Sebastian Vettel held off a dramatic late charge from Kimi Raikkonen to take his maiden German Grand Prix victory after an incident-packed race at the Nurburgring that saw a photographer hit by a tyre in the pit lane.

A good day for Lotus saw Romain Grosjean take third place from Fernando Alonso but Lewis Hamilton’s medium compound tyres again experienced high levels of graining and he could only manage fifth after taking compatriot Jenson Button on the final lap. Victory for Vettel means that he now leads the drivers’ standing by 34 points from Alonso with Raikkonen 41 points behind the German.

Hamilton began the race from pole position but was squeezed out by the Red Bulls of Vettel and Mark Webber at the start. Felipe Massa’s race came to a premature end after a spin and a stall, the leaders coming in to switch from their soft qualifying compound to the medium rubber four laps later.

But Webber’s pit stop proved a disaster, his right rear tyre becoming detached before collecting a camera man. Webber was able to rejoin the race and eventually finished a superb seventh although the condition of the unfortunate photographer remains unclear.

With the Mercedes tyres again proving their achilles heel in the longer runs, it soon became clear that Hamilton would not be able to keep his rivals at bay, both Raikkonen and Grosjean streaming past him before setting about Vettel’s Red Bull.

Vettel looked to have the gap managed until a bizarre incident on lap 25 saw Jules Bianchi’s pilotless Marussia freewheel back across the circuit after he had retired in a plume of smoke and fire. A safety car period followed, once again bunching up the pack.

Raikkonen briefly looked as though he might go to the end of the race on a two stopper but he had to pit late on for a final set of soft compound rubber, Grosjean letting his team-mate past to have a late crack at Vettel.

And although he closed to within a second on the final lap, Vettel held out for a deserved victory.

Pos  Driver        Team        
 1.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault           
 2.  Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault                        
 3.  Grosjean       Lotus-Renault                        
 4.  Alonso         Ferrari                              
 5.  Hamilton       Mercedes                            
 6.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes                     
 7.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault                     
 8.  Perez          McLaren-Mercedes                     
 9.  Rosberg        Mercedes                             
10.  Hulkenberg     Sauber-Ferrari                       
11.  Di Resta       Force India-Mercedes                 
12.  Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari                   
13.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes                 
14.  Gutierrez      Sauber-Ferrari                       
15.  Maldonado      Williams-Renault                     
16.  Bottas         Williams-Renault                     
17.  Pic            Caterham-Renault                    
18.  van der Garde  Caterham-Renault                     
19.  Chilton        Marussia-Cosworth                    
DNF. Vergne         Toro Rosso-Ferrari                   
DNF. Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth                    
DNF. Massa          Ferrari