Hamilton Wins German Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton won the German Grand Prix today in fine style.The McLaren, Lewis’s car anyway, seemed approximately 1 to 1.5 sec. a lap faster than the Ferrari’s. Lewis had a comfortable lead all day until the Safety Car, brought out by a big crash by Toyota’s Timo Glock, bunched the field up again. Lewis remained on track when the pit lane was opened leaving many to scratch their heads at the decision to not come in, like the other teams, and refuel for the final leg of the race.

Not to worry as Lewis came out on track in 5th after his final pit stop. He made quick work of his teammate Heikki and proceeded to pass Felipe and Nelson in short order to re-take the lead and the victory. The McLaren has made a huge improvement since France. By my eye it is not only under braking but in sheer torque and speed both in straight line and acceleration. The overall package seems to be far superior to Ferrari at the moment. I, not being privy to what changes were made to Lewis’s car, am not sure what component took the McLaren over the top in performance but it doesn’t seem to be attached to Heikki’s car as the fin passed and fought off challenges all day like a pro only to be schooled in the hairpin corner by Lewis as if Heikki was standing still.

Of course there are no team orders at McLaren and I’m sure Lewis’s thanking Heikki for being a good teammate was taken out of context (but not lost on my keen eye).

Ferrari’s Massa displayed a punishing lack of urgency today in a car he deemed as unstable or incapable to match Lewis’s pace. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen has stated that the McLaren’s are now officially faster than the Ferrari’s and it makes one consider if Ferrari can claw back their pace to put any pressure on Lewis for the remainder of the season. With his display of sheer speed in Britain and now again in Germany, it will take something very special for Ferrari to come anywhere close to clawing back the 1.5 seconds Lewis’s car has gained.

To be fair to Lewis, that 1.5 second advantage is not all car, Lewis drove a terrific race today and you could see moments where he was putting the car on the very edge of blinding performance and total disaster. A mark of a true race driver. But if Lewis wants this 2008 title badly enough and Ferrari are not capable of doing something very quickly with their pace; it seems to be Lewis’s to lose.

The German GP proved a critical race that could signal the beginning of the end should Ferrari not discover McLaren’s secret sauce for leap-frogging Ferrari by well over a second a lap. Ferrari also should be worried about Massa’s inability to press or even pass a Renault in the hands of Jr. Jr. and almost get consumed by a hard charging Nick Heidfeld. If Massa was looking to redeem himself from the British GP debacle that saw him spin 5 times; this race wasn’t it. Massa and Raikkonen both left me further miffed as to why Ferrari have pinned such hope on an inconsistent Brazilian and a indifferent Fin. The iDrivers of the current age.

I’m starting to think that Alonso at Ferrari is perhaps a better idea than I originally thought.

Pos  Driver        Team                      Time
1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1h31:20.874
2.  Piquet        Renault               (B)  +     5.586
3.  Massa         Ferrari               (B)  +     9.339
4.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber            (B)  +     9.825
5.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  +    12.411
6.  Raikkonen     Ferrari               (B)  +    14.403
7.  Kubica        BMW Sauber            (B)  +    22.682
8.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  +    33.299
9.  Trulli        Toyota                (B)  +    37.158
10.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota       (B)  +    37.625
11.  Alonso        Renault               (B)  +    38.600
12.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  +    39.111
13.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault      (B)  +    54.971
14.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari   (B)  +    59.093
15.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       (B)  +  1:00.003
16.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari   (B)  +  1:09.488
17.  Button        Honda                 (B)  +     1 lap

Fastest lap: Heidfeld, 1:15.987

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                      On lap
Barrichello   Honda                 (B)    52
Webber        Red Bull-Renault      (B)    41
Glock         Toyota                (B)    37
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