Hamilton extends lead with faultless victory in Germany

Lewis Hamilton scored his 49th Grand Prix win with a dominant drive at Hockenheim. The reigning world champion extends his championship lead by 19 points as team-mate Nico Rosberg suffered a poor start.

With his Mercedes colleague bogged down with wheel spin from pole position, Hamilton took the lead and never looked back. It was his sixth victory in seven races.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finished second in his 100th Grand Prix appearance, with his team-mate Max Verstappen completing the podium in third.

Rosberg made a poor getaway at the start, dropping to fourth as Verstappen went round the outside of Ricciardo through Turn 1 to take second behind clear leader Hamilton.

At the first round of pit-stops, Mercedes and Red Bull split strategies, with Rosberg and Verstappen taking the super-softs and Hamilton and Ricciardo the softs tyre – though all the leaders ultimately ended up on three-stop plans.

Verstappen struggled with that tyre compound, allowing Rosberg to close the gap and then pit early to try the undercut.

Red Bull responded by bringing the youngster in early too and he rejoined ahead but Rosberg got in the slipstream on the run down to the hairpin.

Rosberg dived down the inside, with Verstappen moving in the braking zone before then giving him some room.

Rosberg ran deep into the corner, pushing Verstappen wide and then off track. Following an investigation, the Mercedes driver was handed a five-second time penalty to take at his final pitstop.

Hamilton and Ricciardo ran longer before their second pit-stops, and went to super-softs whereas Verstappen and Rosberg had gone for softs.

That helped Ricciardo to close on and pass Verstappen, and when he took more super-softs at the last stops while Hamilton reverted to softs he mounted a charge towards the lead.

Hamilton had enough in hand, though, raising his pace when required to stay clear of Ricciardo and take the victory.

Rosberg appeared to be held for longer than five seconds for his penalty at his final stop and rejoined fourth, losing all hope of rescuing a podium.

Ferrari had a difficult race with Sebastian Vettel fifth, 32.5 seconds adrift at the chequered flag with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen 4.4 seconds further back after they swapped positions at the start.

It meant the Scuderia have dropped behind Red Bull, which scored its first double podium since Hungary last year, to third in the constructors’ championship, 14 points adrift.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh ahead of Jenson Button with Valtteri Bottas ending up ninth after a long final stint on the soft tyre.

Sergio Perez snatched tenth from Fernando Alonso with three laps to go.

Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr were the only two retirements, with the former pulling into the garage with suspected damage after being hit by Jolyon Palmer at the start.

So the sport takes a summer break. Lewis Hamilton has been on a winning form, overcoming a deficient to Nico Rosberg to lead by 19 points. The action resumes in late August at magnificent Spa.

German Grand Prix, race results after 67 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h30m44.200s
2    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    6.996s
3    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    13.413s
4    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    15.845s
5    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    32.570s
6    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    37.023s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m10.049s
8    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
9    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
12    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
13    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
14    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1 Lap
16    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1 Lap
17    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    2 Laps
18    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2 Laps
19    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    2 Laps
20    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    2 Laps
–    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    Retirement

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    217
2    Nico Rosberg    198
3    Daniel Ricciardo    133
4    Kimi Raikkonen    122
5    Sebastian Vettel    120
6    Max Verstappen    115
7    Valtteri Bottas    58
8    Sergio Perez    48
9    Felipe Massa    38
10    Nico Hulkenberg    33
11    Carlos Sainz    30
12    Romain Grosjean    28
13    Fernando Alonso    24
14    Daniil Kvyat    23
15    Jenson Button    17
16    Kevin Magnussen    6
17    Pascal Wehrlein    1
18    Stoffel Vandoorne    1
19    Esteban Gutierrez    0
20    Jolyon Palmer    0
21    Marcus Ericsson    0
22    Felipe Nasr    0
23    Rio Haryanto    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    415
2    Red Bull-Renault    256
3    Ferrari    242
4    Williams-Mercedes    96
5    Force India-Mercedes    81
6    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    45
7    McLaren-Honda    42
8    Haas-Ferrari    28
9    Renault    6
10    Manor-Mercedes    1
11    Sauber-Ferrari    0

Rosberg on pole for home race at Hockenheim

Nico Rosberg strikes back on his Mercedes team-mate and title challenger Lewis Hamilton to take pole position at Hockenheim.

This P1 is significant in terms of the championship. Just six points the difference following Hamilton’s victory in Hungary last weekend. Rosberg was under pressure in Q3 following an electronic issue that forced him to abort his first flying lap.

It seemed Lewis Hamilton had the edge after setting the quickest time in Q1 and Q2. The championship leader was on provisional pole in Q3 with a margin of six tenths of a second over the others.

Rosberg took to the track on super-softs after the electronic issue was resolved and grabbed his fifth pole position of the season by just over a tenth of a second.

Hamilton responding to his team-mate’s lap time. He was tenth of a second quicker in the first sector but locked up at the Turn 6 hairpin and fell up short. Still lines up second on the grid.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo relegated team-mate Max Verstappen to fourth on his final run, having been behind on first-run times.

Ferrari locked out the third row, with Kimi Raikkonen outpacing Sebastian Vettel by almost two tenths to win the intra-team battle.

Force India and Williams had a very close battle for the final four places in the top ten, with the four cars covered by just 0.105 seconds.

Nico Hulkenberg won the battle ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Sergio Perez ninth ahead of Felipe Massa.

Esteban Gutierrez was the fastest driver in Q2 to be eliminated, ending up P11, after briefly breaking into the top ten with his final run before being eliminated by Massa’s late improvement.

McLaren driver Jenson Button was P12 ahead of Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz, who is under investigation for impeding Massa at Turn 2.

Fernando Alonso was P14 after running wide over a kerb and shedding some small parts of his front wing in the stadium section – although he also complained about being held up by Vettel’s slow Ferrari.

Romain Grosjean, who lost most of final practice to a gearbox problem that will lead to a five-place penalty, was P15 ahead of Jolyon Palmer, the Renault driver making his first Q2 appearance since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was the surprise driver to be eliminated in Q1 thanks to late improvements from the Renaults and Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein.

Palmer’s final lap put him into Q2, with Kevin Magnussen taking P17 with a lap less than a tenth slower than his team-mate.

Despite not believing he could have gone any quicker after his second run, Wehrlein used a third set of super-softs to take P18 with what he described as a “great” lap ahead of the baffled Kvyat.

The Sauber pairing of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson complete the final row, with the former just over a tenth faster than his team-mate.

So a top result for Nico Rosberg in front of his home fans. This result marks 30 years since his father Keke recorded his last pole position. At exactly the same circuit too.

Qualifying standings, German Grand Prix:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m14.363s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m14.470s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m14.726s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m14.834s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m15.142s
6    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m15.315s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m15.510s
8    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m15.530s
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m15.537s
10    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m15.615s
11    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m15.883s
12    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m15.909s
13    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m15.989s
14    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m16.041s
15    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m16.665s
16    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m16.716s
17    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1m16.717s
18    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m16.876s
19    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1m16.977s
20    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m16.086s
21    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m17.123s
22    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m17.238s

Hamilton takes championship lead following race victory

Lewis Hamilton achieved his fifth Hungarian Grand Prix victory and becomes the new leader of the Formula 1 world championship.

From second on the grid behind his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton took the race lead into the first corner and controlled it from there onwards.

By scoring his fifth victory in six races, Hamilton has turned a 43-point deficit into a six-point advantage.

Rosberg had to settle for runner-up, 1.9 seconds behind, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo just managing to hold off Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari for the final podium spot.

Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen did the same to the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen in a scrap so close The Iceman clipped the young teenager’s car at one stage.

Neither Mercedes had made a supreme getaway from the front row and the Red Bulls both attacked.

Ricciardo was ahead around the outside but Hamilton kept both the Australian and Verstappen’s inside line attack at bay. Rosberg then repassed Ricciardo around the outside of Turn 2.

At first the Red Bulls stayed close to the Mercedes, with Verstappen complaining he was “driving like a grandma” behind Ricciardo.

But the the main loser in the first round of stops, dropping behind Vettel as Ferrari used an undercut and also Raikkonen, who started P14 on softs and ran 29 laps in his first stint. The time spent behind The Iceman left Verstappen out of the podium fight.

Just before the midway point Hamilton was warned by his team to pick up the pace otherwise Rosberg would pit first at the second round of stops to fend off the threat being posed by Ricciardo.

“I’m driving to the best of my ability,” responded Hamilton, who then managed a surge to put 2.8 seconds between himself and Rosberg.

It was enough for Hamilton to take precedence as another set of softs was fitted after 41 laps, with Rosberg following a lap later, and both stayed ahead of the early-stopping Ricciardo.

