German Grand Prix as it happened

Text commentary of the German GP at Hockenheim, where Sebastian Vettel is under investigation for his pass on Jenson Button.

22 July 2012 Last updated at 16:05

Get involved

To get involved contact us in any of the following ways

  • Send us a text: 81111
  • Twitter:#bbcf1

As it happened

  1. 1600: 

    I'll be swapping horsepower for paddle power next weekend and covering the rowing at Eton Dorney as London 2012 bursts into life, so my colleague Gary Rose will be in the live text cockpit for the weekend.

    He'll go live at 08:30 BST on Friday 27 July with coverage of first practice. I'll see you on 31 August in the Ardennes forest for one of my favourite races on the calendar - the Belgian Grand Prix. Enjoy the summer break. Until then, it's good afternoon from me. Bye.


    Gary Sutherland on Twitter: "Had the run off area been gravel Vettel would have conceded the place or beached the Red Bull. It's a clear penalty."

  3. 1555: 

    Thanks for all your company and contributions today. You've been awesome and apologies for not being able to use all of them. Don't forget to keep an eye on for all the reaction. Here's that Sebastian Vettel calls Lewis Hamilton "stupid" story I mentioned earlier. Race highlights will be on BBC Two and the BBC HD channel at 17:30 BST.

  4. 1553: 

    You won't have to wait long for your next F1 fix as we've got back-to-back races with the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend. We'll have live text and audio commentary on this website as always along with highlights of both qualifying and the race on BBC Two.


    David on Twitter: "Jenson should have 2nd back. Let's get F1 drivers to respect the track!"

  6. 1550: 

    We're hearing that both Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button have given their side of the argument with regards the overtake in the closing stages of the race. We now await the decision from the stewards.


    F1 Rat on Twitter: "Vettel should be penalised, pointed his car off-track to get slingshot past Button."


    Robert M Francis on Twitter: "Time for Vettel to get some punishment for a change."

  9. 1545: 

    Sauber have got the tequila out in their hospitality unit to celebrate their double points finish. Kamui Kobayashi finished a brilliant fifth, one place ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez. The Swiss team have closed the gap slightly to Mercedes to 27 points in the battle for fifth in the constructors' championship.

  10. 1540: 

    We're still waiting to hear from the stewards regarding their investigation into Sebastian Vettel's overtake on Jenson Button. What do you think their decision should be? Text us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only) remembering to put F1 and your name on them.

  11. 1536: 

    McLaren are claiming that Jenson Button's pit stop was a new world record with a stationary time of just 2.31 seconds. That's incredibly quick if accurate and played a part in getting him out on track ahead of Sebastian Vettel.


    McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton on Twitter: "Congrats to @alo_oficial. @JensonButton did a fantastic job, team did a great job with car."

  13. 1531: 

    Meanwhile, we're hearing that Sebastian Vettel has called Lewis Hamilton "stupid" for racing him in the German Grand Prix when he was a lap behind. Full story online shortly. "That was not nice of him," said Vettel. "I don't see the point in him trying to race us. It is a bit stupid to race the leaders."

  14. 1526: 

    If you missed any of the action, here's Andrew Benson's race report, including quotes from all the main protagonists. We'll also have video highlights on the website and a shiny highlights package fronted by Lee McKenzie on BBC Two and the BBC HD channel at 17:30 BST.


    Paula Doyle on Twitter: "Well done to @JensonButton on a fanastic result after such difficult times, class always shines through."

  16. 1520: 

    And here's the team standings:

    1) Red Bull - 238

    2) Ferrari - 177

    3) McLaren - 157

    4) Lotus - 156

    5) Mercedes - 78

  17. 1515: 

    So Fernando Alonso extends his lead at the top of the drivers' standings to 34 points from Mark Webber who had a lonely race to eighth. Lewis Hamilton fell further back in the championship chase with his DNF and now trails Alonso by 62. Here's the top eight:

    1) Alonso 154 2) Webber 120

    3) Vettel 118 4) Raikkonen 95

    5) Hamilton 92 6) Rosberg 76

    7) Button 65 8) Grosjean 61


    Ferrari on Twitter: "A pity for Felipe, who had his race spoiled by the accident at the start."


    Joe Duffy on Twitter: "Vettel should be penalised, not allowed to pass off the track."


    Mercedes' Michael Schumacher, who finished seventh: "It was busy but in the wrong way. We did not have the bit extra to get Sergio Perez under pressure and start overtaking. It wasn't qualifying I had to save fuel at certain moments. We take the result and see what happens in future. I think we might see some interesting happenings in the future that does not concern just one car but several cars. It will be interesting."

  21. 1507: 

    Michael Schumacher had another race where he was spending more time looking in his mirrors rather than looking ahead. The German started third and though he had a good battle with Sebastian Vettel early on, he lacked the pace to stay with the leaders and eventually trailed home a distant seventh. The seven-time world champion gets all cryptic when he speaks to BBC Sport after the race. I wonder what he's on about...


    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh: "Look where Jenson was at end of the first stint, Vettel and Alonso were some way down the road and we had to hunt them down. Anyone who doubted Jenson's hunger can put that now to the back of their minds. There is a bit of debate about what happened on the last lap and the stewards will take a view on that. There is no point me giving my view as I suspect you know what it is. The stewards have all their data. Lewis will know he had a quick car today. He will be frustrated for the next 24 hours but he will recover knowing he has a good record in Hungary and he has a fast car."

