Sebastian Vettel recorded his second victory of the season at the European Grand Prix. But it was a weekend to forget for Michael Schumacher and his Mercedes team.
Vettel turned Red Bull's domination in qualifying into top points
Sebastian Vettel led from start to finish in a race notable for his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber's massive crash.
Vettel snatched pole position from Webber by less than a tenth of a second on Saturday and, once he had negotiated the first lap, enjoyed a comfortable drive to the checkered flag.
Lewis Hamilton's McLaren swept past Webber and into second spot from the start and made contact with Vettel's car as he challenged the German at the second corner.
Hamilton let Vettel know he was not far behind him for most of the afternoon, before being given a drive-through penalty for overtaking the safety car as it came out of the pit lane. He kept second spot though, ahead of McLaren teammate Jenson Button.
Hamilton also leads his fellow Briton at the top of the drivers' championship. Twenty-five points for this afternoon's victory moves Vettel up to third, 12 points off the summit.
"It's about time I won from pole. We're back on track," Vettel said after the race. "It's good to get a lot of points, good for the championship, so I'm pleased for today."
"The most important thing is that Mark [Webber] is fine," added the German. "I asked on the radio and I am glad he is OK."
Webber was uninjured, showing just how well-built the modern Formula One car is
Webber admitted he had been lucky to come away unscathed from a big accident early in the race. The Australian plummeted from second to ninth on the opening lap, and found himself running behind Heikki Kovalainen's considerably slower Lotus.
Webber misinterpreted the Finn's move, apparently thinking he would yield when he was in fact defending his position, and drove into the back of Kovalainen. The impact sent his Red Bull flying into the air. It landed upside down, before sliding into the tire wall. Webber was able to walk away from the wreckage.
Bad weekend for Mercedes
Nine drivers were given five-second penalties after the race, a decision which moved birthday-boy Nico Rosberg up from 12th to 10th.
However, his Mercedes teammate Michael Schumacher was not in such a festive mood. The veteran German trailed home in 16th, the lowest position he'd ever finished a race during his long Formula One career. Both cars had suffered from brake problems all weekend.
Adrian Sutil delivered a solid drive to finish sixth for Force India. Countrymen Timo Glock and Nico Hulkenberg failed to pick up any points further back.
Author: Thomas Sheldrick (AFP)
Editor: Matt Hermann