Local teams pick up points in Germany

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Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg has picked up two points after finishing ninth in Sunday’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim - round 10 of the 2012 FIA F1 World Championship, write James and Colin Beckett.

After qualifying fourth, his Silverstone-based Sahara Force India-Mercedes suffered tyre degradation during the final phase of the race, which saw him slip back.

Hulkenberg, racing in his home Grand Prix, ran competitively in the top 10 for much of the race.

However, his three-stop strategy saw him drop to 10th before passing his team-mate Paul di Resta late on.

The German racer later confirmed that his tyre degradation was too severe to carry out a two-stop race.

He said:”We always knew it was going to be tough to hang on to fourth place because we did not look especially strong in the dry conditions on Saturday morning.

“But when you’re in that position you hope for the best and actually the first part of the race was strong for me and I had some good battles.

“In terms of strategy, doing three stops was the way forward because a two-stop race was not possible with the way the tyres were degrading.

“So it’s good to come away with some points but I was certainly hoping for a bit more from my home race.”

Paul di Resta, at the wheel of the second Force India car, finished one position away from scoring world championship points, in 11th.

Force India’s team principal, Vijay Mallya, admitted he had hoped for more than just two points but said they were still important as the team are now only one point behind seventh-placed Williams in the constructors’ championship.

He said: “Two important points scored today, but we were hoping for more considering our strong starting positions.

“We split the strategies with Nico stopping three times and Paul doing a two-stop race, and there was little to choose between them in the end. 
“Both drivers battled hard, but it was difficult to defend on such an open track where it is easy to overtake.

“With today’s result we have moved within a point of Williams in the championship and hopefully we can continue our points run in Hungary next weekend.”

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg both scored points for the Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas team.

Schumacher finished seventh and Rosberg 10th.

After the race, Schumacher said: “We don’t have the pace in the dry that we can show in wet conditions.

“The wet practice gave us our best opportunity and if the race had been wet then I think I might have been able to finish on the podium.”

The Bicester-based Toro Rosso squad saw their drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne , finish 13th and 14th respectively.

The Red Bull-backed team added: “This was another solid weekend for our drivers and we hope for points in Hungary next weekend.”

Fernando Alonso dominated the race from start to finish to stretch his lead at the head of the world championship standings to 34 points over British Grand Prix winner, Mark Webber.

Points after round 10: 1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 154; 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 120; 3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 110; 4. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 98; 5. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 92; 6. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes).