It was yet another great race that was completely unpredictable until the last few laps. Are we becoming spoiled by all this great action? ^_^
It started with an incredible qualifying lap from Webber which put him on poll ahead of Hamilton, but converting poll into a win remains a problem for Webber.
For the first time this season Vettel was not on the front row, which was big surprise. He was unable find a good set up, but both Redbull's struggled on race day, with Webber and Vettel only finishing third and fourth respectively. Vettel also made his first unforced error of the season when he drifted onto the damp grass and spun. Vettel had an uncharacteristically bad weekend.
Hamilton truly earned the win with terrific manoeuvres on Webber and Alonso, and some great heads up strategy by the team. It was expected that the medium compound prime tire would be very slow. McLaren were the first to notice that the cars on a two stop strategy were going very well on the prime tire. The team switched Hamilton onto the primes long before the other the front runners.
It was the kind of race where you had to get everything just right: car setup, start, strategy, pit stops, and a great drive. Miss one and victory was impossible. Note I did not mention poll position. ^_^
McLaren and Ferrari definitely had the upper hand in the race but once again it was difficult to draw conclusions. Was it the unusually cool temperatures that hurt Redbull more than the others? Or was it due to actual McLaren and Ferrari improvements. Neither team admitted to bring any major upgrades, but then they never reveal everything. We won't know for sure how much they have improved until we have a race with ideal conditions.
Alonso pointed out in the post race interviews that, if Vettel keeps finishing fourth or higher, he has the drivers' championship in the bag. It will take the combined efforts of Webber and both drivers from Ferrari and McLaren, to all finish ahead of Vettel in order to starve him of points. Of course, implicit in Alonso's comment was that he would be the winner in every case. Never let it be said that F1 drivers are not motivated by self interest. ^_^