Nico Rosberg wins in Japan as Mercedes clinch constructors championship

Following Red Bull’s 1-2 in Malaysia, it was Mercedes who returned to the top step of the podium in Japan with Nico Rosberg taking his ninth win of the season. He now leads team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 33 points going into the last four races.

Rosberg started the race from pole position and made the perfect start while Hamilton dropped down the order to eighth. He faced a fight back and eventually finished third behind Max Verstappen with the pair going wheel to wheel in the closing stages. Sebastian Vettel finished in fourth for Ferrari ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Malaysia winner Daniel Ricciardo, and Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the points finishers.

There were close battles up and down the field including the aforementioned Verstappen Hamilton fight. Mercedes believed that Verstappen had driven somewhat aggressively when Hamilton was forced to take avoiding action at the chicane but a protest was later withdrawn. The Williams duo in ninth and tenth finished just tenths of a second apart and were in turn just a few tenths clear of Romain Grosjean who finished in 11th.

Jolyon Palmer was 12th ahead of Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen, and Marcus Ericsson. McLaren had a weekend to forget with Fernando Alonso languishing in 16th just ahead of Carlos Sainz. There were 22 race starters and all 22 finished with Jenson Button 18th, Felipe Nasr 19th, and Esteban Gutierrez 20th. Esteban Ocon was the lead Manor car home in 21st with Pascal Wehrlein finishing 22nd.

Mercedes outscored Red Bull by the amount of points they needed confirming their third constructors world championship in as many years.

Daniel Ricciardo leads home Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia

This year’s Malaysia Grand Prix saw Daniel Ricciardo score his first F1 victory since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

The Australian driver led home a Red Bull 1-2 with Nico Rosberg rounding out the podium finishers. It was an eventful race which saw Rosberg extend his championship lead to 23 points. Championship contender Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying and started the race from pole but his Mercedes engine gave up on lap 40, leading to his second retirement of the year.

At the start of the race it was Hamilton who made the best start, maintaining his lead. Rosberg was sent into a spin following contact with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and dropped right down the order. Vettel pulled off at the side of the track with broken suspension and was subsequently handed a three place grid drop for Japan.

Rosberg faced a fight back through the field and eventually finished in third behind the hard – but fair – fighting Red Bull duo. Rosberg picked up a ten second penalty for making contact with Kimi Raikkonen as he passed but was able to finish more than ten seconds clear of the Finn. The Ferrari suffered floor damage and lost what it reported to be about three tenths per lap.

Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams just ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez. Fernando Alonso drove a fine race to finish seventh having started last and he finished ahead of Nico Hulkenberg. Jenson Button celebrated his 300th Grand Prix with a ninth place finish and points while Jolyon Palmer picked up his first ever F1 point.

The Toro Rosso duo struggled with brake issues with Carlos Sainz 11th and Daniil Kvyat 14th. Marcus Ericsson was 12th with Felipe Massa recovering to 13th having started from the pit-lane when he failed to get away on the warm-up lap.  Pascal Wehrlein was 15th ahead of Esteban Ocon – who picked up two separate 5 second penalties for speeding in the pit-lane.

Felipe Nasr joined Vettel and Hamilton on the sidelines along with Kevin Magnussen. Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas lost a wheel on one of the straights causing his retirement while Romain Grosjean suffered brake failure and spun into the gravel, bringing his race to an end.

Ricciardo dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi following the race, after making Max Verstappen and Rosberg take part in celebratory ‘shoeys’ on the podium.

The next race is this weekend at the Suzuka circuit in Japan.

Nico Rosberg in control at Italian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg has closed the gap at the top of the championship to just two points, following a win at the Italian Grand Prix.

It was his team-mate Lewis Hamilton who started from pole position but was slow away at the start, losing out to the Ferraris, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. Rosberg took the lead and was untroubled over the course of the race, eventually crossing the line with a 15 second advantage over Hamilton.

Sebastian Vettel finished in third place – where he started – ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Ricciardo, and Bottas. Max Verstappen finished seventh ahead of Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa, with Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten and points finishers.

Everyone from Romain Grosjean in 11th down was lapped and there were 18 finishers from the 22 starters. Jenson Button enjoyed some battles throughout the race, having been forced wide at the start and dropping to the back of the pack. His fun included a pass on “cheeky monkey” team-mate Fernando Alonso who finished 14th. Esteban Gutierrez nearly stalled at the start but did get going eventually and finished in 15th place. Alonso put on a new set of tyres in the closing stages of the race and set the fastest lap on his way to 16th.

