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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 GERMAN GRAND PRIX - RACEDAY AT HOCKENHEIM
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Raceday at Hockenheim
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
08:00 Hello and welcome to autosport.com Live for raceday at Hockenheim, as we approach the 2008 German Grand Prix.

Today we will be bringing you updates and news from the circuit in the build-up to the race and a look back at the qualifying hour, along with live text commentary of the race itself, later this afternoon.

08:02 You can join in the fun by chatting live with other autosport.com forum members.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

08:05 For once the weather will be the easiest aspect of the day to call.

Bright and mainly sunny conditions this morning will continue through the course of the day, with track temperatures warming up with an increased amount of sunshine, and a maximum air temperature of 21 degrees Celsius.

Germany 2008 top three qualifiers
08:10 Yesterday, at the Hockenheimring, final practice and qualifying took place in dry but mainly overcast conditions as the threat of rain evaporated, to be replaced by a strong wind that was gusting to over seven metres per second at times, making driving conditions difficult.

The morning session was relatively trouble-free as the teams worked through their various programmes ahead of qualifying - some worked on continuing their preparations for the race, while the remainder of the field chose to go for pure pace to ensure progression later in the day. Ferrari and McLaren continued their battle at the top with Heikki Kovalainen just edging it in front of Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton was third, but Kimi Raikkonen was clearly struggling down in ninth place - 0.7 seconds off the pace.

Robert Kubica suffered mechanical failure when he suddenly found his BMW Sauber pulling to one side. Later it transpired that he had broken a driveshaft, preventing the Pole from trying a qualifying simulation at the end of the session. Everyone went quicker on their final runs and Kubica found himself last, completing just 15 laps. Adrian Sutil spun in the dying moments of the hour in his Force India as he tried hard to better his time on low fuel and soft tyres, losing control at turn one and sliding to a standstill on the extra tarmac at the outside of the right-hander.

Kovalainen tops final practice in Germany

Kubica's car was fixed in the interval he was ready to go at the beginning of the qualifying session, which produced the usual blend of fast laps and surprising casualties.

Nelson Piquet was the first unexpected driver to be knocked out in the opening 20-minute period of the session, failing to make the cut in the Renault by just under two tenths of a second. The Brazilian was pretty unhappy as he came back to the pits, realising he hadn't made it through, stating on the team radio that Sebastian Vettel had held him up on his last attempt. No action was taken and the result stood. Piquet will start from 17th place on the grid. Eliminated with Piquet were fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, both Force Indias and Kazuki Nakajima in the second Williams.

The second phase of qualifying produced another surprise as Nick Heidfeld failed to make the grade. A mistake on his final flying lap at turn six put paid to his chances of progressing further. Sebastien Bourdais, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Timo Glock joined the German on the sidelines as the top ten moved through to the final part of qualifying.

In the shootout of Q3, two attempts at pole are available, with an increased fuel load and therefore a different feel to the car - and a gusting wind as an additional challenge for the ten who took part. A gust of wind is probably what caught out Heikki Kovalainen, as he lost control of his McLaren on his first run and slid off the road entering the stadium, taking a high-speed trip across the grass. He recovered brilliantly on his final run to be third on the grid for today's race.

Up front, Massa and Hamilton were at it again, this time the prize being pole position. The Ferrari had the provisional pole in the final minute, but the Briton was coming through the stadium. Hamilton drilled the lap and pipped the Brazilian by just under two tenths of a second, setting up a showdown between the two for victory this afternoon. Behind Kovalainen in third, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso were the stars of the show, putting their Toyota and Renault machines fourth and fifth on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen ended his disappointing day in sixth, with Robert Kubica recovering well to seventh after his problems in the morning. Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard round out the top ten for this afternoon's race.

Hamilton beats Massa to German GP pole

08:20 This morning at the circuit the support races have a distinct BMW feel about them.

The Mini Challenge was first on track today, and later the one-off return of the legendary BMW M1 Procar series will have their second demonstration race this weekend to entertain the crowd, and remind the older generation just how good the M1 Procar series used to be in a glorious revival of the past.

The second race this weekend for the Formula BMW Europe cars took place after the Mini Challenge event, as the sport's young guns pit their skills against each other in equal machinery, on stage in front of the Formula One teams.

The series has moved on since the last time we checked its progress in Barcelona in late April. Then, it was Adrien Tambay - son of former Formula One driver Patrick - who was the man to beat. Finishing behind him at the Circuit de Catalunya was the Mexican youngster Esteban Gutierrez.

Since then Gutierrez has gone on a title charge, leading the standings as they arrived at Hockenheim, having won every round since taking second and third place in Spain.

This weekend proved to be another Gutierrez demonstration. He won Saturday's race, started from the pole this morning, and eased away from Tambay, winning by just over six seconds with the young Frenchman finishing second.

These two are clearly the class of the field, and are establishing themselves as drivers to look out for in the coming years.

08:29 The GP2 Series sprint race is the next track action and the cars are already assembled on the grid.

A rain shower spiced up the conclusion to yesterday's feature race, with Romain Grosjean slipping by Giorgio Pantano for the win in the slippery conditions.

