediately jumping into the lead, as Webber slotted in behind – while having started P3, Vettel was passed by the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso into Turn 1. Behind, Lotus’s Nick Heidfeld and Force India’s Paul Di Resta touched, sending both drivers spinning down the order.
2. Webber takes the lead… briefly – Clearly fired up by his start-line hiccup, Webber hounded Hamilton in the opening laps, and was close enough to launch a move on the McLaren into the final corner on Lap 12. Hamilton kept his head though, tucking into Webber’s slipstream and immediately passing him back into Turn 1 – before squeezing the Australian off the track at the next corner for good measure.
3. Hamilton passes Alonso – A nice piece of strategy from Ferrari and some great driving from Alonso saw the Spaniard manage to overcut Hamilton and Webber in the pits and take the race lead after his second stop. It didn’t last long though. Hamilton was at his brilliant best, and with Alonso tiptoeing around the first few corners in the cold conditions, Hamilton sent it around the outside of the the Ferrari to brilliantly reclaim the lead.
4. Hamilton holds on to claim second win of the year – With Alonso passed, it was all Hamilton until the chequered flag, as he crossed the line 3.980s up the road from the Ferrari, who’d built up his own six-second buffer over Webber. Webber put any angst he might have been feeling about getting beaten by Alonso aside on his cool-down lap, however, gentlemanly offering him a lift after Alonso ran out of fuel.
Vettel, meanwhile, having spun on his own earlier in the race, finished fourth, the first time he’d finished off the podium since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix – while Hamilton's victory moved him from P4 to P3 in the drivers' standings, behind the Red Bull pair.
The key quote
“Every win is special – but with all the emotion, effort and energy the team put into today's victory, this one feels even more special than usual. Coming into this weekend, I said I'd take things one race at a time. So to win today is massively positive for us, but there's a long way to go and it'll be about consistency as well as speed from here on in…
"The fight for the world championship will be very, very, very hard now. We're back in the fight though, and I really hope we can carry this forward and keep the momentum going” – Lewis Hamilton
How to watch
We’ll be streaming the 2011 German Grand Prix in full on Friday, October 9 from 1900 UTC (that's 2000 BST) – simply click play in the video at the top of this article to watch!