What a race it was!! Plenty of mistakes, drama and a surprise winner in the process. Could well be the best race of the year so far but it must be stressful for everyone. This is the team story of the Grand Prix weekend.
After the rivalry step up another notch at Monaco, it was crucial for Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to try and seize the initiative. They were in a class of their own in practice, despite Lewis having a close off track exertion.
At qualifying there was no controversial moments this team. Nico just edging out Lewis Hamilton by less than a ten of a second. Hamilton made a mistake mid way through that could have done the job.
At the start, Lewis did make the better start but with some robust defending by Nico Lewis lost 2nd place to Vettel but quickly took the place back a few laps after the restart.
After their first pits stop Nico had a huge moment into turn 4, clipping the kerb and unsettling the cars rear end, almost hitting the wall.
Lap 25 and a huge lock up from Nico Rosberg into the final chicane while under pressure from Lewis sends Nico straight over the chicane, gaining an advantage in the process. Final warning for him now!!
The pressure starts to build as Nico has to save more fuel than Lewis, one of the best on fuel saving all year.
However, a huge moment mid way through the race as both Mercedes loses power and are lapping a few seconds a lap slower than the guys behind. Both trying to reset the car while driving.
After their 2nd pitstops, Lewis suddenly went wide at the hairpin and goes side by side with Nico at the final chicane and it’s now Lewis cutting the chicane.
Lewis does give the place to Nico in the end but there’s a bigger problem. Smoke coming out the back of the car and he ends up in retirement with a rear brake problem.
Nico with a loss of straight line speed is now having to look after his brakes and defend against a trainful of cars. With a couple of laps to go, Daniel Riccardo manage to get through and Nico had to settle for 2nd.
The report says that it was a high voltage control electronics failure that lead to a permanent loss of MGU-K drive on both cars.
Mercedes vulnerable big time, car not perfect after all. How many more chances will that get the other teams, we will see. Nico though extends his championship lead over Lewis in the process.
The only problem with the Renault power cars is they are not good on the long straights and Canada has a big one that goes up to 215mph in fact.
Earlier in the week Vettel had an early gearbox problem but his pace was still good throughout the weekend.
It was a fascinating battle in qualifying between Red Bull and Williams which they were separated by a few hundredths of a second. Vettel was lucky in 3rd with Riccardo unlucky in 6th.
The lack of straight line speed did hurt the Red Bulls all race as Riccardo started to pit early to gain an advantage over Felipe Massa.
Lap 23 and Vettel decides to have a late dive over Nico Hulkenberg at the hairpin but goes well too deep, it’s a hard life for the world champion now.
Daniel Riccardo and Sebastian Vettel were using their craft to their advantage as late on they dispense with Hulkenberg and now over the back of Perez, catching Rosberg.
It was very hard to find a pass but finally on lap 66 Riccardo finally made his pass on Perez into turn1, one of the key passes on the race as he eventually hunts and passes Rosberg for the win.
Sebastian Vettel soon passes Perez into the final chicane to take the final podium place. It was Riccardo’s day as he has now beaten Vettel in the last five races. A popular winner and the first of many I bet.
He was emotional in his victory speech on the team radio. Christian Horner thought it was an incredible drive while Adrian Newey says he is an amazing young man.
This could be a weekend of what could have been for this once winning team. The pace was their and Bottas and Massa have been on pace all week.
In qualifying the heat was on but it was the younger Bottas taking 4th from Massa, best time to get a podium.
They got off to a slow start and even Massa first pitstop was not up to scratch, the front left tyre wasn’t ready and drops the Brazilian back in the mid pack.
Bottas was still up their with the main bunch but after his 2nd pitstop, locks up big time at the hairpin.
Massa did take the lead a little while but in the crunch of the race, Williams have told him to pass Bottas.
What happen was on lap 57, Bottas ignored the advice, tries to pass Hulkenberg, gets it wrong and Massa goes straight through and in the hunt for victory, possibly.