Grosjean was later found to have overtaken a backmarker under yellow flags and the stewards handed him a 25-second penalty, demoting the Frenchman to second and giving series leader Pantano the victory.

Flag penalty costs Grosjean victory

08:42 Karun Chandhok leads the GP2 sprint race in bright sunshine at Hockenheim from a flying Andy Zuber, with the pair demoting early leader Lucas Di Grassi to third from Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna.

08:51 Bruno Senna now runs third in GP2 as Pastor Maldonado has rammed Lucas Di Grassi out of the race with heavy rear-end contact at the hairpin. Maldonado dropped down the order with a broken front wing.

Giorgio Pantano has retired from the race and Romain Grosjean is cutting through the pack and is up to fourth.

09:13 India's Karun Chandhok has won the GP2 sprint race in Germany, holding off a closing pack of Andy Zuber and Bruno Senna in the final laps.

It was an entertaining race for the crowd, with plenty of battling and overtaking down the order.

09:23 The support races are coming thick and fast, with the next action being the Porsche Supercup event, which starts soon.

Overhead the skies have clouded over a little, with the sun poking through in frequent spells. The prospect of a dry Formula One Grand Prix remains.

09:45 A packed 30-car Porsche Supercup field is underway on the formation lap with hazy sunshine overhead at Hockenheim.

09:54 Christian Mamerow leads the early stages of the Porsche Supercup race in Germany. It was a poor start from polesitter Jaap van Lagen and he has dropped to fourth, with championship rivals Jeroen Bleekemolen and Jan Seyffarth battling over second.

09:59 Jaap van Lagen is back up to second following a series of incidents after the opening lap. Jeroen Bleekemolen locked up at the hairpin, allowing Seyffarth to draw alongside. The battle continued into the Mercedes arena, with van Lagen slipping through and Seyffarth slewing off the track and down the order.

Bleekemolen now runs third with a four-car pack in close formation behind him.

10:19 German Christian Mamerow has won the Porshce Supercup race at Hockenheim. The Kadach Racing driver led all 14 laps, having taken the lead from a slow-starting Jaap van Lagen on the run to turn one.

Van Lagen came home second, having battled back from that sluggish start to make it a Kadach one-two at the flag. Jeroen Bleekemolen eventually shook off the chasing pack to finish third and further stretch his championship lead.

The best battle up front in the closing stages was Damien Faulkner and René Rast harrying Nicolas Armindo for fourth, with both finding a way by, dropping Armindo to sixth at the flag.

2005 champion Alessandro Zampedri suffered a heavy crash on the run out of the hairpin but appeared to be unhurt despite severe damage to the front of his Porsche.

10:35 With the bulk of the support racing for the day concluded, the news is that the track conditions are reasonably good ahead of the Grand Prix.

The Formula BMW and GP2 races especially had no more incidents than normal for a Sunday morning. The track is free of oil and no barrier repairs necessary today. Obviously there is a bit of dust and dirt lying around on the track, but nothing that a good brush won't fix.

Weatherwise it is still mainly cloudy above the circuit, with occasional sunny spells.

We should also point you in the direction of the rainfall radar at this point. Although the forecast is still for a dry race, the showers to the north of the country and in Belgium, are moving ever-southward. We will keep you posted if they move any closer to the circuit. The rainfall prediction map forecasts these showers to not move any further south than they are at the moment, and begin to fizzle out the further south they go.

On track, the traditional drivers' parade will tour round in front of the spectators soon.

10:40 The drivers walk out onto the start-finish straight ahead of the drivers' parade. Today, the truck stays rested as the drivers climb aboard some marvellous machines of the past.

10:49 The drivers' parade enters the stadium to a cocophony of airhorns and cheers from the spectators who have five German drivers to shout for in the race this afternoon.

The parade ends and the drivers climb out of the historic machinery as the airhorns continue to blare, with the sun shining down on the circuit.

Jarno Trulli
10:55 Jarno Trulli has been enjoying something of an Indian summer recently. After years of big budgets and promises that have come up short, the Toyota team are starting to deliver strong qualifying and race performances, with a clear progression in what is a very tight midfield group. The car may not be perfectly suited to every venue on the calendar, but when the Toyota is working well, Jarno is clearly on top form.

Choosing to focus on the race throughout the practice sessions, the Italian suddenly showed the TF108's full potential in the knockout qualifying session, netting a second row starting slot. However, he later admitted that it had not been plain sailing.

"I made some changes between the practice and qualifying, so when I went out for the first attempt the car was slightly unbalanced and I was suffering with understeer. But I was quite confident that I could put a good enough lap to go through Q1. Q1 normally shouldn't be such a big problem because we know that we have quite a good car, but the key point in qualifying was to set up the car with the new set-up. In the end I managed to improve it with slightly changing the tyre pressure and the front wing. It came at the right time and the Q3 lap was fantastic."

Fantastic it was. Part of the reason for Jarno's recent rise to prominence could be down to the team using his experience more fully than in the past, allowing him to set-up the car more to his own liking.

