Nico Rosberg gave his home fans the perfect end to a perfect week at the German Grand Prix, claiming a comprehensive win at Hockenheim.
The Mercedes driver eased to his fourth victory of the year and first in his homeland but in reality it was a result not really in doubt following another "gift”, as Lewis Hamilton described it, in qualifying.
As Rosberg claimed pole, his championship rival had another horrendous Saturday as Hamilton suffered brake failure, causing him to spin into the wall, and meant he had to start from 20th on the grid.
So whereas Lewis enjoyed a triumphant home win sending the Silverstone crowd into a frenzy, a typically restrained German reaction met Rosberg’s win, largely because of the differing circumstances but also because it was so easy.
F1′s finest put on a show
Another factor in Rosberg’s victory lacking perhaps the shine of Hamilton’s at Silverstone was, for the most part, if you didn’t know the German was racing you would not think he was there.
The racing and wheel-to-wheel action generated largely by Hamilton’s charge back through the field meant the cameras had very little reason to watch Rosberg’s Mercedes out front by itself.
The current Hockenheim layout is often regarded to as a go-kart track compared to what it once was and the style of racing is very reminiscent too with drivers ducking in all different directions into the various overtaking areas.
The turn six hairpin has always been a favourite and with DRS the impact that one corner has on an entire race is huge.
This year was no different with the majority of overtakes taking place there and as the drivers showed off their race craft, there were varying degrees of success.
The resurgent Hamilton used the power of his Mercedes to move through but also banged wheels on several occasions.
In many ways his misjudgment of Jenson Button’s McLaren going round the hairpin cost him second place as he had to switch strategy due to a damaged front wing that would later lead to an early decision to make his final stop which meant his tyres were not fresh enough to make a move on Valtteri Bottas.
The best action, however, was between the Red Bulls and Fernando Alonso as Daniel Ricciardo continued to show why Red Bull chose him to replace Mark Webber.
He may already be a race winner and we know all about his qualifying abilities but in an underpowered Red Bull he made moves on cars with DRS where he could and used great improvisation where he could not.
His bravery with several drivers, including a marvellous late battle with Fernando Alonso, enhanced his reputation not just among fans but also among the drivers with Alonso himself saying how impressed he had been while fighting with the Australian.
The Ferrari driver also renewed the on-track rivalry with Sebastian Vettel from Silverstone with some more great wheel-to-wheel action, and this time with no constant bickering over the radio.
With great battles throughout the field once again, those who complain that the show is fading were proved very wrong indeed.
A new flying Finn
If the stock value of Ricciardo continues to increase, then the current hottest commodity is Williams’ Bottas.
The Finn has been given all the build-up and hype and in that typically relaxed manner is fulfilling lofty expectations.
If Felipe Massa was brought in to lead the team in 2014, then the current score of three podiums to Bottas to none for Massa will make for grim reading in the South American side of the garage.
F1 had its first glimpse of what Bottas could do last year in the wet qualifying in Canada, where he claimed third, and now that he has a car capable of fighting at the front, the future for Finland in F1 looks very safe.
Not only did he make a two-stop strategy work but on used tyres he showed he can hang with one of the most aggressive drivers in the business as he kept a hard charging Hamilton at bay, exploiting the strengths that Williams possess.
All to play for heading to Hungary
With the German Grand Prix in the books for 2014, Formula 1 has officially passed the halfway point of what has been the most enthralling season.
With controversy and action everywhere you look, the upcoming summer break will provide us all with a chance to draw breath.
Before that, however, teams and drivers make the hop east for the Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest. No longer the only race in Eastern Europe ahead of the inaugural Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, this is another track where Hamilton is expected to have the edge.
The Briton won his first race for the Silver Arrows there last year and will likely need to again to close the 14-point deficit to Rosberg in the drivers’ standings.
The unique layout at the Hungaroring will make for a much different test and potentially a much different pecking order and I will be looking ahead to this pivotal race in the days ahead.
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