Felipe Massa did get to the back of the leading pack, however as everyone was using DRS on the straight, his chances of passing was getting difficult.
Time and time again he tried but wasn’t to be. Massa though did have a great chance of passing Perez on the final lap but huge contact send them both to the wall.
Massa said on twitter afterwards that after he had checks at the medical centre he was taken to the hospital for further precautionary checks.
Bottas had a recurring problem late on and was dropping back to finish 7th, what could have been for Williams ended up in bitterly disappointed.
Another team with Mercedes power, Force India were pretty much running in the mid pack throughout the weekend as Hulkenberg got 11th and Perez 13th on the grid.
They were running such a different strategy in the race that almost worked perfectly to their advantage, running longer stints and going at competitive paces.
Perez going for a 34 lap run on the super softs and Hulkenberg even longer on the hard tyre. Perez was on the pace and was soon hunting down Rosberg.
Once he caught up to him, Rosberg’s pace increase slightly and Perez was nowhere close in the first sector which made all the difference.
Late on in the race, Perez had no brakes at all and was struggling to keep up with Rosberg and hold onto the fight behind.
It soon got out of hand as Perez collided with Massa and ended up heavily in the barriers both missing Vettel by inches. After the race Perez has been handed a five place grid penalty for the next race because of the crash.
His team mate Hulkenberg still managed some decent points in fifth place and kept up his brilliant season continue.
Once a name at the front, Ferrari have started the season in not the best form at all. New upgrades did help Alonso to fastest in first practice and 7th on the grid with Raikkonen 10th.
Overall you would have to say it was a quite race for the prancing horse. Raikkonen spinning at the hairpin mid way through and finished 10th while Alonso was a little better in 6th.
Alonso said afterwards that the car has improved a bit compared to Monaco but others took a bigger step like Red Bull.
Another team willing to improve on its recent run of form, McLaren were defiantly running in the mid pack all week but Jenson Button doing well to get into the final qualifying session.
Both drivers didn’t have any dramas in the race, Magnussen finish in the points in 9th while Button took a great piece of advantage in the final laps to finish an excellent 4th.
Button said he manage to get through the traffic in the end by passing both Alonso and Hulkenberg on the inside.
I have been fairly impressed with them this season, great pace and with Vergne ending a respectable 8th on the grid, it was all looking good.
His rookie teammate Daniel Kvyat had a moment where we cut the final chicane while trying to defend against Raikkonen early on but retired mid way through. Vergne had a good race to finish. 8th.
Nothing seems to be going right for them. An under-performing car, no points this season and two drivers that don’t get the best out of the car.
Gutierrez didn’t know which tyre to choose early on but retires late on while Sutil finished a lonely 13th and last.
The mechanical problems keep continuing for this once strong team which was winning races for Raikkonen in the not too distant past.
Maldonado and his very sick Lotus didn’t made it last 22 laps. While Grosjean just missing out as well, can’t blame him, he was racing against Vettel last year.
Currently the slowest team on the grid but that didn’t stop American Alexander Rossi to try his best in first practice, matching Ericsson on pace. Might do a better job in qualifying if Ericsson didn’t crash late on.
Ericsson retired early with an engine problem on lap 9 while Kobayashi had a spin in turn 1 and cause some right rear damage which was bad and also had to retire.
A difference a fortnight makes is incredible. Bianchi with their first points at Monaco and were on cause to break into Sauber territory with an impressive lap from Max Chilton in qualifying.
However in the race, Chilton and Bianchi crashed at turn four on the first lap and both out of the race. Max blamed it on his teammate for braking too late and turning into him.
So as the season returns to Austria in two weeks time, Rosberg takes a 22 point lead over Hamilton in the standings with Riccardo up to 3rd place.
In the Constructors is still Mercedes 1, Red Bull 2 but Ferrari still holding into 3rd place with Force India and McLaren close behind and Williams in 6th.
One of the best races all season has come to a close but want awaits round the corner for these guys will be interesting as Mercedes aren’t so dominate after all, especially as it don’t have wings. Goodbye.