"To be honest I always like working for the race, even if people say that I am a master in qualifying. I always look for the race and try to find the right set-up and balance, and this year the team is also probably giving me more chance to work my way, and in fact I am delivering good results – not only with qualifying but also strong racing performances. I don't give anything away during the Friday and the Saturday – I only come up when it is the right time."

The French Grand Prix one month ago demonstrated that the days of Trulli holding up half the field in a Toyota are long gone, and the 34-year-old has clear intentions in his mind for today's race.

"I just want to score some good points because this is our target. It will be difficult to battle with Ferrari or McLaren, but we can probably try to beat Red Bull and Renault. Renault has been looking always pretty strong here all weekend, also during testing, so they are one of our main rivals for tomorrow's race, but nevertheless I am quite confident that I can show a good result."

Toyota lie fourth in the constructors' championship, just one point ahead of Red Bull Racing, with Renault seventh in the standings, 10 points behind the Japanese squad.

Lewis Hamilton
11:10 Lewis Hamilton stormed to his third pole position of the season in qualifying on Saturday and was in a typically ebullient mood as he faced the scrum of reporters after the session.

“It’s perfect,” said Hamilton. “I’m just in a cool, a very relaxed state of mind and feel very comfortable with the car and our strategy so starting from pole definitely makes things a little bit easier. I hope the weather stays just as good and we can have a strong race tomorrow.”

At the home race for Mercedes Benz, Hamilton credited the work of the engine department as part of McLaren’s push to develop the MP4-23.

"They’ve frozen the engine (rules that prevent major changes to a holomogated specification) - there are areas that we can improve on, but the team are always doing a great job, I’m always trying to ... me and Heikki and Pedro are working very closely with the engineers from the engine department, trying to pick up drivability and there are lots of different things that we can improve on. You’ve got to firstly improve it, find the improvement, then test it out and make sure it’s ready but they’ve done a great job with the engine and each time we keep making a little step forward and you get a little bit more power here and there, and I think that’s helping us here."

Lewis also spoke of losing his first attempt in Q3 after teammate Heikki Kovalainen ran wide onto the grass entering the stadium section.

"He (Heikki) had a problem. I think he said that he had an oversteer moment so he could have easily had a big gust of wind on the front, come across the front of him and caused him to have an oversteer moment. I was coming in there, I was on a pretty sweet lap, I was quite chilled, and I saw the yellow flag come out and I came round there and there was just a pile of smoke but he had continued, so there was no particular need for a yellow flag but I lost my lap, but this is racing, at least I got my lap at the end."

11:20 One key factor of the race this afternoon will obviously be turn one, but equally important is the exit of turn one.

Contact at the start is rare these days, but let us not forget the shunt that occurred off the start line at this circuit five years ago, when Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen proved that three into one does not work.

If you survive going into the first corner, the next task is to deal with the exit, where the track narrows down dramatically for a time, before widening again on the approach to turn two.

Ironically, as the track funnels down, the field will probably fan out as drivers who ran out of available road recover to the circuit from the extra tarmac area, creating the usual tight squeeze into the second corner - a medium speed right-hander.

All this comes before the run to the hairpin, which is yet another site for potential drama on the opening lap.

11:28 Weatherwise conditions are still bright and reasonably sunny at the Hockenheimring.

The rainfall radar continues to show the presence of showers edging in from the north and also recently from the west, but currently they are no closer to the circuit than they were an hour ago.

However, the development of showers to the west on the French border does prove that showers could develop through the afternoon, but for the moment the prospect is still for a dry race, despite some teams apparently predicting rain later.

11:30 The pit lane is now open for the cars to make their way to the grid.

11:33 Lewis Hamilton works his way round the circuit slowly protecting his first stint fuel-load as well as he can with hard tyres on his McLaren, meanwhile Heikki Kovalainen practices a start at the end of the pitlane and he rolls out on the softer tyre.

11:35 Nick Heidfeld comes round to the grid with soft tyres on the BMW Sauber entry, while Nelson Piquet leaves the garage and practices a start at the end of the pitlane on the harder tyre.

11:36 Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is once again on the Ferrari pit wall today and he shares a joke with Flavio Briatore.

11:37 Mika Hakkinen takes a stroll along the grid while chatting with Mansour Ojjeh, as Rubens Barrichello comes round to the grid with soft tyres bolted onto his Honda.

11:40 Jenson Button is one of the last drivers to arrive on the grid and he arrives with soft tyres on the Honda to take up his 14th place starting slot.

11:45 The pits are now closed with 15 minutes to go before the formation lap gets underway.

11:47 The crowd rise as the German national anthem is performed.

11:47 Front row starter Felipe Massa stands next to his Ferrari, and is in deep conversation with his race engineer Rob Smedley. The conversation looks a lot less relaxed than usual, with Massa bidding to put the nightmare of Silverstone two weeks ago behind him.

11:50 Honda Technical Director Ross Brawn makes his way towards the grid. As he does so he shares a few words with his friend Michael Schumacher and both exchange best wishes.

11:51 Robert Kubica, starting from seventh today, climbs into his BMW Sauber as the drivers now move towards their cars.

"It will be close, it will be not only the start but it will be close for the whole thing, right throughout the race we expect it to be very close, so we just have to do the best job we can.

The radar says that there is always a possibility (of rain) right throughout the race so we just have to be ready really for all the eventualities."
Rob Smedley, Ferrari, on German broadcaster Premiere

11:53 The flag and grid girls begin to clear the grid as the stage begins to clear leaving the stars of the show remaining and their mechanics exchanging final words.

11:54 The track temperature is 33c today as hazy sunshine continues with an ambient of 23c.

11:55 Five minutes to go before the formation lap begins.

11:59 Felipe Massa is starting with hard rubber on the Ferrari.

12:00 Both McLarens have also chosen the harder option while Jarno Trulli and others in the pack have the soft tyres on for the start.

12:00 The formation lap for the German Grand Prix begins. All 20 cars leave the grid without problem.

12:01 The pack are taking it carefully in the early stages of the formation lap, as they stream down to turn six.

12:01 Lewis Hamilton leads the field through turn nine and towards the stadium.

12:02 The cars come through the twisty stadium section as the front row head towards the grid.

We await the start ...

Lap 1: The five red lights go out and we are racing at Hockenheim!

Lap 1: Lewis Hamilton gets a good start and leads ahead of Massa into turn one.

Lap 1: Barrelling down to the hairpin it is Hamilton from Massa, Kovalainen, Trulli, Alonso, Kubica and Raikkonen. The pack is cleanly though and heads for the Mercedes arena.

Lap 1: Into turn nine at the Mercedes grandstand Hamilton leads it from Massa, Kovalainen, Kubica, Trulli and Alonso.

Lap 1: Hamilton screams into the stadium as the leader for McLaren.

Lap 2: Over the line Hamilton leads by 1.8s ahead of Massa, Kovalainen, Kubica is up to fourth as the field blast into lap two.

Lap 3: Down the field Sebastien Bourdais has made a great start, moving up from 15th on the grid to 12th in the early stages.

Lap 3: Hamilton sets the quickest lap two with a 1:17.904, stretching his lead to 2.5 seconds over Massa.

Lap 3: David Coulthard has had a terrible beginning to the race, dropping way down to 14th.

Lap 4: Replays of the hairpin on the first lap reveal how Robert Kubica jumped up to fourth. Fernando Alonso was scrapping with Jarno Trulli, delaying the pair of them and allowing Kubica to slide up the inside.

Lap 5: Adrian Sutil has been shuffled wide somewhere in the second sector of lap three, losing five seconds, and dropping behind his teammate Fisichella.

Fisichella 19th, Sutil 20th.

Lap 5: Alonso continues to be the focus of attention as he attempts to pass Trulli early in the lap. It doesn't work for Fernando and he loses speed, allowing Kimi Raikkonen through to sixth at the second corner.

Lap 6: Sebastian Vettel has done a good job so far in the early laps, holding onto eighth place. Mark Webber in ninth is right under his gearbox.

Lap 6: Up front, Lewis Hamilton is stretching a useful advantage over Felipe Massa. The gap is up to 4.1 seconds with Heikki Kovalainen a further 3.3 seconds behind.

Lap 7: The top eleven drivers in the race are making a clear break away as the field splits into two groups of cars. Sebastien Bourdais in 12th is losing ground quickly to Nick Heidfeld, who is 11th and last of the leading cars.

Lap 8: Rubens Barrichello has passed Kazuki Nakajima for 16th place, meantime David Coulthard further up the road in 14th is attacking Jenson Button hard for 13th.

Lap 8: The battle to watch in the top ten is of course Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari as he finds himself in sixth, sandwiched between Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel, running eighth in the Toro Rosso, is catching the battling trio.

Lap 10: Adrian Sutril in 20th and last position is catching up to the rest of the field. Initially five seconds behind Fisichella the German has now moved to within 1.5 seconds.

Lap 10: The gap between leader Hamilton and Massa is up to 6.4 seconds, with Felipe needing to get a move on if he is to challenge Lewis at the first round of stops.

Lap 11: Button 13th, Coulthard 14th, Rosberg 15th are embroiled in a battle for position. Nico Rosberg receives instruction over the radio that he needs to make progress and pass the squabbling British pair if he can.

Lap 11: Hamilton sets another new fastest lap of 1:16.078 as he adds almost six tenths of a second to the lead from Massa's Ferrari.

Lap 12: David Coulthard is continuing to press on trying to overtake Jenson Button. The Scot runs wide exiting the final corner and kicks up the dust. He continues.

Lap 14: Kimi Raikkonen is not currently troubling the gearbox of Trulli's Toyota in the race for fifth. Toyota tell Trulli on the radio that they need to look out for eighth-placed Vettel, suggesting Jarno may be an early visitor to the pits.

Lap 15: David Coulthard gets the job done and has passed Jenson Button for 13th going into turn two.

Nico Rosberg in 15th now sets about the Honda driver.

Lap 16: Lewis Hamilton leads by 9.7 seconds over Felipe Massa with Heikki Kovalainen a further 5.5 seconds back in third.

