Sebastian Vettel extended his lead in this year's drivers championship when he finally won on home soil on Sunday.
But the defending triple world champion had to survive several spells of intense pressure to steer his Red Bull to victory in the German Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old German, who also had never won a race in the month of July, came home narrowly ahead of fast-closing Finn Kimi Raikkonen and his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean of France.
"Yes, yes, yes!" screeched Vettel. "Woo-hooh! Thanks guys that was a tough race -- they really gave me a run for my money."
Vettel's win was his fourth this year and the 30th of his career and it lifted him 34 points clear of nearest rival, Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, in the drivers' championship.
Alonso came home fourth ahead of Britons Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Jenson Button of McLaren with Australian Mark Webber seventh in the second Red Bull.
Hamilton started from pole, but fell back and struggled with his tyres before fighting back in the closing stages with some fine passing moves.
Mexican Sergio Perez finished eighth for McLaren ahead of Germans Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes and Nico Hulkenberg of Sauber.
Vettel became the first German to win a German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in the history of the Formula One world championship.
After the drama of four exploding tyre blowouts in last Sunday's British Grand Prix, the race was run without similar incidents other than when an errant wheel flew off Webber's car during a pit-stop and struck a tv camerman in the back.
He was taken to the circuit medical centre, but later said to be bruised and shocked, but not seriously injured.
In the much hotter conditions, with an air temperature of 26 degrees Celsius and track equivalent of 45 degrees, Hamilton, starting on pole for the 29th time, struggled pre-race with a fuel leak and a front right wheel brake problem before the lights went out.
At the start, he appeared to lose traction in second gear as the two Red Bulls passed him, one on each side. Vettel managed to squeeze clear of the luckless Webber to lead.
Hamilton slotted into third with Raikkonen fourth until the 2008 champion pitted after six laps. Vettel and Webber followed almost immediately, leaving Raikkonen and then Grosjean to lead in the early stages as the leaders switched to medium-hard tyres.
In the heat, Mercedes suffered most with serious tyre wear as Hamilton, held up by his own team-mate Rosberg until lap 13, battled for grip and with Alonso for several laps.
An early spate of incidents saw Massa spin off on lap three, an errant wheel from Webber's car bounce into the back of a tv camerman and then Jules Bianchi's Marussia, after an engine failure, roll without the driver in it across the circuit, triggering the safety car.
By this time, Vettel was back in front following Grosjean's first stop on lap 15, but the Frenchman was fast and closed the gap before the six laps pause behind the safety car and racing's resumption.
Grosjean swiftly closed on Vettel and put him under pressure before they pitted in succession and Raikkonen inherited the lead, holding on in front until lap 50 when he came in for a set of softs, along with Alonso, and gifted Vettel a lead he retained.