Race Report: Lewis hammers German GP

Trailing by 19 points may not sound like a lot to Nico Rosberg but it sure isn’t good as Formula 1 heads in to its summer break. The lead was gained by a controlled, measured and dominant performance by his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, and Nico has no one to blame but himself for not making it a closer race. Lewis, on the other hand, has it all to be pleased with having converted a second place start in the last two grands prix to victory and a healthy points lead.

Mercedes will be pleased as well to have secured the victory but it may not be the 1, 2 they were hoping for on home turf in Germany at the Hockenheim circuit. Lewis’s victory here was made easier when his teammate, Rosberg, had a bad start and lost several places as well as garnered a 5s penalty for a passing attempt gone awry on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

WinWin

A big win for Lewis Hamilton who heads into the summer break with the championship lead and momentum. He’s risen to the challenge and taken a firm grasp of the title as he and his dogs prepare for some time off prior to the Belgian Grand Prix.

A win for Red Bull who fended off the Ferrari’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel and secured 2nd and 3rd in Germany. On differing strategies, Ricciardo looked terrific in Hockenheim while his teammate, Max Verstappen, was marking every move Rosebrg made in order to stay out front. Ricciardo was marking Hamilton. The strategy worked and the team gained enough points to move to second in the championship.

A win for Force India who have shaved even more points off of Williams F1 as both cars managed a top 10 finish bringing them to within 15 points of taking 4th place in the constructors’ title race.

A win for FOM broadcast who showed us more of the mid-field action and some of the best moves of the race. Recognizing that Lewis was on his own and the race wasn’t really action-packed out front, they focused on where the battles were and how good was it to see the Hass F1 team, Renault, McLaren and Force India battles? Good stuff.

I think Jenson Button in the points and the racy nature of the McLaren’s was a good thing. At the risk of sounding silly, I’m getting excited about McLaren’s slow rise up the field…and I’m a Ferrari fan for crying out loud.

A win to see Mick Schumacher at the race.

FailFail

Nico Rosberg’s poor start was the nail in his coffin for Germany and his subsequent dive in the inside of Max Verstappen may have been a serious out-braking move that he felt was a “good move” but the stewards saw it differently handing him a 5s penalty. Not sure why they chose to take that penalty during the last pit stop rather than have it added to his time post-race but that’s what they did and I’m not sure how much of a difference it really would have made.

The Red Bull points haul has now lifted the team ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ points and if Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne was near thrombosis prior to Germany, he most likely is ready to fire everyone again in Maranello…a move that perhaps was ill-advised the first time he did it. Rumors are swirling over James Allison’s departure earlier this week as to whether he jumped or was pushed due to the heavy hand of Marchionne but those are just rumors.

A fail for Williams F1 and Felipe Massa who retired with suspect car damage and this left the door open for Force India to claw within striking distance of overhauling them for 4th. Although Bottas did make a top 10 finish, it wasn’t the weekend they may have hoped for.

Also a fail, given Red Bull’s pace, for Toro Rosso and it’s hard to blame Daniil Kvyat for this one as Carlos Sainz struggled as well so one has to assume the car just wasn’t happy in this circuit with these tires.

WTHWTH

I’m not quite sure what white line rule we were using for the race but Max Verstappen passing Daniel Ricciardo going way outside on turn one, where the FIA said they were cracking down on the infraction, was a bit of a head scratcher.

I don’t doubt that Nico’s passing attempt on Max was ill-conceived but I’m wondering if a lack of steering wheel input is the only metric the stewards used as it would be difficult to apply steering input under braking and let’s face it, he braked very late indeed. I’ve seen folks complaining that when a driver tries a move, the stewards will penalize it. It is a fine line but was this way over the line? I’m reticent on handing out penalties for any pass that isn’t perfect but I think Nico’s blew this one.

With three Germans in the top 10 to start the race, it was nice to see the attendance increase on race day. I was getting worried on Friday and Saturday as the stands were sparse but perhaps those German fans are busy until Sundays.

Also, Hockenheim could use a re-paving and I am interested to see if it can pull off the race on an annual basis now.

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1h30m44.200s
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 6.996s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 13.413s
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 15.845s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 32.570s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 37.023s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m10.049s
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1 Lap
10 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1 Lap
11 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1 Lap
13 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1 Lap
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1 Lap
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1 Lap
16 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1 Lap
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 2 Laps
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 2 Laps
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 2 Laps
20 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 2 Laps
Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari Retirement
Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes Retirement