A glitch with the timing system breifly had Kovalainen dropping down the order but he is still on track with Robert Kubica 2.5 seconds behind in the BMW.

Lap 17: Down the field:

Timo Glock is tenth and has Nick Heidfeld close behind him.
Bourdais is 12th and in clear space.
Coulthard 13th is now closing fast on Bourdais after passing Button.
Button in 14th is under attack from Nico Rosberg.
Barrichello 16th, has Kazuki Nakajima climbing all over him, with Piquet close behind in 18th.

Adrian Sutil has passed his teammate Giancarlo Fisichella and pulled away to the tune of 4.7 seconds already, Fisichella last in 20th.

Lap 18: Lewis Hamilton sets a new fastest lap of 1:16.039 as he steams off to an 11 second lead in Germany as the first pit stops approach.

Lap 19: Hamilton dives into the pits for the first time.

Lap 19: Kazuki Nakajima has spun away his 17th place at turn two. He rejoins but has dropped to 19th, behind Piquet and Sutil.

Lap 19: It is a clean stop for the McLaren and Hamilton is down and away with new hard tyres and a slug of fuel.

Lap 20: Robert Kubica also pitted.

Lewis Hamilton emerged just ahead of Trulli's Toyota, but Jarno managed to pass the McLaren, making Hamilton keen to get by.

Jarno pits, releasing Hamilton.

Lap 20: Sebastien Bourdais is having a great first stint. He is going quicker all the time and is closing down the gap to the BMW of Nick Heidfeld. The gap stands at 1.8 seconds.

Lap 21: Trulli and Alonso resume from pit stops, both taking the soft tyre.

Lap 21: Felipe Massa pits the Ferrari and take the soft tyres in an attempt to chase down Hamilton's McLaren.

Lap 22: Heikki Kovalainen leads for McLaren but has yet to stop.

Lap 22: Robert Kubica has rejoined from his first stop in 10th position, between Coulthard and Bourdais. The Scotsman is still catching Bourdais slowly.

Lap 22: Kovalainen pits his McLaren for hard tyres, handing the lead back to Lewis Hamilton.

Lap 22: David Coulthard pits from the 11th position. A 25.2 second total pitlane time and the Red Bull rejoins the fight.

Lap 23: David Coulthard rejoined from his first stop in 19th place, with only Giancarlo Fisichella behind him.

Lap 24: Kimi Raikkonen is the next man to pit and, like Massa, takes soft tyres. Running longer than Jarno Trulli's Toyota has given Kimi a useful leapfrog ahead of the Italian.

Lap 25: Coulthard ran wide at turn two on the outlap after his pitstop, losing ground to Kazuki Nakajima in 18th. The gap between them is 4.2 seconds.

Lap 26: Lewis Hamilton leads by 9.4 seconds from Felipe Massa after the first stops.

Timo Glock runs third in the Toyota and is yet to stop.

Kovalainen runs fourth from Heidfeld, Kubica, Raikkonen and Trulli.

Lap 26: Mark Webber and Sebastien Bourdais have both pitted for the first time in the race.

Webber rejoins in 11th position, meantime Bourdais rejoins way ahead of David Coulthard, who was catching him before the stops. Bourdais 16th, as Adrian Sutil pits in the Force India from 18th. He leaves the lane after a 24.6 second total pitlane time.

Lap 28: Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg are continuing their battle, over what is 12th position now. Rubens Barrichello is catching the pair of them. All three have yet to stop.

Lap 28: Confusion reigns on the pit wall and in the paddock as the official timing system is misbehaving at the moment, struggling to track the pit stops of each driver.

Lap 28: Button now pits in the Honda, leaving Nico Rosberg in clean air.

Lap 29: Giancarlo Fisichella pits from 19th place. He had a 16 second lead over teammate Sutil and will rejoin in last position, leaving the pitlane after a total time of 22.8 seconds - a quick stop.

Lap 30: Jenson Button rejoined from that first stop in 18th position, still behind David Coulthard, but the gap between them has balooned up to over 10 seconds where it was only a few seconds before they both stopped.

Lap 30: Nick Heidfeld has pitted the BMW from fifth, dropping to 11th as he resumes.

Timo Glock now pits his Toyota from third after running a very long first stint. He resumes ahead of Vettel and Alonso.

Lap 30: Kazuki Nakajima stops in the Williams, relinquishing 15th place. His total pitlane time is 24.0 seconds and he rejoins.

Lap 32: Vettel passed Glock for position as the Toyota driver Glock resumes.

Vettel is seventh, Glock eighth and Alonso ninth. Alonso has lost out badly in that first round of pitstops.

Lap 32: Lewis Hamilton leads by 11.1 seconds over Felipe Massa. Heikki Kovalainen is third, 6.9 seconds behind the Ferrari.

Robert Kubica runs fourth in the BMW with Kimi Raikkonen over three seconds further adrift and hardly troubling the Pole.

Lap 33: Jenson Button is another who has lost out badly in the pitstops.

Nico Rosberg jumped him, and also so did Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello. Rubens passed Button on the run down to the hairpin as the Englishman exited the pits on his outlap.

