F1 Grand Prix Of GermanyFinal
Hamilton wins German Grand PrixJul 20, 2008 - 3:20 PM By Ian Parkes PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Ticker) - Lewis Hamilton made it back-to-back victories for the first time in 13 months by taking the checkered flag at the German Grand Prix on Sunday.
A severe bump involving Toyota's Timo Glock just beyond the midway point of the 67-lap race at Hockenheim had resulted in the evaporation of a comfortable lead established by Hamilton.
But with a helping hand from McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen and two stunning overtaking manevuers on title rival Felipe Massa in his Ferrari and Nelson Piquet in the closing stages, Hamilton triumphed.
"I didn't plan on doing that. I'd have much preferred an easy, comfortable afternoon out front," Hamilton said.
"Overall it was a very, very good weekend. It's got to be the best weekend up to now. I think that we're really on top of our game right now."
The 23-year-old now has a four-point cushion in the championship standings over Massa, who could only finish third behind fellow Brazilian Piquet, the Renault driver claiming his best career finish.
On his celebratory lap, team boss Ron Dennis apologized to Hamilton for a mistake during the safety car period following Glock's smash that almost cost him the win.
It has been a considerable time since we witnessed a straight fight in normal conditions between McLaren and Ferrari due to a various circumstances.
In Monaco, rain played a considerable part before Hamilton's major gaffe in Canada when he ran into the back of Kimi Raikkonen in the pit lane.
On that occasion, Hamilton was undoubtedly the quickest driver over the course of the weekend, only to miss out on what he hopes will not be a crucial 10 points by the end of the season.
A grid penalty stemming from his mistake in Montreal compromised the next grand prix in France for Hamilton where was he also handed a drive-through penalty.
It meant heading into his home race at Silverstone, the 23-year-old had failed to score in two successive races for the first time in his career, and the pressure was on.
Hamilton responded, carving out a winning margin in the wet that was the most significant seen since Damon Hill won the 1995 Australian Grand Prix by two laps.
However, although the rain ensured there was a level playing field of sorts for all the drivers, it was not what F1 would describe as a relatively fair fight.
Hamilton, Formula One's new wet-weather king reigned supreme, and so came into this race high on confidence, and it showed.
After dominating practice, Hamilton followed up by clinching the third pole position of the season, and ninth of his career.
Hamilton then made a perfectly-executed start off the grid, and for the first 35 laps all went to plan as he comfortably led by 11 1/2 seconds at the time from Massa.
But then came Glock's spectacular bump, turning the race on its head.
Running wide at the final turn heading into the start-finish straight, Glock's right-rear wheel appeared to dislodge, sending him hurtling backwards across the track and into a concrete wall.
The momentum of the shunt propelled him back across the circuit before he finally came to rest on the grass in front of the main grandstand.
With debris strewn across the home stretch it unsurprisingly resulted in the emergence of the safety car, bunching up the field and in turn significantly eroding Hamilton's lead.
Fortunately, Glock emerged unscathed from the cockpit of his car, although he did appear to be in pain as he rubbed his lower back, and was eventually taken to a local hospital for checks.
The field then filed behind the safety car for a couple of laps prior to the pit-lane re-opening, sparking a flurry of stops.
Eleven drivers dived in for new rubber, fuelling to the end, but surprisingly Hamilton did not do so, and instead Kovalainen was the McLaren man who came in.
McLaren appeared to have taken a considerable gamble with Hamilton, especially as he emerged in fifth behind Kovalainen when he finally made his second stop on lap 51.
But within two laps Kovalainen ran wide at one point, appearing to do so deliberately to allow Hamilton through.
When BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld pitted again, that propelled Hamilton up to third, and so began his hunt for Massa and shock leader Piquet, who had benefited from running a one-stop plan.
Like a school bully, Hamilton barged Massa out of the way on lap 57 into the hairpin, forcing him wide again as the Brazilian tried to respond through the subsequent corners.
That just left Piquet, and on lap 60, Hamilton pulled off the same move at the same part of the track on the sport's other Brazilian, and then it was a clean run to the finish and the eighth win of his career.
Behind the podium clinchers came Nick Heidfeld in his BMW Sauber, followed by Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari who is now seven points behind Hamilton.
Robert Kubica was seventh in his BMW Sauber, with Sebastian Vettel taking the final point for Toro Rosso.
David Coulthard and Jenson Button could only manage 13th and 17th for Red Bull and Honda respectively.