Winners and Losers at the German Grand Prix

Winners and Losers at the German Grand Prix

22 July 2014 – Hockenheim played host to the 10th round of the season as Nico Rosberg claimed a comfortable victory, while Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton charged from 20th on the grid to the final podium position after disaster in qualifying. Here, GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers from the German Grand Prix.

Winners

Nico Rosberg's month started badly when he suffered his first retirement of the year at Silverstone, but since then he's had the time of his life. He married long-term girlfriend Vivian Sibold and then witnessed his beloved German national football team triumph over Argentina in the World Cup final – although his own helmet tribute had to be amended after FIFA kicked up a fuss. He then signed a new 'multi-year' deal, tying him to the iconic Mercedes brand, as well as a quick car, for the next few seasons. In practice he was fairly matched with team-mate Lewis Hamilton across one lap on Friday, although he had concerns over braking, which he believed to be exacerbated by the removal of the FRIC system. On Saturday, he took pole position, albeit aided by Hamilton's demise, and was never challenged once the lights went out in the race. Hamilton was able to recover, but Rosberg nonetheless extended his points lead, claimed a home win (well, technically his second 'home' win of the year) and did so in a Mercedes (albeit one designed and built five miles down the road from Silverstone). If it's possible for a Formula 1 driver to have a better few weeks on and off track, we'd like to know.

Throughout 2013, those in the know could see that Valtteri Bottas had enormous potential and that it was being masked by the recalcitrant Williams FW36. He had his moments, but he spent his first year in the sport facing a steep learning curve, one which he took with enormous maturity. In 2014, his patience has been rewarded and the German Grand Prix was perhaps his finest drive to date. There was none of the spectacular overtaking as in Britain – he simply did the maximum possible with the equipment at his disposal. Having given Rosberg a minor scare during Q3, he recovered from a slow getaway to retain second into the first corner and from there he managed his pace well. There was no point trying to live with Rosberg's speed, so he ensured that he optimised the strategy. He executed his two stop strategy and when a surging Hamilton – on fresher option tyres – arrived on the tail of the Williams, he was met with a brick wall of Finnish resistance. Whereas rivals struggled on used tyres, Bottas ensured that he nailed the exits of crucial corners – such as Turns 3 and 6 – and didn't destroy his tyres in the process. It was a sublime second place, his third podium in a row, and if anyone can halt the Mercedes juggernaut in 2014, it should be him.

There were a few drivers worthy of the third spot on the list but no-one who witnessed the German Grand Prix could deny that the racing was a real winner at Hockenheim. Formula 1 2014 started slightly on the back foot as teams and drivers got to grips with the demands of the new regulations and as a result, the racing suffered. But matters improved significantly and in Germany there was action up and down the field – perhaps aided by improved stewarding which takes a more lenient approach and understands that sometimes, a collision is simply a racing incident. Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo's charges through the field were superb, with Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso's battle at the end of the race worthy of its place in any season montage. The DRS zones were placed perfectly to permit racing without passes becoming simple or artificial. On a number of occasions there were drivers running three wide approaching the hairpin – one time, it was three drivers each with a different Power Unit in the back. The currently regulations have certainly improved the quality of racing.

Losers

Whereas Bottas claimed his third successive podium, Felipe Massa has taken just 30 points across the opening 10 races of the season. The Brazilian has endured significant misfortune this season but in Germany it was difficult to reflect on Massa's frightening first corner action without questioning his tactics. Bottas bogged down at the start, which provided Massa and Magnussen with the sniff of a chance at moving up to second. But the Williams was soon back on course, followed closely by Magnussen, with Massa on the outside. Massa tried to sweep from the outside of the corner for a better exit but he did so without consideration for Magnussen. The stewards deemed that neither driver was to blame but it was a silly move to make by Massa as it belied his experience in the sport and cost Williams a huge bagful of points. Massa doesn't help himself by consistently denying his part in the wrongdoing – discretion is sometimes the better part of valour, but Massa rarely practices the former.

Kimi Räikkönen
's miserable season continued at Hockenheim, leaving him marooned down the championship order. Räikkönen, who was fit to race after his enormous shunt at Silverstone, showed encouraging pace throughout practice, with team-mate Alonso a little at sea. But when it mattered in Q2, Räikkönen suffered a small lock-up into the hairpin which was sufficient enough to cost him a couple of tenths of a second. The result was 12th on the grid and facing another challenging Sunday. He made minor progress but Ferrari's strategy of running a long stint on primes before switching to options was compromised when he was hit firstly by Lewis Hamilton, and then squeezed between Vettel and Alonso. The damage to his Ferrari F14T – a missing endplate – was fairly small but it meant he was wearing out the front tyres at a rapid rate, especially on the Options, and he was consequently unable to make the strategy work, despite overtaking several rivals into the hairpin. What started out as a promising weekend ended with the Finn again unable to even make it into the top 10.

The racing has been excellent at recent events, especially last weekend, so ironically, and somewhat sadly, Hockenheim is a bit of a loser. It's biennial contract means that Formula 1 won't be back until 2016 – if at all, with the Nürburgring angling for an annual deal as it recovers from its financial collapse. Formula 1 arrived at Hockenheim off the back of two popular races, with fans cramming into the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone, along with the party atmosphere of Germany's World Cup win. Yet the grandstands were sparsely populated on Friday and matters only partially improved on Saturday. Official figures give 52,000 spectators for race day and 95,000 for the weekend in total – significantly down F1's last visit in 2012. Even DTM gets more spectators at Hockenheim, a damning indictment of Formula 1's ticket prices, accessibility and attitude towards fans. While money from ticket sales does not go into F1's pocket, a lack of spectators reflects badly on the sport and does little to attract sponsors. Those fans that did attend were vociferous in their support, but Germany has the champion of the last four years, the current leader and the dominant team, so a poor attendance was disappointing.

Phillip Horton
Twitter: @PHortonF1

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 21 August 2017

  2. Video: F1 2017 video game at Zandvoort 13:05

    Video: F1 2017 video game at Zandvoort

    Until 1985, Circuit Zandvoort hosted the Dutch Grand Prix. To celebrate the upcoming video game release of F1 2017, Koch Media…

    F1
  3. Force India still hoping for podium finish 13:00

    Force India still hoping for podium finish

    Force India still harbours hopes of a podium finish during the 2017 season and is "ready to take" any opportunity, says team…

    F1
  4. Haas to start with Brembo brakes at Spa 11:59

    Haas to start with Brembo brakes at Spa

    Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has confirmed that both Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen will start the Belgian Grand Prix…

    F1
  5. Abraham gets new Aspar deal for 2018 10:34

    Abraham gets new Aspar deal for 2018

    Karel Abraham will remain with Aspar through 2018, having performed "much better" than the team expected on his MotoGP…

    MotoGP
  6. Gasly revels in 'very special' SF triumph 10:32

    Gasly revels in 'very special' SF triumph

    Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly described his maiden victory in the Super Formula championship as "very special", after he…

    SF
  7. Video: IndyCar Pocono race day highlights 09:33

    Video: IndyCar Pocono race day highlights

    Watch highlights of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, also known as the Tricky Triangle.

    Indy
  8. Norris takes title lead after Zandvoort double 09:12

    Norris takes title lead after Zandvoort double

    McLaren-backed Lando Norris moved into the lead of the European Formula 3 Championship with a commanding performance at…

    F3
  9. Formula 1 launches eSports championship 09:01

    Formula 1 launches eSports championship

    Formula 1 has announced the launch of its first official eSports series. Starting in September 2017, fans and gamers from…

    F1
  10. Video: Mercedes-Benz's W125 from 1937 05:42

    Video: Mercedes-Benz's W125 from 1937

    Take a look at the dominant Mercedes-Benz W125, which was the car to beat in the 1937 Grand Prix season.

    F1
  11. Sunday 20 August 2017

  12. 22:49

    Latest IndyCar photos: Sunday at Pocono

    Indy
  13. Power wins Pocono with strategy, persistence 22:47

    Power wins Pocono with strategy, persistence

    Will Power delivered a precise and tactical final two stints in an eventful race at Pocono on Sunday to hold off Josef Newgarden…

    Indy
  14. Hunter-Reay gets green light for Pocono 15:17

    Hunter-Reay gets green light for Pocono

    Ryan Hunter-Reay has been cleared to race at Pocono later on Sunday in the wake of his hefty accident during…

    Indy
  15. Verstappen doubts Red Bull win threat 14:17

    Verstappen doubts Red Bull win threat

    Max Verstappen feels it will still be "tough" for Red Bull to compete with Mercedes and Ferrari when Formula 1 returns from its…

    F1
  16. Wehrlein hopes for non-DTM alternative 12:22

    Wehrlein hopes for non-DTM alternative

    Pascal Wehrlein says the "second way" of reaching Formula 1 will no longer be possible for any Mercedes-backed youngsters…

    F1
  17. Video: Visor Cam at Pocono Raceway 11:34

    Video: Visor Cam at Pocono Raceway

    Ride along with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal during his qualifying run at Pocono.