Carlos Sainz, Marcus Erisson, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon rounded out the finishers. Daniil Kvyat suffered another disappointment with another retirement along with Pascal Wehrlein. Jolyon Palmer and Felipe Nasr both retired following an early accident with Nasr being apportioned the blame and a ten second penalty.

The Italian Grand Prix marked the end of the European season as the action now heads to Singapore.

Nico Rosberg avoids chaos to win Belgian Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg saw Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead cut to just nine points by winning the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton started from the back of the grid after a number of engine penalties but was able to take advantage of a safety car and red flag period to secure a podium finish. He finished behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The start of the race was chaotic with a number of drivers getting themselves into difficulty. Max Verstappen – who started alongside Rosberg on the front row of the grid- bogged down at the start and as a result lost out to Kimi Raikkonen. Verstappen tried a move up the inside at the first corner but Sebastian Vettel squeezed the pair resulting in contact. Both Ferraris dropped to the back of the pack while Vetstappen picked up damage which Christian Horner suggested cost him 1.5 seconds a lap.

Elsewhere Carlos Sainz picked up an early puncture and as the tyre delaminated it got caught in his rear wing, causing damage and the car to spin. Pascal Wehrlein and Jenson Button were also casualties of the first lap as the Manor driver drove into the back of the McLaren. Marcus Ericsson started from the pit-lane but was forced to retire after just three laps following a gearbox failure.

The safety car was brought out following a huge shunt for Kevin Magnussen on the fifth lap. He lost control of his car at the top of Eau Rouge and the impact was such that his headrest came free from the car. Thankfully Magnussen was able to get out of the car unaided, however with a limp. After a trip to the medical centre and a local hospital Magnussen tweeted that he had a cut on his ankle but expected to be able to race in Monza.

A red flag was eventually brought out after about ten laps behind the safety car to allow marshals to properly fix the damaged barrier. The red flag stoppage benefited Fernando Alonso and Hamilton as they stayed out while most ahead of them pitted. This left Alonso fourth and Hamilton fifth, due to the McLaren driver having got ahead of the Mercedes at the start and leading him for the duration of the race so far.

When the race was restarted Rosberg was once again unchallenged at the front and he was able to drive his own race and win by 14 seconds. Ricciardo was second with Hamilton 27 seconds off his team-mate in third. Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were fourth and fifth for Force India meaning that they have now moved into fourth in the championship ahead of Williams. Vettel fought back to sixth and finished ahead of Alonso, who showed some good pace to stay ahead of the Williams duo. Raikkonen split the Williams after passing Felipe Massa, having had spirited battles with Verstappen throughout the race.

Verstappen missed out on a points finish after finishing 11th. He was visibly aggrieved by the incident, driving aggressively against Raikkonen. The Finn at one stage came onto team radio to suggest that Verstappen’s “only interest” was running him off the track. One incident saw Raikkonen having to back right off on the Kemmel straight after a last minute change of position for Verstappen. Esteban Gutierrez finished 12th ahead of Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat and Jolyon Palmer. Rookie Esteban Ocon finished 16th on his debut ahead of Felipe Nasr.

There is a quick turnaround with the Italian Grand Prix taking place this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton extends championship lead in Germany

Lewis Hamilton is the driver going into the summer break with the championship lead. Having moved ahead at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the gap now stands at 19 points to team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg got pole position but bogged down at the start, allowing Hamilton to sweep past and remain untroubled at the front for the whole race. Rosberg also lost out to both Red Bulls and – while going wheel to wheel with Max Verstappen – he picked out a five second stop/go penalty for running another driver off the track. As if that wasn’t bad enough for Rosberg, a stopwatch issue at the penalised pit-stop cost him even more time.

It was Daniel Ricciardo who finished second in the race – closing on Hamilton in the closing laps but not by enough. Verstappen finished in third place ahead of Rosberg who had to settle for fourth following his torrid afternoon.

Ferrari were nowhere at Sebastian Vettel’s home Grand Prix, finishing a distant fifth and sixth. Nico Hulkenberg was last of the unlapped drivers in seventh, half a minute back on Kimi Raikkonen. Jenson Button picked up four points for McLaren by finishing eighth, passing Valtteri Bottas late on as the Williams driver struggled on old tyres. The Finn did manage to hold on to finish ninth ahead of Sergio Perez who got the last point.

