Hamilton lays down the hammer in Hockenheim, Rosberg relegated to 4th by mistakes; Ricciardo & Verstappen P2 & P3 for ascendent Red Bull
Nico Rosberg desperately needed everything to go right for him at his home Grand Prix in Germany to stanch the hemorrhaging of his once-dominant tally of championship points. Instead the Mercedes driver frittered away a hard-fought pole position with a dreadful start off the line as the lights went out, muffing his clutch bite point and bogging down. He was then overtaken not only by his hard-charging teammate and archrival Lewis Hamilton but also by the two surging Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Once again on the back foot, the would-be contender compounded his difficulties by obviously pushing Vertsappen off track on Lap 29 while attempting to claw back a position and the stewards handed down a 5-second stop-and-hold penalty. With an extra-conservative Mercedes team seeming to hold Rosberg even longer than the penalty demanded, the German’s race was effectively destroyed and he was unable to drag himself any higher than fourth for the rest of the 67-lap race. Despite threatening skies towards the end, no rain fell to shake things up and give Rosberg a chance at redemption. The German will no doubt be mulling over this poor performance — the latest in a recent sequence of disappointments since an aberrant win in Baku — for the entirety of the long upcoming August break.
For Hamilton, his results and momentum have been the complete opposite, as the English defending World Champ swanned away from the rest of the field in Germany after his excellent getaway and stayed ahead for the rest of the race. In truth the Red Bulls had nothing for Lewis and with his teammate self-destructing behind him, Hamilton was free to fly home for the victory, his fourth win in a row and remarkable sixth victory in the last seven contests. Ever since the two Mercedes took each other out in mid-May in Spain, another incident where the majority of commentators put the blame on Rosberg, Hamilton has seemed to grow in determination while Rosberg has seemed to crumble under the pressure. When push came to shove earlier this month in Austria and the two Silver Arrows came together again in the dying laps it was Rosberg who came off second best in an attempted blocking move trying to hold on to to a win but instead losing a sure podium while Hamilton sailed away unscathed to the victory. And while early in the season Hamilton suffered mightily with his starts now it is Rosberg who seems to have the yips when the lights go out. Continue reading →
Rosberg grabs pole with last gasp run in Q3, pipping Hamilton; Ricciardo P3 for Red Bull in Hockenheim
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg took pole for Saturday qualifying at his home Grand Prix in Germany, hooking up the best lap of the day after he had been unable to bank a timed lap in Q3 due to electrical issues. That put it all down to the last 3 minutes of the session and with the pressure on Rosberg came through, pipping his teammate and archival Lewis Hamilton by 0.1 seconds. Rosberg desperately needs a good result after a string of dominating performances by Hamilton saw the Englishman wrest the championship points lead from him so he can take some momentum and confidence into the upcoming August break.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was right behind Hamilton and his wunderkind teammate Max Verstappen took P4, showing once again that the Red Bull chassis-engine combo is the most improved in the paddock, outstripping Ferrari for the claim of second best to mighty Mercedes. As if to prove that point, the Ferrrais of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel lined up behind the Red Bulls in P5 and P6 respectively. Force India continued to show renewed strength, with Nico Hulkenberg grabbing P7 and Sergio Perez taking P9 on the grid. Perez split the two Williams, a team that has definitely taken a step back this year, with Valtteri Bottas only fast enough for P8 and Felipe Massa back in P10.
Tomorrows race airs live from Hockenheim beginning at 8AM Eastern on NBC Sports Network here in the States. Can Rosberg put a stop to Hamilton’s blistering momentum before the summer break? Hope to see you the to find out!