A show about F1 with Michael Lamonato, Rob James & Peter McGinley

© Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton aces German Grand Prix after Rosberg botches start

Lewis Hamilton cruised to an easy German Grand Prix win after snatching the lead from pole-sitter Nico Rosberg at the start of the race.

Hamilton cut a dejected figure on Saturday after failing to deny Rosberg pole when the German encountered problems in qualifying, but a perfect start reversed the damage by the first turn.

The Briton sailed into the distance, safe from challenge, and led every lap thereafter.

“What a race!” he said on the podium. “Yesterday second place, but we got a great start.

“My engineers did a fantastic job, the balance was amazing.

“Today I didn’t make any mistakes, so in my heart I’m happy with what I did today.

“I’m just so happy I could be up here for Mercedes-Benz,” he added for his team’s home grand prix. “This is a very, very proud position for me to be in, so a big thank you to the team.”

Aiding Hamilton’s getaway was Rosberg’s own poor start, which opened the door to both Red Bull Racing drivers at the first turn, demoting him to fourth.

Mercedes attempted to recover Rosberg’s lost places with an alternative supersoft-supersoft-soft-soft strategy, but the Red Bull Racing cars proved too competitive for it to make a difference.

His race pivoted on passing Max Verstappen on lap 28, which Rosberg managed in a way the stewards judged to be illegal.

With a strikingly similar move to the one he attempted on Hamilton at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix, Rosberg launched down the inside of the Dutchman in an attempt to run him out of road.

The stewards handed Rosberg a five-second penalty shortly afterwards.

“It was racing,” protested Rosberg. “I was really ecstatic at the time, because I came from miles behind and was very happy to get the position, because it would have meant second place, at least.

“I was surprised to get a penalty for it.”

Compounding the penalty was a stopwatch failure in the Mercedes garage that had his pit crew leave the car stationery for more than eight seconds — and with the podium then unreachable, Rosberg was forced to finish fourth.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen filled the void between the two Mercedes drivers, and Verstappen got a jump on his higher-starting teammate Ricciardo at the first turn.

“We had a good start, and from there on I think the pace was pretty good,” Verstappen said.

The pair held station for the first half of the race, but Verstappen’s uneasiness in his opening two stints combined with Ricciardo extracting the maximum from the faster supersofts was enough reason for the team to direct them to switch places on lap 39.

“To get a double podium out of it was the main target — and to score more points than Ferrari,” Verstappen said.

Ricciardo made his final stop seven laps later, changing his used set of supersofts for four brand-new ones.

Hamilton followed suit on the next lap, and the gap stood at 12 seconds with 21 laps remaining, but fewer than five laps later the deficit was less than eight second.

The race for the lead looked alive, but as Ricciardo’s tyres wore and Hamilton upped his pace it became clear that the finishing order was settled.

“It was a race of strategy at first,” said Ricciardo. “It was really close at the first corner and [Verstappen] had a good run on the outside.

”On the supersoft I was much more comfortable and we had good pace for the last half of the race. We couldn’t win, but second and third isn’t too bad.

“Thanks to Red Bull Racing — I think the first double podium for us in over a year. It’s awesome to close out the first part of the season.”

The private battle between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes was made possible by Ferrari’s poor form.

Sebastian Vettel jumped teammate Kimi Räikkönen on the first lap to take fifth, but the two finished in that order, outclassed by the leading two teams and unchallenged by those behind.

The Scuderia fell behind Red Bull Racing in the constructors championship for the first time this season and now sits third in the standings, 14 points behind the energy drink-backed team.

“I think the last couple of races have been harsh and tough for us, but very useful,” Vettel said after the race. “I think we’ve understood a lot about our car, strengths and weaknesses, so we know what to focus on.

“It’s a harsh way to find out, not being competitive, but I think we know what to do.

“It’s not that easy to change overnight, but there is a plan, and I think the second half [of the season] should be stronger.”

Nico Hülkenberg finished seventh, improving his grid spot by one after passing Williams’s Valtteri Bottas on lap 33.

Bottas was set to keep eighth, but a 33-lap final stint on the soft tyres made him vulnerable to McLaren’s Jenson Button, who passed the Finn on lap 64 to score four points.

Sergio Perez finished tenth, adding one point to teammate Hülkenberg’s six-point haul for Force India, closing the team’s championship deficit to Williams to just 15 points.

2016 GERMAN GRAND PRIX CLASSIFICATION

P. Driver Team

Laps

Time

Grid

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes

67

1:30:44.200

2

2 Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull Racing-Renault

67

+6.996

3

3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing-Renault

67

+13.413

4

4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes

67

+15.845

1

5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

67

+32.570

6

6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari

67

+37.023

5

7 Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes

67

+70.049

8

8 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda

66

+1 lap

12

9 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes

66

+1 lap

7

10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes

66

+1 lap

9

11 Esteban Gutierrez Haas-Ferrari

66

+1 lap

11

12 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda

66

+1 lap

13

13

Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari

66

+1 lap

20

14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Ferrari

66

+1 lap

15

15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Ferrari

66

+1 lap

18

16 Kevin Magnussen Renault

66

+1 lap

16

17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor-Mercedes

65

+2 laps

17

18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari

65

+2 laps

22

19 Jolyon Palmer Renault

65

+2 laps

14

20 Rio Haryanto Manor-Mercedes

65

+2 laps

19

21 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari

57

DNF

21

22 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes

36

DNF

10

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *