It may have been a poorly attended race and the slowest dry weather F1 race at Hockenheim but that didn’t mean that the home fans didn’t go home happy. Despite the various controversies during the run up to the race, it was still home country driver Nico Rosberg who sent the fans home happy by dominating the German Grand Prix.
As the old saying goes, sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. Lewis Hamilton would certainly tell you that after the season that he’s had so far. Heading to Silverstone, he’s had Mercedes’ only two DNFs along with a 2nd in Monaco because of a yellow flag caused by his teammate, Nico Rosberg.
This time, it was Rosberg who was bitten by bad luck. His first retirement of the season cleared the way for Hamilton to be the one to take advantage. With Rosberg suffering a gearbox failure, it was Hamilton who picked up the win in his home Grand Prix.
There’s one way that every race fan wants a race to be decided: On the race track. However, you could make a reasonable argument that yesterday’s Austrian Grand Prix was decided in pit lane. The cars with the best strategy and best pit stops made it to the front. He might not have had the fastest car but Nico Rosberg had the fastest race en route to his third win of the season.
Let’s get this out of the way first: Nico Rosberg won the race for Mercedes in an absolutely dominant fashion. However, that wasn’t the real story of the race. The true hero of the Monaco Grand Prix was Jules Bianchi who kept his nose clean through the traffic, crashes and safety cars to finish 9th and score his and Marussia’s first ever points.
Over the last four years, Formula One fans complained about the dull dominance of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel as they won four-straight Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships with numerous race wins along the way. Before that, there was five straight years of Ferrari dominance with Michael Schumacher leading the way.
This season, things are shaping up to be worse than the Red Bull / Vettel years and approaching Schumacher / Ferrari levels of dominance. Lewis Hamilton won his fourth-straight race after retiring from the pole in the other race in what is shaping up to be a dreadfully dull year for Formula One.
The only exciting part of this race was the banging and crashing at the start. For the third consecutive Grand Prix, it was Lewis Hamilton who won the race. Without an interruption from the safety car, Hamilton stormed away with his largest margin of the victory of the season. At least the race officials did something to keep us on our toes.
As part of the changes to all of the technical regulations, the 2014 Formula One World Championship season included a rules change that allows four two-day in-season test sessions for teams to work on their cars and gather data about new parts and Pirelli tyres.
The first of these test sessions was in Bahrain following last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. If you include the pre-season testing, that makes 13 days out of 23 (12 days of pre-season testing, 9 days of race weekends and 2 days of this test) of official running that has been held on this one track. So it should surprise anyone that Mercedes was still at the head of the field after this test.
People were looking for all sorts of reasons why the first two races of the season weren’t as epic as everyone was hoping. Much blame was laid at the feed of the new engines being too quiet. Mercedes engines absolutely dominating proceedings wasn’t helping much. Pirelli tyres, as always, were blamed too.
It turns out, though, that all we really needed to get an exciting race from the new generation of Formula One was a late safety car to bunch the field together and allow people to run all over each other in order. Despite some close side-by-side racing at the end, it was Lewis Hamilton that led the race essentially from first corner to the last as he picked up his second win of the season.
Testing isn’t the complete story but it certainly does give you an insight into how the season will play out. The Red Bulls weren’t expected to be in the same timezone as the Mercedes-powered cars but they’re running for podiums. However, the insight that said that Mercedes GP would be blindingly fast proved to be right as Lewis Hamilton led the team home in a 1-2 finish.
The margin of victory wasn’t two laps. Cars were still running at the finish. There were even enough cars to fill all the points paying positions. None of the doomsday scenarios for the first race of the turbo V6 and ERS era came to fruition.
However, as it was predicted by many people heading into this weekend, the Mercedes team was at the head of the field. It wasn’t Lewis Hamilton who won the race as expected but his teammate Nico Rosberg who took the checkered flag in the first race of 2014.