Fernando Alonso has stormed to his third victory of the season to take charge of the Championship at the seasonn’s halfway point in Hockenheim.
Alonso’s lead briefly looked under threat from Jenson Button in the last fifteen laps, but the Briton’s pace quickly dissipated before falling into the clutches of Sebastian Vettel.
The Ferrari driver eventually crossed the line 3.7 seconds ahead of Vettel to take a commanding 34 point lead in the Championship standings.
‘We enjoyed the race,’ said the race winner. ‘We were competitive yesterday, and starting on pole was a key factor.
‘It was difficult to overtake - we were maybe not the fastest but we keep position.’
Vettel crossed the line in second place after passing Button on the penultimate lap. However, the overtaking move around the outside of the hairpin saw Vettel penalised 20 seconds, dropping the German back to fourth place and elevating Kimi Raikkonen to the podium.
‘He didn’t complain to me,’ said Vettel of the move. It was a difficult one, I wasn’t sure whether he was still on the inside or not.
The last thing you want to do is make contact. I tried to give enough room and went wide.
We were all struggling with our tyres Jenson in particular, which I was able to pass him.’
Button, meanwhile, seemed happy to be mixing with the frontrunners again after a torrid six races in which he scored only seven points.
‘First of all, I want to say thank you to the crowd,’ started Button. ‘It’s amazing to see so many people here in the paddock!
‘I had a great race out there, it’s nice to be fighting at the front again.’
Raikkonen again had to overcome a poor qualifying session but his pace picked up as the race progressed and the track temperature increased, but he never seemed in contention for the win.
The race provided a satisfying result for Sauber, with Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez finishing fifth and sixth
Both Sauber drivers started well outside the top ten - Kobayashi from P12, and Perez from P17 - but brought home a valuable 18 points to strengthen the team’s sixth position in the Championship.
Michael Schumacher finished a disappointing seventh, despite starting from P3. The home-crowd favourite showed flashes of competitiveness throughout the race - including a gutsy passing move on Nico Hulkenberg on lap 16 - but couldn’t do much with his less-than-perfect Mercedes package.
Mark Webber held his grid position to finish eighth - a gearbox change penalty relegated him down the order after qualifying third fastest on Saturday afternoon.
The Australian’s strategy gave him opportunities to improve his position, but he never seemed comfortable on the prime tyre - which was chosen as the best race tyre.
Nico Hulkenberg finished fighting in ninth place, though will be disappointed after starting from fourth on the grid - his classification highlighting that the Force India car still has some way to go before challenging for a greater share of points.
The German was kept honest in the race’s closing stages by Nico Rosberg, who also found the Mercedes car to be lacking bite - though he did well to recover from his P21 starting position to score the race’s final point.
Paul di Resta and Felipe Massa followed Rosberg home in P11 and P12, while the STR pair continued their evenly-matched battle for team supremacy with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne finishing P13 and P14 respectively.
Pastor Maldonado couldn’t capitalise on his fifth-place qualification, despite running in P6 up until the first round of pit stops. He finished in P15, one place ahead of Vitaly Petrov’s Caterham, and two ahead of team-mate Bruno Senna.
Romain Grosjean capped off a dismal weekend with P18. Any hope he had of salvaging a decent result from his P19 grid position was dashed after a fist-lap incident required a chaneg of front wing.
Hiekki Kovalinen and Charles Pic finished two laps down in P19 and P20, while Pedro de la Rosa, Timo Glock, and Narain Karthikeyan finished three laps off the pace in P21, P22, P23.
Lewis Hamilton was the race’s only retirement, on lap 56. The Briton picked up a puncture on lap three, and immediately requested of his team to retire the car.
McLaren continued to race Hamilton, however, and at one point used him as backmarker traffic to assist team-mate Button to catch the Alonso halfway through the race.
Despite being lapped by the top three cars, Hamilton used his fresher tyres to attempt to unlap himself, and eventually overtaking Vettel at the hairpin - a move the German was particularly unhappy about.
McLaren attempted to improve Hamilton’s position by experimenting with a one-stop strategy, but it quickly became evident that the tyres would not last long enough, marking the Englishman’s 100th Grand Prix with a race confined to the back of the field, and ultimately early retirement.
The German Grand Prix is over, but Formula One won’t be gone for long - the Hungarian Grand Prix takes place next Sunday at 10PM AEST.