    Indy
  18. Hunter-Reay in doubt for race after crash 10:02

    Hunter-Reay in doubt for race after crash

    Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay will need to be cleared to drive by IndyCar's medical team on Sunday, following a hefty…

    Indy
  19. In photos: Formula 1's iconic Spa moments 09:42

    In photos: Formula 1's iconic Spa moments

    Formula 1 returns from its summer break next weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix, which takes place at the legendary…

    F1
  20. Motegi gets new five-year MotoGP deal 08:47

    Motegi gets new five-year MotoGP deal

    Motegi will remain as the host of the Japanese Grand Prix until at least 2023 after signing a new five-year deal with MotoGP…

    MotoGP
  21. Nakagami graduates to MotoGP with LCR 08:35

    Nakagami graduates to MotoGP with LCR

    LCR Honda will become a two-bike team in 2018 after confirming that Takaaki Nakagami will graduate to MotoGP, partnering Cal…

    MotoGP
  22. Gasly takes maiden SF victory at Motegi 08:22

    Gasly takes maiden SF victory at Motegi

    Red Bull-backed Pierre Gasly captured his maiden Super Formula win at Motegi on Sunday. Gasly qualified in fourth position…

    SF
  23. Video: Williams Heritage Stories - FW14B 05:42

    Video: Williams Heritage Stories - FW14B

    Williams tells the story of the 1992 title-winning Williams-Renault FW14B, with input from champion Nigel Mansell, Riccardo…

    F1
  24. Saturday 19 August 2017

  25. 20:45

    Latest IndyCar photos: Saturday at Pocono

    Indy
  26. 20:44

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  27. Video: Castroneves crashes during qualifying 20:42

    Video: Castroneves crashes during qualifying

    Penske's Hélio Castroneves escapes unharmed following a hard hit during IndyCar qualifying at Pocono Raceway.

    Indy
  28. Sato beats Pagenaud to pole at Pocono 20:36

    Sato beats Pagenaud to pole at Pocono

    Andretti Autosport's Takuma Sato ran last in an eventful Saturday qualifying order for the ABC Supply 500, edging out Penske…

    Indy
  29. Hamilton: Mercedes in 'good place' with tyres 16:33

    Hamilton: Mercedes in 'good place' with tyres

    Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes is in a "good place" with its understanding of Pirelli's tyres, after problems during the early…

    F1
  30. Video: Top overtakes from FE's third season 12:42

    Video: Top overtakes from FE's third season

    Take a look at the 20 best overtakes from the 2016/17 Formula E championship, as chosen by series officials.

    FE
  31. Steiner: Minardi-style team could aid youth 10:08

    Steiner: Minardi-style team could aid youth

    Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner believes Formula 1 would benefit from the existence of a Minardi-style outfit, in order to…

    F1
  32. Video: Day in the life of an F1 show car team 05:36

    Video: Day in the life of an F1 show car team

    Mercedes highlights what it takes to put on a spectacular F1 show at the world's best motorsport events.

    F1
  33. Friday 18 August 2017

  34. Video: IndyCar's 2018 speedway aero kit 17:12

    Video: IndyCar's 2018 speedway aero kit

    IndyCar technical guru Jon Beekhuis runs through the features on the series' 2018 speedway kit.

    Indy
  35. Social media: Who's winning off the track? 16:02

    Social media: Who's winning off the track?

    Social media is an increasingly important tool for drivers and teams to share key moments and communicate with their fans, but…

    F1
  36. Overview: Formula 1 silly season rumbles on 13:42

    Overview: Formula 1 silly season rumbles on

    While the Formula 1 community has recharged its batteries over the summer break, the silly season has rumbled on in the…

    F1
  37. F1 considering options for second US race 12:59

    F1 considering options for second US race

    New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas have all shown interest in hosting a second Grand Prix in the United States…

    F1
  38. Video: What happens during the shutdown? 11:16

    Video: What happens during the shutdown?

    What goes on at an F1 factory during the summer break? Mercedes 'reveals all' in this light-hearted video.

    F1
  39. Alonso: 'Unfinished business' with McLaren 09:54

    Alonso: 'Unfinished business' with McLaren

    Fernando Alonso says he is open to sticking with McLaren for 2018, highlighting "unfinished business together", but needs…

    F1
  40. Mid-season review: Sauber still at the back 08:52

    Mid-season review: Sauber still at the back

    GPUpdate.net concludes its mid-season review series with Sauber, which has remained at the rear of the Formula 1 field as it…

    F1
  41. Video: Keke vs Nico - Williams memories 05:32

    Video: Keke vs Nico - Williams memories

    F1 champion father and son Keke and Nico Rosberg share their favourite memories of Williams.

    F1
  42. Thursday 17 August 2017

  43. Video: How to master IndyCar oval tracks 17:02

    Video: How to master IndyCar oval tracks

    A selection of IndyCar drivers talk about the challenges of racing on ovals, and how to master them.

    Indy
  44. Williams 'very disappointed' with first half 16:27

    Williams 'very disappointed' with first half

    Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe says the team was left feeling "very disappointed" with its results over the opening half of…

    F1
  45. Overview: Alternative stats from season so far 14:58

    Overview: Alternative stats from season so far

    Formula 1 championship standings, race wins and pole positions all get covered, but what are the lesser-known statistics of the…

    F1
more news