Hamilton sails to German Grand Prix victory

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Germany, Hockenheimringde

Lewis Hamilton has won the German Grand Prix in dominant fashion, leading each lap after taking the lead at the start of the race. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen completed the podium whereas Nico Rosberg finished 4th following a difficult start and an in-race time penalty.

As the lights went out, Lewis HAmilton made a absolutely sterling start off the line, shooting to first place. Nico Rosberg had a much more difficult start from pole position, finding himself surpassed by both Verstappen and Ricciardo. Sebastian Vettel slotted into 5th, getting ahead of his teammate, while Bottas followed in 7th, ahead of Hulkenberg, Button, Massa and Alonso.

Rosberg made an solid attempt to get past Ricciardo on lap 2, getting fully aside of the Red Bull, but found Ricciardo to be a tough nut to get past, with the latter not backing down on the hight speed right hander that followed, giving him the inside of the next left hander to re-take the advantage on Rosberg.

A few laps later, Alonso got past the Mercedes-powered Williams of Felipe Massa. The Brazilian seemed to be unable to find the right rhythm, with Sainz and Magnussen also getting past him on lap 9.

By that time, Kyvat had become the first driver to pit for soft tyres, followed by Perez, Massa and Palmer on lap 9. Contrary to most others, Sainz and Nasr opted to switch to a new set of super softs while pitting on the same lap.

At the end of lap 11, Verstappen and Rosberg were the first of the front runners to pit, both opting for a second stint on super soft as well. Rosberg's stop wasn't optimal, and the delay dropped him back behind both McLaren Honda's, while Verstappen emerged ahead of them. One lap later, Ricciardo pitted as well, and returned to the track a few milliseconds ahead of Button.

While positions at the front were more or less fixed after Rosberg got past the McLaren's and hence back into 4th after the Ferrari's pitted, Alonso also made strides to get back to his previous racing position, blaming the team for losing places in the stops "Don't worry, I'll lose another few positions in the next pitstop and I'll make that up again".

On lap 28, Rosberg pitted to change to softs, followed by Verstappen one lap later. Rosberg was immediately told to push hard, which he happily did by diving on the inside of Verstappen of the hairpin. His late braking, and moving straight on nearly towards the edge of the track, triggered a complaint by Verstappen, following which a 5s penalty was handed to the German. Still, the move enabled Rosberg to move up into second place after Ricciardo pitted.

Rosberg was later the first to pit in the next round, diving into the pits after seeing Ricciardo close up to within 0.5 seconds. The German obviously had a lengthy stop, as his team had to execute the 5s time penalty before changing tyres. In essence however, the penalty turned out to be 8s, not the greatest of jobs by the Mercedes pit crew.

Ricciardo meanwhile continued to push hard on his new set of super softs, edging to within 6s of Hamilton, until the latter upped the pace a bit to keep the Red Bull driver at bay. That effectively secured the race for Hamilton, with the Bulls completing the podium.

Position changes towards the end of the race were to be found a bit further back, with Bottas' two stop strategy costing him a late position to Button, whereas Alonso retrograted back to 12th after hitting the limit of the super soft tyres in the final few laps.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG671:30:44.20025
23Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer67+6.996s18
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer67+13.413s15
46Nico RosbergMercedes AMG67+15.845s12
55Sebastian VettelFerrari67+32.570s10
67Kimi RäikkönenFerrari67+37.023s8
727Nico HulkenbergForce India Mercedes67+70.049s6
822Jenson ButtonMcLaren Honda66+1 lap4
977Valtteri BottasWilliams Mercedes66+1 lap2
1011Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes66+1 lap1
1121Esteban GutierrezHaas Ferrari66+1 lap0
1214Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda66+1 lap0
138Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari66+1 lap0
1455Carlos SainzToro Rosso Ferrari66+1 lap0
1526Daniil KvyatToro Rosso Ferrari66+1 lap0
1620Kevin MagnussenRenault66+1 lap0
1794Pascal WehrleinMRT Mercedes65+2 laps0
189Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari65+2 laps0
1930Jolyon PalmerRenault65+2 laps0
2088Rio HaryantoMRT Mercedes65+2 laps0
NC12Felipe NasrSauber Ferrari57DNF0
NC19Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes36DNF0