  23. 1501: 

    McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh preferred not to comment on the incident but added...


    Red Bull boss Christian Horner: "It was a tight race. We lost a bit of time when Lewis caught leaders back up but nonetheless it was a good drive by Sebastian. It was close between the top three and he made it stick to get second at the end there. The rules are clear, the driver has to leave enough room for the other. There wasn't enough room for both. It was really a racing incident. If anything, Sebastian was slightly ahead into braking zone. I think it would be harsh to penalise him.

  25. 1457: 

    So the big talking point post-race is whether or not Sebastian Vettel was in the wrong when he past Jenson Button in the closing stages. Here's what Red Bull's Christian Horner has to say on the matter...


    Force India's Paul di Resta, who finished 11th: "It was a bit mixed for me. I really struggled, certainly at the beginning. I was strong at the beginning and end of stints but not in the middle for some reason. We will go away from here certainly having to do a bit of work and aim to do better. It was about how much speed your car had, and we got better as it went on. I set my fastest lap in the last lap. Hopefully in Hungary we will be able to get on top of things a bit better."


    McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who retired: "I have no idea [how the car got damaged]. I saw the debris come up and it damaged it. The car felt terrible after that, the rear floor is damaged. The only positive I can take from this weekend is Jenson's result."

  28. 1453: 

    And here's the rest of the field:

    11) Di Resta 12) Massa 13) Ricciardo 14) Vergne 15) Maldonado 16) Petrov 17) Senna 18) Grosjean 19) Kovalainen 20) Pic 21) De la Rosa 22) Glock 23) Karthikeyan 24) Hamilton DNF

  29. 1450: 

    So here's how they finished:

    1) Alonso 2) Vettel 3) Button 4) Raikkonen 5) Kobayashi 6) Perez 7) Schumacher 8) Webber 9) Hulkenberg 10) Rosberg


    McLaren driver Jenson Button, who finished third: "I had a great race out there and it is nice to be fighting at the front again. I don't wish to comment at the moment about the manoeuvre at Turn Six."


    Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, who finished second: "I wasn't sure if he [Button] was on the inside or not. The last thing you want to do is make contact. When we were side-by-side, I tried to give him enough room but it's difficult to see. I went wide. We were all struggling with tyres, Jenson in particular, which is why I was able to pass him."


    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who finished first: "I don't really know politics but it is true that the situation is not great in Spain but a Spanish driver in an Italian car, designed by a Greek man is good to win here. We enjoy the win. Starting on pole was the key factor because it was difficult to overtake and we were not the fastest but we kept the position."

  33. 1445: 

    Former world champion Niki Lauda is the podium interviewer, following in the footsteps of Sir Jackie Stewart at Silverstone. Here's what the top three have to say...

  34. 1443: 

    The trio head up to the podium with Ferrari sending technical director Pat Fry up to receive the winning constructors' trophy. The Spanish and then Italian national anthems ring out around the Hockenheimring. It's the first time Jenson BUtton has been on the podium since the Chinese Grand Prix, seven races ago.

  35. 1441: 

    Jenson Button said to Sebastian Vettel after the race: "They are going to investigate your overtake you know." Vettel responds: "I didn't know where you were." Will that defence be enough?


    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson on Twitter: "Hugely impressive, controlled victory by Fernando Alonso. Only man to win three races so far. Looking in a very strong position in championship."

  37. 1439: 

    Fernando Alonso parks his car up in the pit lane, takes out the steering wheel and climbs out of the cockpit before standing up on the front nose and taking in the applause. "You couldn't beat me?" says Alonso to Button. Pointing to Sebastian Vettel, Alonso adds: "He couldn't either."


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel over the team radio: "I was fighting like a lion but I had nothing left. I am sorry but we never really had a chance to get close to Fernando Alonso."

  39. 1438: 

    We've just seen a replay and Sebastian Vettel was completely off the track as he put a move on Jenson Button. The question is, did he make the pass before putting all four wheels off the track? That's what the stewards will have to decide.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Impressive stuff from Fernando Alonso. He is doing his trademark wave now. I don't think he has made a mistake this year. He is in a happy place now and driving well."

  41. 1437: 

    We've had confirmation that race control are looking into the incident between Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button where the McLaren driver claimed Vettel overtook him while off track.

  42. 1435: 

    It's a brilliant drive from Fernando Alonso who didn't put a wheel wrong today. "That was fantastic again," he says on the radio. "Tonight we have some parties on the plane."



    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Good use of DRS, Jenson Button goes defensive and Sebastian Vettel pulls to the left. They run side by side and Sebastian gets on the power early. Clever boy realised he could use the run off on the exit of that corner and got past."

    LAP 67

    Fernando Alonso has now stretched his lead out to five seconds. A third victory looks like it's in the bag...

    LAP 66

    Jenson Button goes defensive at the hairpin as Sebastian Vettel pulls to the outside. Vettel gets on the power early on the exit and manages to get past the McLaren driver for second. Button gets on the radio and asks his team: "Did Sebastian just pass me off the circuit?" The team reply: "Yes, the FIA are aware."

    LAP 65

    Sebastian Vettel is sensing a second place is on the cards here as Jenson Button struggles for grip. The McLaren driver might have taken too much out of his tyres in the pursuit of race leader Fernando Alonso who is now 2.6 seconds up the road.

