Formula One: Lewis Hamilton extends championship lead over Rosberg to 19 points

German Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton (white overalls) watches on as Daniel Ricciardo drinks champagne out of a shoe beside his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.
German Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton (white overalls) watches on as Daniel Ricciardo drinks champagne out of a shoe beside his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Hamilton clinches his sixth win in seven GPs and widens lead over team-mate Rosberg

HOCKENHEIM (Germany) • Lewis Hamilton extended his lead in the Formula One drivers' championship to 19 points after winning the German Grand Prix with ease yesterday, with Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg fourth.

Home hero Rosberg, the pole sitter, surrendered his lead with a dreadful start. The Briton then stormed away to claim his sixth win in seven races.

Second was Daniel Ricciardo, with Max Verstappen, his young Red Bull team-mate, third.

Reigning world champion Hamilton took full advantage of the poor start by Rosberg, who also received a five-second pit-stop penalty for an overaggressive passing move, to deliver a flawless drive.

"I had a great start and my engineers gave me a perfectly balanced car," Hamilton, who started second on the grid, told the Hockenheim crowd from the podium.

  • GERMAN GRAND PRIX RESULTS

  • 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1hr 30min 44.200sec

    2 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull +6.996sec

    3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull +13.413

    4 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes +15.845

    5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari +32.570

    6 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari +37.023

    7 Niko Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India +1:10.049

    8 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren +1 lap

    9 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams +1 lap

    10 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India +1 lap

    DRIVERS' STANDINGS

    1 Hamilton 217 points

    2 Rosberg 198

    3 Ricciardo 133

    4 Raikkonen 122

    5 Vettel 120

    CONSTRUCTORS' STANDINGS

    1 Mercedes 415

    2 Red Bull 256

    3 Ferrari 242

    4 Williams 96

    5 Force India 81

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"Today it was about staying cool and I didn't make any mistakes and in my heart I felt I did a great job. For me, yesterday wasn't perfect, but you learn from those things."

For Rosberg, who was seeking to repeat his 2014 triumph, it ended in disappointment on home soil. The fans had another German to cheer as four-time champion Sebastian Vettel finished fifth, ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and compatriot Nico Hulkenberg, who was seventh for Force India.

Briton Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, finished eighth ahead of Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams and Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India.

In front of a big race-day crowd who had come to see Rosberg grab back the title lead at the 12th race of the season, it was Hamilton who seized the initiative from the off.

As the lights went out, the 31-year-old produced a perfect departure to dash past his team-mate.

The German's poor start also allowed both Red Bulls to surge past him, with Verstappen squirming wide to the left to pass Ricciardo and take second.

Down in fourth after the 320-metre rush down the straight, Rosberg battled to regain a place on Lap 1 without reward as the field stretched and settled.

By the end, Hamilton led Verstappen by 1.3 seconds and Rosberg was back in fourth behind Ricciardo.

Rosberg was soon tussling with Verstappen. The Dutch teenager defended aggressively and retaliated, a characteristic that has earned him a reputation, but he lacked the pace needed.

"He pushed me off the track," said Verstappen. The stewards investigated, agreed and handed Rosberg a five-second stop-go penalty to be taken at his next pit stop.

With 15 laps remaining, Hamilton led Ricciardo by 6.5 seconds, ahead of Verstappen, with Rosberg labouring in fourth.

The defending champion controlled the pace in the closing laps - accelerating clear by eight seconds when necessary as Ricciardo tried to close the gap.

Yesterday's result gave Hamilton, who trailed Rosberg by as many as 43 points in May, the crucial psychological edge in the title battle heading into the second half of the season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Surging ahead 19 to the dozen'. Print Edition | Subscribe