Red Bull Racing-Renault’s Mark Webber secured a podium finish for Renaultsport F1’s RS27 engine in Sunday’s German Grand Prix. The Australian finished in third place behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, while world championship leader Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag in fourth after passing Felipe Massa on the final lap.
Lotus Renault GP’s Vitaly Petrov secured the final points’ finish in tenth, however team-mate Nick Heidfeld retired on lap 10 after an incident with Toro Rosso’s Sébastien Buemi. Team Lotus achieved another double finish, with Heikki Kovalainen 16th and Karun Chandhok 20th on his Team Lotus race debut.
Vettel retains the lead of the drivers’ championship with 216 points ahead of Webber, who now has 139 points. Hamilton sits third with 134. In the constructors’ championship, Red Bull now has 355 points ahead of McLaren’s 243.
Key race weekend points:
Red Bull Racing
Polesitter Mark Webber just lost out to Hamilton on the start, while Vettel also lost one place to Alonso. The Hamilton-Webber-Alonso train stayed within three seconds until the first round of pit stops on lap 14. Webber was the first to stop, and moved back into the lead when Hamilton and Alonso pitted two laps later. The status quo remained until the second round of stops that started on lap 30 with Webber. This time, Webber lost out in the stops, falling back to third behind Hamilton and Alonso. The trio circulated nose-to-tail but despite Webber stopping for his third stop later and putting in some quick laps in the final third of the race, Hamilton retained the lead after the final stops, with Alonso second. After falling behind Alonso at the start, Vettel also lost one position to Felipe Massa after the first pit stops. He then had a race long battle with the Brazilian for fourth, and finally took the position on the final lap when both pitted simultaneously for their third and final pit stops. The Red Bull crew’s slick stop allowed Vettel to regain fourth.
Lotus Renault GP
Vitaly Petrov started in ninth and Nick Heidfeld in 11th, but a first lap incident with Paul di Resta dropped the German to the rear of the field. He was up to 16th position by lap 10, but while trying to overtake Buemi was pushed onto the grass. The impact broke the front suspension and launched Heidfeld into the gravel trap, ending his race on the spot. Petrov remained in ninth until the first round of pit stops. On rejoining he became engaged in a battle for eighth with Rosberg, Schumacher and Kobayashi, which persisted until the end of the race. The Russian crossed the line in tenth behind Kobayashi. Heidfeld is eighth in the drivers’ championship with Petrov 9th while the team is fifth in the constructors’ race with 66 points.
Team Lotus achieved another double finish, with Heikki Kovalainen 16th and Karun Chandhok 20th on his race debut for the team. Chandhok used a three stop strategy, stopping on laps 9, 31 and 55 while Kovalainen went for a two stop. The team retains 10th spot in the constructors’ championship.
Rémi Taffin, head of Renaultsport F1 track operations, gives his views on the race weekend:
While not an overall high or low speed track, the Nürburgring presents a particular challenge for engine engineers. The engine has to be driveable through the lower revs to offer responsiveness through the slower corners such as turns 1 and 7, while also give good top end power on the four long straights where seventh gear is engaged. The most challenging aspect however is the changeable track and weather conditions that make getting the right settings at the right time a calculated risk.
Overall, however, we are happy with how this weekend has gone. Even though we went here with high expectations, the field has been closer than ever this event, so we’re reasonably satisfied to see one RS27 on the podium with Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, our 12th consecutive podium finish since Brazil 2010, and fourth with Sebastian Vettel. Lotus Renault GP’s Vitaly Petrov gave the RS27 a third points’ finish in tenth, while Team Lotus finished ahead of the other ‘new’ teams. As the season progresses, this partnership keeps getting stronger and I think there’s even more to come in the second half of the year.
Nevertheless we are already focused on the next round in Budapest where we will look to get back on the top step of the podium. With only one week to go, there’s not a lot of time but we know there is more to come from us. We have good reliability, but now we will turn this asset into performance. Everyone back at the factory has to stay focused on delivering the best possible output so we can help our customers deliver even more performance in the second half of the season.
Renault statistics in F1:
136 wins, 186 poles
* including Supertec, Mecachrome and Playlife statistics