It was a case of so close and so far for Australian Formula One driver, Daniel Riccardo, at the German Grand Prix overnight.
The Aussie Red Bull driver managed to set the fastest lap time, but that wasn’t enough to get ahead of Hamilton, who charged through for another Formula One win after taking victory in Hungary last week.
“What a race, what a fantastic start. It was just about keeping it cool and looking after the engine,” Hamilton said after his third German GP win.
2016 German Grand Prix Leaderboard:
- Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes 1:30:44
- Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull +6.996
- Max Verstappen - Red Bull +13.413
- Nico Rosberg – Mercedes +15.845
- Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari +32.570
How the Race Unfolded:
A strong start from Hamilton wasn’t matched by Rosberg, who found himself swamped by the two Red Bull’s heading into the opening turn.
In those opening exchanges it was Verstappen who gained the advantage, diving from the inside to the outside of the track before going deeper and braver on the brakes to skirt around the outside of Daniel Ricciardo.
Stuck following Ricciardo, Rosberg dived for the pits after 11 laps for a fresh set of tyres with the hope of gaining the upper hand courtesy of the undercut.
A bobble at the back of the car cost the German dearly, leaving him tucked up behind a pair of ponderous McLaren’s and, once the Red Bull had stopped, his old mate Ricciardo.
Following the opening pit stop salvos, which left the running order unchanged as far as the serious positions went, the race became somewhat stagnant as strategies began playing out.
Two-stoppers made their way back down the lane just short of half distance, Rosberg pushing the elbows out following his stop to make his way by Verstappen.
It set up a feisty encounter which lasted a third of a lap, the young Dutchman feeling aggrieved following the squabble which caught the eye of the stewards.
The stewards swiftly handed down a five second penalty, to be applied at his final stop of the race, for forcing Verstappen off the track at the hairpin.
As the field migrated to a three-stop race, Rosberg made his way up to second, though in need of extending a gap ahead of his final stop to mitigate his penalty.
Out front, none of this impacted Hamilton, who had extended a hefty 6.7 second lead, which was effectively 11.7 once Rosberg’s penalty was taken into account
A compliant Verstappen allowed Ricciardo through into third, and with fresh tyres the Australian took chunks from the advantage Rosberg held.
It took only a handful of laps for Ricciardo to bridge the gap, the Mercedes blushes saved only by Rosberg pitting for the final time.
The disharmony at Ferrari was obvious as Sebastian Vettel first refused and then argued with the pit wall, disobeying instructions to pit for tyres.
Asked to lift the pace, Ricciardo responded by banging in the fastest lap of the race, hightailing away from third placed Verstappen in an important move in the intra-team battle.
Such was his pace that Hamilton, who had been serenely going about his business out front, began closing in the race leader with alarming alacrity.
It proved a false positive, the Mercedes driver able to lift his pace and hold his advantage – even with a few light sprinkles of rain in the closing laps.
Hamilton had controlled the race throughout.
Anonymous for large stretches he did simply what was needed, and reacted when necessary to gain the upper hand, maintain it and claim his sixth win in seven races.
Ricciardo was a strong second over Verstappen in third with Rosberg only capable of fourth place, a performance which owed much to a poor start and never really recovered.
Formula One now heads into its annual summer break before reconvening for the Belgian Grand Prix on August 28.