The conditions on the grid were dry before the race, the air temperature at 26 °C (79 °F), and the track temperature at 43 °C (109 °F). The formation lap for the race began at 14:00 local time (UTC+2), with the race beginning a couple of minutes later. Alonso retained his pole position lead into the first corner, followed by a fast-starting Hamilton, Webber, Räikkönen and Vettel, who had made a slow start from the "dirty" side of the grid. Hamilton and Räikkönen nearly touched on the run to turn one, which in effect slowed the Finn slightly and allowed to Webber to maintain third. Hamilton ran slightly wide on the exit of the first corner, which allowed Webber to challenge him. The counter-effect caused Räikkönen and Vettel to stack up, with the German's Red Bull making slight contact with the rear of the Ferrari. Vettel lost further places to Rosberg and Kovalainen as a result of the incident. Räikkönen would latterly be investigated after the race for both of his first lap incidents. At the end of the first lap, Sutil came into the pits from 19th place with water pressure problems. The problem was terminal and he became the first retirement of the afternoon. Alonso started to pull away from the field, setting his fastest lap of the race – 1:23.529 – on lap four.
Positions remained static until the start of lap five. Hamilton pressured Webber in turn one, and with the aid of the KERS button, overtook the Australian before turn two. Once clear of Webber, Hamilton started to cut into the gap that Alonso had built up at the front. Alonso's Renault was suffering from graining on its rear tyres (when the tyres shed little bits of rubber before sticking to the tread of the tyre, effectively separating the tyre from the track surface very slightly), and also a fuel pump problem, which forced him to change to a different fuel setting on the car. Alonso pitted on lap twelve, and was stationary for 6.4 seconds. However, he was released with his front right wheel incorrectly attached, causing the wheel-mounted brake duct or "spinner" to rotate while the wheel was turning. The duct then fell off and disintegrated at turn four, as Alonso continued to go round the circuit. The wheel then parted from the car at turn nine, and Alonso drove the car back to the pits on three wheels. The missing wheel was replaced, enabling him to continue in the race, but he returned to the pits on the following lap, as the earlier fuel pump problem proved terminal.
With Hamilton extending his lead to almost six seconds – including his fastest lap of 1:22.479 on lap sixteen – Räikkönen and Webber both pitted on lap nineteen. Räikkönen was at a standstill for 8.3 seconds, while a slight problem with the fuel rig cost Webber valuable seconds. He was eventually released just as the Ferrari was trundling down the pit lane. The two cars just avoided a collision, which almost caused the Red Bull to career into a number of the Williams mechanics, who were standing in the pit lane at the time. Hamilton pitted the following lap, but was slightly delayed by Rosberg's Williams, which had entered the pit lane as Hamilton was about to exit the McLaren pit box. This promoted Kovalainen into the lead, followed by Vettel but both drivers pitted at the end of lap 21, to hand the lead back to Hamilton. Vettel's sluggish pit-stop cost him track position, as he filtered out behind Rosberg.
During Hamilton's stint on a second set of super-soft tyres, he was told by race engineer Phil Prew to look after his tyres as he had a comfortable gap of 15 seconds over Räikkönen. Championship leader Button, who was heavily fuelled at the start, had improved up to second by the time of his first stop on lap 25. Vettel was struggling with his car, and was passed for eighth position by Barrichello on lap 27. He then reported to his race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin that something was broken on his car. He pitted at the end of the lap from eleventh position, having lost more places, and his pit crew routinely replaced the nosecone and took a detailed look at the rear suspension. He rejoined a lap down before retiring on lap 30. Debutant Alguersuari made his first Formula One pit stop on lap 28, when running in thirteenth place. Glock also moved into the points-scoring positions at this stage of the race by using the strategy of a long 32-lap first stint. Buemi spun at turn two on lap 38, and subsequently rejoined the circuit behind his team-mate Alguersuari.
Hamilton was left unchallenged for the rest of the race, making his final pit stop on lap 46, and came home to win his first race as World Champion. This was his first victory since the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix, his tenth in total, and also the first time that he had won at a circuit twice, having won at nine different circuits previously. This was also the first occasion on which a KERS car had won a Grand Prix; Räikkönen (in another KERS car) came in second, setting his fastest lap on the final lap. Webber finished third, a result which moved him into second in the championship standings past Vettel. Webber also recorded the first fastest lap of his career, with a lap of 1:21.931 on lap 65. Rosberg finished fourth for the third race in succession, heading home Kovalainen, Glock, Button and Trulli rounded out the top eight point scorers. Outside the point-scoring positions were Nakajima, Barrichello (the first time that a Brawn car had finished a race outside the points), Heidfeld, Piquet, Kubica, Fisichella and the Toro Rossos of Alguersuari and Buemi. With Button's seventh place, his lead in the drivers' championship over Webber was cut by four points, to 18.5 points.
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Famous quotes containing the word race:
“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”
—John Milton (16081674)
“...wasting the energies of the race by neglecting to develop the intelligence of the members to whom its most precious resources must be entrusted, already seems a childish absurdity.”
—Anna Eugenia Morgan (18451909)
“... a full notecase,
Dull Bodley, draught beer, and dark blue,
And most often losing the Boat Race ...”
—Philip Larkin (19221986)