Lewis Hamilton will head into Formula One’s summer holiday with a smile on his face after extending his lead in the championship to 19 points by winning yesterday’s German Grand Prix.
While his deflated title rival Nico Rosberg endured a miserable home race at Hockenheim, in which he crossed the line only in fourth, Hamilton sauntered to his sixth win in seven races.
Indeed having been 43 points behind Rosberg in May, Hamilton is now comfortably ahead of his Mercedes team-mate by virtue of an unbeaten July with victories in Austria, Silverstone, Hungary and here in Germany on Sunday.
“It is kind of crazy that it’s gone by so quickly,” a jubilant Hamilton, whose defence of his third title had been fraught by a number of mechanical issues, said.
“It feels like only a couple weeks ago we were in Barcelona and I was 43 points behind thinking, ‘jeez, I might come away 50 points behind’. I was finding it hard to find a way through the woods, through the trees, having to navigate through that, not giving up, to keep going and keep believing the light is beyond the bushes.
“My mechanics have all stayed super focused which has enabled me to do the same. They have shown no signs of giving up and that’s inspired me to do the same, and this result shows to never give up. So, I really owe it to them. This is the best way to go on holiday.”
Hamilton was left kicking himself on Saturday night after a mistake in qualifying paved the way for Rosberg to claim pole. But the defending champion vowed to bounce back with a victory in Rosberg’s back yard and he did not disappoint.
Just as in Hungary seven days ago, the Stevenage-born racer roared off the line to emphatically beat Rosberg on the short run down to turn one, and from there his victory never looked in doubt.
In contrast, Rosberg will be desperate to forget a race which turned sour from the moment the lights flicked to green. The German was fourth after his sluggish start, and he spent much of the opening phase of the race behind the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Rosberg emerged from his second pit stop behind Verstappen and on the run down to the hairpin on lap 29 he dived underneath the 18-year-old Dutchman.
But as with the Austrian Grand Prix, in which he dramatically collided with Hamilton on the final lap, Rosberg appeared to leave little room for the Dutchman, and he was hit with a five-second time penalty for forcing his opponent off the road.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner accused Rosberg of being a “bit naughty” when going past Verstappen.
“The golden rule in a job like that is to lock your fronts up and look as if you can’t stop,” said Horner.
“The problem was, it looked like he kind of stopped, and then kept going as if he was off to Cologne, and that’s a bit naughty.”
Naturally, Rosberg protested his innocence following the incident. “Can you explain to them that I was at full lock on the steering wheel?’’ the German said over the Mercedes team radio, but television replays suggested it was a rather implausible defence.
Rosberg will now head into the three-week summer break having seen a 43-point championship lead over Hamilton turn into a 19-point deficit in just seven grands prix.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line in fifth and sixth for Ferrari while Jenson Button finished eighth for McLaren after passing the Williams of Valtteri Bottas on the penultimate lap.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved