Prime & Option: the week in review, July 13

Welcome to the first installment of our newest Formula1Blog weekly feature, “Prime & Option.” Every Monday, I’ll provide an overview of the previous week’s news, as reported by the crack news reporting, opinion generating team here at F1B, hopefully refraining from further tyre puns so long as Pirelli complies. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Sebastian Vettel Wins the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring
Despite historic evidence to the contrary, Vettel can actually win both a race in him home country and the month of July. The Grand Prix Redux provides a complete recap of the race, where Vettel held off a late charge from Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second. Romain Grosjean finished third, after giving way to Raikkonen earlier in the race. Raikkonen looked to make good on a tyre strategy that put him on fresh soft tyres for the final ten laps, but he could not quite catch the German. Fernando Alonso finished fourth, though he too tried a strategy from the start that put him on softs at the end.

Equally as fascinating as the race strategy, and far more inflammatory, Mark Webber lost his right rear wheel in a pitstop misstep that saw a FOM cameraman injured and new pit lane procedures bandied about. Later, Jules Bianchi’s Marussia caused a Safety Car period as it attempted to rejoin the race after catching fire, with no driver at the wheel.

The drivers had much to say afterward, as detailed in the Driver Quotes: German GP edition.

Vettel’s win brought back points for the majority of the F1B Staff, as Grace continues to lead the F1B Staff Cup Championship. See who chose how in the week before practice sessions began by looking at our picks.

Derek Daly took a look at both the German and British Grands Prix for F1B, noting how each race seemed to focus on the leading home driver from each country. He concluded with a note about Ferrari, “Ferrari has fallen off the boil again. Doing it at this stage will almost guarantee that they will not beat the Brit based teams to the world championship. Massa is again in the spotlight for what he is not able to do on track – run fast and score points consistently. I can’t see him making it through the filter at the end of this year. His career might well be over.”

Last Monday afternoon, Laura hosted a bountiful #F1Chat, with fans across the world tweeting their way through topics that ranged from unsafe pit stop releases, Pirelli’s continued tyre woes, Alonso’s race, Vettel’s race, and driver of the day. Don’t forget to participate later today! {find the preview here}

Last Tuesday, Todd and Paul got together to review the German Grand Prix for the three hundred and twenty-second F1B podcast. They also covered the continual subject of F1 for the recent seasons: Pirelli’s tyres.

Tyres Continue to Make Headlines
Pirelli announced the tyre compounds for the next race {only two more weeks left in this break} at the Hungaroring, leaving Lotus unhappy. After the change to construction post-Silverstone, Pirelli decided to bring the soft and medium compounds to Hungary.

Martin Whitmarsh was not so happy, claiming, “Pirelli got themselves a bit caught in the middle listening to the teams, especially those that didn’t want anything to change.”

Sauber is in Trouble
Sauber has been facing more difficulties than usual, with the departure of chief designer Matt Morris on the back of the major changes in technical regulations for the next season.

Compounding these issues are questions of Hulkenberg’s paycheck at the German Grand Prix, and his future with the team. Though the team will not prevent his exit, team principal Monika Kaltenborn said, “Nico is very important for the team.”

Silly Season Expands
In further questions for next season’s driver line up, Lotus remains hopeful that Raikkonen will stay with the team instead of jumping ship to fill Webber’s vacant Red Bull seat for 2014. Team Principal Eric Boullier said, “He [Raikkonen] is comfortable with them [the team and the people].”

Meanwhile, David Couthard has reminded Ferrari that “they need to do something and they need to do it now,” or the Italian team could lose Alonso. As Alonso has not won a championship since 2006 and joined Ferrari in 2010, there is some speculation that he could feel ready to move sooner rather than later.

Further News
In other bits of information, Lewis Hamilton is determined to do his job despite a loss in his personal life after splitting with long-term girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger. “I’m going through a really, really tough time at the moment with the loss of someone really, really special in my life. My world’s turned upside down, but I have a job,” said Hamilton.

Meanwhile, his employers want the punishment for participating in the “secret” test with Pirelli lifted. Mercedes insists that the team ought participate in the Young {or any available} Drivers’ Test this week at Silverstone. Toto Wolff said, “when it is about safety it would be good if all teams are clear whether they [the tyres] work on their cars,” publically lobbying the FIA for a reprieve.

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