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Hockenheim

Race Review: German Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso came in first while Sebastian Vettel took second position (though Seb was penalized for his overtake on Jenson Butto - Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Nothing throws a wrench into Race day grid positions like a bit of rain on Qualifying day. That is precisely what we had at the German Grand Prix this weekend. Some teams were prepared (or lucky) while others were slightly doomed (or not prepared). Alonso, the front-runner of the championship after British Grand Prix, was certainly prepared with a wet setup and capture Pole position. Not so lucky was Massa, Rosberg and Grosjean, none of them made Q3 Top-10 shootout.

To keep things interesting, Hokkenheim gave the German Grand Prix a sunny and dry race day. Alonso was on pole, followed by Vettel and Schumacher. With 4 wins in the pocket and a 3rd place on the grid, I had high hopes for Schumacher. However, ultimately it was just not meant to be. Schumacher ended the race at 7th.

Taking full advantage of the pole position, however, is Alonso. Alonso blew away the competition, surged ahead and never looked back from the moment the race started. Alonso seems to be ready for any challenge and made his strategy stick in recent races. Even in a seemingly less competitive car, Alonso has driven the wheels off of the Ferrari and took the top spot on the podium for the German Grand Prix. This is the 3rd win for Alonso at the Hokkenheim track. I think he may have shed some joyous tears on the podium. In my pre-race post, I've mentioned that the odds are in Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton's favor at this Grand Prix, I'm mildly excited that my guesses are getting more accurate in this unpredictable season.

Hoping for a comeback from a disappointing finish last week, Hamilton started on 7th and ended up retiring at Lap 58 due to lack of pace and a puncture. With a bit of reversed fortune, Button did very well in the race, going from 6th to 3rd by lap 12 and just kept pushing up front. It certainly helped that McLaren has dramatically improved their pit stop time, with one of Button's stop taking a fleeting 2.31 seconds, fastest ever in the records. All these with some good driving nudged Button to 2nd near closing stage of the race. That was until Button started losing tyres performance. Vettel saw the weakness and decided to be naughty (and play innocent), attempted to pass Button on Lap 66, went wide AND off the track that give him some grip to slip in front of Button to take 2nd place on the podium.

Even though Vettel was on podium for 2nd, the stewards investigate the overtaking move and decided to give him a 20-second penalty which dropped him to Fifth. Quite the misfortune for Vettel at the home race. As a result, Button is 2nd, with Raikkonen taking 3rd in the 67-lap race. Button must be absolutely thrilled to be back on the podium after a drought of wins.

Honorable mentions of the Hokkenheim race are Kobayashi, who went up 7 spots with a 2-stop strategy to end the race in 5th, and Perez, went up a whopping 11 spots to 6th place. Both of these drivers are not always the front-runners, but are always driving their heart out with their cars, great pleasure to watch and definitely adds to the entertaining factor of the race to see them dual!

Grid girls, what's going on with the outfits? Is it because we're still in Europe that the last few races your outfit has not changed? It's still a red dress with a white bow-knot in the front and red heels. I was hoping that there'd be some new outfits, but alas. And who wins the Post-race Best hair award? That prize goes to none other than Button, who kept his cool on the podium with cool head and hair while waiting for the stewards to decide Vettel's illegal overtaking move.

That's all for the German Grand Prix! Can't wait for the Hungarian Grand Prix to come around July 27-29! Catch you then!

Race Preview: German Grand Prix

// This weekend we head to the famed Hockenheimring in the rural countryside of Germany. Here's a 3D Track Experience video from Pirelli.

Can you believe it's already the 10th race of the 2012 season? We're halfway through it, yet the season has been so action-packed that it's almost too good to be true. Continuing on with the European leg of the Grand Prix, this weekend the race will be at Hockenheim, Germany.

Mid-season is also the time when we have what I'd like to call the "Musical chair" part of the season. Top drivers talk to other top teams to explore options for next season and beyond. Hamilton is thought to have had talks with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes. Massa may depart Ferrari, Vettel was speculated to perhaps give Ferrari a try, and Webber was also rumored last week to want to leave Red Bull, meanwhile closing the deal with Red Bull this week. Maybe all the drivers should have 1-year contract only, that'll keep the "Musical chair" rumor mill going for the summer.

The front runner to win at Hockenheim this weekend, based purely on historical statistics, is Schumacher who has won four times at this track. Pretty impressive achievement! However, not to be outdone, Alonso and Hamilton have both won twice at this track before. I'm still holding out some hope for Iceman to win a Grand Prix and actually smile, we will have to wait and see how the race will go down this weekend. Can’t wait! Catch you again next week after the German Grand Prix!

DIVIDENDS OF DOWNFORCE: GERMAN GP

NUERBURG, GERMANY - JULY 23: Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing drives during practice to the German Formula One Grand Prix at the Nurburgring on July 23, 2011 in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Vladimir Rys Photography via Getty Images)

// Dividends of Downforce

Located in the Rhine Valley, near Karlsruhe, the 2012 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim is this season’s alternative to the equally infamous ‘Green Hell’ of the Nürburgring but, prior to its 2002 modernisation programme, it claimed the lives of two of Formula One’s most famous sons.