So far in 2016, it’s been impossible to start a race without having an incident on the opening lap. This one claimed Vettel in a big way, along with Hulkenberg. Considering the words Vettel have for Kvyat after China, I wonder if Ferrari will lodge a formal complaint. As my husband wisely said, “There’s accusations and then there’s Ferrari accusations.” Vettel was more than a little upset on the radio in the replay. Kvyat hit him not once, but twice. I might overlook the first one because it was crowded in the corner, but they were in open space that second hit. You know it’s bad when Vettel spends the race looking at video, talking to Christian Horner, and who knows what else.
But it did give Hamilton the chance to jump up to 4th after starting in 10th after yet another power plant issue in qualifying. And then to 3rd overtaking Raikkonen on lap 7. But then the battle with Bottas for 2nd allowed Rosberg to just build his gap on everyone else.
It was nice to see Alonso and Grojean both move up 7 places from where they started early in the race.
Bottas pits on lap 17 to give Hamilton 2nd finally but by then Rosberg built up a 14 second gap. And Hamilton lost his tires trying to fight Bottas, which brought him in on lap 18. He was SO close to getting him on the pit exit but just couldn’t get it done. Williams pit stops have been absolutely on point recently–something that’s hurt them in the past and they seem to have it completely sorted out.
Then finally on lap 19, Hamilton got around Bottas. The difference between cold and warm tires.
Raikkonen has a weird pit release on lap 21–they changed his tires and he sort of just rolled off. It cost him 3rd place coming out in front of Bottas. Then Rosberg came in just after, with a strong stop, and he came back out in the lead.
Then we had several laps of mid-pack passing, multiple penalties for various infractions, and Rosberg maintaining his sizable lead, but Hamilton slowly chipping away at it. It was a relatively boring second half of the race after the first.
Rosberg won, Hamilton did a hell of a job to finish 2nd after starting 10th, and then Raikkonen rounds out the podium. Alonso finished 6th–good job McLaren. Grojean was back in the points, too–good for Haas.
So now Rosberg joins exclusive company being one of four drivers to win seven races in a row. But he’s also the only one of those to not have a title to his name. The way it’s going so far this year, that might change, but it’s also a long way to go to the end.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to remember the loss on this day 22 years ago, of the great Ayrton Senna. It’s always a little solemn when a race falls on this day and though it’s slightly different now that he’s no longer the last fatality from a Formula 1 race (#ForzaJules), he was and is such an icon, such a larger than life figure that it’s impossible not to think about him today. I was a teenager when he died and it was much more difficult to watch in the US at that time (thank you DVR) but even with those hindrances, he made an impression on me. There are so many quotes I try to live my life by, and so many people who do the same. We’ll always be left wondering how would the world be different if he had lived?