On lap 53 of 70, with Hamilton held up by the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez – earning a middle-finger salute from the reigning champion when he finally passed and a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags – Rosberg closed to 0.6 seconds.

Hamilton then edged away, only for the gap to fall to 0.6 sseconds again after 62 laps following a small lock-up at Turn 12, but it was as close as Rosberg managed to get.

Vettel steadily closed in on Ricciardo for third to no avail, while Raikkonen found himself chasing Verstappen as their alternate strategies played out, attacking repeatedly on fresh super-softs but ended up frustrated.

Behind the top six was Fernando Alonso, followed by  Carlos Sainz, Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was the only retirement after a miserable race including an early loss of hydraulic pressure affecting his brakes.

A drive-through penalty for unauthorised radio communication while addressing the problem and finally an oil leak. A terrible race for the 2009 champion.

So a change in the championship between the Mercedes drivers. Hamilton has a six-point lead over Rosberg, and yet it is Nico’s home race coming up at Hockenheim. Expect strong support for the German driver next weekend.

Hungarian Grand Prix, 70 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h40m30.115s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1.977s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    27.539s
4    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    28.213s
5    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    48.659s
6    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    49.044s
7    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1 Lap
9    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
12    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1 Lap
13    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
14    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1 Lap
16    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1 Lap
17    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
18    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    2 Laps
19    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    2 Laps
20    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    2 Laps
21    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    2 Laps
–    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    Retirement

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    192
2    Nico Rosberg    186
3    Daniel Ricciardo    115
4    Kimi Raikkonen    114
5    Sebastian Vettel    110
6    Max Verstappen    100
7    Valtteri Bottas    56
8    Sergio Perez    47
9    Felipe Massa    38
10    Carlos Sainz    30
11    Romain Grosjean    28
12    Nico Hulkenberg    27
13    Fernando Alonso    24
14    Daniil Kvyat    23
15    Jenson Button    13
16    Kevin Magnussen    6
17    Pascal Wehrlein    1
18    Stoffel Vandoorne    1
19    Esteban Gutierrez    0
20    Jolyon Palmer    0
21    Marcus Ericsson    0
22    Felipe Nasr    0
23    Rio Haryanto    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    378
2    Ferrari    224
3    Red Bull-Renault    223
4    Williams-Mercedes    94
5    Force India-Mercedes    74
6    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    45
7    McLaren-Honda    38
8    Haas-Ferrari    28
9    Renault    6
10    Manor-Mercedes    1
11    Sauber-Ferrari    0

Next race: German Grand Prix, Hockenheim. July 29-31.

Rosberg snatches pole in rain-affected qualifying

Nico Rosberg achieved his 26th career pole position in a rain-affected qualifying session at the Hungaroring. The championship leader grabbed the P1 slot from his Mercedes team-mate in the final moment of Q3.

Lewis Hamilton held provisional pole after the initial runs in a dry Q3, and looked on course to seal the deal on his second run, but backed out as Fernando Alonso spun his McLaren at Turn 9 and brought out the yellow flags.

Rosberg was running behind Hamilton on track, and though there was a yellow for Rosberg at Turn 8, Alonso had got going again by the time Rosberg reached Turn 9.

While the first sector of Rosberg’s final flying lap was more then four tenths slower than Hamilton’s, he was fastest of all through the second sector on a rapidly improving track and stole P1 from Hamilton by less than two tenths of a second.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo also had to abort his final flyer and wound up third fastest, just 0.172 seconds slower than Hamilton in a session he called “crazy”.

Max Verstappen was fourth quickest, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, the McLaren pair of Alonso and Jenson Button, with Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas completing the top ten.

Hamilton was fortunate to even make it through to Q3 after locking up and running wide at Turn 1 on his final Q2 lap.

On a rapidly drying track, the British Grand Prix winner tumbled down the order, but remained just inside the top ten as Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat, Sergio Perez, Kimi Raikkonen, Esteban Gutierrez, and Felipe Nasr all missed the cut.

A twenty-minute rain delay and four red flags meant Q1 lasted well over an hour.

A second downpour shortly after an already rain delayed start caused the first stoppage, before Marcus Ericsson crashed at Turn 10, Felipe Massa at Turn 4 and finally Rio Haryanto – again at Turn 10 – all had crashes that prompted red flags. Q1 was eventually over despite a time of one minute, 18 seconds remaining on the clock after Haryanto’s incident.

