Thursday, 24 July 2014

After Race 10: Germany

Hockenheim – whether the old or the new configuration – just provides great racing. Sunday’s race was terrific, and not just because of Hamilton, Ricciardo and Magnussen charging through the field. There was another super battle between Alonso and Vettel, with the latter once again coming out on top.

Susie Wolff got another run out and it looked like she would be cruelly jinxed again but luckily a reset was done and she performed admirably in FP1. Elsewhere, Juan Pablo Montoya won his first single-seater race since the 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix as he won at Pocono in the IndyCars.

The removal of FRIC suspension didn’t shake the field up as some people predicted but it did force the teams and drivers to work harder on set-up and car control – which is always a good thing!
Makes a change from the standard Merc team celebratory photo!
Source: Nico Rosberg (Twitter)
1. Nico Rosberg (no change)
How did Nico Rosberg recover from his Silverstone DNF? Well… he got married, Germany won the World Cup, he signed a contract extension with Mercedes and he took a wire-to-wire win at his home race.

=2. Daniel Ricciardo & Lewis Hamilton (no change)
Juan Montoya gets a second mention in this week’s F1 Power Rankings; the Colombian spun off during qualifying in the 2005 Hockenheim event and stormed his way through the field to finish P2. Hamilton started in that same 20th position but could only reach the bottom step of the rostrum as Valtteri Bottas held him off (Lewis was also hindered by an early final pit-stop as they reacted to the Sutil spin). Hamilton did provide us with the best radio of the race: “I’ve never heard of that switch,” when instructed to select Menu Magic Position One.

Ricciardo once again outqualified Vettel but he was caught up in the first corner mêlée and plummeted down the field. Like Hamilton, he methodically made his way through the field and finished a solid P6 – less than 0.1secs behind Fernando Alonso after a superb battle.
Hamilton survived a clumsy move on JB
Source: McLaren (Facebook)
4. Daniil Kvyat (no change)
Danii K has had a fantastic rookie season but he made a glaring mistake in the early stages on Sunday. Having once again made it into Q3, an over-opportunistic half-move on Pérez saw him spin off and fall out of points contention. He went on to challenge Massa for ‘most spectacular retirement’ award with his fiery exit. One added note – a word for the marshals who put the fire out – especially the man who ran across the run-off area at the hairpin, in the firing line, to assist his colleagues.
And this wasn't even the scariest DNF in the race
Source: Getty Images
5. Valtteri Bottas (no change)
Another outstanding performance from Bottas: Q2 and P2 for his third consecutive podium and a job well done in holding off Hamilton in the final stint.
Bottas took his first podium in Austria. He's now 3-for-3.
Source: Williams F1 Team (Facebook)
6. Jules Bianchi (no change)
Fresh from his Silverstone Ferrari test, Bianchi was once again class of the backmarker quartet. His sluggish getaway was negated by the first lap safety car and he went on to have a rather lonely race in a no-man’s land between the midfield and the Marussia/Caterham battle.

7. Nico Hülkenberg (up one spot)
A solid home weekend for The Hulk as he continued his 100% points-scoring record this season.

8. Jenson Button (up one spot) & 9. Kevin Magnussen (up four spots)
K-Mag is this week’s big winner in the F1 Power Rankings. A superb P4 on the grid evaporated in the first corner shunt with Massa before he rallied from a ten-second deficit as the SC went in to rocket up the field to an eventual P9.

Button failed to make Q3 but took advantage of the first corner mêlée to run sixth in the early stages before slowly sliding backwards. A dubious move at the hairpin under yellow flags went unpunished but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion. The clumsy incident with Hamilton was somewhat bizarre but the FIA called it right not to penalize either driver and Hamilton apologized anyway (although JB’s positioning was very odd).
Magnussen's great weekend could have been even better
Source: McLaren (Facebook)
10. Sebastian Vettel (up one spot) & 11. Fernando Alonso (no change)
Vettel was best of the rest as Red Bull managed to out-strategize Ferrari to take fourth spot in the closing stages. It was a joy to watch the battling between the two multiple champions. The inclusion of another world champion, Räikkönen, into the battle after the first round of stops proved to help his rival and hinder his team-mate. Alonso’s late battle with Ricciardo was equally fantastic to watch.
That's seven world championships making contact...
Source: Red Bull Racing (Facebook)
12. Romain Grosjean (down five spots)
RoGro is the big loser in this week’s F1 Power Rankings, having spent several races sitting comfortably inside the top eight. Lotus struggled without the FRIC suspension – as did Red Bull – and they just haven’t progressed after their back-to-back points-finishes in Spain and Monaco.

13. Sergio Pérez (down three spots)
Checo was fifth in the F1 Power Rankings just two races ago but a pair of underwhelming weekends has seen him slide. He was also strongly warned by his engineer to lift-and-coast during the race, suggesting he was ignoring instructions earlier. With Mexico now confirmed for 2015, he’ll hope for an instant boost from the news.

14. Felipe Massa (down one spot)
For the second race running, Massa saw his race end of the first lap. Another spectacular crash for the Brazilian saw him emerge unscathed but it was his own fault. The FIA were 100% correct in their decision not to penalize him as it was the first lap, but it is quite clear that Felipe completely cut off K-Mag into T1.
Source: Williams F1 Team (Facebook)
15. Jean-Éric Vergne (no change)
Rather anonymous weekend for JEV. The Frenchman started and finished thirteenth and flirted with a point before he was penalized for exceeding track limits, compounding his rather mediocre performing.

16. Kamui Kobayashi (no change)
KK’s car caught fire in free practice but he rebounded well to both outqualify and outrace Max Chilton. As mentioned last week, these are very tough times for Caterham.

17. Pastor Maldonado (no change)
Just like Grosjean, Maldonado threatened to score points but ultimately the Lotus just wasn’t good enough. Both drivers are doing solid jobs but they just cannot build any momentum. He’ll hope the 2015 car is an improvement having signed a contract extension.

18. Kimi Räikkönen (down one spot)
It’s difficult to know what to write for Kimi. Q12, P11… yes, the Ferrari is not a great car in 2014 but he’s just consistently being blown away by Alonso. A bit of a clumsy weekend for Räikkönen.

19. Max Chilton (no change) & 20. Marcus Ericsson (no change)
Quiet weekend for both drivers as they brought up the rear; both drivers were comfortably beaten by their team-mates. Chilton just couldn’t get the better of Kobayashi while Ericsson will be relieved to have seen the chequered flag after missing quali and picking up penalties.

=21. Adrian Sutil (no change) & Esteban Gutiérrez (up one spot)
“Another miserable weekend for the Swiss team,” – I could copy and paste that quote every week, unfortunately. Sauber are just plain awful at the moment. Sutil’s bizarre spin just another tale of woe to add to their dreadful season.

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