Well, once again, Hamilton got the jump on Rosberg at the start of the race, but this time so did Ricciardo and Verstappen. Clean start to the race for the most part, clean pit stops, but then it all hits the fan when, once again, Rosberg tries to run someone off the track. This time it was Verstappen instead of Hamilton and the stewards didn’t buy his line of BS that he had the wheel locked (which he did… about 2 feet before the track edge).
Either way on lap 45, Rosberg finally served his 5 second penalty on his second stop. Combined with a fairly slow stop for the Mercedes boys anyway, he came back out onto the track in 6th place. Hamilton, in the meantime, stayed in clean air, managed his tires when Red Bull struggled with theirs.
Massa complained that his car was impossible to drive… the team couldn’t seem to find anything wrong with it at his final stop before he retired. Williams has struggled seriously this year when they looked like they were finally gaining some traction last season. I wonder if Massa will have a ride next season?
Things got a little interesting when on the last 6 laps of the race a light rain hit the track. Alonso and Checo had a nice little battle for 10th. Button jumped up to 8th getting the drop on Bottas.
Hamilton safely crossed the finish line. Red Bull closed out the podium, leaving Rosberg to pout in a corner somewhere. Now Hamilton is up on the edge as far as parts for his power plant–so after the summer break, he’s going to have to start taking grid spot penalties if anything needs replacing. Precarious, for sure, but once again, he’s in Rosberg’s head and he’s winning the mental battle.
The waiting area for the podium sure was more upbeat without Rosberg there. Much more banter between the drivers.
Pure speculation on my part, but I’m starting to think there is an agenda to make Nico a Mercedes champion. “German: driver in a German car–I get the marketing ploy, they placate him… a lot. They’re much quicker to scold Hamilton (pretty sure if Nico went to the stewards about clarification about what’s okay in a caution and what’s not, they would have left him alone) and they’re much quicker to defend his actions when they are questionable. Maybe I’m completely wrong, maybe I’m not. I’m not in that office, I can only speculate on what’s reported, what I see, and how they act toward each other.
Either way, I’m staying by my claim that there is no way both drivers will still be driving for Mercedes through the end of their new contracts.