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Featured German GP Debrief: Hamilton Dominates in Rosberg’s Backyard

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    Making the most of a superior start, Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a leisurely stroll that was in stark contrast to the dismal afternoon of teammate Nico Rosberg

    If there’s any driver that’s earned a few weeks off: it’s Lewis Hamilton. If there’s any driver who needs some time away: it’s definitely Nico Rosberg.

    The races experienced by the two Mercedes drivers were the embodiment of their recent reversal of fortunes, with Hamilton at his commanding best while Rosberg’s afternoon just went from bad to worse.

    As was the case a week prior in Hungary, the start played a huge factor in their races, with Hamilton once again jumping his teammate to take a lead he would never relinquish. Conversely, Rosberg found himself stuck behind the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, with an untimely penalty forcing him to settle for fourth.

    His sixth win in seven races, Hamilton more than tripled his championship lead on Sunday, with Rosberg trailing by 19 points. The last race before the summer break, this was a race that could have big repercussions for the rest of the season, so read on at a look at all the fallout from the 2016 German Grand Prix.

    hamger2.jpg Hamilton rides hot-streak into the break

    A man known for his love of the jet-setting lifestyle, Lewis Hamilton has plenty of reason to be flying high after Sunday.

    Driving most of the race in a class of his own, the three-time world champion has to like his chances of adding a fourth after getting what might be his most important victory of the season. With four weeks to digest whatever happened at Hockenheim, Hamilton dealt Nico Rosberg another body-blow by extending his championship lead from 6 to 19 points.

    Winning the sprint to the first corner, the rest of Hamilton’s race proved elementary as the sandwiching Red Bulls prevented Rosberg from challenging him. In a race not devoid of wheel-to-wheel excitement, Hamilton was a picture of the domination Mercedes has enjoyed since 2014, with the rival Red Bulls doing well just to get in the same camera shot. Even when it looked like there was a remote possibility of a challenge, with Daniel Ricciardo taking chunks out of Hamilton’s lead after starting his final stint on super-softs, Hamilton was able to swiftly crush the Australian’s hopes with his own PBs, proving that he had more than enough pace in hand. In all honesty, it probably can’t get much easier.

    For all the hardships endured to start his season, Hamilton heads into the final nine races in a very familiar position. Of course there’s no guarantees in this sport – and we know Hamilton’s in for some discomfort with two big engine penalties looming, but right now, come race day, the Brit is simply better. He’s on a seven race stretch that’s as good as he’s ever had it at Mercedes – who in their right mind would bet against him?

    rosger.jpg Untimely falter costs Rosberg

    For Nico Rosberg, it’s safe to say this year’s German GP was a homecoming he’d rather forget.

    After a Saturday where an electronics issue couldn’t stop him from besting Lewis Hamilton for pole, Sunday was an entirely different story for Rosberg as he was beset by misfortune on his way to fourth.

    In many ways, Rosberg’s race was the antithesis of Hamilton’s – where Hamilton was able to nail his start, Rosberg cost himself with wheel-spin. Where Hamilton spent the majority of the race far away from the drama, Rosberg was the one creating it. And while Hamilton managed to extend his gap to the Red Bulls, Rosberg couldn’t close his. The German seemed utterly devoid of composure, which was no more exemplified than in his incident with Max Verstappen.

    While it wasn’t quite as ham-fisted a move as his one on Hamilton in Austria, it was similar enough to once again draw the ire of the stewards, as Rosberg was handed a five-second time penalty – although apparently it took the team’s timer another three seconds to switch to his iPhone’s stopwatch from Pokémon Go. From Rosberg’s perspective, his frustration was understandable as Verstappen did get away with another cheeky, last-second waggle in the braking zone, but while he probably shouldn’t have been penalised, there is still a more general problem for the German in his lack of composure in setting up the pass. The pass was very much a speculative attempt, with Rosberg coming from a long way back just to draw alongside Verstappen, and against someone with the teenager’s reputation, he was always throwing caution to the wind. Was that moment – lap 29, with his opponent on an out-lap, at the very first opportunity he had – the only chance Rosberg would get to pass Verstappen? This was the thoughtless approach, and once again, it cost him.

    If 2016’s early stages showed that Rosberg could finally usurp Hamilton, this recent stretch has served as a reminder of why the German finds himself in his teammate’s shadow to begin with, as he is starting to once again lose composure at particularly inopportune times. We’ve seen Rosberg perform better than this, and while a 19-point deficit with nine races to go is far from insurmountable, it feels like if he wants to keep his dream alive, he has no choice but to regain that form sooner rather than later.

    vetger2.jpg Alarm bells ringing at Ferrari?

    The holiday may be just beginning, but it’s clear the honeymoon has officially ended at Ferrari.

    Just days after technical director James Allison abruptly left the team, the Scuderia found themselves jumped by Red Bull in the constructor’s standings at Hockenheim, and just as they were at the end of the Fernando Alonso era, once again struggling for answers.

    Heading into the break last year, Ferrari were unquestionably the second-best team on the grid, with two victories to their name and another to follow in Singapore. The new partnership of Sebastian Vettel and Maurizio Arrivabene seemed to mark a turning point for a team that had been struggling to regain much of the spark it had in the early 2000s, as the pair led a campaign that exceeded expectations while promising much more to come. A year later, all the hope and general positivity they brought seems to have eroded.

    In Germany, the Scuderia was more lame duck than prancing horse, never really challenging Red Bull, let alone Mercedes, as both their qualifying and race-pace failed to impress in a trend that continues to worsen. After outscoring Red Bull 30-10 in Azerbaijan, they’ve gone 65-116 in the four races since, and have now completely shifted focus to development of their 2017 car. While in itself that seems like a prudent move, the behind-the-scenes turmoil reflected in Allison’s leaving does nothing to instil confidence.

    As much as 2015’s improvement could be put down to the impressive progress made with their power unit, it seems the Scuderia has been let down by a chassis that by Arrivabene’s own admission, hasn’t gained downforce since Barcelona. With Renault slowly closing their own PU-gap to Ferrari, aerodynamics is only going to become more important for every team, and Ferrari have by their own admission, lost the 2016 war. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the three teams who have a better chassis are all led by a member of the “design tree” of Red Bull’s Adrian Newey, with former Newey colleagues Paddy Lowe and Peter Podroumou spearheading Mercedes and McLaren’s designs respectively. If Ferrari wants to get back on top of the aero battle, it might be time to look to that tree for their next hire – after all, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

    Can Hamilton continue his hot-streak after the break? Or will Rosberg be able to recover? Does Ferrari have any hope of righting the ship for 2017? Sound off in the comments below.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2016
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  2. Christian Moreau

    Christian Moreau
    Don't ask me to say aboot... Staff Premium

    At the beginning of the season, Lewis was the one suffering from poor starts. Now it's Nico. It was an ok race, nothing too crazy. Ferrari is basically nowhere to be seen at the moment. Vettel was catching Rosberg at the end of the race, but they had no pace in qualifying and you could tell that Sebastien was trying his best to put out a good time.
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  3. Rosberg will recover some points (probably) in Spa, where Hamilton will take the penalties for his components, so he will take 15 positions... Then i see Ham as a strong favorite in Monza and Singapore.. i think that Rosberg must win in Spa or his chances will slowly vanish (maybe not that slowly). I hope for a Ricciardo's win this year as well, and maybe Kimi can put some magic at Spa next round.. it would be awesome
  4. I understand Nico not turning possibly due to fear of damaging the tires, but he should have understood that and let Max by, then try again. He and poor Daniil need to regroup mentally for Spa. If Kvyat leaves F1 I hope he goes to a top team in WEC so I have someone to cheer, really like the kid.
  5. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff

    I'd be to say that the F1 situation is very delicate in case Danill leaves F1, because rumour has it that someone doesn't forgive.

    • Haha Haha x 3
  6. LH cruised to the win, as if in a different league to the rest.
    I'll agree with brundle that NR shouldn't have been penalised for the pass - years ago passes like that happened without any pansy penalties; this reprimanding good, aggressive overtaking into corners is spoiling races at the moment.
    Not a bad race overall, could have used some rain.
  7. Tim.E


    F1 is getting boring nowadays, when will we ever see such a season as 2012 again. I mean 7 different winners in as many races says enough really. I hope next year's regulation changes throw some unexpected things in the blender. For now it's just a game of which Merc driver manages to piss the other one off the most. Like a reality serie which drives my nuts crazy.
  8. Here is a first glimps of how it could be next year. 1000hp in the back of it and go go.:p

  9. Kacper Kolodziejczyk

    Kacper Kolodziejczyk
    Keep calm and race on! Premium

    Ok, here is a controversial opinion from what it appears from what I'm hearing. For us in sim racing, a divebomb, let alone one that comes from half a car length back or more, forces another car to have to suddenly stop turning into their corner (If anyone actually took a look at what Max was doing, rather than thinking of what he's done last race, he wasn't expecting Nico to attack and that jinx was actually him trying to take the normal racing line into the hairpin) and then runs him outside of the track is considered to be an absolute horrid way of racing, and one that's used by mostly overly aggressive drivers, and is heavily frowned upon, or possibly even punished in some places.

    Now we have F1, where we supposedly see the best driver in the world. We are meant to call this a "good overtake", like Brundle said? I personally heavily disagree and I actually thought that the penalty was deserved wholeheartedly. This of course is my personal opinion but I think F1 has a lot of problems, and this weekend's track limits rules were a joke as well. If we have airfields for circuit run-off wise, then use the white lines and have zero tolerance, or bring back a layer of real grass as at least the first meter of run-off, noone wants that on their tyres.

    Either way, with that little rant over, hope it didn't come off as too aggressive. Essentially I've some problems with F1 rules more than anything atm, but surprisingly I've enjoyed most races this season, including this one. Good amount of action, some twists and finally at least RBR breathing down Merc neck at times, really hope they'll close down even further after Spa and Monza or at the very least next year :)
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  10. Azure Flare

    Azure Flare
    World's fastest mobile chicane Premium

    At this point, they might as well give Hamilton and Mercedes their respective world championships now and let the fight between Mercdedes and Red Bull be a fight to the death.
  11. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    I completely agree Kacper.

    The sporting regulations in F1 this season have been applied incredibly inconsistently. We have media pundits and team personnel arguing that we should be letting the drivers race... What the hell is the point of having sporting regulations if anything goes? Honestly I thought Vestappen should have been penalised last week for his clear two move defense on Raikkonen. I'm still astonished he wasn't even investigated.

    Nico's penalty was completely justified. He forced Vestappen off the track well before the exit of the corner. The regulations state that the driver on the racing line does not need to leave room for others on the exit of corners.

    However I also think Max should have taken at least a reprimand for yet again moving in the braking zone to defend a position. Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt from his defensive style.
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  12. Big LH fan but I think it is still a long way to go. Those engine penalties are coming so it'll be interesting to see how the second half of the season turns out.
  13. That's why Red Bull was so close, the Mercedes was running conservatively
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  14. A Red Bull podium is all I'll ever need. Definitely looking forward to Spa.
  15. Boby Kim

    Boby Kim
    There is no spoon...

    And again a very boring race:sleep:. Once F1 goes in sleep mode to save tires and fuel just driving laps behind each other...chooo...chooo:rolleyes:
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  16. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium

    There was really only tire saving in the first stint, other than that all I ever heard on team radio was "Push hard", or words to that effect.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Nox

    Staff Premium

    The F1 style of race control (I use the word "control" in the broadest sense here) is really frustrating. I watched the 24 Hours of Spa, where throughout the entire weekend, penalties were applied fairly and consistently, no team could complain. Track limits were enforced consistently. Whether you agree with the rules or not, they were the same for everybody, which is what we want.

    Then I watch F1, where they changed the track limit rules 3 times in as many sessions.

    I didn't think the race was that interesting, but it wasn't the worst race of the season either. Average stuff, really. Really looking forward to Spa now because, well, it's Spa..
  18. The big news about Hocheneim is Ferrari. Redbull has an improved engine since Spain and they no longer have to compromise on downforce which cost them in therms of grip in the latest races. Verstappen also brought more pressure to Ricardo which is more compelled to deliver good results. Ferrari must be scratching their heads now that couldn't find an answer for Redbull in terms of sheer pace. The management pressure must be at it's peak at the factory. Probably Vettel is also losing hope and enthusiasm as it happened at his last years at Redbull.
    As for the Mercedes drivers Hamilton has the engine disadvantage which still can play a major role in the championship. Rosberg still has not understood that you can only force a driver off the track if and only if you are on the limit of grip in your trajectory. Turning late on purpose is rightly considered non ethical and against wheel to wheel racing.
    Verstappen made a strategic mistake going for super softs on the first stop that cost him the second place. It is also sad to see Williams lose sight of the battle for the front places. I would love to see Hulkenberg at Williams.

    Edit: Nice to see that larger tires will be used in 2017. Hopefully we will see more flat out fights and no longer this fighting on eggs situation.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
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  19. If Verstappen did not move in the braking zone, he'd have Rosberg in his gearbox. Also Rosberg came from too far. Then Rosberg completely pushes him offtrack.
    If ithe shouldn't have been penalised, Rosberg also shouldn't have been penalised in Austria as it's the same move, just Verstappen chose not to drive into Rosberg, unlike Hamilton.

    Then in Hungary, he was investigated twice, not once but twice. If they had believed Verstappen did two moves, he would have been penalised, but apparently they saw one move. Apparently they saw: 1 defending, and 1 steering into the turn..

    I agree he was driving on the limit, and maybe he passed them a little. But not as far as Rosberg did in Austria and Germany, or what Hamilton did in Canada
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016