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Rosberg wins Hockenheim thriller

NEWS STORY
20/07/2014

Following two days of searing heat earlier this morning it appeared to be a case of 'all bets are off' as heavy rain began to fall on the Hockenheimring.

The 'experts' had been predicting it all week, but what do they know? Fact is, last night they were claiming an 80% chance of rain today. They were right, sort of.

While it was heavy it soon stopped and the track began to dry, leaving just a few damp patches for the GP2 race.

However, a couple of hours before the start of the race the weather men have changed their minds, claiming that the rain will return tonight leaving the rest of the day bright and sunny. We shall see.

The big news is that following his crash in Q1 yesterday, Mercedes was considering changing the brake discs on his car which would have meant starting from the pitlane. In fact, the German team announced this morning that due to yesterday's crash it was changing the gearbox on his car, thereby incurring a 5-place grid drop.

The announcement came around the same time the first large spots of rain began to fall, which could have been a total coincidence...

The FIA decreed that the change of discs should not necessitate a pitlane start, however, with the gearbox change the team might still opt in its favour.

Then again, if it remains dry and temperatures return to what we had yesterday...

Whether Hamilton's accident really did "gift" teammate Nico Rosberg pole we don't know, after all, the German was quickest in two of the three practice sessions.

Anyway, certainly in the opening stages of the race Rosberg won't be worrying about the antics of his teammate rather the two Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa as the Grove outfit's miraculous return from the midfield continues.

Bottas really is a star of the future and Williams has done well to 'discover' him. Other than his obvious talent, there is the fact that he avoids the spotlight, preferring to get on with the real business. As the team goes from strength to strength, that maiden win might not be too far away. Indeed, having finished (no pun intended) third in Austria and second in Britain, there is an obvious progression today. However, Massa, especially in the wake of his cruel elimination At Silverstone might have other ideas.

Another 'star of the future' starts from fourth today, Kevin Magnussen. Again, like Bottas, this unassuming youngster gets on with the job, regularly out-shining a vastly experienced teammate. He went off the radar after Melbourne - a result the flattered McLaren - but is now regularly making his presence felt.

The Red Bull duo - where once again Ricciardo has the edge - are not as close to the Mercedes as was thought on Friday, and consequently will hope to take as many points as possible and thereby at least keep the German team in sight in the championship, especially at a time of growing reliability concerns for the German team.

Fernando Alonso will give 100% - as he always does - whilst it remains to be seen whether Force India can hold off McLaren.

Toro Rosso has been strong this weekend but reliability remains an issue, whilst Sauber appears to have made a slight improvement, possibly due to the removal of FRIC. Then again, the removal of the controversial systems seems to have totally banjoed Lotus. Indeed, Marussia is lining up the Enstone outfit today.

As we look ahead to the race, it is with sadness that we hear of the death of actor James Garner. Whilst some will be wondering what on earth this has got to do with an F1 race report others will remember Mr Garner from his role as Pete Aron in the John Frankenheimer movie Grand Prix.

Of course, we also have to mention the terrible tragedy - indeed, atrocity, that is Flight MH17. Contacted by Pitpass this morning the FIA was still unclear whether there would be a minute's silence before the race. We hope there is, not necessarily because we believe in them but because there was such a silence ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

A similar tribute ahead of today's race might send the wrong message - after all, one cannot pick and choose which tragedies merit such tributes, especially when they involve the same airline.

Eighty minutes before the start of the race mechanics are still working on Hamilton's car, the team still unclear if it will start him on the grid (20th) or from the pitlane.

A two-stop strategy is theoretically fastest, although there is not a big time difference to a three-stopper. Ultimately, the decision will come down to degradation and wear rate - which will also be influenced by track temperature - and external race circumstances, such as traffic. If it does rain, the strategy will have to be reactive rather than premeditated.

The prediction for the quickest strategy is supersoft-supersoft-soft, stopping on laps 18 and 38. A three-stop sprint strategy could also work, but the two-stopper is more likely.

The pitlane opens and one by one the drivers make their way to the grid.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ape, 21/07/2014 10:53

"Again a great race !! but Montezemolo is telling everybody F1 fans don't like the current Formula. LOL what a clown."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Redphyve, 21/07/2014 10:21

"Hi all...I was wondering...

Is it just me? Or is there a feeling generally that Nico Rosberg is getting more than his fair share of good luck? I was under the impression that a car stranded in the middle of the track mandated a Safety Car intervention? Was it really that safe to let marshals remove the car? After the start to the season we've had, does this kind of thought really need to be in my head? German GP? Officials? Good PR? Football World Cup PR bump for Germany? My doubts need to be put at rest by the exceptional minds here.

Possible talking Point Editor Balfe?

Neale
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by White Lightning, 20/07/2014 19:23

"I really don't like the lateral flips that we've seen this season."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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