Esteban Gutierrez was 12th ahead of Fernando Alonso who faced extreme fuel saving at the end of the race, dropping out of the points for McLaren. Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen were 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th respectively. Rounding out the finishers were Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, Jolyon Palmer, and Rio Haryanto. Both Felipe Nasr and Felipe Massa retired from the race.

Formula One now heads into the summer break with the next race taking place in Belgium on the 26th – 28th August.

Lewis Hamilton takes championship lead after Hungarian GP win

Lewis Hamilton has taken the championship lead for the first time this season following his win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It was his team-mate Nico Rosberg who started from pole position but Hamilton took control after the first corner and, apart from pit stops, never lost the lead.

The Red Bull duo battled for the lead at the start of the race but ultimately it was Hamilton who came out on top with Rosberg dropping to third. The Mercedes driver quickly disposed of Daniel Ricciardo and it was another Silver Arrows 1-2 come the end of the race. Ricciardo finished third – his third podium in as many years at the Hungaroring.

Behind the top three Sebastian Vettel finished fourth for Ferrari although he was close to a podium finish. He started reeling Ricciardo in in the closing stages of the race but ran out of time to pass him, instead finishing just seven tenths behind the Red Bull. That wasn’t the only close battle in the last 20 laps as Raikkonen fought with Max Verstappen. It isn’t the first time this season that the grid’s oldest driver has gone wheel to wheel with the youngest – Raikkonen trailed Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix, the Dutchman’s first win.

Both drivers were complaining over the radio about each other throughout their fight. Raikkonen complained that Verstappen was moving about too much and if he continued then they would make contact with each other. Verstappen had been given warnings about exceeding track limits and he complained over his team radio that Raikkonen was exceeding them too. They did have a minor coming together as Verstappen moved into the space Raikkonen was already occupying. It resulted in Raikkonen losing part of his front wing but both were able to continue. The gap over the line was just four tenths of a second and Raikkonen demonstrated his frustration by passing the Red Bull driver after they reached the chequered flag.

Fernando Alonso finished where he had started the race – in seventh – while team-mate Jenson Button battled hydraulic issues from early on and eventually became the race’s only retirement. Carlos Sainz was eighth for Toro Rosso with Valtteri Bottas ninth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth.

Sergio Perez was 11th ahead of Jolyon Palmer – who had been running in the points before a spin dropped him down the order again. Esteban Gutierrez finished 13th – picking up a five second penalty for ignoring blue flags –  with Romain Grosjean 14th and Kevin Magnussen 15th. Daniil Kvyat, Felipe Nasr, Felipe Massa, Pascal Wehrlein, Marcus Ericsson, and Rio Haryanto completed the 21 finishers.

There is a quick turnaround with the next race being this weekend in Germany.

Hamilton keeps his cool to win British Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton kept his cool in wet-dry conditions to win his home race at Silverstone.

The British Grand Prix was started behind the safety car due to a downpour just half an hour before the race start. Hamilton started from pole position albeit behind the safety car for five laps.

When drivers were finally released to race a number jumped straight into the pit-lane to switch from the full wets to intermediate tyres. The leaders stayed out with Hamilton leading Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen across the line. Drivers found the conditions tricky as many of them encountered aquaplaning.

Pascal Wehrlein aquaplaned at the first corner and was just a passenger as his car became beached in the gravel. This brought out a virtual safety car, neutralising the field and Hamilton, Rosberg and Verstappen used this opportunity to pit.

Hamilton was in control at the front of the race while Rosberg and Verstappen fought for second place, passing each other a number of times. Rosberg was penalised after the race by ten seconds when his team told him information over the radio about how to deal with a gearbox problem. This is not allowed in the current radio regulations. This promoted Verstappen to second while Rosberg maintained third due to the advantage over fourth.

Ricciardo finished fourth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez. Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz also finished in the points in seventh and eighth respectively. Sebastian Vettel endured a difficult afternoon, finishing down in ninth. After being the first driver to switch to slicks he spun into the first corner. He later picked up a penalty for forcing Felipe Massa off the track. Daniil Kvyat was the tenth and final points finisher.

Massa finished 11th ahead of Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso – who had his own off track excursions – Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Nasr. Esteban Gutierrez was the last finisher while Kevin Magnussen was classified but failed to actually cross the line. Jolyon Palmer, Rio Haryanto, Romain Grosjean, and Marcus Ericsson joined Wehrlein on the sidelines.