Since Mercedes chose not to run in Q3, they had their choice of tires for the start. They decided to run like the rest of the top 10 with the super soft tires. At the start of the race both driver had great starts, but Schumacher got caught behind Webber and Grosjean, this let Rosberg take ninth from Schumacher. At the first row of pitstops, Rosberg is able to overtake Grosjean for 7th and Schumacher maintains 9th after a hard battle with Raikonnen.
Hamilton was the first victim of the race, he was forced to retire from the lead as his gearbox gave up, thus handing the lead to RBR's Vettel. On lap 34 the safety car was out as HRT's driver Karthikeyan slide his car into the barrier. After the safety car goes in Perez and Vergne goes side by side into turn 14 and brake late, unable to fully react Schumacher lock his front wheels and slams into the back of Vergne's car and ending their weekend. Luckily both driver were able to get out on their own and walk back to the pits. After the race Schumacher was handed a 10 place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix for causing the collision.
The safety car comes out again, Webber and Perez both head to the pits for a set of tires handing 5th place to Nico Rosberg.
The race was forced to end 3 laps early as it hit the 2 hour mark. It's Vettel that claims the win almost 9 sec ahead of Button with Alonso finishing 3rd.
With this finish Nico Rosberg sits in 7th place and Schumacher in 12th in the Driver's Championship. Mercedes sits in 5th place and extends their gap from Sauber by 36 points in the Constructor's Championship.
After 59 of 59 laps
|Race completed under 2hrs time restriction. Best lap: N Hulkenberg 1min 51.033secs (Lap 52).|
|1||Germany||S Vettel||Red Bull|
|2||Great Britain||J Button||McLaren|
|4||Great Britain||P Di Resta||Force India|
|9||Australia||D Ricciardo||Toro Rosso|
|11||Australia||M Webber||Red Bull|
|14||Germany||N Hulkenberg||Force India|
|17||Spain||P de la Rosa||HRT|
|18||Brazil||B Senna (ret.)||Williams|
|19||Russian Federation||V Petrov||Caterham|
|20||France||J Vergne (ret.)||Toro Rosso|
|21||Germany||M Schumacher (ret.)||Mercedes|
|22||Venezuela||P Maldonado (ret.)||Williams|
|23||India||N Karthikeyan (ret.)||HRT|
|24||Great Britain||L Hamilton (ret.)||McLaren|
After the race Nico had this to say:
Everything worked out well for me this evening for the first time in what feels like a long time!” said Nico after the race. “Finishing in fifth place having started in 10th is a pretty decent result and I’m happy to have picked up some good points for myself and the team. It’s also nice to have stayed ahead of the two Lotus cars which I didn’t expect before the race.
Saving a fresh set of tyres in qualifying yesterday proved to be the right strategy as I had a good start and a strong first stint. Thanks to the team for that and for making the right calls in the race today. Now I’m looking forward to Japan and the opportunity to improve our new package further.”
“It was obviously a very unfortunate ending to my race this evening” said Michael. “I ran into the car of Vergne who accepted my apology straight afterwards. I am not totally sure why it happened like this; I was braking but the deceleration was not as strong as it usually would be, and I could not avoid running into the car in front of me.
We have to find out what has happened. Up until then, I think it would have been possible to get some points this evening."
"That was a tough race and I am pleased that the team did a pretty good job this evening. Nico had a great race and our strategy worked well for him to gain five places on his starting position. There was evidently some damage to his car following contact on the first lap as the downforce levels looked lower than expected so it was an even better drive from him in the circumstances.
Michael’s race was also going well until the incident which caused his retirement. It was an unusual set of circumstances so we will have a careful look at the data and work out what could have happened. Thank you to the team for all of their hard work in very challenging conditions over this weekend. With the updates that we brought to this race, the car has improved, however we are not quite where we want to be yet."
"That was an exceptionally challenging race this evening. With regard to Nico, he and our team made the best of it. P5 is a respectable result, especially in view of the fact that Nico started five places further back on the grid. He crossed the finishing line ahead of a Red Bull, a Ferrari and both Lotus cars, all teams which are ahead of us in the championship.[/QUOTE][QUOTE]
This was made possible by having a sound strategy and by the first of the two safety car deployments when the team took the correct decision. Michael had the opportunity to claim the position behind Nico, but his accident put paid to that. The team is investigating to see whether there was a problem with his car."