The major thrills at last Sunday’s German Grand Prix was provided in the fight for second to tenth places, as the champion had gone too far ahead of the field to be challenged by anyone. Just as on Saturday’s qualifying, Nico Rosberg continued to dominate the race from his pole position and stayed at the top until the chequered flag. On the other hand, British GP champion Lewis Hamilton, who had suffered a serious brake-disc failure and crashed in Q1, began the race with a 5-point grid penalty. Regardless, Hamilton still delivered a superb performance on Sunday against heaviest of odds. Fighting his way, after starting 20th, Hamilton raced like a warrior on the 67-lap Hockenheim track and passed every other driver until he narrowly lost the second place to Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. The Finn has struck a fantastic form lately as he recorded his successive second finish on the podium. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who has been relegated to the sidelines in 2014 season, finished fourth.
It was a great fortnight for Nico Rosberg despite disappointment at British GP. He came to Hockenheim last week in wonderful spirits. First, he tied the nuptial knot with long-time partner Vivian Sibold in Monaco and then extended his contract with Mercedes until 2017, having first joined Mercedes in 2010. Since then Rosberg has won 6 races with an overall 17 finishes at the podium, in addition to acquiring 8 pole positions. Rosberg’s new contract with Mercedes is reported to be worth 55 million euros. In between Rosberg celebrated Germany’s victory in football World Cup by ordering a special edition helmet inscribed with the FIFA Trophy. He proudly wore the helmet in Sunday’s race and it was prophetic that he raced to his first victory on German soil with one of the most emphatic F1 finishes in recent times. Fresh from the World Cup final, German footballer Lukas Podolski was also present in the Mercedes garage to cheer Rosberg.
Earlier on Saturday, Rosberg had an impressive stint in qualifying to acquire the pole position, ahead of Williams’s duo of Valtterri Bottas and Felipe Massa. With Lewis Hamilton crashing out, Rosberg’s one hurdle was already overcome. It was a sorry spectacle, when Hamilton couldn’t apply the brakes as he approached a sharp corner in the stadium section and crashed. The uncontrolled car overshot on the gravel and rammed into the barriers with a loud thud. The Mercedes team confirmed of the front right disc failure but the Briton required a medical check-up before being cleared for Sunday’s main event. The fourth spot on the grid was occupied by McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen with the Red Bulls duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel lining up fifth and sixth. The next four grid positions were taken by Fernando Alonso, Daniil Kvyat, Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez.
On Sunday, Rosberg shot off brilliantly from pole and disappeared out of sight. With such bombastic start, there was no way anyone could challenge the German, who recorded an extremely comfortable fourth win of the 2014 F1 season. Rosberg’s team-mate Hamilton, on the other hand, had started from the 20th position and spent all his time in wriggling out of the 67-lap race. Hamilton had a gearbox change last night and in a stunningly quick progress, he managed to survive three incidences of close contacts with Adrian Sutil, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button. All these actions took place at hairpin bends and in the last one with Button, Hamilton damaged his front-wing. Such courageous heroics from Hamilton brought him to the second place by 16th lap. Later however, he lost some ground due to extended pit stops. But he was relentless with his super-soft rubber tyres and challenged Valtteri Bottas for the second place as the race reached the closing laps. However, the Finn kept Hamilton at bay and claimed his second straight runner-up finish.
Hamilton’s spirited race in full-attack mode epitomized the dramatic German GP, full of wheel-to-wheel encounters. On the first corner itself, Felipe Massa’s Williams began barrel-rolling as the Brazilian tried to tag the fast-moving Kevin Magnussen. Daniel Ricciardo was forced to take evasive action even as Massa began extracting himself from the hopeless mass of metal in the run-off area. In another interesting duel, Red Bull’s Vettel and Ferrari’s Alonso were also locked in an intriguing combat, reminiscent of their thrilling duel in British GP at Silverstone last fortnight. But Vettel finally got the better of Alonso and finished fourth behind Hamilton with Alonso following on his tails. Riccciardo was sixth and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, who has always finished within 10 in 2014 season, was seventh. McLaren’s Button and Magnussen took eighth and ninth places and another Force India man Sergio Perez finished tenth.