    LAP 64

    Jenson Button has gone from being on the attack to struggling to defend with Sebastian Vettel all over the back of the McLaren. The German took three tenths out of the Briton on that last lap. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, has extended his lead to two seconds.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "It looks like Fernando Alonso has found that little bit to get out of the DRS zone. The race is almost all going to be about not making that mistake. The race is so close that one little error and you can lose that position."

    LAP 63

    It looks like Fernando Alonso has got this win in the bag with five laps remaining. The Ferrari driver has pulled out a gap of 1.5 seconds to get out of the DRS activation zone and give himself some breathing space.

    LAP 61

    If things stay like this, Fernando Alonso will extend his lead in the championship to 34 points from Mark Webber, who is currently eighth, with Sebastian Vettel a further five behind.

    LAP 60

    Michael Schumacher is the only man in the 1m18s and closing on the Sauber of Sergio Perez in the battle for sixth place. The gap is now 3.4 seconds. Up front, Jenson Button is told by his team that he can win this race but the McLaren driver is still not making much of an impression on the Ferrari.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "That is disappointing for Lewis Hamilton in his 100th Grand Prix. We didn't get anything on team radios, so maybe that was a late call from McLaren."

    LAP 59

    LEWIS HAMILTON IS OUT OF THE GERMAN GRAND PRIX. The McLaren driver, who was 16th, has parked up in the garage and jumped out of the car. That's his second retirement in three races.

    LAP 58

    Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are encountering traffic, but the Spaniard is cannily using his DRS thanks to the slower cars and keeping a gap between himself and Button.

    LAP 57

    Michael Schumacher has set the fastest lap of the race on those new soft tyres. The Mercedes driver is lapping one second quicker than the leaders, but he's 37 seconds down.


    Phil Harris on Twitter: "This is an awesome Formula 1 race. It has never stopped being exciting."

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    Translating Alonso's race engineer, Andrea Stella, who talks to the Ferrari driver in Italian: "In the last laps he wants all Kers and all power."

    LAP 55

    Fernando Alonso really pushing at the moment and goes wide at Turn 15. He keeps the lead, though and it's as you were. His Ferrari team-mate meanwhile passes Pastor Maldonado for 13th.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Kimi Raikkonen showed early promise but it is looking very much like he is settling for fourth place."

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Michael Schumacher pits again and I am bit surprised by that. We saw a couple of races ago when they made a late pit stop and made up positions and they are maybe trying to do the same thing. We will have to see how it works out in the end."


    Alonso leads, with Button lining up a pass 0.7 sec behind. Vettel 1.7 secs further behind. No retirements. 1 Alonso 2 Button 3 Vettel 4 Raikkonen 5 Kobayashi 6 Perez 7 Schumacher 8 Webber 9 Hulkenberg 10 Di Resta

    LAP 53

    No change up front with three seconds still separating the top three, but Michael Schumacher has taken the bizarre decision to pit again from fifth for a new set of soft tyres. The Mercedes driver rejoins seventh ahead of Mark Webber. Sergio Perez is the next man up the road in the Sauber.

    LAP 51

    Kamui Kobayashi is closing on Michael Schumacher in the battle for fifth place. The gap is now down to 4.2 seconds and the Sauber driver is on the faster softer tyre.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    Translating Alonso's race engineer, Andrea Stella, who talks to the Ferrari driver in Italian: "The tyres from the last stint were looking very good. They can work out how many more laps his current tyres will last to the end of the race."

    LAP 50

    All 24 cars are still running, with only 15 cars on the same lap as the leaders. Jenson Button has dropped back from leader Fernando Alonso as he gets in the dirty air of the Ferrari. Further back, Romain Grosjean is having a torrid time down in 20th. The Lotus driver is struggling for pace and has just gone off the track at Turn 11, taking a trip across the gravel before rejoining the track.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Lewis Hamilton is back in. The fresh tyres when he went out were so much quicker so I think he just wants to make use of that pure speed they have, as the tyres have worn down a bit and he was going nowhere quickly."

    LAP 49

    Lewis Hamilton has decided to pit for a third time for a fresh set of boots. He rejoins in 17th behind Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham. Felipe Massa has pitted too from a lonely 13th.

    LAP 47

    The top three are lapping within 0.01 seconds of each other - that's just how close it is at the moment. Sebastian Vettel in third is just three seconds adrift. Kimi Raikkonen is fourth and making an impression on the top three, taking around a second out of the leaders, but he's still 12.3 seconds behind.

    LAP 46

    Jenson Button has closed to within 0.7 seconds of race leader Fernando Alonso which means the DRS will be activated. There are still 20 laps to go, so plenty of time for the 2009 world champion to line up a move.


    Emma Sanders on Twitter: "Jenson Button is having an awesome race!! One of the most exciting races from McLaren so far this season, even Lewis Hamilton in 17th."

    LAP 45

    Kamui Kobayashi gets his reward for pressuring Nico Hulkenberg. The Sauber driver sets himself up perfectly coming out of Turn 5 and is in the slipstream of the Force India in the rundown to the Turn 6 hairpin. He flips open his DRS wing and breezes past the German for sixth.

    LAP 44

    Michael Schumacher is setting some great lap times at the moment, but he is told by his team to save some fuel. The German is currently fifth, 5.4 seconds behind Kimi Raikkonen but 8.2 seconds ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

    LAP 43

    Kamui Kobayashi pits and rejoins in seventh, just behind the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. This is going to get interesting...

