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German Grand Prix - Race 
20th-Jul-2008 07:49 am
TSN is showing golf (why?) and Speed isn't showing the GP until later today (meh, your commentary sucks so no big loss) so I'm relieved to find TSN's coverage (or, more importantly, the ITV-F1 feed) has moved to the "Sport" channel (204).

As always, my notes are behind a cut:

The grid is unchanged from yesterday's qualifying: LH, FM, HK, JT, FA, KR, RK, MW, SV, DC; TG, NH, NR, JB, SB; KN, NP, RB, AS, GF.

Track temperature 31°C; air 22°C; wind 6.1m/s; humidity 39%; currently dry but there's a chance of showers during the race; it's almost as windy as it was in qualifying, which can make the cars a little unstable when they're in the infield section.

Everyone clears the grid, ready for the formation lap.

LH leads everyone away; looks like most are on the harder tyre compound

The grid forms up again

01/67: FM cuts across but LH holds his lead into Turn 1
HK pulls alongside FM but drops back before the hairpin
SV passes MW for P8
RK takes P4 from JT

02: LH, FM, HK, RK, JT, FA, KR, SV
DC has dropped from P10 to P15

03: LH fastest lap 1:17.904
RB passes KN for P16

03: LH f/lap 1:17.508

04: LH f/lap 1:16.522
FA tries a move on JT but doesn't make it - instead KR passes him for P6

05/67: LH, FM, HK, RK, JT, KR, FA, SV
LH's lead over FM is 3.7secs

06: KR closing on JT

07: LH f/lap 1:16.420 - his lead now 4.6s over FM

08: LH 1:16.378
DC pushing JB for P13

09: JB taking the defensive line, losing time but holding DC back for now

10/67: LH, FM, HK, RK, JT, KR, FA, SV
NR closing on DC, who has a look at JB - pulls alongside but can't pass

11: LH 1:16.078

12: LH leads by 7.5s; FM in turn has a 5.6s gap to HK

13: DC has finally passed JB for P13
NR now pushing JB - no rest for the Brit

14: HK is falling down the official timing chart - has he stopped or is there a glitch? - looks like a glitch

15/67: LH, FM, HK, RK, JT, KR, FA, SV

16: LH's lead 9.7s - presumably he'll pit a few laps earlier than FM and HK
Closest battle is currently FA 0.8s behind KR, and NR 0.7s behind JB

18: LH 1:16.039 - lead now 11.0s
KN spins, letting NP and AS pass

19: LH pits - 9.0s stop - rejoins ahead of JT
RK pits from P4
JT passes LH but LH immediately fights back

20/67: JT pits, as does FA
Official timing info isn't showing pit stop info

21: FM pits from P1 - soft tyres - 7.9s stop - rejoins ahead of MW

22: HK pits from P1 - 9.2s - another set of hard tyres (same as LH)
SV and DC pit too

23: KR pits - soft tyres (as per FM) - 8secs
NR still looking to take P13 from JB

24: MW pits, as does SB
Replay shows DC run a bit wide

25/67: LH, FM, TG*, HK, NH, RK, KR, JT (*TG yet to pit)

26: The FIA timing chart is definitely sick - just showed everyone is a lap down
LH lead over FM is 9.4s

29: LH's lead back over 10s
TG (P3) still has yet to pit

30/67: LH, FM, TG, HK, RK, KR, JT, SV
TG pits - only a 7.8s stop, so maybe he's not 1-stopping - rejoins ahead of SV

31: SV passes TG in the hairpin but he's not giving up

32: still to pit: just RB, NP ... and with that, RB pits

33: RB rejoins just ahead of teammate JB - the two Honda drivers battling hard for P16


34: LH's lead seems to have stabilised ~11.5s over FM

35/67: LH, FM, HK, RK, KR, JT, SV, TG; no retirements so far

36: LH closing up to lap RB (P16)
Big crash for TG! Lots of debris on the main straight!
Safety car deployed

37[SC]: Replay shows his right rear suspension fail in the middle of the final turn, then a big rear-impact with the pit wall
JB had pitted just before the SC was deployed
TG is out of what's left of his Toyota - looks a bit winded & dazed but physically intact

38[SC]: RK's pit-car radio says all the teams are ready to pit as soon as the pit lane is reopened