“Aww f***ing hell, that’s really poor!” moaned Jolyon Palmer on team radio, as he became the biggest loser of the track position lottery and finished the session P17, having lapped inside the top ten in final practice.

Massa ended up P18, ahead of Kevin Magnussen – who began his final run on wets and aborted to switch to intermediates just before the final stoppage – Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein and Haryanto.

So an incident-filled qualifying session which took two hours to settle the grid for the Hungaroring. Championship leader on pole, with his Mercedes team-mate and title rival alongside.

Qualifying standings, Hungarian Grand Prix:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m19.965s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m20.108s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m20.280s
4    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m20.557s
5    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m20.874s
6    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m21.131s
7    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m21.211s
8    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m21.597s
9    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m21.823s
10    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m22.182s
11    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m24.941s
12    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m25.301s
13    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m25.416s
14    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m25.435s
15    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m26.189s
16    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m27.063s
17    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m43.965s
18    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m43.999s
19    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m44.543s
20    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m46.984s
21    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1m47.343s
22    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1m50.189s

Hamilton victorious in front of passionate home crowd

Lewis Hamilton scored his hat trick of Silverstone victories  in a rain-hit British Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion finished the 52 lap race by 6.9 seconds over Rosberg. The series leader is being investigated for a breach of radio rules.

Max Verstappen made his second successive podium appearance for Red Bull with third. The teenager was fighting the Mercedes most of the race.

Verstappen nearly grabbed second when Rosberg ran into late gearbox problems.

The championship leader was told to shift quickly through seventh gear and given a line of advice on settings.

The British Grand Prix started with six laps behind the safety car after a heavy shower, though it had stopped raining by the time the race began.

Several drivers, led by Kimi Raikkonen in fifth, dived straight into the pits for intermediates when the safety car pulled in but Hamilton, Rosberg and Verstappen opted to stay out.

It proved to be smart decision as the virtual safety car was introduced when Pascal Wehrlein beached his Manor in the gravel, allowing the top three to pit and rejoin with a sizeable distance on the rest.

Verstappen coped with the drying track better than Rosberg, carrying far more speed through Becketts and then passing around the outside within the high-speed complex for second before pulling away.

Sebastian Vettel started the trend for dry tyres soon afterwards, with the top three maintaining the same order as they moved to slicks.

Hamilton and Verstappen were caught out by a puddle at Abbey (Turn 1), pitching them over the runoff and allowing the top three to close to within five seconds just past half-distance.

Rosberg was quicker than Verstappen as the track continued to dry and after complaining that the Red Bull driver moved too many times in defence, he eventually made the pass to grab second around the outside of Stowe.

Rosberg then closed on Hamilton, getting the gap down from eight to six seconds before the gearbox scare halted his chase.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth for the fifth time in ten races this season, with mid-race Raikkonen fifth after a late pass on Sergio Perez – who had gained ground by staying out on wets as long as the leaders – into Stowe.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, ahead of Carlos Sainz and Vettel, who held onto ninth despite a five-second time penalty for forcing Felipe Massa off track at Village.

Raikkonen, Perez and Sainz all escaped track excursions and spins at Abbey on the same slippery patch that caught out Hamilton and Verstappen.

Daniil Kvyat completed the top ten to ensure Toro Rosso’s fourth double-points finish of the season.

Massa missed out on points in P11 ahead of Jenson Button, who started P17, and Fernando Alonso, who had a spectacular spin at Abbey and nudged the barrier before continuing.

Jolyon Palmer had a messy home race, with a ten seconds stop-go penalty after his Renault team released him in the pits without a right-rear tyre, and retired late on.

Rio Haryanto spun out at Abbey, tapping the barrier, while Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean and Marcus Ericsson also failed to see the chequered flag.

So a dream result for Lewis Hamilton. The British driver winning in front of the home crowd. Only a single point the difference between him and Nico Rosberg. The fight for the title is on.

