German GP 2014: Grading Race on Strategy, Overtaking, Shocks and Drama
Sunday afternoon saw Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg win the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim to further extend his lead over team-mate Lewis Hamilton to 14 points at the top of the drivers’ standings after the first 10 races of the season.
Here we grade the action-packed contest from A to D in terms of strategy, overtaking, shocks and drama.
The German GP turned out to be an absolutely fascinating affair from start to finish, even without the expected arrival of rain towards the end of the race.
In the end most of the teams plumped for a three-stop strategy, as many had predicted beforehand, due to the soaring track temperatures—as high as at any circuit this season—which resulted in the soft and supersoft compound tyres that Pirelli had brought with them to Hockenheim being massively worn down.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, though, was forced to alter his pre-race plan of a two-stop to a three-stop strategy after an incident involving McLaren’s Jenson Button halfway through the grand prix which saw the former’s front wing damaged. Ultimately, the Briton’s left front tyre became too overworked as the race wore on.
Well, this was yet another grand prix jam-packed full of stunning overtaking moves. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton led the way in this regard, as the Briton made his way through the field from 20th to a third-place finish.
Hamilton showed the watching public his full range of skills as he got past first Kimi Raikonnen and then compatriot Jenson Button, although that latter manoeuvre did see the 29-year-old’s front wing suffer damage.
In the end, however, it was that incident which crucially cost Hamilton the chance of one final passing move on second-placed Valtteri Bottas in the Williams as the race came to a thrilling climax.
Meanwhile, spectators were once again treated to an eye-catching battle for fourth place between Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo which featured a number of breathtaking passing moves among the trio.
In terms of how many actual surprises there were during Sunday afternoon’s German GP, you would have to say that it was only Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s podium finish that could really be classified as a shock.
The Briton had, do not forget, been forced to begin the race at Hockenheim way down in 20th place on the grid after a heavy crash in qualifying on Saturday had left him in 15th and an overnight gearbox change which resulted in a demotion of a further five places.
As a result, few had expected Hamilton to be able to finish in the points on Sunday—even the driver himself had told James Galloway of Sky Sports that he was looking only at “damage limitation again”—let alone seal a third-place finish.
Hats off to the 29-year-old for his stunning drive through the field.
We had excitement right from the opening lap once again involving Felipe Massa after his Williams was touched by the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen, causing the Brazilian’s car to turn over and the safety car to be deployed—the 33-year-old’s last race at Silverstone was also brought to a premature end on the first lap.
Elsewhere, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton damaged his front wing attempting to get past Jenson Button in the McLaren midway through the grand prix. The Briton’s race strategy was also adversely affected after Adrian Sutil’s Sauber span and then came to a halt on the start-finish straight.
That resulted in Mercedes bringing in Hamilton ahead of schedule in order to take advantage of what they thought would be the deployment of the safety car for a second time in the race, only for the incident to instead be resolved by the stewards under yellow flags.
In the end, though, fans at Hockenheim would have been delighted to see Germany’s Nico Rosberg win his home grand prix for the very first time in his career.
He extended his lead over rival and team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the top of the drivers’ standings with now 10 races of the season gone, while also maintaining the feel-good factor currently enveloping the country following last weekend’s World Cup win.