German GP: Tyre and Pit Stop Strategy
After an eventful qualifying session, the sun shone down on the Hockenheimring and settled down into reordering a grid that had been shuffled up by Saturday’s changing conditions. Fernando Alonso led away from pole and was barely troubled, except by Lewis Hamilton and he was only unlapping himself. Jenson Button fought his way up from sixth to finish third which became second after the stewards intervened to penalise Sebastian Vettel for going beyond the bounds of the track to repass Button. However, at the front it was less about strategy and more about good old fashioned overtaking plus a phenomenal pit stop that saw Button stationary for just 2.31 seconds, allowing him to leapfrog Vettel.
Two stops with a race of soft-medium-medium seemed to be the favoured strategy but Kimi Raikonnen did a long medium stint on the soft compound, gaining six places (plus a further place by way of Vettel’s penalty) on the way. Kamui Kobayashi, on the other hand, flipped things on their head by starting on the medium compound and not taking the softs until his final stint and was rewarded with a career best finish of fourth after Vettel’s penalty. Meanwhile, Mercedes’ tyre preservation problem appeared to rear its head again as both drivers three-stopped, which did little to help Michael Schumacher although Nico Rosberg crept up from near the back of the grid to just finish in the points.
Elsewhere, it was all about changes of plans as Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna, Romain Grosjean and Lewis Hamilton made early, unscheduled stops, throwing their plans into disarray in the process.
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