Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber, who this past week announced his retirement from Formula One, finished in second despite a bad start, while third place went to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who fought his way up from ninth on the gird.
Fellow Mercedes AMG driver Lewis Hamilton led the first eight laps from pole, but after suffering from a tire failure saw his position drop significantly. He would eventually fight his way up, however, to finish in fourth place.
The blown tire allowed Webber’s Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who was second at that point, to take the lead. But on lap 42 the reigning world champion suffered a gearbox problem that caused his car to stop on the pit straight. He was later forced to retire from the race.
Similar tire problems hit Felipe Massa’s Ferrari on lap 11 and on lap 24 Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne’s left rear tire failed and the Frenchman had to fight hard not to crash. He pitted for new tires but with a badly damaged floor he was eventually forced to retire. McLaren’s Sergio Perez was the final driver to suffer a tire problem during the race.
The final laps proved the most exciting; Rosberg finally appeared to be in a bit of trouble with his tires and behind the German, a hard charging Webber dispensed with Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen and then set about chasing Rosberg. Alonso at this point was moving just as fast and took seventh place off McLaren driver Jenson Button on lap 46 and by lap 51 the Spaniard was passing Räikkönen to take third.
Hamilton would then pass to take fourth and Räikkönen eventually finished in fifth.
Like Hamilton, Massa also recovered many positions after suffering a blown tire, helped somewhat by the various safety car outings. He finished sixth in the end and was followed by Adrian Sutil of Force India in seventh, Daniel Ricciardo of Scuderia Torro Rosso in eighth and Paul di Resta of Force India in ninth. Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber rounded out the top 10 positions.
Despite retiring, Sebastian Vettel maintains his lead in the Drivers’ Championship with 132 points, followed by Fernando Alonso in second with 111 points and Kimi Räikkönen in third with 98 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains the clear leader with 219 points versus the 171 points of Mercedes AMG and the 168 points of Ferrari.
After the race, Pirelli said it was too early to pinpoint the cause of the tire blow-outs but ruled out a new bonding process used on its tires ahead of this particular race as being at fault. The company has launched an investigation ahead of next weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.