Despite making mistakes, being slightly off the pace and beaten by three of the contenders for the championship, Sebastian Vettel's huge championship lead dimished by just 3 points at the Nurburgring.
The German finished a distant fourth in his home Grand Prix, but because his closest challenger, teammate and pole sitter Mark Webber was just third at the flag, the massive 80-point gap shrinks to just 77 after the tenth round of the season.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, fourth in the championship prior to the Nurburgring and now third, brilliantly won the German race, mere seconds ahead of his old nemesis Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.
Briton Hamilton called it "one of the best races I think I've ever done", after travelling to the country downbeat following what he described as a "crap" performance on his own home turf two weeks ago at Silverstone.
For Vettel, it ended with successful yet "unsatisfying" damage limitation, following unforced errors and a bizarre last-lap pitstop to relegate Felipe Massa to fifth place.
"I didn't feel too good all weekend," said the world champion. "I never got to the pace Mark had in his car."
Meanwhile, the day at the Nurburgring ended with two technical rules breaches; Webber giving his friend Alonso a lift back to the pits after the Ferrari ran out of fuel, and Hamilton hurdling the parc ferme barriers to greet his mechanics.
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||216|
|2||Mark Webber||Red Bull||139|
|7||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||46|
|9||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||32|
|10||Vitaly Petrov||Renault GP||32|
|11||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber F1||27|
|12||Adrian Sutil||Force India||18|
|13||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||9|
|14||Sergio Perez||Sauber F1||8|
|15||Sebastian Buemi||Toro Rosso||8|
|17||Paul Di Resta||Force India||2|
|18||Pedro De La Rosa||Sauber||0|
|19||Jarno Trulli||Team Lotus||0|
|22||Heikki Kovalainen||Team Lotus||0|
|23||Pastor Maldonado||Williams F1||0|
Horner expects better race for Red Bull in Hungary
Christian Horner on Sunday said he thinks Red Bull will be better next weekend in Hungary.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel ended his 15-race run of front row berths at the Nurburgring, while pole sitter Mark Webber was the team's best finisher with third.
"Yes, it's been interesting," said team boss Horner, referring to Fernando Alonso's win at Silverstone two weeks ago, and Lewis Hamilton's in Germany.
"It's been Ferrari one race, the next McLaren - and the constant factor is Red Bull. Hopefully now we'll get a few tracks that should be good for us," he told German Sky television.
Confirmed Webber: "The car should go ok in Budapest. It should be better than this track for us."
In post-race news, Sebastien Buemi has been handed a five-place grid penalty for Hungary for his crash with Nick Heidfeld.
But there is also bad news for German Heidfeld, who will have to hand over his Renault to test driver Bruno Senna on Friday morning at the Hungaroring.
Meanwhile, Alonso will keep his second place on Sunday despite fears his stricken Ferrari might not have contained the mandatory one litre of fuel for the scrutineering checks.
And he has also not been penalised for hitching what he described as a "taxi" ride back to parc ferme on his friend Webber's Red Bull engine cover.
"They are friends and it would have been a long walk back," grinned Horner.
Glock signs new three-year Virgin contract
Virgin on Sunday morning said Timo Glock has signed a new long-term contract.
A media statement quoted the German driver as saying the deal is for "the next few years", while journalists reporting from the media breakfast event in the team's motor home said it covers 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Glock, 29, also confirmed the duration of his new three year deal on Twitter.
"I can't wait to be with the team when we start to enjoy the good times. And I know they are coming," he said at the Nurburgring.
Virgin, yet to score a single point since its inception in 2010, confirmed it has an "ambitious plan" to be "at the front of the field by 2014".