Lap 35: Nelson Piquet has yet to stop and the only driver running long. He currently runs in 12th.

Lap 35: Felipe Massa seems to have little answer for Hamilton's sizable lead and Heikki Kovalainen is slowly closing on the second-placed Ferrari.

Lap 35: Kazuki Nakajima has passed Adrian Sutil in that round of pitstops, moving up to 18th place. Sutil is 19th with his teammate 20th and now 5.5 seconds behind his teammate.

Lap 36: Timo Glock has crashed heavily on the start/finish straight ...

Lap 36: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 37: Glock ran wide exiting the final corner as his right rear suspension appeared to fail, with the wheel cocking up in the air. Glock was pitched into an immediate spin, and crashed heavily into the wall on the pitlane side.

Lap 37: The safety car has picked up the field with Hamilton leading the queue.

Lap 37: The teams are getting ready in the pit lane for a scramble to make the second stop.

Lap 37: Timo Glock is climbing out of his battered Toyota, with help from the marshals. He looks dazed and sore but is walking.

As he is led away he is holding his back, as we see replays of the heavy rearward contact that he had with the retaining wall.

Lap 37: The pits are now open.

Lap 37: Hamilton's lead has evaporated and the pack is heading for yet another mass pit stop.

Lap 37: A rash of pitstops are expected this time round as the teams take advantage of the safety car.

Meantime Glock's Toyota is being removed from the scene.

Lap 37: Hamilton did not pit in the Mclaren as the majority of the field do pit.

Lap 39: Hamilton, Heidfeld and Piquet went through and run one-two-three.

Lap 39: It is an interesting move from McLaren as they now need Lewis Hamilton to stretch away from the heavily-fuelled pack in the laps remaining on his tank of fuel.

Lap 40: Mark Webber is triling smoke as he exited from his pitstops but he is continuing round while oil continues to come out from the back of the Red Bull.

Lap 40: Lapped cars can now pass the safety car.

Lap 40: When the safety car initially came out, Jenson Button took immediate advantage and pitted for the second time in the Honda. He is likely to have only taken fresh tyres, as filling with fuel while the pits are closed would be a costly mistake.

Lap 40: Lewis Hamilton will lead at the restart from Heidfeld's BMW and Piquet's Renault. Hamilton will need to put on a huge spurt of pace if he is to make up enough time to pit later on and come out ahead of Massa.

Lap 41: Vettel and Alonso were involved in a race out of the pitlane exiting the stops during the safety car period. Vettel held onto the inside line and Alonso had no choice but to run over the white line at the exit where the pitlane blends with the racetrack.

Any penalty would be extremely harsh.

Lap 42: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 42: Mark Webber has now pulled off the track in the Red Bull Renault, which was trailing oil for a couple of laps. He is out of the race.

Lap 42: Kimi Raikkonen and has fallen to 11th at the restart after having to wait for Massa in the pit stop scramble.

Lap 43: Heikki Kovalainen and Robert Kubica are in a huge scrap over fifth, with Heikki running him around the outside at the Mercedes arena.

Lap 44: Winners down the order from the safety car shuffle:

Rosberg jumped Bourdais and runs 11th, Bourdais 12th.
Giancarlo Fisichella in 15th, who got ahead of Nakajima 16th and his teammate Sutil 17th.

Lap 45: Kimi Raikkonen is picking up places in the Ferrari and now challenges Vettel to take eighth on the run to the hairpin.

Lap 46: Fernando Alonso is having a nightmare and without doubt will get out of the car extremely annoyed at the end of this race.

Peeved at Vettel for nudging him out at the pitlane exit, the Spaniard took a lunge at the Toro Rosso after the restart. Vettel held the line and Alonso was forced wide for a second time. That allowed Raikkonen to get the run on Alonso on the run down to the hairpin, and then Alonso - who moved offline to protect track position then found himself with no traction coming out of turn six, and Rosberg got past too.

Lap 48: Kimi Raikkonen is the man on the move and has now passed Jarno Trulli for seventh.

Lap 49: Hamilton leads by 4.7 seconds over Heidfeld. Nelson Piquet runs third in the Renault and the Brazilian is extremely well placed, as he pitted shortly before the safety car and is unlikely to pit again.

Felipe Massa runs fourth and has dropped to 14.2 seconds behind Hamilton as Lewis attempts to build up enough of a gap over Piquet and Massa for his final stop.

Lap 49: Kovalainen is fifth, Kubica sixth with Raikkonen seventh and catching the BMW in front of him, despite recently running wide on the circuit.

Lap 50: The McLaren mechanics are ready in the pit lane and Lewis pits.

Lap 51: Hamilton makes a quick stop and he emerges behind teammate Kovalainen in fifth.

Lap 51: Contact between David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello as the pair battled over 13th place. Coulthard was ahead since the restart and Barrichello was attempting to pass the Briton. The pair touched. Coulthard has lost a couple of places after going off and runs 15th now.

Barrichello meanwhile had to come into the pits with a broken front wing and has dropped right down the order.