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Jenson Button's pit stop and out time was 2.6 seconds faster than Sebastian Vettel's. Jenson really did put the hammer down on that out-lap."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Red Bull had to respond as soon as the McLaren pitted, they had no choice but to pit. Jenson Button has the lap of knowledge of where those new tyres are and Sebastian Vettel was always going to be a bit uncertain on a first breaking moment with those new tyres. Vettel tried to respond to Button's pass with DRS but Jenson defended superbly."

    LAP 42

    Jenson Button is absolutely flying now. He's pulled a bit of a gap out to Sebastian Vettel and has now set his sights on Fernando Alonso's Ferrari. Button locks his front right going into the hairpin - he needs to be careful with those tyres as he won't be stopping again.

    LAP 41

    Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have covered Jenson Button by pitting the next lap. It's a good stop from both crews, but as they rejoin the track Button is flying around Turn One. Button is side-by-side with the Red Bull as they get up to speed and takes the position into Turn Two. Beautiful move.

    LAP 40

    The McLaren boys are out in the pit lane ready for Jenson Button. It's another lightening quick stop from the Woking-based team and the 2009 world champion is out in a flash. What a finish we have in store...

    LAP 39

    Fernando Alonso leads by 2.1 seconds from Sebastian Vettel, with Jenson Button a further 1.9 seconds behind. Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez are next up, albeit 22 seconds back.


    JT on Twitter: "First really engrossing Grand Prix for a while. It is managing to keep me from the golf, Tour de France and cricket."

    LAP 38

    Kimi Raikkonen has pitted from fourth place, and will come out in sixth or seventh place, one spot ahead of Michael Schumacher who is running eighth after his stop.

    LAP 37

    Lewis Hamilton is lapping at the leaders pace at the moment, but he's down in 17th position. Just think what might have been had he not picked up a puncture at the start. Sebastian Vettel has dropped back from Fernando Alonso by 2.3 seconds and its seems he has a problem with Kers. The team tell him "we can't use high energy".

    LAP 36

    In comes Michael Schumacher for the harder compound tyre. Another good stop from the Mercedes team and he rejoins in clear air. More on where he has slotted in when I have it.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Lewis Hamilton is doing the right thing. If he can unlap himself that is the important thing. He also wants to show that he is up there with guys in front for pace. If he didn't have that puncture he wants them to know he would be up there."

    LAP 35

    Lewis Hamilton, who has just pitted, unlaps himself by passing Sebastian Vettel down the inside of the hairpin while on fresher tyres. Vettel waves his hand in frustration, but there's nothing wrong with that if Hamilton is quicker than the German. The McLaren has now pulled away from Vettel and is now hunting down race leader Fernando Alonso.


    Lewis Hamilton's team radio: "You have Jenson Button three seconds behind, make sure we don't hold him up at all."

    LAP 34

    Lewis Hamilton is tucked up behind Sebastian Vettel but the 2008 world champion is a lap down in 18th. Jenson Button is closing, albeit it rather slowly, with the gap to Vettel down to 2.5 seconds...

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Nico Hulkenberg has just been in and has put on a new set of the soft tyres. Because of the wet qualifying they have these sets available and soft do look the best option here."

    LAP 33

    Now here's something you don't see every day - a Sauber passing a Red Bull. Kamui Kobayashi passes Mark Webber at the hairpin for seventh. More great driving from the Japanese driver. The Saubers didn't score any points at Silverstone, but their good pace here - like much of the season - is on course to be rewarded with a double points finish.


    Alonso leads, but Vettel right behind. Hamilton tries one-stop strategy after puncture. Jenson Button up to third after starting sixth. 1 Alonso 2 Vettel 3 Button 4 Raikkonen 5 Schumacher 6 Perez 7 Webber 8 Hulkenberg 9 Kobayashi 10 Rosberg

    LAP 31

    Sergio Perez has got past Nico Hulkenberg for sixth place at the hairpin and now sets his sights on Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes, five seconds up the road. More misery for Force India as Mark Webber passes the German later in the lap.

    LAP 30

    Sebastian Vettel all over the back of Fernando Alonso now, but the Ferrari is doing a supreme job of holding off the faster Red Bull. While those two squabble, Jenson Button continues to reel them in.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Jenson Button's performance so far will be pleasing for him after a couple of lean races, but it is also a welcome sign for McLaren, who have brought a lot of upgrades to this race. All the evidence so far is that it has put them right on the pace of race and championship leader Fernando Alonso."

    LAP 29

    The Force Indias, who both qualified strongly, are under real pressure in the race. Nico Hulkenberg is struggling to hold off the flying Sauber of Sergio Perez in the battle for sixth while Nico Rosberg has just put a move on Paul di Resta for the final point in 10th.

    LAP 28

    The top three are starting to bunch up now, with Sebastian Vettel now just one second behind Fernando Alonso with Jenson Button, who hasn't had a top-six finish since round three in China, setting the fastest lap of the race to close to within 3.5 seconds.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "There's a lot of different strategies at the moment, the softer tyre is running better than the harder and when the fuel goes down that will go even quicker. At the moment Lewis Hamilton isn't going quick enough for a one-stop and I don't think he's going to be quick enough to win any points anyway."

    LAP 27

    Fernando Alonso looking comfortable at the front, but Sebastian Vettel has taken two tenths of a second out of the Ferrari driver in each of the last two laps. Watch this space. We're almost in DRS territory here.


