Not the best result, but Daniel Ricciardo drove the finest race of his F1 career on a storming afternoon at Hockenheim
Star of the Race
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 6th
What a guy! On the first lap he was run so wide avoiding the Felipe Massa accident that he put two wheels into the gravel and could have gone off, but he scrambled and finished the opening lap in 15th place. He steamed back though the field with Lewis Hamilton attached to his gearbox, cutting through the backmarkers and midfield almost as quickly as the Mercedes would have done it. Except the Mercedes was behind. He found a cheeky little way past Kimi Raikkonen much quicker than Lewis could get past the Ferrari, and he only succumbed to Lewis once his SuperSoft tyres started going off.
Dan didn't stop battling through the race; he put a fantastic move on Jenson Button on Lap 56, selling him a dummy that he was going up the outside of Turn 8 before diving for the inside to grab P5. It was a joy to watch. And if that wasn't enough, he did the same thing to another World Champion, Fernando Alonso, at the same place, while duelling with the Ferrari all the way from laps 58 through 61. In the end he had to give best to Alonso's fresher tyres, but bizarrely caught up with him on the finishing line - the timing screens registering that there was 0:0 between them. Alonso had no fuel left because Dan had pushed him so hard.
Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 5: Lewis Hamilton on Romain Grosjean for P13
There are regular editorials these days along the lines of 'What's Wrong With F1?' There's nothing wrong with F1, as evidenced by the serial overtaking moves and epic defences in this race and the one a fortnight ago at Silverstone. Lewis knew he had to get through the field quickly and that involved taking risks. He came across Grosjean on the Start/Finish straight on Lap 5 and instead of waiting for the run to Turn 2, (the sensible thing) decided to go up the inside of the Lotus into Turn 1. Turn 1 at Hockenheim is a bit like Copse at Silverstone - but even more dangerous. It's very rare you see an overtaking move there and Lewis pulled it off, but what a risk.
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1st
From the moment that Lewis Hamilton's new brake disc exploded on Saturday afternoon, Rosberg had this in the bag. The duo had already demonstrated that a lack of FRICS might have slowed the team up a touch, but they were still in charge. Thus after the start and Turn 1 negotiated for Rosberg, it was a question of keeping one eye on the weather for rain and another on a Safety Car once Lewis had cleared the pack and was up to the vicinity of P4, P3 or P2. Neither happened and he was clear for the win.
Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 2nd
Bottas didn't get to indulge in the kind of wheel-to-wheel action enjoyed by almost all of the cars behind him, but his greatest feat was to keep his tyres together, especially for the final stint. It looked to all the world that Hamilton would steamroller past him, but Valtteri had kept enough tyre life back to make his straight-line speed advantage count in the DRS zones. He also noticed that Lewis's left front was graining (a result of the wing damage) and so he was safe and could maximise his advantage through all the key right-handers.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 3rd
Pitched to the back of the grid through no fault of his own in qualifying (and it has to be said, while he was making a much better job of it than his team-mate, who had blown two laps in a row by running wide and was even forced into taking a set of SuperSofts to get into Q2) Lewis had a combative afternoon of getting back to the front. He almost, almost made it back to P2, but the early dive for his second set of SuperSofts, when by rights we should have had a second Safety Car, meant that he ran out of tyres (as David Gates might say) just when he needed them most.
Lewis has done this kind of roll-your-sleeves-up-and-get-stuck-in kind of drive before, now it's time for Rosberg to have a couple of grands prix when he gets demoted back there and see how he copes.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 4th
It's nice to hear that after all the radio bitching we had at Silverstone that Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso sat down afterwards and had a beer and laughed about their intense duel. And the two were together again for Hockenheim, although this time the different strategies meant they couldn't spend as much time together as before. Seb also got the second best radio message from an engineer in the event (after Sergio Perez): "Sebastian, respect the beeps in Turn 13"
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 5th
Yet another race where Fernando Alonso dragged his Ferrari forward, when the benchmark performance was probably about four or five places further back. He thought that it was his best race of 2014. "For the last stint I was saving fuel but I was battling with Ricciardo so I had to decide to give up the position and cross the line or fight with Ricciardo and be on the limit to cross the line. I decided to fight with Ricciardo to be in the position and then try to manage the fuel as well as I could. On the last lap I had to massively save fuel - I was in eighth gear all lap and was lucky the race wasn't 100m longer!"