Lap 52: McLaren choosing not to pit Hamilton at the safety car will naturally be questioned as a dominant lead has turned into fifth on the road.

Lap 53: Barrichello is still in the pits and there looks to be more wrong with the Honda. That one is beginning to look like a retirement.

Lap 53: Hamilton slips by Kovalainen without too much of a fight at the hairpin. Lewis runs fourth and sets off in pursuit of Massa's Ferrari who is almost four seconds ahead.

Lap 53: Nick Heidfeld pits his BMW, putting Nelson Piquet's Renault into a sensational lead.

Heidfeld has resumed behind Hamilton and in front of Kovalainen.

Lap 55: Hamilton is homing in on Massa and has the gap down to 1.4 seconds.

An on-track battle for the win in Germany is all set up for the final 13 laps.

Lap 55: Fernando Alonso has overtaken Nico Rosberg for 10th position.

The Coulthard-Barrichello contact has promoted Giancarlo Fisichella in the Force India to 13th place.

Lap 56: Lewis Hamilton is on the tail of Massa's Ferrari in a battle for second.

Lap 57: Nelson Piquet leads by 1.8 seconds over the battle between Massa and Hamilton for second.

Lap 57: Lewis Hamilton dives down the inside at the hairpin, running Massa wide on the exit, leaving Hamilton to clear off in pursuit of the leader!

Lap 58: Behind the fight for the top three, Heidfeld is fourth for BMW, Kovalainen fifth, Kubica sixth, Raikkonen still in seventh, Trulli eighth, Vettel ninth and 1.2 seconds away from the points, with Alonso 10th.

Alonso has caught Vettel again and you can bet that he wants to pass the Toro Rosso after the two incidents earlier in the race.

Lap 59: Massa attempted a come-back move in the Mercedes arena but was easily brushed off by Hamilton.

Massa falls back into the clutches of Heidfeld as Hamilton has nine laps to try and pass leader Nelson Piquet.

Lap 59: Fernando Alonso spins away his tenth position, compounding his day of annoyance. A spin at the hairpin drops the double World Champion down the order.

Lap 59: Alonso rejoins in 11th, behind Rosberg once again.

Lap 60: Lewis Hamilton is all over the back of Piquet's Reanult for the lead.

Lap 60: Kimi Raikkonen passes Robert Kubica for sixth place on the run out of the turn six hairpin.

Lap 60: Hamilton sends his move up the inside at the hairpin and leads once again in a sensational recovery from that decision not to stop during the safety car.

Lap 61: Lewis Hamilton leads by 1.3 seconds from Nelson Piquet, with Felipe Massa a further 3.5 seconds behind in third.

Lap 61: Sebastian Vettel has passed Jarno Trulli somewhere out on the circuit, not shown and the Toro Rosso star is back in the points as his great weekend continues.

Lap 62: Felipe Massa is not closing down on Piquet for second and in fact has Nick Heidfeld all over the gearbox of the Ferrari.

Lap 62: Reports from the medical centre indicate that Timo Glock has no visible injuries, and that he has been taken to a local hospital as a precaution after that huge crash into the pitwall earlier in the race that brought out the safety car.

Lap 63: David Coulthard has passed Giancarlo Fisichella for 13th place and is pulling away from the Italian at the rate of one second per lap.

Lap 64: Hamilton has steamed off into a lead of almost four seconds over Nelson Piquet. The Renault is comfortably holding off Massa's Ferrari, who continues to take pressure from Heidfeld.

Lap 65: Sebastian Vettel is pulling away from Jarno Trulli and has a 3.7 second buffer. With only a few laps remaining he is looking good to secure the final point for eighth place.

Lap 66: Trulli has lost pace in the latter stages of the race. He is in ninth, falling away from Vettel, and has Rosberg, Alonso and Bourdais all bearing down on him with a four-car scrap brewing.

Bourdais is having a great run in the Toro Rosso, in 12th and hanging onto this group without much problem.

13:34 Lewis Hamilton wins in sensational style at Hockenheim!

The championship leader stormed off at the front in the early stages and was comfortably in the lead by over ten seconds as the safety car was deployed.

Hamilton and his McLaren team chose not to pit with much of the pack, forcing Lewis into a sensational fight back, passing Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet in a straight fight on the road.

It is a great result for Hamilton, putting him four points clear in the title race.

13:35 Nelson Piquet comes across the line to claim a fantastic second place in the Renault from his one-stop strategy.

13:36 Felipe Massa comes home third after a solid drive in the Ferrari, but had little answer for the pace of Hamilton here in Germany.

13:37 Nick Heidfeld crosses the line to finish in fourth - a poor qualifying is almost forgotten with an excellent race result, with Heikki Kovalainen fifth, a lacklustre Raikkonen in sixth, Robert Kubica seventh.

Sebastian Vettel comes through and claims that final point in eighth for Toro Rosso - a brilliant performance across the whole weekend.

13:38 Lewis Hamilton is clearly delighted as he steps out of the McLaren in parc ferme.

13:39 Trulli dropped in pace towards the end of the race and finished a disappointing ninth after targeting points. Nico Rosberg finished in 10th position.

