Mark Webber started perfectly from pole position, leaving Vettel and Hamilton battle for the second spot in the first few corners. After initially passing the McLaren driver at the start, Vettel was overtaken immediately by Hamilton and had to settle for 3rd place until the first pit stop.
Furthermore, Michael Schumacher managed to pass Jenson Button at the start, but the reigning world champion managed to get his 4th place back at the end of the first lap. From that point on, all positions remained the same until the first round of pit stops, when Vettel managed to pass Hamilton for 2nd place and set up a double-header against teammate Webber.
With Webber/Vettel leading the race and Hamilton/Button on their trails, it was hard to believe anyone would let go of his position until the chequered flag. The shock came some 17 laps remaining into the race, when Vettel tried to pass Webber and made contact with the Aussie’s car, crashing out of the race with a damaged rear end.
Webber’s car was also damaged in the process, and the 33-year old had to do one more pit stop to change his front wing, returning to the track in 3rd place. From that point on, the two McLaren drivers drove comfortably towards the 1-2 finish, although some 8 laps from the finish line Button tried to overtake Hamilton for the first spot approaching Turn 13.
A few corners later, Hamilton managed to get back the lead, when passing Button on the main straight. Luckily for the McLaren box, the two drivers only made a slight contact in this fight, with Hamilton managing to hang on to his lead until the end. Webber completed the podium in 3rd place, ahead of Mercedes GP duo Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg.
Renault’s Robert Kubica ended the race in 6th place, ahead of Ferrari’s duo Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard managed to leap two drivers after the first pit stop and overtook Vitaly Petrov in the dying stages of the race to score only 4 points in Ferrari’s 800th GP. The Top 10 was completed by Force India’s Adrian Sutil and BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi.