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NASCAR Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel Wins First Career German Grand Prix

Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Sebastian Vettel started the 2013 Formula 1 season having not won at only three tracks on the schedule, and after nine races he has now crossed two of those off his short list. Vettel snagged his first Canadian Grand Prix win earlier in the season, but today’s victory at his native German Grand Prix was much sweeter for the driver who recently celebrated his 26th birthday.

Vettel started the race in P2 but passed up pole sitter Lewis Hamilton prior to the first turn. Hamilton has made an unfortunate habit as of late of qualifying well but dropping fast on race day. The Brit would bring his Mercedes AMG machine home in P5.

Once Vettel was in front he controlled the race nearly for the duration. The only time he would give up the lead was during pit stops. At one point Romain Grosjean led but would surrender it to his Lotus F1 Team partner Kimi Raikkonen after a potential disaster was averted near the NGK chicane.

Jules Bianchi experienced a fantastic engine failure on lap 22 with the car briefly catching fire. After the Marussia F1 Team wheel man left his car, but before marshals could recover it, the car started to roll down hill and onto the track. Luckily no cars were approaching that section of the track and the safety car was deployed until lap 29.

Grosjean tried to regain the lead from Vettel later in the race, which allowed Raikkonen to close the gap as well. Vettel and Grosjean were both running on worn tires at one point when Kimi was on fresher rubber, which should have given the Finn a chance to grab the win. However, it took Kimi a while to pass Grosjean and when he finally did there were only six laps left to run.

Raikkonen was faster than Vettel on every lap and was consistently whittling down the three-time champion’s lead, but in the end there wasn’t enough time left and Vettel was able to hold off Kimi’s late charge. It was an impressive showing from Lotus at the Nurburgring as Raikkonen and Grosjean would finish P2 and P3 respectively. The double podium was much needed for the team from Enstone, UK as it put an end to a streak of disappointing finishes. If Lotus can build on this momentum and put together multiple podiums in a row, and perhaps grab a win, they will greatly help their chances of Raikkonen re-signing with the team and not leaving for Red Bull Racing.

(RAIKKONEN: Decision on next Red Bull race driver rests with the Iceman.)

Fernando Alonso put together another solid race and finished in P4, while his Scuderia Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa would yet again end up with a DNF after he spun off.

McLaren Mercedes got only their third double top 10 finish of the season with Jenson Button finishing P6 and Sergio Perez finding P8 on the day. Mark Webber split the two McLaren wheel men in P7, which was a solid finish for the Aussie considering he lost a tire on pit lane during the race after pulling out of his box too soon. Webber said he “missed a very big chance to challenge for the win” in Germany due to the incident in the pits.

Nico Rosberg saved a couple points for the Silver Arrows with a P9 finish and Nico Hulkenberg once again fought his way into the points for Sauber F1 Team.

Next up on the schedule for Formula 1 is the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 26-28.

GERMAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS:

P1) Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Racing

P2) Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus F1 Team

P3) Romain Grosjean – Lotus F1 Team

P4) Fernando Alonso – Scuderia Ferrari

P5) Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes AMG

P6) Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes

P7) Mark Webber – Red Bull Racing

P8) Sergio Perez – McLaren Mercedes

P9) Nico Rosberg – Mercedes AMG

P10) Nico Hulkenberg – Sauber F1 Team

P11) Paul di Resta – Force India

P12) Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso

P13) Adrian Sutil – Force India

P14) Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber F1 Team

P15) Pastor Maldonado – Williams F1 Team

P16) Valtteri Bottas – Williams F1 Team

P17) Charles Pic – Caterham F1 Team

P18) Giedo van der Garde – Caterham F1 Team

P19) Max Chilton – Marussia F1 Team

P20) Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso (DNF)

P21) Jules Bianchi – Marussia F1 Team (DNF)

P22) Felipe Massa – Scuderia Ferrari (DNF)

Follow Spenser Walters on Twitter @SpenserWalters and visit facebook.com/F1Kenobi for all of your Formula 1 news and opinion.