Race Report: Rosberg takes win at German Grand Prix

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As if Nico Rosberg’s week couldn’t get any better, the German world championship leader just extended his lead in the title race by winning the German Grand Prix today. Nico got married this week, celebrated the German World Cup victory, signed a new multi-year contract for $50+ million, tool pole position and now a victory in the German Grand Prix. What a week!

The race was hovering with the threat of rain that never materialized but the cooler temperatures were a welcome sight for many of the teams who were suffering high tire wear with the hot track temps on Friday and Saturday.

Win

Although Lewis Hamilton suffered a qualifying session crash due to brake failure, the British champion changed brake manufacturers,took a grid-spot penalty for a changed transmission and started from the back of the grid. Hamilton drove a fabulous race back to third for what was a masterful recovery drive. Lewis was poised, managed resources and overcame a damaged front wing to hassle Williams F1’s Valtteri Bottas for second place. Keeping his losses minimized, surely Lewis is a contender for drive of the race accolades.

Speaking of Valtteri Bottas, he drove a terrific race to secure his third podium of the year and brings Williams ahead of Ferrari in the Constructor’s Championship and that’s a big win for the team and the drive from Finland.

Sebastian Vettel finally finished ahead of his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, taking 4th after having a nice battle with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who finished 5th.

After a clash with Felipe Massa, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen drove a measured race back into the points from the back of the grid to finish 9th while his teammate, Jenson Button, recovered from a poor qualifying performance to secure 8th giving the team much needed points.

Another points finish for Nico Hulkenberg at his home grand prix puts him in the win category as well. Also, Fernando Alonso and Ferrari put in a stonking 2.3 sec pit stop which was amazing.

Fail

While Williams F1 is finding a resurgence with its new Mercedes power units and straight-line speed advantage, driver Felipe Massa can’t seem to find any luck. Massa seems to find trouble wherever he goes and Germany was no different with the Brazilian taking a sharp move into turn one and finding Magnussen’s McLaren already at the apex. Massa’s car was flipped on its top and slid into the run-off area before righting itself ending his race before it really started.

Adrian Sutil’s spin on the final turn left his car stranded or stalled adding further pain to an already near-fatal year for Sauber.

Kimi Raikkonen struggled with his Ferrari all day and even became sandwich fodder for Vettel and Alonso as both driver made a pass on the Fin and squeezing him from both sides. Kimi would be lapped by Rosberg and suffered another miserable race.

Caterham also continued to try and find its sea legs under new ownership but suffered penalties due to presenting Marcus Ericsson’s car to Parc Ferme conditions on Saturday. Race stewards handed the team two penalties for the error.

It’s not really a fail but Daniel Ricciardo had a great battle and was recovering from having to run wide to avoid the Massa clash at turn one so it’s not entirely fair to put in this category but he has been enjoying the role of beating his teammate which he failed to do today.

Quite a bit of lift-and-coast racing today and teams asking for fuel saving procedures from their drivers. Vettel, seeming flummoxed, asked his team what they really wanted him to do…pass or save fuel. It must be frustrating as a driver these days.

WTH

Scuderia Toro Rosso’s day ended in flames for Daniil Kvyat with a large fire at the rear of his car on lap 46. Thankfully Danny was able to get out of the car unharmed.

Adrian Sutil’s spin left his car stranded in the middle of the final turn entering the front straight and it sat there for some time unattended. Oddly there was no Safety Car deployed and race marshals took a long time to get to the incident. Actually, circuit workers ran across a liver track in order to get to the derelict vehicle and push it back into pitlane. Very strange procedure that some felt warranted a Safety Car.

Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen’s collision was most likely a racing incident but that didn’t stop Massa from assigning blame and claiming to have been ahead of Magnussen but I’m not sure that was the reality of the situation. While Massa seems to have bad luck he’s also the least common denominator of all his “incidents”.

An odd radio conversation with Sergio Perez with his team telling him to lift-and-coast and that it was the last time they were going to ask him!  Or what? He gets a time out? He has to sit int he corner? The race director is going to come out there with a belt? He has to wait until his father gets home?

I”m sure Jenson Button was thinking “WTH?” when Lewis Hamilton clouted the side of his car trying to pass but in Lewis’s defense, Button was leaving lots of room and Hamilton thought he was letting him through. It was for position though and I doubt Button was trying to be that generous.

 

1. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1h33m42.914s
 2. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes      +20.789s  
 3. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               +22.530s  
 4. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       +44.014s  
 5. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                +52.467s  
 6. Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault       +52.549s  
 7. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   +1m04.178s
 8. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       +1m24.711s
 9. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes       -1 lap
10. Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes   -1 lap
11. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                -1 lap
12. Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault          -1 lap
13. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault     -1 lap
14. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         -1 lap
15. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari       -1 lap
16. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault       -2 laps
17. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari       -2 laps
18. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault       -2 laps
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