British Grand Prix, race results after 52 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h34m55.831s
2    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    8.250s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    16.911s*
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    26.211s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m09.743s
6    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m16.941s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m17.212s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m25.858s
9    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m31.654s
10    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m32.600s
11    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
12    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
13    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
14    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
15    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
16    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
17    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    3 Laps
–    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    Retirement
–    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    Spun off
–    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    Spun off

*10-seconds added penalty for use of radio communications

Drivers’ standings:

1    Nico Rosberg    168
2    Lewis Hamilton    167
3    Kimi Raikkonen    106
4    Daniel Ricciardo    100
5    Sebastian Vettel    98
6    Max Verstappen    90
7    Valtteri Bottas    54
8    Sergio Perez    47
9    Felipe Massa    38
10    Romain Grosjean    28
11    Nico Hulkenberg    26
12    Carlos Sainz    26
13    Daniil Kvyat    23
14    Fernando Alonso    18
15    Jenson Button    13
16    Kevin Magnussen    6
17    Pascal Wehrlein    1
18    Stoffel Vandoorne    1
19    Esteban Gutierrez    0
20    Jolyon Palmer    0
21    Marcus Ericsson    0
22    Felipe Nasr    0
23    Rio Haryanto    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    335
2    Ferrari    204
3    Red Bull-Renault    198
4    Williams-Mercedes    92
5    Force India-Mercedes    73
6    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    41
7    McLaren-Honda    32
8    Haas-Ferrari    28
9    Renault    6
10    Manor-Mercedes    1
11    Sauber-Ferrari    0

Next race: Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring. July 22-24.

Hamilton speeds to Silverstone pole

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved pole position at the British Grand Prix. Setting a new lap record in an exiting qualifying session.

The Mercedes driver was in the zone, full of confidence thanks to the fans support. His Q2 lap was an impressive one minute, 29.243 seconds. A new record at the home of motor racing.

In Q3, the championship challenger was on provisional pole with yet another solid lap. But race control deleted his time after exceeding track limits. The Mercedes driver gained extra speed on the exit of Copse corner with wheels off the circuit…

Hamilton bounced back on his final run, going another half a tenth faster to grab pole for his home race, again just over three tenths clear of Rosberg.

Red Bull locked out the second row of the grid, with Max Verstappen outqualifying team-mate Daniel Ricciardo for the first time, by 0.305 seconds.

Ferrari was next up, Kimi Raikkonen well clear of Sebastian Vettel. The four-time champion survived a massive slide at Stowe on his best lap in Q3, but will fall back to P11 when a gearbox-change penalty is applied.

Vettel’s lap was still enough to leave him 0.067 seconds clear of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, while Fernando Alonso put his McLaren-Honda eighth quickest before his best time was deleted for running off track at Stowe.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg also had his best time deleted – for running wide at Copse – so Carlos Sainz claimed eighth place for Toro Rosso. Hulkenberg was demoted to ninth, Alonso in tenth.

Sergio Perez narrowly missed the top ten cut-off after a series of late improvements in Q2.

He trailed Force India team-mate Hulkenberg by just over a tenth of a second.

Felipe Massa ended up a disappointing P12 for Williams, just ahead of the Haas pairing of Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez, and Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Both Grosjean and Kvyat failed to improve during their second runs in Q2, with Kvyat complaining of being blocked by Kevin Magnussen’s Renault.

Magnussen put Renault into Q2 for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix, despite having a time deleted for a track limits offence in Q1.

Magnussen’s P16 came at the expense of McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button, who failed to escape Q1 after deciding not to do a second run.

Button’s first run was over half a second slower than team-mate Alonso, and left him only a few tenths clear of the drop zone.

Late improvements from Kvyat and Magnussen – who pipped Button by just 0.059 seconds – meant the British driver wound up only P17, in a car that should have been good enough for Q2.

Jolyon Palmer was the fastest Renault driver after the first runs in Q1 – despite both having times deleted for track limits offences – but failed to improve on his second run so ended up P18.

Rio Haryanto pipped Manor team-mate Pascal Wehrlein to be P19, while Sauber will bring up the rear of the grid.

Felipe Nasr was slowest of the runners and Marcus Ericsson failed to participate in qualifying after crashing heavily in final practice and going to hospital for precautionary checks.

So a popular pole position winner with Lewis Hamilton. Championship rival Nico Rosberg alongside. Will there be another clash between the Silver Arrows? We shall find out on race day at the British Grand Prix.

Qualifying positions, Silverstone:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m29.287s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m29.606s
3    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m30.313s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m30.618s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m30.881s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m31.557s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m31.920s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m31.989s
9    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m32.343s
10    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m31.875s
11    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m31.490s
12    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m32.002s
13    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m32.050s
14    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m32.241s
15    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m32.306s
16    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m37.060s
17    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m32.788s
18    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m32.905s
19    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1m33.098s
20    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1m33.151s
21    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m33.544s
22    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    No time

Hamilton victorious following final lap clash with Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton resists a robust defence from championship rival Nico Rosberg to take victory at the Red Bull Ring.

