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