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Lewis Hamilton wins German Grand Prix and takes momentum into the summer break

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Lewis Hamilton wins German Grand Prix and takes momentum into the summer break
Jul 31, 2016, 2:33 PM

Lewis Hamilton took an effortless win, the 49th of his career, in the German Grand Prix to make it six wins in seven races and take a solid 19 poin...

Lewis Hamilton took an effortless win, the 49th of his career, in the German Grand Prix to make it six wins in seven races and take a solid 19 point lead into F1's four week summer break.

His team mate Nico Rosberg had an off day; a poor start from pole and he was later hit with a five second penalty for pushing Max Verstappen off the road in an overtake, while Red Bull kept Mercedes honest all race on a day when teams had to adapt strategies to the conditions. Daniel Ricciardo finished second and Max Verstappen third.

The Red Bull double podium required Verstappen to let Ricciardo through at one point as they were on different plans and moved them into a 14 point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors as the Maranello squad go away to regroup over the summer.

Most of the runners went to a three stop strategy and both Mercedes and Red Bull split strategies at the first stop.

This was the 50th Grand Prix since the hybrid turbo rules were introduced to F1 and Mercedes' 43rd win in the same period; an 86% strike rate, which is an unprecedented period of domination. Of the seven races they failed to win, two of them were due to contact between the Mercedes drivers.

Lewis Hamilton

Everyone started on the supersofts apart from Esteban Gutierrez, starting in 11th position on the grid on softs.

The track temperature rose in the hour before the start to 42 degrees, after a cool and overcast morning. This rise in temperature contributed to the variability of the strategies.

It's a short run to Turn 1 and only one line through it and Hamilton spent a long period after the national anthem on the grid standing and staring down the inside line, visualising the start.

German GP

It worked. Rosberg got a poor getaway and Hamilton steamed down the line he had studied so long. Both Red Bulls also jumped ahead of the pole sitter, who had to fight off the Ferrari of Vettel, who had managed to get ahead of team mate Raikkonen. Verstappen went around the outside of Ricciardo into Turn 1, a cigarette paper's width between them, but they managed not t hit each other. It was an instinctive move by the Dutchman who switched left after initialling being to the right of Ricciardo approaching the bracking zone.

Rosberg and Ricciardo had a fierce battle on Lap 2, the Australian resting with all his might. Hamilton pulled away with Verstappen comfortably in second place, Ricciardo and Rosberg ahead of Vettel and Raikkonen. Button gained three places to 9th, while Perez fell six spots to 15th and Gutierrez down to 17th.

Palmer and Massa made contact and Palmer had an early visit to the pits.

The drivers were instructed to take it easy on the tyres in the opening phase, but the pace was still a couple of seconds faster than the last time they raced here in 2014.

As in Hungary, Verstappen was struggling with the rear tyres after nine laps.

Perez pitted in Lap 9 to soft tyres, triggering stops for Sainz and Massa ahead of him, but they lost the position.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 14.31.02

The undercut was clearly working. Mercedes tried it on Ricciardo, but the stop was slow on the rear left wheel, while Verstappen pitted just ahead on the same Lap 14. Rosberg got held up behind the McLaren pair as a result when he came out.

Ricciardo came in a lap later, as Hamilton stayed out.

Ferrari kept both cars out, looking to build a tyre offset. Vettel pitted on Lap 16. There was a mixture of strategies for the second stint with Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen and Ricciardo going to soft tyres, Verstappen and Rosberg to the supersoft. So both Mercedes and Red Bull split strategies, to cover their opposition.

They picked the pace up in the second stint. Hamilton had a comfortable 6 second cushion over Verstappen and covered his pace with laps in the 1m 20s.

Verstappen came on the radio on Lpa 22 to say that the supersoft was 'definitely not the race tyre', as his pace was similar to the cars on the soft tyre. Rosberg was not able to pass Ricciardo, further back the McLarens were battling with Gutierrez, Alonso making a great move on the Mexican on Lap 23.

Alonso

Verstappen was in a difficult position as his gaps to the Ferraris who were both on soft tyres meant that he would come out behind both when he stopped.

Rosberg made his second stop on Lap 28 after 17 laps on supersofts. He came out behind Raikkonen. Verstappen reacted and pitted a lap later.But Rosberg put a very robust move on the Dutchman on the next lap, easing him off the road, having come from a long way behind as Verstappen hit the brakes early.

The stewards looked into it immediately. Rosberg was given a five second penalty for the incident by stewards. He complained to them that he was 'full lock' on the steering and that Verstappen 'moved under braking', a familiar theme. He was able to build a five second gap to Verstappen.

Vettel pitted on Lap 32, rejoining in seventh place.

Hamilton was told that "things are really kicking off now", meaning that Rosberg was in clear air so Hamilton was urged to push hard.

Ricciardo

Ricciardo pitted on Lap 33 and Hamilton a lap later, both taking the supersoft tyres as everyone was committed to the three stop strategy. This was not as planned before the race, with most strategists briefing that a straightforward two stopper supersoft/supersoft/soft.

Ricciardo pushed hard on Rosberg, knowing that the German had a five second penalty to serve at his third stop. Rosberg was told to respond, as his pace had dropped to a second off the Red Bull driver's.

Rosberg stopped just before he was overtaken, and went to the softs. Verstappen covered it a lap later onto supersofts, being pulled into a long final stint on supersofts than ideal, with 21 laps to the finish.

Ricciardo pitted with 20 laps to go as did Vettel, who had earlier refused a call to pit. Ferrari said they wanted to undercut Verstappen, but Vettel couldn't see how that was possible as the gap was too large.

With six laps to the end, a few light spots of rain started to fall on the track.

Hulkenberg was best of the rest on the grid after the top three teams and he held it in the race in seventh place., seven seconds ahead of Bottas' Williams, who had done two stops and was on very worn soft tyres. It cost him.

Meanwhile both McLarens were behind, but in the closing stages Button passed Bottas for eighth, while Alonso lost 10th to Perez' Force India in bizarre circumstances as he locked up and then got unsighted by a slow moving Verstappen, allowing Perez through.

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