    Pirelli on Twitter: "Everybody has pitted now with Kobayashi making the most out of his P Zero medium tyres with 22 laps."

    LAP 26

    Nico Rosberg has made some great progress, battling his way up to 11th having started a lowly 21st in his Mercedes. The German is chasing down Paul di Resta in the Force India with the gap just 0.8 seconds.


    Kimi Raikkonen's race engineer: "Kimi we're the quickest car on track and catching the leaders."

    LAP 24

    Fernando Alonso leads Sebastian Vettel by 1.8 seconds with Jenson Button a further 3.5 seconds behind. The pace is settling down a little bit as the front-runners look at conserving their tyres. Meanwhile further back, Kamui Kobayashi has his racing head on today. Two failed moves on Paul di Resta don't put him off and the Japanese finally gets what he deserves at the third time of asking.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "It doesn't really look like anyone is heading for that one-stop strategy. Great run at the front with Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel on the soft. We might see a couple of people put on the soft tyre again for the third stint."

    LAP 23

    Kamui Kobayashi finally pits and rejoins in 11th before putting a move on Pastor Maldonado in the Williams at the hairpin. McLaren, meanwhile, tell Lewis Hamilton that his pace is good and they can make a one-stop work. The Briton is currently 18th, 57 seconds behind the leaders.

    LAP 22

    Jenson Button's McLaren team give him the news he'd been hoping for: "Jenson we are racing to win this race". The 2009 world champion is showing good pace at the moment, matching Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel at the front.

    LAP 21

    Michael Schumacher goes defensive at the hairpin in the battle for fifth place, but makes a mistake on the exit and Kimi Raikkonen slips through in the Lotus. The Finn is flying. Next up the road is Jenson Button, 6.1 seconds ahead.

    LAP 20

    Race leader Sebastian Vettel pits for the harder compound tyres and rejoins right behind Kamui Kobayashi, who has yet to stop in the Sauber. But the Red Bull driver doesn't panic. He simply gets in the Japanese's slipstream, uses DRS, and breezes past the Sauber before the hairpin.

    LAP 19

    Jenson Button is in this lap. Solid stop from the McLaren team and the 2009 world champion exits the pits comfortably ahead of Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes. Out on track, Mark Webber puts a move on Pastor Maldonado at the hairpin for 10th place.

    LAP 18

    Fernando Alonso has pitted for a new set of boots and rejoins comfortably in front of Kamui Kobayashi. The Spaniard has plenty of clean air to get the hammer down and ensure Sebastian Vettel, who leads this race and hasn't stopped, doesn't get away.

    LAP 17

    Daniel Ricciardo is running a strong sixth, but the Australian has yet to stop and now has Michael Schumacher in his mirrors.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "The top three will go on for three or four more laps yet, but 25 laps maximum on this compound. At the moment they are running quite fast so they'll stay out. Degradation at the moment is not an issue."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "If you are going to pass then why not do it in front of the Mercedes grandstand. Michael Schumacher will get a standing ovation for that. He gets his car on the inside and gave Nico Hulkenberg no choice but to give him room."

    LAP 15

    Michael Schumacher pits and comes out behind the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, but the German isn't having any of it. He tries a move around the outside of the hairpin, but can't quite make it stick. But Hulkenberg runs wide on the exit and Schumacher gets good traction to pass his younger countryman to regain the position. Kimi Raikkonen takes advantage of the situation and passes Hulkenberg, too.

    LAP 14

    Good stop for the Williams team to get Pastor Maldonado out ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber. Kimi Raikkonen is the big winner, though, as he has leapfrogged both of them.

    LAP 13

    Nico Hulkenberg and Mark Webber have pitted from sixth and eighth respectively. The Force India and Red Bull drivers have gone for the medium compound tyre. Out on track, Fernando Alonso is the fastest man on track, down into the high 1m21s. The Spaniard has extended his lead to 1.7 seconds over Sebastian Vettel.


    Mike Atkinson on Twitter: "Jenson Button looks quite lively out there! The debris at the start did remind me of the banana peels on Mario Kart."

    LAP 12

    Kimi Raikkonen has pitted from ninth and decided to go for another set of soft option tyres rather than the medium compound favoured by most other front-runners. Interesting choice by the Lotus team - they're trying something different, so let's see if it pays off.

    LAP 11

    Michael Schumacher can't fend off Jenson Button for long and the McLaren driver eases past the Mercedes down the inside of the hairpin. The 2009 world champion is on a charge. Turns out McLaren do have pace in the dry. Sebastian Vettel in second is 5.8 seconds up the road.


    Alonso leads by 1.1 secs. Hamilton suffers puncture after terrible start. Felipe Massa loses front wing. Jenson Button up to third after starting sixth. 1 Alonso 2 Vettel 3 Button 4 Schumacher 5 Hulkenberg 6 Maldonado 7 Webber 8 Raikkonen 9 Perez 10 Di Resta

    LAP 10

    Lewis Hamilton is now the fastest man on the track, lapping two tenths quicker than the leaders. Unfortunately, he's down in 22nd, 65 seconds off the pace. Meanwhile, his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button is all over the back of Michael Schumacher. The Mercedes team tell the German to use Kers to defend his position. There's bad news, though, as BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard has spotted some severe blistering on the German's front tyres.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Sometimes the driver, because you know you have had a problem, psychologically you think there is another issue there. Lewis Hamilton is doing perfectly respectable lap times at the moment, when compared to Fernando Alonso."


    Sergio Perez, who started down in 17th, is on a real charge. He puts a great move on his Sauber team-mate Kamui Kobayashi and then wastes little time in dispatching Force India's Paul di Resta at the hairpin for ninth.


    Jenson Button opens his DRS, faints to the right and then dives to the left down the inside of Nico Hulkenberg at the hairpin to take fourth place. Next up is Michael Schumacher, just 1.2 seconds up the road.


    Michael Schumacher is dropping away from the top two, but Nico Hulkenberg is dropping back too which means the Mercedes driver can look after his tyres. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton has pitted but reports that the car doesn't feel stable. The team respond by telling him they are still looking into it.

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "It was a really poor start for Lewis Hamilton, he spun his wheels and he lost three places, just terrible."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "That was brilliant driving from both those guys. Paul di Resta gave Kimi Raikkonen just enough room and in the end Kimi showing no signs of rustiness."


    Kimi Raikkonen is all over the back of Paul di Resta in thebattle for eighth. The Finn bravely puts his Lotus up the inside of the Force India into Turn 12, but Di Resta hangs on round the outside. Raikkonen refuses to give up, though and himself hangs on around the outside of Turn 13. The track is so narrow there, but Raikkonen keeps his foot on the gas and that gives him the inside line into Turn 14 to make the move stick. Stunning.


    Sebastian Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race as he chases down Fernando Alonso while pulling out a bit of a gap over Nico Hulkenberg who is battling off a racy Jenson Button in fifth place. Solid start from the Briton.


    The McLaren team are out in the pit lane but Lewis Hamilton gets on the radio to say: "That's it guys, I should retire." The Briton is still driving round the circuit, so let's see if he can get back to the pits so the team can assess the damage.


    As I say that, Lewis Hamilton gets on the radio and says: "I've got a problem, I've got a flat tyre". A nightmare for the McLaren driver who is dropping down the field and coasting around to the pits.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Felipe Massa has not looked comfortable through practice or qualifying. He is in the pits and has gone onto the harder of the tyres so they might be able to get away with not stopping for the rest of the afternoon. It is a pretty brave strategy."


    There's debris scattered all over Turn 1 so the field will have to be careful to avoid a puncture as they navigate that section.


    Michael Schumacher looking racy in third place. The seven-time world champion is all over the back of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, but the reigning world champion robustly defends his position into the hairpin. Brutal stuff from the younger German. Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna all pit with damage.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Felipe Massa has damage to his front wing, there was contact at the first corner but what a start by Fernando Alonso."

  135. 1304: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Phenomenal start from Fernando Alonso who blasts away from pole position to lead into the first corner. His start was so good, he didn't even need to cross the track to defend his position.

  136. 1302: 

    Fernando Alonso has led the field round to the grid and parks up his Ferrari in the pole position slot. Sebastian Vettel across the track and takes second and then waits for the rest of the field to take their place...

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst Jaime Alguersuari

    "I think the McLaren have been competitive in the dry during practice and qualifying. They are starting with the soft tyres which are the best ones to use. It's going to be an interesting race for both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton."

  138. 1300: 

    Away they go for the formation lap. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and the rest of the top 10 have gone for the soft compound tyre. A few drivers towards the back, including Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes, have gone for the medium compound.


    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson on Twitter: "Bernie Ecclestone has not turned up, despite us being told he would. Lots of rumours re German bribery case investigation."


    Sauber on Twitter: "Lots of clouds are sitting in the sky above #Hockenheim. However, no rain expected during race. Track temp 32. Air temp 21."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "The teams are expecting an exciting race - but it should be relatively straightforward strategy-wise. It will almost certainly be a two-stop, starting on the soft tyre. The question will be do teams then go medium-medium for the final two stints, or soft-medium. Michael Schumacher, in fourth on the grid, is expected to hold everyone up behind him. On dry pace, Lewis Hamilton (7th), Fernando Alonso (1st) and Kimi Raikkonen (10th) look strongest, followed by the Red Bulls."

  142. 1255: 

    Just five minutes to go until the lights go out for this 67-lap race at the Hockenheimring. Fernando Alonso will fancy his chances of retaining his championship lead, starting on pole position, but with Sebastian Vettel, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber not too far behind, I think we could be in for a real corker of a race. Buckle up, folks. Let's get this show on the road...

  143. 1252: 


    1) Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 129 points

    2) Mark Webber - Red Bull - 116

    3) Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull - 100

    4) Lewis Hamilton - McLaren - 92

    5) Kimi Raikkonen - Lotus - 83

    6) Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 75


    1) Red Bull - 216 points

    2) Ferrari - 152

    3) Lotus - 144

    4) McLaren - 142

    5) Mercedes - 98

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "There is a bit of spice to throw into the mix about the start. The last time F1 raced at Hockenheim, in 2010, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel also started on the front row - although then Vettel was on pole and Alonso second. Vettel veered across at the faster-starting Ferrari very aggressively, to the point that it delayed both and Felipe Massa got past into the lead. Alonso didn't complain, but he will have lodged it in his memory banks. This time, it is Vettel on the inside and he is clearly optimistic he might beat the Ferrari away. It has the potential to be a dramatic start - and no quarter will be asked or given between those two."

  145. 1250: 

    2012 winners:

    Australia - Jenson Button (McLaren)

    Malaysia - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

    China - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

    Bahrain - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)

    Spain - Pastor Maldonado (Williams)

    Monaco - Mark Webber (Red Bull)

    Canada - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)

    Europe - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

    Britain - Mark Webber (Red Bull)

  146. 1248: 

    Last five German GP winners:

    2011 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) @ Nurburgring

    2010 - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) @ Hockenheim

    2009 - Mark Webber (Red Bull) @ Nurburgring

    2008 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) @ Hockenheim

    2006 - Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) @ Hockenheim

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "Grands Prix this year have been a bit of a guessing game with the team because of the difficulties they have been having understanding the 2012 Pirellis but that applies doubly here after rain disrupted much of practice. 'We didn't have enough dry running to know about degradation, tyre performance, etc,' Fernando Alonso said, 'because Friday we had some rain in P1 and Saturday morning in P3 was not a big preparation for the race either, so the race is a question mark for everybody. We will leave during the race, very open in strategy, very flexible.'"


    BBC Sport commentator Jonathan Legard on Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher: "There was a fans forum earlier this week and there were a number of other German drivers in attendance. There was just as many people around those drivers as there were around Schumacher. Plenty of people were excited by his return but since then he has not really achieved. He always says that this is a learning process. He did set the ambitious target of winning championships when he first returned but now he is very honest. The podium he achieved in Spain was a major achievement for him and I think he is enjoying life."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "Michael Schumacher's future continues to be the subject of debate - his Mercedes contract runs out at the end of this season. There was a report in England last week that he had definitely decided he wanted to continue, but I am told that is absolutely not true. Schumacher does not know whether he will race on - and is in no massive hurry to decide, although inevitably he is likely to give it a bit more thought during the August break, when he is less busy. Mercedes appear to be happy to wait for him to decide, and the indications are they will keep him if he wants to continue, even though he will be 44 next January. If he does not, the hot favourite to slot in as Nico Rosberg's team-mate is Scot Paul di Resta."

  150. 1245: 

    Three Red Bull mechanics are amusingly forming a wall of steel to prevent prying eyes from getting a good look at the back of the machine which has caused so much controversy this morning.

  151. 1241: 

    This the first time we've been to Hockenheim since 2010 as the German Grand Prix currently alternates between this circuit and the Nurburgring. That race was steeped in controversy after Fernando Alonso took victory after Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa appeared to be given orders to let him past. "Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand?" was the message to which the Brazilian responded by letting Alonso through moments later. We won't see any nonsense like that again today as team orders are of course no longer prohibited.


    Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg, who starts fourth: "It's quite hot today and I think the conditions are a little bit of a surprise. I'll try to make a good start and then I will see what the race can offer to me. I'm a little bit excited, I'm quite far up the grid and it's my home grand prix."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "Michael Schumacher produced a strong performance in qualifying, fourth fastest in the wet, but he is less confident of the car's performance in the dry and has admitted he is hoping for a wet race. 'It's obvious that in the wet we look stronger than in the dry,' he said, 'but we don't look too unreasonable in the dry either. Definitely we will look better than in Silverstone (where he slipped backwards in the race after qualifying third), there is no doubt about this. Do we look good enough to maintain our position or go forward? That is an open question.'"

  154. 1237: 

    The pit lane is open and out flood the cars. The grid is already filling up with mechanics, media and VIP types so let's hope they watch their back as the cars attempt to thread their way through to their grid slots. The grandstands on the main straight are packed, as are most which line the outside of the so-called stadium section.

  155. 1235: 

    We've got 67 laps coming up for you today around this 4.574km 17-turn track. The boys will hit a maximum of 310kph and be on full throttle for approximately 71% of the lap. Kimi Raikkonen holds the lap record of 1:13.780 which was set back in 2004.

  156. 1233: 

    What's everyone having for lunch today? I've got a couple of rolls stuffed with Parma ham, lettuce, tomato and cheese but over at HRT, the Spanish team are serving up some pinxto (tapas) in their hospitality unit for those with a paddock pass. On today's menu is pork knuckle and sauerkraut, mixed with talo, a type of bread made with corn flour and water. My stomach is rumbling.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "The tensions of previous seasons at Red Bull had not really surfaced this year - until a brief snapshot in qualifying on Saturday when Sebastian Vettel came up behind Mark Webber in the wet and got held up. 'What is Mark doing slowing me down instead of letting me by?' Many will see that as a reflection of Vettel's perception of his role in the team, but he had calmed down about it within a few minutes. 'It's difficult in these conditions, you can see nothing in the mirror. He probably didn't see me. I don't think he had the intention to hold me up.' Still, one to keep an eye on as the title battle hots up."

  158. 1230: 

    The sun is shining brightly over Hockenheim at the moment, a stark contrast to the rest of the weekend which has been blighted by heavy clouds and torrential rain. DC has got his sunnies on and is sporting a pair of questionable lime green-laced trainers on the grid while Lee McKenzie, who is standing in for Jake this weekend, has gone for a sleek black number with a red ribbon belt. The grid walk is coming up...