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 7th
There was some fantastic onboard footage in the race after Nico Hulkenberg's race engineer, Bradley Joyce, had got the Force India User's Manual out and was trying to get Nico Hulkenberg to re-set his car to "Chassis 2". Hulkenberg spent most of the long back straight at 200mph flicking through buttons, knobs and dials, like he'd just been thrown out of Minecraft and was trying to get back in the action.
Jenson Button, Mclaren, 8th
Button put together a strong opening lap which was the foundation for a good result, that was then totally undermined by a weak McLaren strategy. It also didn't help that an overlong first pit-stop didn't manage to get him in front of Nico Hulkenberg. As for the incident with Hamilton, after the race Jenson expressed surprise that Lewis would think he was letting him though. Maybe he ought to sit down and listen to some of the races where engineers tell their drivers not to lose time fighting a driver coming through the field because they're not racing them. It was still Hamilton's fault that the two made contact and it was the Mercedes driver who came off worst.
Button could also listen to some of Dan Ricciardo's post-race interviews and have a motto inscribed on his steering wheel - 'Moan Less'.
Sergio Perez's Race engineer
Sergio Perez has got a reputation for being bit 'chippy' but the Force India pitwall were taking none of it in Hockenheim.
Engineer: "Lift and coast Checo, lift and coast."
Perez: "What about the rain. (it was forecast that it might rain towards the end of the race and thus fuel consumption would be lower)
Engineer: "We can't rely on that so please lift and coast. That's the last time I'm going to ask you..."
Charlie Whiting, FIA Race Director
Whiting must be relieved that nothing happened to the marshals after Adrian Sutil's car got stranded in the middle of the circuit after he spun it at Turn 1. What seemed like an inevitable Safety Car was handled under yellow flags and the marshals had to push the Sauber away with cars racing past at speed. Fernando Alonso was one of the many who couldn't understand it: "We were hoping they don't bring the Safety Car out because it was 17 laps to the end and if we put the super-softs on, 17 laps was tough. But being objective and honest, probably we were expecting a Safety Car in a normal situation. Sometimes they put the Safety Car out for a piece of front wing on the track and now it was a car there and it was not a Safety Car.
Apart from this misjudgement Whiting also set an unusual precedent, allowing both Mercedes cars to change brake discs in parc ferme before the race and not making them start from the pitlane. Although Lewis's was demonstrably for safety reasons, nothing had failed on Nico's car.
Felipe Massa, Williams, DNF
Broadcasters wanting to spice up the highlight tapes will be grateful for Felipe Massa's run of accidents and incidents (Montreal, Silverstone, Hockenheim) and he must be tempted to buy one of the Mario Balotelli T-shirts, 'Why Always Me?' Although he was pretty angry with Magnussen, it's hard to know what else the McLaren driver could have done with Bottas in between them.
Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, DNF
Kvyat's great qualifying was undone by a rookie overtaking move round the outside of Perez, and then cutting off the line to the apex so that Checo had nowhere to go. Except tip him into a spin. As the Mexican rightly said: "What is he doing?"
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 11th
It's always an interesting race when Kimi gets angry on team radio and he had a lot to be angry about this race, as everyone passing him thought it was a NASCAR event and they had to rub bodywork. At one stage he had Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso pinballing his Ferrari F14T from either side into the hairpin. However he got most angry when asked to make his SuperSoft tyres last longer than necessary: "We have to stop! We HAVE TO STOP!" yelled the iceman.
There's so much more to a trucky's job these days than just driving the transporters between races. BBC's Jenny Gow talking about Kimi Raikkonen's car after Saturday's FP3: "They'll have to change over the fuel pump, which is a trucky procedure."
Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish introduced us to a new phrase that Eddie Jordan would have been proud of saying. "He's staring down the back of the barrel in 4th place..."
Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish: "As Ron Dennis looks on with an impassioned expression, a stoney face."
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