Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 31. heinäkuuta 2016

German GP: Win for Hamilton, double podium for Red Bull!

Once again it was super exciting, when the lights went out. Rosberg on pole got a poor start and lost three positions right away! Teammate Hamilton stormed to the lead in a determined way. The Red Bulls went into Turn 1 side by side; Verstappen made a bold move in the outside of Ricciardo and managed to get past his teammate in style! It was a bit of an "all or nothing" kind of move, but this time it paid off. Sebastian managed to get past Kimi at the start as well, and the Ferrari teammates were in P5 and P6. Rosberg was aggressively putting pressure on the Australian Red Bull pilot, but Ricciardo had gone to "Verstappen mode" to hold off the German.

Verstappen and Rosberg were the first top drivers to pit already on lap 12; both opted for another set of supersoft tyres. Ricciardo pitted a lap later with a different tyre strategy to his teammate -a fresh set of soft tyres. On lap 15 Hamilton pitted from the lead, opting also for a different tyre strategy to his teammate (yellow-marked soft tyres). Kimi pitted for a fresh set of soft Pirellis -similar to his teammate Sebastian. The Iceman´s pit stop left a little to hope for, as it took some extra seconds due to a gearbox issue.

After the second pit stops Verstappen rejoined the track right ahead Rosberg in his Mercedes. Rosberg was anxious to get past the flying Dutchman as soon as possible. Max made a defensive move at the braking; Rosberg took the inside line but left no room for Max when turning in. This move forced Max off track, which the Dutchman immediately complained loudly on the team radio. The stewards took the incident into investigation immediately, and Rosberg was handed a 5-second time penalty for forcing Verstappen off track! In my opinion the penalty was the right call from the stewards. Rosberg would have been able to turn in earlier, had he wanted to do so! Understandably Rosberg himself couldn´t understand, why he had been given a penalty for "a good fight" ;)

By lap 40 things tightened up between the Red Bull teammates. Ricciardo -on the supersoft tyres- had chased down teammate Verstappen, who was on the prime tyres. Ricciardo made a successful and classy overtaking move on the Dutchman; it seemed that Max wasn´t even putting up a real fight, as it was his teammate in question. Rosberg came in for his third pit stop on lap 44 -and to suffer his 5-second time penalty. But instead of 5 seconds Rosberg stood untouched for 8 seconds before his pit stop! This cost the German valuable time. After the race Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff stated that the delay was caused by their broken stopwatch! Which sounds quite unbelievable considering the high technology of the modern F1 cars...! The penalty and the delay meant that Rosberg was out of the podium battle.

After the third pit stops Hamilton was still leading the race, as he had done from lap one. Ricciardo was second and teammate Verstappen third. Rosberg was fourth, Sebastian 5th and Kimi 6th. Williams´ Bottas had opted for a 2-stop strategy, which turned out to be a wrong call. At the end of the race the Finn lost positions both to Force India´s Hulkenberg (P7) and to McLaren´s Button (P8). Bottas had no chance to defend his position on his dying tyres. At the end of the day Bottas had to settle for P9. To my disappointment there were no thrilling battles for positions in terms of the top ten drivers -all in all quite a monotonous race.

Although Ferrari´s performance was a disappointment, it was a pleasure to see Verstappen on the podium again -for the fourth time already! Ricciardo knew how to put up a humorous show for the fans; Hamilton drank sparkling wine from his trophy, but the Australian poured the sparkling wine into one of his racing boots! German GP was kind of a turning point in terms of the championship battle. Hamilton has now a 19-point lead over his teammate in the drivers´ standings! In terms of the constructors´ standings, Red Bull has now officially moved ahead of Ferrari! The Italian-based team is now 14 points off Red Bull and massive 173 points down on Mercedes! I start to be a bit worried about Ferrari´s performance, as they seemed absolutely toothless today. It definitely didn´t help the team, that they lost their Chief Technical Officer James Allison, who left the team for personal reasons. Nevertheless, I never stop believing in the team. I know they´re working hard and improving step by step. I always support Kimi and Sebastian, for better or worse!

So now it´s time for the 4-week summer break... I know I´ll have terrible withdrawal symptoms during the break, but the drivers and the teams definitely need the break. I hope Sebastian, Kimi and Max will have a relaxing summer holiday! I hope Kimi has the most perfect and wonderful wedding and that Sebastian has time to visit his summer cottage here in Finland :) Just wondering, if Max has ever visited Finland... ;) I´m already looking forward to the Belgian GP, as that´s the venue where Kimi will shine without any doubt!

P.S. My thoughts also here:

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  1. Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix 26-28 August 2016
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