  159. 1227: 
    THE GRID - 13-24

    13. Felipe Massa 14. Bruno Senna

    15. Jean-Eric Vergne 16. Heikki Kovalainen

    17. Sergio Perez* 18. Vitaly Petrov

    19. Romain Grosjean* 20. Charles Pic

    21. Nico Rosberg* 22. Timo Glock

    23. Pedro de la Rosa 24. Narain Karthikeyan

    *five-place grid penalty

  160. 1225: 

    1. Fernando Alonso 2. Sebastian Vettel

    3. Michael Schumacher 4. Nico Hulkenberg

    5. Pastor Maldonado 6. Jenson Button

    7. Lewis Hamilton 8. Mark Webber*

    9. Paul Di Resta 10. Kimi Raikkonen

    11. Daniel Ricciardo 12. Kamui Kobayashi

    *five-place grid penalty


    Daniel Coxon on Twitter: "Lewis Hamilton to come through the field winning on his 100th GP...well we can all dream."

  162. 1222: 

    Sergio Perez went from victim or hero on Saturday when the stewards handed him a five-place penalty for today's the race. The Mexican, who launched a tirade at Pastor Maldonado after the two collided last time out in the British GP, was ruled to have impeded both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in qualifying.

    Perez isn't the only driver who will drop down the grid for an infringement, though. Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg will all move back five places for gearbox changes. So here's what the grid looks like after the penalties....

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton start sixth and seventh after again hitting the problems with tyre warm-up in wet conditions that have been plaguing them all year. Hamilton admitted it was 'a bit of a mystery' and the team acknowledge something is wrong. But the race should be dry, and the McLaren, complete with significant upgrades, has looked quick in those conditions all weekend, and Button is confident that the new parts have helped the car look after its tyres better as well. They reckon they can compete for the podium at least. Sporting director Sam Michael is convinced the team are 'very competitive' in the dry."

  164. 1218: 

    Lewis Hamilton is celebrating his 100th Formula 1 race - as is former McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen incidentally - by going tweet crazy, posting pictures of his breakfast (two boiled eggs and wheat toast if you were wondering), his private room at the track and himself to prove it's actually him tweeting...

  165. 1215: 

    For this week's Lawro's Podium Predictions, I'm going for 1) Sebastian Vettel 2) Fernando Alonso 3) Mark Webber because I think Vettel is in the mood to end his run of never winning his home race or any race for that matter in July. Vettel seems to be the popular choice in the office, too. Now it's over to you. Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag with your predictions or text 81111 (UK only) remembering to put F1 and your name at the start.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "Fernando Alonso took his second consecutive pole position here on Saturday - like at Silverstone in the wet conditions in which his Ferrari has been quick all year. Two weeks ago in Britain he lost out to Red Bull's Mark Webber in a tight fight for victory; this time it is Webber's team-mate Sebastian Vettel the Spaniard has alongside him on the front row. Can he beat the Red Bull? 'The car was performing well in all conditions,' he said on Saturday, 'so we are quite optimistic.'"

  167. 1211: 

    So with that all cleared up, let's start looking ahead to today's 67-lap feast of action at the Hockenheimring where Fernando Alonso starts on pole alongside Sebastian Vettel...

  168. 1209: 

    But we're hearing that the stewards have decided NOT to take any action against Red Bull as while they do not accept all of the arguments put forward by the team, they have concluded that as the regulation is written, the map presented does not breach regulations.

  169. 1207: 

    It's all kicking off in the Hockenheim paddock, and no it doesn't have anything to do with whether or not Bernie Ecclestone will turn up at this race because of the ongoing situation around the conviction for eight years of a banker for taking a multi-million-pound bribe from F1's boss. There are reports Ecclestone could be the next target of the German authorities you see. It has to do with Red Bull and their interpretations of the regulations. The reigning world champions are under investigation this morning for illegal engine mapping and could be forced to start the German Grand Prix from the back of the grid.

  170. 1205: 

    Sebastian Vettel positioned himself as Fernando Alonso's main rival with an impressive lap which was good enough for second on the grid. The German has never won his home races nor, rather bizarrely, won a race in the calendar month of July but good pace and strategy could be about to change that. His countryman Michael Schumacher looked strong, too, qualifying fourth - which is now third following Mark Webber's five-place grid drop (more on that later) - one place ahead of another German Nico Hulkenberg.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson in Hockenheim

    "Thrilling and unpredictable though this season has been, one thing has been missing so far - a straight fight between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel for victory. The German Grand Prix could be the race in which it finally happens. It's a mouth-watering prospect. Throw in Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Mark Webber fighting through from grid positions that don't reflect their competitiveness in the dry and a great race could be in store."

  172. 1202: 

    Hello and a very warm welcome to our coverage of the 2012 German Grand Prix, round nine of a very busy Formula 1 calendar. Fernando Alonso mastered the wet conditions to take his second pole position of the season and set himself up perfectly to extend his lead at the top of the championship.

  173. 1200: 

    Mr Consistency is fast turning himself into Mr Victory. Fernando Alonso has not sampled the sweet nectar of a world title since his second successive triumph in 2006. Hopes of a third championship were hit when Ferrari delivered a car which was well off the pace in the first race. But the Spaniard continued to plug away getting points - he's currently on a run of 21-consecutive points finishes - and taking victories when he could and now he has a car that is capable of challenging up front, Alonso is putting the hammer down....

Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 241
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 238
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 181
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 133
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 124
6 Finland V Bottas Williams 122
7 Great Britain J Button McLaren 72
8 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 72
9 Brazil F Massa Williams 65
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 45
11 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 45
12 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 39
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 19
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 France J Bianchi Marussia 2
17 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
18 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham 0
19 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
21 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham