Adding to Germany’s recent victory at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Nico Rosberg made it a German triumph at the 2014 German Grand Prix. Rosberg won the race in dominant fashion in an unchallenged race that had it all. A car flipping, a fire, spinning cars and a driver securing a podium finish despite starting at the back of the grid.
Before the race began the talk was about Lewis Hamilton and Marcus Ericsson and their pre-race penalties. But come the start of the race Rosberg managed to pull away cleanly enough to avoid any trouble coming from behind. But for Massa, a poor start allowed Magnussen to pull up alongside before a collision between the pair going into turn one brought the Brazilian’s race to an early end.
As Massa turned in for the first corner his front tyre made contact with the McLaren of Magnussen, who was forced to slow down whilst Bottas took the turn. The contact between Massa and Magnussen then sent Felipe into the air, with his Williams performing an entire roll. Thankfully Massa was able to walk away from the car.
But for the race itself, it came to a temporary halt as the safety car took to the track whilst the stricken Williams was removed from the run off. With drivers needing to avoid the rolling Williams, the top 10 was shaken up after just one turn. Hamilton however, was unable to make much progress early on. But found himself in seventeenth.
Once the race was underway once again it was clear the top 10 had been shaken up by the incident between Massa and Magnussen. As the field was bunched up courtesy of the safety car early overtakes were on the cards. Button was one of the drivers attempting to gain a position at the expense of Hulkenberg. Unfortunately for the Brit, the switchback was not an option in the end as the German stayed ahead.
Now as Ricciardo and Hamilton attempted to make their way through the field. An early target for the both of them was Sutil. Ricciardo was the man directly behind the German as they scrapped for 11th. Once Ricciardo made the move down the inside of the hairpin, to overtake Sutil, Lewis squeezed his way through behind Ricciardo. As he squeezed his way through, however, it appeared Sutil did not see him making because as he made his way past as him, Sutil turned in and made slight contact with the side-pod of the Mercedes.
Whilst Ricciardo and Hamilton continued their scrap, Kvyat was attempting to make his way past Sergio Perez for seventh. Kvyat attempted to make an overtake stick by going around the outside of Perez into turn eight and squeeze Perez into backing out. Unfortunately Kvyat ended up loosing out heavily as Perez chose to stay on the track, instead of being forced off. Resulting in Kvyat going for a spin and falling to 16th.
Going back to the battle between Ricciardo and Hamilton, they had now added Raikkonen to the fight. Firstly Ricciardo had completed an overtake on the Ferrari, getting space between himself and Hamilton. But Hamilton would soon be ahead of them both after a daring move under breaking for the hairpin. All three were bunched up with Kimi closing on Ricciardo, but a bold move by Hamilton sent his Mercedes down the inside. Despite a slight lock up, he had made the move stick on both.
As the early laps ticked off, a heap of drivers opted for fresh tyres. With Hamilton starting on the soft compound tyres he was able to run longer and found himself in second place after the front-runners pitted. With Hamilton on a different strategy to the cars around him, he was told not to defend too hard on Bottas. Who soon was past Hamilton for second.
For Sergio Perez he seemed to be in a bit of trouble regarding fuel as he was told by his engineer he needed to lift and coast. Just a third of the way through the race. It appeared they were hoping there would be rain at some point of the race and fuelled the car slightly lighter.
Following Hamilton dropping back down the order after his first pit stop he once again found himself back behind Ricciardo. This time however he was able to get past the Australian quickly and set about catching the cars ahead. One of those cars was the McLaren of his former team-mate Jenson Button and going into the hairpin on lap 30 Lewis attempted an overtake. Unfortunately he misread the situation after Jenson went in a tad deep. As they took the apex of the hairpin, contact between the two resulted in Hamilton loosing a lot of his front wing end plate. It didn’t appear to hamper Hamilton’s performance as on the next lap he made the move stick and get past the fellow Brit.
In another twist to a fairly crazy race, Kvyat’s Toro Rosso went up in flames. As the driver approached the hairpin at the end of the parabolika, he was forced to pulling to the side of the track to end his race. At the time of retirement, Kvyat’s car had flames pouring out of the side and rear but he was able to get out of the car before the fire got any worse. But the craziness of the race didn’t stop there.
Come lap 50 of the 67 laps, Adrian Sutil span his Sauber on the exit of the final corner. Thankfully he didn’t collect anyone else whilst he span with replays showing just how close Alonso came to the Sauber. Unfortunately for Sutil his race was over as a problem with his car meant he was stuck stationary in the middle of the grid.
With the Sauber stuck out on track another safety car loomed and Mercedes used this opportunity to pit Hamilton for the final time. The team had already been forced into changing his strategy after the damage he suffered to his front wing, but if the safety car came out here it would have helped his situation. Unfortunately for him there was no safety car needed after the marshals managed to move the Sauber.
Regardless of this situation however, and starting down in 20th position, come lap 56, Hamilton was back in a podium position. With second place still to play for.
Over the next few laps Hamilton continued to reel in Bottas for second place whilst Rosberg continued to dominate the race in first position. By lap 59/67, the gap between Bottas and Hamilton was just a mere 2.4 seconds with both drivers knowing that their tyres would be fading. For Hamilton however, he had the pace to close down Bottas and if he could get past tyres would be no issue for him to secure 2nd place.
Unfortunately, despite Hamilton being on the gearbox of Bottas from lap 62 all the way to the chequered flag it was Valtteri Bottas who secured second place on the podium. Lewis struggled in the later stages to keep up with the Williams on the straights. On the exit of turn 2, Hamilton was unable to get the power down early enough due to the tyre degradation unlike Bottas. Meaning Hamilton had no chance of completing an overtake on the Williams with pure pace alone.
With Rosberg recording the victory at the German Grand Prix he moves a further 10 points clear of Hamilton in the drivers championship. A well deserved gain after a dominant win at the Hockenheimring.
For me, the driver of the day award could go to a few drivers. Rosberg for taking a very dominant victory, Bottas for securing second place, Hamilton for achieving a podium despite starting in 20th or Ricciardo. I include Ricciardo in the battle for driver of the day despite the Australian finishing in sixth place, because he was involved in almost every one of the best battles that unfolded during the race.
|2||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||67||+20.7 secs||2||18|
|3||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||67||+22.5 secs||20||15|
|4||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||67||+44.0 secs||6||12|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||67||+52.4 secs||7||10|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||67||+52.5 secs||5||8|
|7||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||67||+64.1 secs||9||6|
|8||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||67||+84.7 secs||11||4|
|9||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||66||+1 Lap||4||2|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||66||+1 Lap||10||1|
|11||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||+1 Lap||12|
|12||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap||18|
|13||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Renault||+1 Lap||13|
|14||21||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap||16|
|15||17||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Ferrari||+1 Lap||17|
|16||10||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||+2 Lap||19|
|17||4||Max Chilton||Marussia-Ferrari||+2 Lap||21|
|18||9||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||+2 Lap||22|
|Ret||99||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||+20 Laps||15|
|Ret||26||Daniil Kvyat||STR-Renault||+23 Laps||8|
|Ret||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||+41 Laps||14|
|Ret||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||+ secs||3|