Battling for the Austrian Grand Prix lead, Hamilton closed in on Rosberg around the outside of Turn 2 on the final lap, only to be forced off the track as they again ran into one another.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has commented that post-race that Nico Rosberg suffered a brake-by-wire issue but this is questionable. As Rosberg seemed to block his team-mate Lewis Hamilton from taking the lead. Making no attempt to turn into the apex, rather keeping straight to stop his rival…

Rosberg sustained severe damage to his front wing, and was eventually passed by not only Hamilton but also Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.

Rosberg was classified fourth and his championship lead has been reduced from 24 to 11 points. Race stewards are investigating for Rosberg causing a collision and failing to top with a seriously damaged car.

It was a dramatic finish to a thrilling race that started with Hamilton finally turning pole position into a lead coming out of Turn 1 after failing to do so from his four previous pole positions.

From his sixth place on the grid after serving a gearbox-change penalty following his crash in final practice, Rosberg claimed one position to run fifth at the end of lap one.

Soon after passing Jenson Button’s McLaren for fourth, Rosberg pitted to switch from ultra-softs to the soft compound after ten of the 71 laps.

While Rosberg rejoined in P15, 30 seconds from the lead, Hamilton conjured a remarkable job to eke life out of the ultra-soft tyres that had blistered so quickly in practice – helped by the cooler conditions of race day.

Although Hamilton managed to keep second-placed Kimi Raikkonen at bay, Rosberg managed to eat into his title rival’s advantage, slashing it to 21.9 seconds by the time Lewis eventually pitted after 21 laps.

A slow replacement of the left-rear did not help Hamilton’s cause, and he emerged a few seconds adrift of Rosberg.

Raikkonen pitted a lap later, but with Ferrari’s poor strategy calling this season again exposed as he emerged in sixth behind both Red Bulls.

Sebastian Vettel stayed out and assumed the lead, one that lasted for just five laps before his right-rear tyre exploded down the main straight, with Pirelli blaming track debris as the cause.

With Vettel stranded on track, the safety car was deployed and Rosberg led from Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Raikkonen at the restart, with the Mercedes soon pulling away.

Both would stop again, Hamilton coming in first with 19 laps to go and taking on used softs.

Again it was not the quickest from his crew, plus a poor Turn 2 for Hamilton enabled Rosberg to stay ahead after his stop for new super-softs a lap later.

The Mercedes then had to battle past Verstappen, who was nursing his softs on a 56-lap stint to the finish, before commencing a massive scrap that ended in their last-lap contact and a crucial win for Hamilton.

Behind Verstappen, Raikkonen and the damaged Rosberg, Ricciardo claimed fifth after a late stop for ultra-softs.

Button held his own among the frontrunners at first and finished sixth for McLaren-Honda, ahead of Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz.

A last-lap crash for Sergio Perez after an apparent mechanical problem promoted Valtteri Bottas to ninth and Pascal Wehrlein into tenth and a point for Manor.

This was a rewarding result for Manor. After making Q2 in qualifying, to score a championship point with Wehrlein’s solid effort is a brilliant achievement.

The other Force India of Nico Hulkenberg went backwards from his first front-row start for five and a half years, making three pitstops for tyres and retiring from the midfield late on.

So, a controversial ending to the Austrian Grand Prix with the Mercedes drivers crashing into one another. The British Grand Prix follows and it’s going to be fascinating to see if Lewis Hamilton can keep up this winning feeling in front of his home fans.

Austrian Grand Prix, race results after 71 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h27m38.107s
2    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    5.719s
3    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    6.024s
4    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    16.710s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    30.981s
6    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    37.706s
7    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    44.668s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    47.400s
9    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
12    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1 Lap
13    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
14    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1 Lap
15    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
16    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1 Lap
17    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    2 Laps
18    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    7 Laps
19    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    7 Laps
20    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    8 Laps
–    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    Tyre
–    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    Retirement

Drivers’ standings:

