The German Grand Prix proved interesting on a number of fronts. The Bridgestone/Ferrari combination showed again that the Japanese tire giant has taken a substantial step up in performance of late. Even the new "experimental" Michelin tire did not have the necessary pace.
The Renaults showed that they do require the "outlawed" mass damper system they have employed for the past 18 months, as the car was not its normal settled, easy-to-drive self (with Fisi calling the car un-drivable in his second stint), it also seems to have caused blistering to the tires on the car during the race.
McLaren also showed they have found some performance from somewhere. It's not as much as they need, but it's a clear step up, and last but not least Honda have found the level of pace that they showed in the early stages of the season.
So if we ignore the scarlet cars, what do we make of the rest of the bunch?
Well, although Kimi was short fuelled, and then had a stuck wheel during the first pit stop (for the second week running) he fought through and came 3rd. This was a great drive by the Fin, and he showed why so many teams are fighting for his signature at the end of the year.
Pedro de la Rossa showed decent pace as well, however his engine packed up on him early on in the race.
The pitting of the leading McLaren allowed the Ferraris to take the first two spots and have an unhindered race to the flag. However the other teams running on Japanese rubber showed it was the tire of choice, with both the Toyota and Williams cars setting good pace.
Barrichello suffered an engine failure on Lap 18, causing him to retire from the race, leaving only button to make points for the Japanese Honda team.
Button was now running in third behind the quickly disappearing Ferraris. He pitted on Lap 15, showing just how much pace the Ferraris had in the bag. Alonso was losing ground in fifth to teammate Fisichella when both he and Massa pitted on Lap 19.
Lap 30 brought a big crash from Jacques Villeneuve, who looked to have something in his suspension break as he was mid corner. The car seemed to lose its front end and come to a halt in the barriers leading onto the home straightaway. Both him and teammate Nick Heidfeld had separate coming-togethers on lap one with other cars. This could have been the root cause of the failure. Nick Heidfeld had already retired after the lap one incident, meaning both of the German BMW cars were out of their home GP.
Fisichella started to struggle with his Renault, allowing Alonso to catch up and overtake him in the stops. Button, Raikkonen, and Mark Webber were in a battle for the last podium step.
The weekend of the Toyota driver Ralph Schumacher got worse, he was penalised with a drive through penalty for speeding in the pits. However, Trulli — after starting from the back of the grid (penalised for an engine change) — had made his way into the points scoring positions.
The three way race for the third step came to an abrupt end when Webber's Cosworth engine let go, allowing the race to be between Jenson and Kimi.
The race had one final climax, with Trulli coming on fast behind the obviously suffering Renault of Fisichella. The Renault however had just enough pace to fend off the Toyota assault until the end of the race.
The final kick came after the race, when the stewards deemed the rear wings of the Midland Toyota cars to be flexing, and disqualified them from the race. As they only finished 13th and 14th there were no points involved, however it seems that even the smaller teams are now trying out the 'flexi' technologies the larger teams have obviously been running.
1. M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari 1h27m51.693s
2. MASSA Ferrari +0.7s
3. RAIKKONEN McLaren +13.2s
4. BUTTON Honda +18.9s
5. ALONSO Renault +23.7s
6. FISICHELLA Renault +24.8s
7. TRULLI Toyota +26.5s
8. KLIEN Red Bull +48.1s
9. R.SCHUMACHER Toyota +60.4s
10. LIUZZI Toro Rosso +1 lap
11. COULTHARD Red Bull +1 lap
12. SPEED Toro Rosso +1 lap
DQ. ALBERS Midland +1 lap
DQ. MONTEIRO Midland +2 laps
R. WEBBER Williams +8 laps
R. SATO Super Aguri +29 laps
R. VILLENEUVE BMW +37 laps
R. BARRICHELLO Honda +49 laps
R. HEIDFELD BMW +58 laps
R. DE LA ROSA McLaren +65 laps
R. YAMAMOTO Super Aguri +66 laps
R. ROSBERG Williams +67 laps
Fastest lap: M.SCHUMACHER 1m16.357s