Fernando Alonso ends up 11th and will no doubt be pretty wound up after his race, with Bourdais finishing a very good drive in 12th place - 0.4 seconds behind Alonso.

13:39 Felipe Massa congratulates compatriot Nelson Piquet after the Renault driver scores his maiden podium in Forumla One.

13:40 Coulthard 13th, Fisichella 14th, Nakajima 15th after a disappointing drive, Sutil 16th and Jenson Button was last of the classified finishers in 17th.

13:41 The British national anthem rings out for the winning driver and constructor.

13:41 Retirements in the race were Barrichello after contact with Coulthard, Mark Webber who retired after trailing smoke, and Timo Glock who crashed heavily bringing out the safety car.

13:42 Lewis Hamilton accepts his trophy to a blare of air horns from the crowd.

Norbert Haug proudly accepts the award for McLaren Mercedes.

13:42 Nelson Piquet is handed his trophy for second place after a brilliantly opportunistic safety car period. He is delighted after such a tough start to his F1 career.

13:42 Massa takes his prize and the champagne is sprayed to round out a dramatic day in Germany.

13:43 Piquet gets his podium welcome gift from Felipe Massa in the form of the bottle of champagne being tipped down the back of his overalls.

13:45 The race report and classification is hot off the press:

Hamilton takes brilliant win in Germany

"We had the pace, we knew we were going to be over a second and a half quicker when the safety car came in, if it had come in a bit earlier we'd have been OK. At the end of the day it was a good race."
Ron Dennis on German broadcaster Premiere

13:51 Hamilton's win puts him back in sole lead of the drivers' championship, four points clear of Massa and seven ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

BMW's Robert Kubica has fallen to ten points behind the series leader.

Ferrari continue to lead the constructors' title with a 16 point lead over BMW Sauber. McLaren continue to fight back and are only three points further adrift.

14:00 What a race we have witnessed at Hockenheim today as another dramatic chapter has unfolded in this sensational year of action.

Lewis Hamilton pulled away into a big lead early on, in what was a short first stint with a long fill for the middle portion of the race. In his wake the race was fairly static at the front, but with the usual action down the field.

The two-stoppers - nearly all of the field - came in and went out with some big position changes. Fernando Alonso was one of the drivers to lose out badly in the first round of stops.

Hamilton re-assumed a comfortable lead but then the complexion of the race changed dramatically when Timo Glock crashed heavily exiting the final corner, after his right rear suspension appeared to fail.

The safety car was deployed and the bulk of the field took advantage and came in for their second stops. Lewis Hamilton, who was on a long stint, couldn't take advantage and stayed out, while Nelson Piquet - who was was on a one-stop strategy all along, having stopped only a few laps before the crash - moved up into third place, behind Nick Heidfeld, who also stayed out.

Hamilton tried to sprint away when the race restarted, but with only a few laps before his final stop he had no chance to build a big lead. Nick Heidfeld assumed the lead with Piquet now second, but running to the end and unbelievably on for a podium. Heidfeld then pitted, handing Piquet the lead of the race.

Piquet held P1 for several laps, while far back Lewis Hamilton was on a charge - the highlight being his fight with Felipe Massa as the pair battled for second. Lewis emerged with the track position and tore after Piquet at a rate of knots.

Young Nelson, staring his first podium in Formula One right between the eyes, tried to hold the McLaren off but it was obvious that Hamilton was going to take over at the front. He made the move and got through, pulling away to win by over five seconds in the end, with Piquet finishing a strong second and Felipe Massa completing the Podium.

Nelson Piquet's weekend has been a difficult one, but with a storybook ending that he thoroughly deserves. Struggling to keep pace with teammate Alonso all weekend, the Brazilian was eliminated in the first part of qualifying. He didn't get the best of starts either - dropping to 18th place in the early stages with only the Force India cars behind him. As the two stoppers came in and Piquet went longer and longer, he moved steadily up the order, setting personal best sector times regularly as his fuel load lightened. He stopped for his one and only time at the midway point and rejoined at the fringes of the top ten. When the two-stoppers ahead of him came in at the safety car, Piquet stayed out and jumped up the order to third, setting himself up for the podium finish. Nelson has taken a lot of flak in some quarters in the first half of the season - from us as well when he has been struggling - but it is a pleasure today to see him up there on the podium, after a good drive, keeping out of trouble, and with excellent Renault strategy behind him. He fully deserves this result.

This was the German Grand Prix weekend on autosport.com Live. We hope you have enjoyed the coverage from Hockenheim this weekend, and we hope you'll be with us to do it all over again as the Formula One World Championship moves on to round 11 at the Hungaroring in two weeks' time.

  OVERVIEW GERMAN GRAND PRIX  
Race Length: 67 laps
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Mainly sunny High Temp: 21°C / 70°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 14 Jul Start GMT
 Weather Forecasts and Reports 15:00
Friday 18 Jul
 Friday Practice 07:30
Saturday 19 Jul
 Final Practice and Qualifying 08:30
Sunday 20 Jul
 Raceday at Hockenheim 08:00
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Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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