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Germany analysis - Hamilton limits the damage

21 Jul 2014

Sunday’s Grand Prix at Hockenheim provided some thrilling racing, notably the wheel-to-wheel battles between Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.

It was arguably Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, however, who provided the most entertainment, as he scythed his way through the field to finish third, to stay in title contention with race winner, team mate and championship leader, Nico Rosberg. We take a team-by-team look back at the German round…


Nico Rosberg, P1

Lewis Hamilton, P3

For Rosberg this was a walk in the park. His sole problem on his way to a fourth 2014 victory and his first at home in Germany, was worry that a safety car might be deployed when Sutil spun his Sauber exiting the final corner on the 50th lap. That never happened, and he strolled to a 20.7s win to increase his championship points lead to 14. Hamilton, by contrast, came from 20th to third the hard way. He was back there instead of starting 15th because his W05 Hybrid needed a gearbox change too after his brake-related qualifying accident. He survived minor scuffs with Sutil and Raikkonen, and a more serious collision with Button, which damaged the left front wing endplate. That cost him some downforce, however, and after a three-stop run (compared to Rosberg’s two) he limited the damage to his title prospects with a very strong run to the final podium slot.


Valtteri Bottas, P2

Felipe Massa, retired lap 1, accident

Yet again Bottas was the Williams star, Massa the unlucky one. This time the Brazilian was tipped on his head in the first corner by Magnussen. Bottas, meanwhile, grabbed second at the start and raced superbly without putting a wheel wrong. He lost second twice to Hamilton, but stayed ahead after the final pit stops - he too got away with just two - by using his head, the FW36’s prodigious straightline speed, and his engineers’ advice on the best engine settings to use while being defensive. The result pushed the Grove team ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ points table, and suggests again that a win could be possible in the right circumstances this season.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, P4

Daniel Ricciardo, P6

Fourth and sixth was about what Red Bull could expect, and both Vettel and Ricciardo loved their wheel-to-wheel battles with Alonso. The former had to watch his fuel consumption and got a little cranky with his engineer on occasion, while the latter dropped from fifth to 15th avoiding the Massa/Magnussen crash at the start, and then had to reset his transmission after experiencing upshift problems. On the finish line he was just 0.082s behind - ie alongside - the Ferrari.


Fernando Alonso, P5

Kimi Raikkonen, P11

Alonso felt that Ferrari made a small step forward in Germany, but fifth was the best that the Scuderia could have expected as he drove the wheels off the F14 T while keeping an eye on fuel consumption. Raikkonen got swiped when he moved over on Hamilton, and then pincered between Vettel and his own team mate, and said that the resultant front wing damage cost him downforce and a chance of points.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, P7

Sergio Perez, P10

The 20 degree fall in track temperature caught out Force India, who had expected the rear tyres to give up first and instead found out that it was the fronts. Hulkenberg also had to reset his engine when it began cutting out mid-race, but still managed to maintain his record of taking points in every race this season. Perez had clashes with Kvyat and Sutil, but came through for the final point to help keep the team ahead of McLaren.


Jenson Button, P8

Kevin Magnussen, P9

McLaren admitted they expected a lot more than eighth and ninth after Magnussen’s qualifying performance, but the first-corner incident put paid to that. The Dane spun, pitted at the end of the opening lap for fresh tyres and nose, and then spent the afternoon fighting back. Button, meanwhile, started really well but later said his second pit stop came far too early on the 31st lap. He tried to make it through without stopping again but ultimately had to dive in on the 61st lap. However, at 2.15s stationary, his second stop broke the team’s previous 2.20s record. And his 257th Grand Prix moved him up to third in the all-time entry stakes, behind only Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, P13

Daniil Kvyat, Retired lap 45, fire

Kvyat looked good early on before he tangled with Perez, later admitted that he didn’t look after his tyres as well as he might have, then retired in flames after a problem when the engine suddenly ignited unburnt fuel. Vergne was a points contender until having to serve a five-second stop-and-go penalty for exceeding track limits.


Pastor Maldonado, P12

Romain Grosjean, Retired lap 27, cooling issues

Lotus looked a little stronger than of late, but while Maldonado finished 12th Grosjean had to switch off his Renault motor when problems arose with its cooling system.


Esteban Gutierrez, P14

Adrian Sutil, Retired lap 50, spin

Gutierrez soldiered on for 14th after a difficult race, while Sutil drove strongly for many laps to keep Perez at bay, only later to spin exiting the final corner when his Ferrari engine suddenly cut out.


Jules Bianchi, P15

Max Chilton, P17

It was another solid, if unspectacular, two-car finish for the Russian-backed team. Bianchi was very slow away at the start but recovered to beat team mate Chilton and the Caterhams.


Kamui Kobayashi, P16

Marcus Ericsson, P18

Kobayashi soldiered on for 16th in the uncompetitive CT05, while Ericsson started from the pit lane after the team infringed pare ferme rules with the engine change that was necessary the previous evening. Because they continued working when they had to replace the replacement power unit after the first one developed a problem on start-up, the stewards also gave them a 10-second stop-and-go penalty to be served within the first three laps. Unsurprisingly after all that, the Swede finished last.