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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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Overall Race
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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Andreas

    The first corner incident was all Massa, IMO, and he’d do well by simply putting his hands up and say “my bad”. Of course there wouldn’t have been any incident if Magnussen had backed off, but he can’t seriously expect people to simply vanish whenever he wants to take the apex, can he?

    Didn’t see much of Rosberg during the race, partly because he stomped off in the distance, but mostly because so much exciting stuff was happening behind him. The Ricciardo/Alonso scrap was top notch, if a bit too DRS-heavy. Fantastic recovery drive by Lewis, who even gave Button an “I’m sorry” wave (Felipe, are you listening?). Super steady drive by Bottas – again! That guy is moving up fast, and thinking back to Malaysia, when Massa clearly threw his weight around regarding the team orders bit – I can’t help but wonder if the team dynamics within Williams F1 has changed somewhat since…

    The call to Perez was hilarious – “this is the last time I’ll tell you” :-) No doubt, he was heading straight towards running out of fuel, and had ignored several calls to lift and coast. But yes, it is quite odd to hear conversations this frank on team radio…

    • Andreas

      Actually, having just heard the Perez call again (re-watching the race at 1:35 AM :-), it sort of sounds like the engineer is apologetic, asking for a final bout of lift-and-coast. Sergio replied, asking about the rain – they were clearly hoping for a late-race shower to help them with the fuel usage. The response was: “we cannot rely on the rain, so please lift and coast. It’s the last time I’m gonna ask you, ok?”

      Hard to tell what’s what – if Perez had ignored repeated calls, or if he’d already done lots of fuel-saving, and the pit wall is pleading for a little more. But the first reaction – that Perez was getting a dressing down (which was also Crofty’s initial assessment in the SkyF1 broadcast) – sure is funnier :-)

  • Chuck C

    Lewis, after the race, to Sky Sports:

    “It would have been a gamble to stay out just in case there was a Safety Car,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News. “In fact, there should have been a Safety Car. How on earth a car can be sitting in the middle of the road for a couple of laps and not come out…but I think you know why.”

    Perhaps wisely given the scrutiny his post-race comments have attracted this season, Hamilton declined to clarify what he meant by that final cryptic remark.

    “A Safety Car would have normally come out in situations like that,” he added.

    I’m not saying I agree with him, but I don’t entirely disagree with him either. :)

    That there wasn’t a SC is baffling.

  • Chuck C

    OH … message of the race:

    Pitwall: “Lewis, go to Engine Magic Switch position 1″
    Lewis: ” … I’ve never heard of that switch.”

    • dude

      His engineer made a mistake, that switch is exclusively for Rosberg’s car.

      I have to give it to RaIkkonen:
      “OH WE HAVE TO STOP WE HAVE TO STOP THE FRONT LEFT IS COMPETELY GONE.”

  • Lost a lot of respect for Massa today. It sure does take a lot of gall to lay blame on another driver for hitting you from behind when you haven’t even seen the replay. That was all Phil today.

  • “Lewis is a contender for drive of the race accolades.”

    I would say he is a contender for the donkey of the race, his agressiveness only translated into a champions drive through luck. Counting the number of times he clipped the other drivers he was lucky to come through the race without penalty or retirement. His car was the fastest on track, he could have taken that half a percent off his attacks and still ended up in third.

  • I think FIA should mandate Hulkenberg/Vettel/Alonso start the race and enter/exit pits together, and make sure Alonso’s close to either RBR whenever possible. Fireworks every time some combo of those guys together. Perhaps throw in front-runners out of position early a la Hamilton and Ricciardo; better than wet running.

    Hamilton drove a stellar race; him/Raikkonen side by side through that tight 3rd sector butt-clenching stuff. The Button contact a misjudgment, to me understandable given Button’s car positioning. Hamilton’s other moves and touches brave, slightly aggressive, but well-judged to me. If I was a racer, I’d want P. Bonington as an engineer; encouraging, informative, and subtly manipulative

    Tony Greene: agree regarding Massa, except feel his excuses tiresome long ago. He may be an affable guy, and his ’08 poise was commendable, but the last 3 or so years either the car or circumstances were to blame for his failures. He might look to Vettel for inspiration, who this year has acknowledged some shortcomings and commended his teammate, rather than place blame anywhere but himself. He and Sutil should form a blame deflection book club.

    Speaking of Sutil, it’s a Race-Control no-win. Any sort of incident further incident while the marshals pushed Sutil’s car away and we’d all be rightfully castigating Whiting and Co. However, as the car was off the racing line, and the double yellows were waving furiously, the result, quick return to green running and gap retention were beneficial. I personally would have called the Safety Car, but feel the decision employed fine. Hamilton lost out with his early, anticipatory pit stop, but them’s the breaks.

    What was the cause of Kvyat’s fire? Broken right manifold or oil fire? Fire went out too fast for an electrical fire, would think an engine going would spread more debris and oil out the tailpipe rather than flaming up like that. I’m half-surprised FIA didn’t employ a safety car *here* once the crane was used.

    Was anyone else surprised by Ricciardo’s move on Button T’s 7/8 toward race’s end? With all the race action, this was probably a little thing, but I remember being sold Ricciardo’s dummy on my couch; pretty good stuff.

    Just how good is Alonso, particularly his creative car positioning v. Ricciardo? What a driver.

    Ferrari’s harvesting strategy has been a quandry all season, its rain light flashing at odd times on throttle. RBR radio calls point to active ES recharge laps in-race. Both speak to specific PU deficiencies contrasted to the Merc’s.

    Merc’s dominance was as apparent here as at any point in the season. We never saw Rosberg on TV, but had lap time when needed at the start and after double yellow’s. Hamilton with a broken wing and in traffic lit up the track; too bad those missing cascades killed his right front. Paul, did you see Hamilton hitting the curbs harder to assist car rotation v. Bottas? To compensate for understeer as Brundle mentioned?

    Just great stuff all around.

    • Edit: Watching the post race show now: I missed Hamilton had locked up and slid into Raikkonen. That was a little sloppy, and a risky considering the FI close ahead.

      I also look forward to seeing how competitive FI is once it employs its new package next week; considering Sunday’s more-moderate temperatures, it might have used it Hockenheim.

  • The elderly F1 fan did it again: http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns28538.html

  • I have been a Massa fan for a long time. I am trying to “still” be a Massa fan but he’s making it hard. Am really tired of his belly-aching, but that seems par for the course for a lot of drivers these days, including Hamilton, Button and several others. .
    As for the incident, Ant Davidson points out that Magnussen began to understeer as he entered the turn. Without that they both may have made it through. Plus, I think Massa caught himself out a bit as Bottas seemed to be his focus and MAG was a bit hidden by Bottas’ car until the last moment. Massa, btw, appeared to already be downshifting and turning into the corner when MAG arrived at a faster clip.
    Here is Ant’s analysis:
    http://fiftybuckss.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/analysis-of-magnussen-and-massas-incident/

  • good race. great weekend for Rosberg. Awards
    Pass Ricciardo on Alonso in the stadium
    Donkey aftermath of sutil spin
    Drive Lewis Hamilton