Radio silence for Raikkonen, Mercedes fall away

NUERBURGRING Sun Jul 7, 2013 6:17pm BST

Lotus Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the German F1 Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring circuit July 7, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Lotus Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the German F1 Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring circuit July 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

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NUERBURGRING (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen had to contend with a faulty radio as he tried to chase down German Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel but the Lotus driver was far happier than his Mercedes counterparts after they flopped in the team's home race.

The Finn made a late switch of tyres in a bid to prevent the world champion and current leader from winning his home race for the first time but came up just short on Sunday.

Vettel recognised he might have been overtaken had the race gone two laps longer but that was no comfort for Raikkonen, whose team are again overperforming after nine of 19 races with the 2007 world champion third in the standings and 41 points behind the German.

"Unfortunately today there was quite a lot to discuss and it didn't work," he told fans of his struggles to work out when to pit with a half broken radio.

"I had massive problems with the radio. I could hear them but they couldn't hear me."

Raikkonen is in the running to replace the retiring Australian Mark Webber at Vettel's champion Red Bull team next year but the 33-year-old wants renewed glory now in his inconsistent Lotus.

"(The result) is good for the team, not so good for my championship," he said, with team mate Romain Grosjean finishing third.

Team boss Eric Boullier said it was "first place lost" and Lotus definitely had the fastest car.

Mercedes could only dream of having that on Sunday.

Nico Rosberg's Silverstone victory last weekend and Lewis Hamilton taking pole in Germany on Saturday had revved up the hopes of the Mercedes fanbase but it all fell away under the hot sun.

German Rosberg only qualified 11th and made up just two places in the race while Hamilton was overtaken by both Red Bulls on the first corner before sliding down the field and then working his way back up to fifth.

"A very strange, disappointing weekend after the highs from recent weeks. One to forget," commented Rosberg. "A bit of a worry really, the race pace. It brought back memories of months ago when we were really struggling in the race."

Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff blamed hotter temperatures.

"It's important that the car has a decent pace, that is good. It's easier than the other way around. But it's very difficult when you see the car dropping back like it did," he told reporters.

"We had very good races and now one which was more on the disappointing side so we have to put our head down and work hard."

Before the next race in Hungary at the end of the month, Mercedes will miss the Silverstone test after their ban for conducting a "secret" test with Pirelli at Barcelona in May.

Hamilton is glad to see the back of the special rear tyres brought to Germany after last weekend's dangerous blow-outs in Britain. Another new set in Hungary awaits.

"I have to hold myself back, I have nothing positive to say about these tyres. And I don't understand why we struggled so much on them. But that's motor racing," the Briton said as most of the rest of the paddock praised Pirelli's offering.

"I just got a bad start and didn't get off the line as quick as them, they seemed to get really good starts. Or maybe mine was just bad. But either way they both kind of sandwiched me and there was no way I could defend."

(Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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