1    Nico Rosberg    153
2    Lewis Hamilton    142
3    Sebastian Vettel    96
4    Kimi Raikkonen    96
5    Daniel Ricciardo    88
6    Max Verstappen    72
7    Valtteri Bottas    54
8    Sergio Perez    39
9    Felipe Massa    38
10    Romain Grosjean    28
11    Daniil Kvyat    22
12    Carlos Sainz    22
13    Nico Hulkenberg    20
14    Fernando Alonso    18
15    Jenson Button    13
16    Kevin Magnussen    6
17    Pascal Wehrlein    1
18    Stoffel Vandoorne    1
19    Esteban Gutierrez    0
20    Jolyon Palmer    0
21    Marcus Ericsson    0
22    Felipe Nasr    0
23    Rio Haryanto    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    295
2    Ferrari    192
3    Red Bull-Renault    168
4    Williams-Mercedes    92
5    Force India-Mercedes    59
6    Toro Rosso/Ferrari    36
7    McLaren-Honda    32
8    Haas-Ferrari    28
9    Renault    6
10    Manor-Mercedes    1
11    Sauber-Ferrari    0

Next race: British Grand Prix, Silverstone. July 8-10.

Hamilton grabs top spot in Austria

Lewis Hamilton achieved his fifty-four career pole position at the Red Bull Ring, recovering from his tyre blistering problems in final practice to top a rain-affected and dramatic qualifying session.

The drivers began Q3 on intermediate tyres after rain fell heavily in Spielberg at the end of Q2, but everyone had to switch to dry tyres for the last few minutes as the track conditions improved.

Hamilton ended the session 0.543 seconds quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, but Rosberg will drop to seventh following a crash in final practice which resulting in a gearbox change.

Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India was the first car to switch to slicks in Q3 and ended the session with the third quickest time, ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, which also carries a five-place grid penalty.

Jenson Button was a superb fifth quickest for McLaren-Honda and will start third on the grid thanks to Rosberg’s and Vettel’s penalties.

This was Button’s first appearance in Q3 since 2014 and to qualify on row two is a rewarding effort for the Woking-based team.

Kimi Raikkonen was 0.001 seconds slower than Button and yet, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull.

Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten.

That rain during the final minutes of Q2 prevented Mercedes matching the Red Bull and Ferrari strategy of setting faster times on super-soft tyres, meaning they can start the race on those sets.

Mercedes tried to respond after it used ultra-softs at the beginning of Q2, before the rain came, but the track was too wet when it sent its cars out on super-softs, so Hamilton and Rosberg will start on the less suitable softest compound.

The bad weather also protected Button from possible elimination, as he made Q3 for the first time since the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by edging ahead of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas, which finished the session in P11.

Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein starred with the tenth best time in Q1, before going P12 in Q2 – equalling Manor’s best qualifying result in the sport.

Romain Grosjean ran off track during his first run in Q2 on old tyres, and the subsequent rain condemned him to P13, 0.150 seconds adrift of Wehrlein.

Fernando Alonso was a distant P14 in the McLaren-Honda, after mistakenly doing his first Q2 run on old tyres.

He finished the session ahead only of the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez’s Force India, who both sat out Q2 due to engine and suspension failures respectively.

The climax to the first part of qualifying was heavily affected by two separate incidents for Toro Rosso.

First, Daniil Kvyat crashed after suffering suspension failure over the exit kerb at Turn 8, which caused a red flag that meant rivals had to abort runs.

Then team-mate Sainz suffered his problem exiting the pits after the restart, which caused yellow flags and rendered the final minutes largely redundant.

However, Hulkenberg improved his lap time while the yellow flags were out, so his front-row start is under threat from an investigation into how much he backed off when passing the incident.

Sainz remained P11, while Renault pairing Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer stayed P17 and P18, behind Alonso’s McLaren.

Rio Haryanto ended up P19 for Manor, improving under the yellow flags but not in the first sector and not by enough to gain any places.

Kvyat ended up P20, narrowly ahead of the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, the latter of which also improved under the yellows but again not by enough to improve position.

Qualifying standings, Austrian Grand Prix:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m07.922s
2    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m09.285s
3    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m09.900s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m09.901s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m09.980s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m10.440s
7    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m08.465s*
8    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1m11.153s
9    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m09.781s*
10    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m11.977s
11    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1m07.578s
12    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1m07.700s
13    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    1m07.850s
14    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m08.154s
15    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    No time
16    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    No time
17    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1m07.941s
18    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1m07.965s
19    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1m08.026s
20    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m08.409s
21    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m08.418s
22    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m08.446s

*Five-place grid penalty for changing gearbox