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.

 

Hamilton wins in Austria despite Rosberg collision

Lewis Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix despite a last lap incident with his team-mate.

It was the British driver who started from pole position with Nico Rosberg starting sixth following a gearbox penalty. Hamilton maintained his lead at the start with Nico Hulkenberg, who also started on the front row, dropping down the order. Jenson Button – starting a season best third for McLaren – slotted into second and was able to keep Kimi Raikkonen behind him for seven laps of the race.

Ferrari were looking strong, having started the race on a different tyre compound to the Mercedes duo. Following pit-stops it was Sebastian Vettel who led but a tyre blow-out on lap 27 put him out of the race. Raikkonen’s own stop had dropped him behind the Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen which compromised his afternoon.

Hamilton lost out to team-mate Rosberg, who pitted first, and from there on in it looked like Rosberg’s race to lose. Having won on the previous two occasions Formula One has visited the Red Bull Ring – since its return to the calendar in 2014 – it looked like the German driver could be making it a hat-trick, despite losing out in qualifying. Hamilton closed the gap and on the last lap it became apparent that he was close enough to make a pass.

The pair collided after Rosberg failed to leave Hamilton enough space – not the first time the two of them have come to blows on the race track. Hamilton emerged unscathed after being forced wide while Rosberg’s front wing came loose. He was subsequently given a ten second penalty and a reprimand for causing a collision and not pitting an unsafe car.

Hamilton continued to win the race while Rosberg limped home in fourth – his penalty not affecting his finishing position. Joining Hamilton on the podium were Verstappen and Raikkonen. Ricciardo finished fifth ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button who finished a credible sixth having started third. Romain Grosjean returned to points with Haas in seventh ahead of Carlos Sainz and Valtteri Bottas. Pascal Wehrlein picked up his first ever points in Formula One with a tenth place finish – Manor’s first point since Monaco 2014. Sergio Perez had been running in tenth before brake failure caused his retirement in the closing stages of the race.

Joining Perez on the sidelines were team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Daniil Kvyat and Vettel.

The next race is the British Grand Prix which will take place at Silverstone this weekend.

 

Advantage Rosberg as he wins European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan

Having seen his lead slashed to just nine points in the last two races, Nico Rosberg took back the championship advantage with a win at the European Grand Prix.

It was the first race held at the Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan and it was Rosberg who took pole position before going on to win the race. He was never really challenged at the front and set the fastest lap on the way to his fifth win of the year.

Anticipation was high at the start of the race – as it is at any new circuit – with many expecting at least a safety car. All 22 drivers made it relatively unscathed through the first corner although there was some contact. There were no safety cars throughout the race and the four retirements came as a result of car failures, rather than driver errors.

Behind Rosberg it was Sebastian Vettel who finished second, finishing ahead of Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver had qualified in second but was demoted to seventh following a gearbox change as a result of an accident in free practice. He fought back and pulled off a late move on Kimi Raikkonen to secure his second podium of the season.

Raikkonen had picked up a five second penalty during the race due to crossing the white line on the entrance to the pit-lane. He had been running in third but without a five second gap to Perez in fourth, he would have dropped behind the Force India anyway. Lewis Hamilton finished in fifth having spent a lot of the race on the radio to his engineer complaining about a problem. Due to the radio bans – which restrict engineers from specifically telling their driver what to do – Hamilton was unable to fix the issue, and it eventually resolved itself. It was a day of damage limitation as he had started tenth following a qualifying crash.

Behind Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas was the leading Williams home ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg. Felipe Massa picked up the final point by finishing in tenth.

Jenson Button was just outside the points in eleventh with team-mate – and European Grand Prix ambassador – Fernando Alonso retiring with nine laps remaining. Felipe Nasr finished in twelfth ahead of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, who had started from the pit-lane. Jolyon Palmer, Esteban Gutierrez, Marcus Ericsson and Rio Haryanto were the remaining race finishers.

Joining Alonso on the sidelines was Pascal Wehrlein who retired his Manor with brake issues. Both Toro Rossos endured suspension issues and were forced to retire – Daniil Kvyat in the first ten laps and Carlos Sainz after 30.

The result means Rosberg now has a 24 point lead over Hamilton as they head to Austria where Rosberg has won the last two races.

Hamilton’s fifth Canadian GP victory edges him closer to Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton has won the Canadian Grand Prix for a fifth time, beating Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas to the chequered flag.

Having qualified on pole position, Hamilton lined up on the front row of the grid alongside team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg. When the lights went out it was Vettel in the Ferrari who got the best start, however. The Ferrari driver darted around the outside of Hamilton who then was forced to fend off a challenge from Rosberg.