39[SC]: Into the pits come FM, RK, JT, SV, FA, MW, DC, SB, NR, GF - so why didn't LH pit?
Smoke from the rear of MW but he carries on
FA complains SV pushed him as they exited the pit lane

40/67[SC]: lapped cars are now allowed to overtake and rejoin the rear of the pack behind the SC
Still smoke from MW's Red Bull

41[SC]: LH has got to open a big gap before he pits, so either he really hates the soft tyres or McLaren messed up :(
SC in at the end of this lap
MW pulls off track and retires

42: Green flag for the restart and LH has to really move to open a gap
FA pushing SV for P8

43: LH has already opened a 2s gap but he needs 15-20s for his pit stop
SV doing a good job of defending against FA
HK pushes past RK for P5

44: KR takes P8 from FA ... and NR passes FA too

45/67: LH, NH, NP, FM, HK, RK, JT, SV

46: LH's gap to FM (P4) is 9.4s; ITV-F1 report that McLaren say LH has "plenty" of fuel
KR eases past SV for P8

47: KR passes JT for P7
FM closing on NP - NH (P2) & NP (P3) have only stopped once, but FM needs to get a move on to stop LH from opening the gap he needs for his 2nd stop

48: KR closing on RK for P6; FA just 0.4s behind NR (P10); RB pushing DC for P13

49: LH's gap to FM now 14.2s

50/67: LH, NH, NP, FM, HK, RK, KR, JT; retirements: MW, TG
RB passed DC; DC fights back, closes the door on RB; contact - they both go off - DC spins, RB loses his front wing

51: LH pits from P1 - the gap isn't big enough - 6.6s stop, soft tyres - rejoins alongside teammate HK - definitely a tactical mistake by McLaren :(
RB pits for a new nosecone

52: HK is ahead of LH - surely he's got to let LH pass

53: NH f/lap 1:15.987
LH passes HK for P4 - he's 3.9s behind FM

54: NH pits, handing P1 to NP
LH now 2.5s behind FM with 14 laps left
ITV-F1 says McLaren "thought LH was fast enough to open the gap"
Timing chart shows RB is still in the pits - not seen it on TV and the timing info hasn't been 100% reliable today

55/67: NP, FM, LH, NH, HK, RK, KR, JT
LH closing well on FM - he's only 1.4s behind, but catching him is only half the problem - getting past could be dangerous

56: Late pit stop for JB

57: LH right on FM's tail
LH lines him up and passes FM into the hairpin - LH makes sure FM is off line and can't fight back

58: LH already 2.7s ahead of FM!

59: FA spins in the hairpin, letting NR take P10

60/67: NP, LH, FM, NH, HK, RK, KR, JT
LH now on the tail of NP
LH takes NP in the hairpin - that was scary!
KR passes RK for P6

61: Can NP stay ahead of FM? There's a 3.5s gap between them

62: ITV-F1 report TG is being taken to hospital for further checks but initial reports are he's OK, just winded

63: LH leads NP by 3.2s, who in turn is 3.2s ahead of FM
JT runs wide and SV passes him for P8

64: NH under 1s behind FM; JT (P9) now has NR, FA and SB all on his tail

65/67: LH, NP, FM, NH, HK, KR, RK, SV

66: NP is a little off the pace but he's still got a 3.0s buffer to FM
Remember NP was on the penultimate row on the grid!

Final lap: KR posts a personal f/lap 1:16.342

LH takes the chequered flag - McLaren's first win at Hockenheim in 10 years
NP over the line for P2 - well done
FM stays ahead of NH, followed by HK and KR

Pit-car for LH: "sorry for making it a little more difficult" says Ron Dennis - yeah, duh!

Provisional results: LH, NP, FM, NH, HK, KR, RK, SV; JT, NR, FA, SB, DC, GF, KN, AS, JB

Post-race interviews:
LH: "would have prefered a comfortable afternoon"; "team opted for me to stay out"; thanks to HK for not putting up a fight; "we'll learn from this one {the decision to stay out}
NP: first time there's been 2 Brazilians on the podium since Piquet (senior) and Senna!; "decided to have a safe second place"
FM: expected a different race because LH was so quick at the beginning; "Lewis too optimistic under the safety car"; "soft (tyres) very difficult"; problem with brakes; "not possible to fight"; very complimentary towards NP
LH: leading championship by 4 points; "best weekend until now"; "great job by the team" (really?); "Hungary is a good one for us"

Next race: Hungary on August 3rd.
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