Strategy played an important part in shaping the result of the 2013 German Grand Prix. The two Lotus drivers used different strategies in Germany in a bid to beat Vettel and take their first victory since Australia 2013. However, certain factors, most notably the Safety Car didn't help their cause. McLaren got their two stop strategy to perfection and took a double points finish. Fernando Alonso, who started the race on medium tyres finished in 4th while Williams, who looked set to take their first points of the season were let down by botched pit stops.
We look at the strategies used by Grosjean and Raikkonen in the Lotus and tell you why they couldn't beat Vettel, despite similar pace.
Grosjean - The initial Lotus flag bearer
Romain Grosjean took the initial fight to Vettel for lead of the race. Before the race, it was expected the soft tyres would last somewhere between 5-8 laps but Grosjean used Lotus E21's ability to be soft on tyres to the most and completed 13 laps on them during the opening stint. During this stint, he briefly led the race and was thus in fresh air. Vettel, meanwhile completed only 7 laps in his opening stint.
However, Grosjean didn't gain (or lose) any time in the pit stops. He was 4.3 seconds behind Vettel before making his pit stop and maintained the same gap on Vettel after his stop. But on much fresher tyres and in hot conditions which have always been Lotus' strength, he chased down Vettel and reduced the gap to less than two seconds.
Grosjean then tried to undercut Vettel on his third stop but Red Bull didn't take much time to react and brought Vettel in the very next lap.
Raikkonen - The final showdown
Kimi Raikkonen made his first stop on lap 8 but got stuck in traffic of drivers who had started the race on medium tyres and would thus be doing longer first stints. When he finally returned to 3rd place, he was 13 seconds behind race leader Vettel, losing ten crucial seconds in the process. But when Safety Car came out on lap 24, it allowed the Finn to reduce the gap to mere two seconds. That way, the Safety Car helped Raikkonen.
After Safety Car returned to the pits, Raikkonen initiated a long third stint on medium tyres before finally pitting on lap 49. Before this stage, Raikkonen had a 14 second lead over Vettel who had already made his stop. But the fact that Raikkonen's lead had dropped by almost two seconds in last 4 laps would have brought back memories of China 2012 and the team decided to put fresh option tyres and put on late race charge for victory.
The 2007 world champion came out four seconds behind Vettel and decreased the gap to just one second before running out of laps.