Rosberg was forced wide at the first corner and dropped down the order compromising his race. Vettel enjoyed a brief lead before pitting on lap 11 during a Virtual Safety Car period, putting on the Supersoft tyres. This committed him to at least a two stop as the Soft compound tyre was mandatory during the race and he had started on the Ultrasoft compound.

Hamilton stayed out but it was advantage Vettel as with fresher tyres he started to bring the gap at the front down. He locked up a number of times, however, struggling to get the tyres working as conditions were not ideal. After the race Vettel jokingly complained about the wildlife, in particular about two ‘seagulls’ who caught his attention causing him to lock-up at turn one.

The German was unable to close the gap to Hamilton and it was the Mercedes driver who crossed the line first for his fifth Canadian Grand Prix victory. Vettel finished five seconds down but well clear of Bottas in third – giving Williams their first podium of the year.

Max Verstappen held off Rosberg to finish fourth with the latter getting himself into a spin on the final lap of the race at the final chicane. This came after he had been forced to make a late stop due to a slow puncture, further compounding his difficult race. Kimi Raikkonen was a quiet sixth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. Carlos Sainz put in an impressive drive to rise from 20th on the grid to finish ninth with Sergio Perez getting the final point.

Fernando Alonso finished 11th for McLaren on a day that saw his team-mate’s race come to a smoky end. Jenson Button managed just nine laps before he was forced to pull over with flames coming from his car. Daniil Kvyat was 12th ahead of the twice lapped cars of Esteban Gutierrez, Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen, Pascal Wehrlein, Felipe Nasr, and Rio Haryanto.

Felipe Massa had been the only driver to finish in the points at every race so far this year but that came to an end when he retired with Power Unit issues. Jolyon Palmer also retired.

The result means Hamilton is now just nine points behind Rosberg in the championship standings with Vettel slotting into third. The next race is this weekend’s European Grand Prix at the Baku Circuit in Azerbaijan.

Monaco win reignites Lewis Hamilton’s championship

Following four wins by his team-mate Nico Rosberg and a DNF in Spain, Lewis Hamilton got his 2016 championship hopes back on track with a victory in Monaco.

Pole position went to Daniel Ricciardo on Saturday while Rosberg joined him on the front row of the grid. Hamilton had to settle for third with Sebastian Vettel joining him on the second row. On Sunday there was a safety car start due to heavy rain earlier in the day creating a very wet track. There were seven laps behind the safety car before racing could commence in anger.

As Ricciardo pulled away, Rosberg struggled with his car – brake problems being the official line – before he was asked by Mercedes to allow Hamilton through. The championship leader complied with his team’s request and Hamilton soon set off after Ricciardo. When the track conditions changed Ricciardo pitted for intermediates while Mercedes kept Hamilton out on track so that when he pitted it would be for slick tyres.

When Hamilton eventually pitted for the ultrasoft compound tyres, Red Bull pitted Ricciardo for the supersoft tyres to cover him off. Ricciardo was left waiting, however, when the tyres were not ready for his stop – costing him a lot of time. He rejoined the track just behind Hamilton and despite some pressure and getting close to passing, he eventually dropped off and finished seven seconds back.

Elsewhere there were a number of dramatic moments for other drivers. Jolyon Palmer crashed into the barriers into Ste. Devote when the safety car came in at the start, causing a Virtual Safety Car period. He lost it on the slippery white lines on the pit straight and was a passenger as he hit the barriers. Team-mate Kevin Magnussen also crashed, although later on in the race. He first of all was hit by Daniil Kvyat before the Dane ended up in the barriers himself.

Felipe Nasr defied team orders to allow his team-mate through, resulting in Marcus Ericsson attempting a move at Rascasse. The move failed and both drivers ended up in the barrier. The both managed to get going again however both ultimately retired. Ericsson has a three place grid drop for Canada.

Other retirements were Daniil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Raikkonen lost his front wing and attempted to drive back to the pits but had to pull over on track due to the front wing getting lodged under his front tyres. Verstappen had his third accident of the weekend – following practice and qualifying incidents – ending his race early, a real case of hero to zero following his Spanish Grand Prix victory.

Behind the top two finishers Sergio Perez completed a strong race to finish in third place, holding off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso finished in fifth place for McLaren – their best finish so far this year – with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Rosberg seventh. Carlos Sainz finished in eighth place ahead of Jenson Button in ninth and Felipe Massa tenth.

The result has seen Hamilton close to within 24 points of his team-mate with Ricciardo now third. The Ferrari duo are now just separated by a point in fourth and fifth place – Raikkonen ahead of Vettel.