Mercedes had a good day at its home Grand Prix on Sunday July 20th, taking first and third places on the podium. Sandwiched between Nico Rosberg in first and Lewis Hamilton in third was Williams driver, Valtteri Bottas.
According to Formula 1, Rosberg advanced his lead in the drivers' championship on Sunday to 190 points, for a net increase of 10 over team-mate Hamilton, now at 176.
About his fourth win this season, Rosberg commented -- and referencing the German win at the FIFA World Cup soccer match and his wedding all in the same week -- "Wow, what a great day after so many great events for me this week! I came here hoping for a win and it worked out perfectly. My Silver Arrow was so dominant, thanks to the team for this fantastic car."
"Before the race I was worried that without the FRIC system the gap in the race would be smaller. But we were again the quickest out there. I did a two stop strategy, which was difficult to manage at the end of the stints as the tires were almost gone. I'm so happy for Mercedes; it was the first win for many many years in Germany. Thanks for the support here at Hockenheim, the fans were amazing to me. Also at the start I saw a Mexican wave, which was great. Now I look forward to Hungary."
While Rosberg led from pole the whole race, it was Hamilton who had arguably the most work to do to end up on the podium in Hockenheim. Starting back in 20th position on the grid, he worked his way up, even with a three-stop pit plan, to third. About his accomplishment, he had this to say in his post-race comments:
"First of all, congratulations to Nico on winning his home race; it's a special feeling and I am very proud that we could put both cars on the podium for Mercedes-Benz in Germany and represent for all the Mercedes employees and fans here this weekend. From a personal point of view, I can't be too ecstatic about the race because it has been a tough weekend for me and I've ultimately lost more points to Nico in the championship battle. But I'm grateful that I could limit the damage with a podium finish."
Hamilton continued, "When you are sitting on the grid basically in last place, with no other cars in your mirrors, it's very hard to imagine that you could be standing up there two hours later. I'm so grateful to the team for this car, I really take my hat off to them for building a machine that can put in that kind of performance. To be honest, it was a pretty straightforward race for me, although I had some trouble following what was going on and where I was running at times. I had a nice battle with Kimi early on, when I was lucky not to damage the front wing, then the incident with Jenson was just unfortunate.
Hamilton experienced damage to his left wing after the incident with Button, his former McLaren team-mate. He described it further, "He [Button] has been such a gentleman this year and not given me too much trouble getting past but it was just a misunderstanding today. I wasn't close enough to try and pass but I was on the inside line in the corner. It looked like he had gone wide, then he cut back across the corner and perhaps he didn't see me there. I lost quite a bit of downforce with the damage and it made it very hard to look after the front left tire. I had a lot of understeer and the tyre was degrading fast, which is the reason why we converted from a two-stop strategy to three. Then the team called me in early on the first set of option tyres because we expected a Safety Car to come out - and I was surprised that there wasn't one, to be honest I caught Valtteri pretty fast in the final laps but he just had too much straightline speed to get past."
He concluded his remarks by speaking about the contest he is mostly having this season with his own Mercedes team-mate: "I'm doing absolutely everything I can to get back on level terms with Nico in the title battle: I can't focus more or work harder than I am doing right now. This championship is proving a big challenge for me but that's how I love it - and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Williams, a British team with an illustrious history in Formula 1, had a mixed day on Sunday. After Felipe Massa went out on the first lap, Valtteri Bottas brought it home for second place.
Bottas said, "I am really happy with the way the race went today. As a team we have been unlucky not to have both drivers on the podium as we had the pace. To keep a Mercedes behind at the end of the race was promising showing that it is possible, and the car is very strong. The engineers shared a lot of information with me about the tires and where Hamilton was and that team work was the key to the good result."
Williams has now bumped ahead of Ferrari in the constructors' championship with 121 points to the latter's 116. Mercedes swallows any competition at 366 points; Red Bull is still second at 188.
The next Formula 1 race is a quick turn-around for the teams -- the Hungarian Grand Prix is on July 27. After that, the series gets a break from races until late August.