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GRAND PRIX

Vettel brings home German Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in this year's drivers' championship when he finally won on home soil on Sunday.

Vettel brings home German Grand Prix
Photo: David Ebener/DPA

But the defending triple world champion had to survive several spells of intense pressure to steer his Red Bull to victory in the German Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old German, who also had never won a race in the month of July, came home narrowly ahead of fast-closing Finn Kimi Raikkonen and his Lotus

team-mate Romain Grosjean of France.

Vettel’s win was his fourth this year and the 30th of his career and it lifted him 34 points clear of nearest rival, Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, in the drivers’ championship.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Vettel. “Kimi was pushing very close in the end, but I was pushing in every lap except from the ones with the safety car.

“I enjoyed today and I could feel Kimi coming and it was quite close with Romain too, but we recovered and I am very happy the race ended after 60 laps — and not 61 or 62 laps.”

Vettel’s win means that in the constructors’ series, Red Bull lead with 250 ahead of Mercedes on 183.

Raikkonen, who closed within a second of Vettel at the end as he stretched his record run of points-scoring races to 26, said: “My radio only worked in one part of the circuit and unfortunately today there was quite a lot to discuss.”

Grosjean, who finished third to grab his first podium finish in five races, said: “It’s good, it is a good result for the team. I thought I had a good chance, but Sebastian drove very well.

“The team took the decision to put us on different tyres and it worked out in the end.”

Alonso came home fourth ahead of Britons Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Jenson Button of McLaren with Australian Mark Webber seventh in the second Red Bull.

Hamilton started from pole, but fell back and struggled with his tyres before fighting back in the closing stages with some fine passing moves.

“I have nothing positive to say about these tyres,” said Hamilton.

“I don’t understand why we struggle so much on them, but the team is working hard and we need to keep pushing.”

“I felt I was having such a difficult time and I wanted to know if Nico wasn’t having a problem then it must be something with my driving or my set-up.”

“But it turned out it wasn’t. We didn’t have any blowouts this weekend — but I don’t particularly like the tyres.”

Mexican Sergio Perez finished eighth for McLaren ahead of Germans Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes and Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber.

Vettel became the first German to win a German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in the history of the Formula One world championship.

After the drama of four exploding tyre blowouts in last Sunday’s British Grand Prix, the race was run without similar incidents other than when an errant wheel flew off Webber’s car during a pit-stop and struck a tv camerman, Paul Allen, in the back.

The FIA said: “He was treated at the circuit medical centre and then transported by helicopter to Koblenz Hospital.

“The Briton has been kept there, under observation. Further information from the hospital will be provided as soon as it becomes available.”

On his victory lap, Vettel screeched: “Woo-hooh! Thanks guys, that was a tough race — they really gave me a run for my money.”

He was right, but it may be a different story again at the next contest, the Hungarian Grand Prix, on July 28th.

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GRAND PRIX

Rosberg takes home pole in German Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg said the satisfaction of claiming his first home German Grand Prix pole position on Saturday was diminished by teammate Lewis Hamilton's horror crash.

Rosberg takes home pole in German Grand Prix
Hamilton crashed in qualifying. Photo: DPA

Hamilton's 260-kilometre-per-hour smash left the Briton shaken but fit to line-up on Sunday when he will have to start from 15th on the grid.

Mercedes confirmed that the accident was caused by a brake failure that wrecked Hamilton's car and his session and reduced his chances of trimming Rosberg's four-point lead in their duel for the championship title.

His success in qualifying gave Rosberg a 5:4 advantage in poles over Hamilton this season.

It also came in a memorable week when the 29-year-old German married his long-term girlfriend Vivian Sibold, signed a new contract with Mercedes and cheered Germany to World Cup victory.

"For now, it's been going really well," said Rosberg.

"Home race, to be on pole is fantastic. I would have preferred if it was an open fight with Lewis so I'm less happy as a result, but it's still a fantastic day.

"But there are no points for qualifying and there is still a long way to go. Tomorrow, it is supposed to be a bit colder, so it should make it easier on the tyres. The weather could play a role, so I just need to take it as it comes."

Hamilton spun into the barriers heavily at the Sachskurve when the right front brake disc of his Mercedes car failed as he attempted to slow from an estimated 260 km/h.

He was winded, bruised and shaken by the impact but climbed from his car and was later able to walk away from the medical centre where his knees were examined carefully.

"I'm a little bit sore, but I'll be OK," said Hamilton.

"I've got a little bit of pain but that's what usually happens when you have a crash like that. Even if something's broken, I'll still be driving tomorrow."

Hamilton officially qualified a provisional 16th, but a penalty for Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber lifts him up a place on the grid.

Rosberg did not allow doubt into his mind as he delivered fastest laps in all three sessions, culminating in a blistering one minute and 16.540 seconds to seize his fourth pole in five races.

It gives him a huge advantage for Sunday's 67-lap race as only three times since 1987 has the winner at Hockenheim qualified from behind the front row.

Valtteri Bottas secured the second front row start of his career and second in three races for Williams ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen, fourth for McLaren.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo again out-qualified his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel by taking fifth place ahead of the defending champion with Fernando Alonso seventh for Ferrari.

Daniil Kkyvat was eighth for Toro Rosso ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and his Force India team-mate Sergio Perez.

Hamilton and Mercedes will have to overcome one dilemma before Sunday's race — not only do they need to repair the 2008 champion's car, but they have to resolve what braking system to use.

Hamilton and Rosberg employ different brake manufacturers and it is therefore possible that, following Saturday's failure, the team will consider suggesting to Hamilton that he switches to use the same brakes as Rosberg as a security precaution.

But that will be a setback for Hamilton who, like most elite racing drivers, has picked his brake company based on the feel he has from their performance on track.

If he has to switch, it will mean having to learn how to adjust to a very different system.

SEE ALSO: Fifa tell Rosberg to ditch World Cup helmet

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