Red Bull double podium – German GP 2016

Lewis Hamilton took his fourth straight victory and Red Bull their first double podium of the season in a relatively uneventful German Grand Prix.

The Top-10:

  1. Lewis HamiltonPassed his team-mate at the start (though that wasn’t much of a challenge) and seems ever closer to actually taking his third straight championship.
  2. Daniel RicciardoDanny shined today, defending well against Rosberg at the start and then taking off at massive pace against his own team-mate. Ricciardo also managed to maintain his third place in the championship with this finish, which was also impressive.
  3. Max VerstappenVerstappen is probably happy to be back on the podium after a race-long absence, even if this time it was due to Rosberg’s penalty.

Nico Rosberg is in real trouble now. Not only did he have a terrible start to the race, but then he stupidly threw a position away with a very iffy looking over-take (which he insists wasn’t intentional) which landed him a five second penalty. 4th place after starting from pole is extremely embarrassing. At the start of the season it looked like Rosberg was going to laugh all the way to the bank with his points lead, now he’s 19 points behind his team-mate.

Ferrari had an even if a somewhat mixed day. The black stallions switched positions with Vettel being 5th and Räikkönen 6th. Räikkönen had a hard time leaving the pits after his first stop for some reason, which I hope isn’t foreshadowing future gearbox issues.

Force India had a pretty vanilla race today. Nico the Hülk managed an okay 7th after a grid-penalty and Sergio Perez had to fight Alonso tooth and nail for a 10th place finish. The team is, regardless, closing in on fourth place in the constructors’ championship, but these results do seem quite disappointing (considering Perez’s pace earlier this year).

Despite complaining about his tires, Jenson Button managed an okay 8th place finish. McLaren too is closing in on their closest competitor, Toro Rosso, slowly but surely. Williams had a miserable time in Germany. Valtteri Bottas’s tires were so worn out by the end that he had to forfeit positions to both Hülkenberg and Button, landing 9th.

Golden Pineapple Award: Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1

Gutierrez continues to grow his pineapple lead with his fourth 11th place finish of the season. I should really be criticising Gutierrez’s lack of fight considering he easily beat his team-mate today, but Gutierrez took this position from Alonso very, very late in the race – so it seems this was the best that the Haas car is capable of. Let’s hope after the series returns from its summer break that Haas will improve its pace and that Gutierrez can finally score his first, elusive points of the season.

Drop-out count: 2

Today’s retirements have two things in common. Both are Brazilian and both are called Felipe. Felipe Massa was hit in the back of his car by Jolyon Palmer early in the race and this seemed to cause some serious trouble, as Williams had him take an extra long pit-stop to assess the damage. Felipe called it quits about half-way through the race.

Felipe Nasr also pulled out with his Sauber on a technical difficulty, which was a shame since Nasr had probably one of his best starts to the season (though still pretty far from actually scoring points).

Back of the Lot News:

McLaren were struggling and, as mentioned above, Alonso lost his 11th place to Gutierrez on the very final laps. Romain Grosjean had a hard time in general and his grid-penalty didn’t make his 13th place finish any easier to swallow.

Toro Rosso were completely out of it today with this being the first race of the season where both cars finished without scoring points. Granted, Sainz suffered a flub stop but this was a really embarrassing race for the team. Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat were 14th and 15th respectively.

Renault has possibly even more reason to be embarrassed with Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer vying for positions in the Top-10 at the race’s start. Magnussen was 16th ahead of Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein. Once again, Wiz Kid Wehrlein beat two other cars, one from a non-points scoring team, as well as his team-mate with his 17th place finish. I have no idea what Marcus Ericsson was doing to even get to 18th and Jolyon Palmer’s collision with Massa must have taken some of the fight out of him too, with the British driver finishing a paltry 19th and second-to-last.

Dead last: Rio HaryantoManor has apparently promised the Indonesian driver that they’ll consider keeping him past the season break if he can get his financial situation under-control. Rio had better do so indeed, because with today’s predictably weak result – the team really has very little incentive to keep him. Out of the 12 races this season, Haryanto has been at last place 8 times. His team-mate has finished last twice. Only Palmer and Gutierrez have been the very last cars on track besides that.