Hamil­ton takes fourth win in a row

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

LEWIS HAMIL­TON dom­i­nated the Ger­man Grand Prix to move into a 19-point lead in the cham­pi­onship over Mercedes team-mate Nico Ros­berg.

Hamil­ton shot into the lead at the start from sec­ond on the grid as Ros­berg slipped to fourth, where he fin­ished af­ter a dif­fi­cult af­ter­noon.

Ros­berg was pe­nalised for forc­ing Red Bull’s Max Ver­stap­pen off the track.

The Ger­man fin­ished be­hind Red Bull’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo and Ver­stap­pen af­ter be­ing un­able to make up the lost time.

It was the ic­ing on the cake for a per­fect af­ter­noon for Hamil­ton, who has put a stran­gle­hold on the cham­pi­onship af­ter a re­mark­able re­cov­ery from a dif­fi­cult start to the sea­son.

In seven races, Hamil­ton has turned his sea­son around, mov­ing from a 43-point deficit to Ros­berg af­ter five races to his cur­rent ad­van­tage of just six points short of a en­tire win.

Hamil­ton knows he will have to take a grid penalty for us­ing more than the per­mit­ted num­ber of en­gine parts at one of the first two races af­ter the sum­mer break, start­ing with the Bel­gian Grand Prix at the end of Au­gust.

And he tar­geted a re­sult like this to try to en­sure that when he does have to start from the back, he will not leave that race with another big deficit to Ros­berg.

This vic­tory was de­ter­mined by the start. Ros­berg, who had taken a su­perb pole po­si­tion un­der highly pres­sured cir­cum­stances on Satur­day, bogged down off the line.

Hamil­ton shot into the lead, and Ros­berg ex­ited the first cor­ner be­hind both Red Bulls as well, with Ver­stap­pen slot­ting into sec­ond ahead of Ric­cia­rdo.

De­spite the Mercedes’ in­her­ent pace ad­van­tage, Ros­berg was un­able to pass ei­ther Red Bull be­fore the sec­ond pit stops just be­fore the 30-lap mark.

The key mo­ment for Ros­berg’s at­tempt to re­cover ground on Hamil­ton came af­ter that stop.

Mercedes tried the ‘un­der-cut’ on Ver­stap­pen, get­ting an ad­van­tage by stop­ping a lap ear­lier, and when the Red Bull emerged from its stop at the start of lap 29, Ros­berg was right be­hind Ver­stap­pen.

Ros­berg dived late for the in­side into Turn Six, as Ver­stap­pen moved to the right to de­fend in the brak­ing zone - a ma­noeu­vre which he has made some­thing of a trade­mark, to the anger of the other driv­ers, who feel it breaks a gen­tle­man’s agree­ment be­tween them about a dan­ger­ous tac­tic.

In re­sponse, Ros­berg went straight on deep into the cor­ner, and emerged ahead.

But Ver­stap­pen com­plained on the ra­dio he had been “forced off the track”, the stew­ards looked into it and pe­nalised Ros­berg five sec­onds.

Ros­berg, who passed Ric­cia­rdo into sec­ond when the Aus­tralian made his sec­ond stop on lap 33, had to serve that at his third and fi­nal pit stop on lap 44, drop­ping back to fourth again.

He emerged 5.4 sec­onds be­hind Ver­stap­pen but could make no progress to­wards the Red Bulls and had to set­tle for a dis­ap­point­ing fourth.

Ros­berg now has a four-week break to pon­der how his sea­son has fallen apart, and his best chance yet of win­ning the ti­tle ap­pears to have al­ready as good as evap­o­rated.

Fer­rari had an un­der­whelm­ing first race fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor James Al­li­son, with Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Kimi Raikko­nen an anony­mous fifth and sixth, ahead of the Force In­dia of Kimi Raikko­nen.

Be­hind Force In­dia’s Nico Hulken­berg, McLaren’s Jen­son But­ton passed Wil­liams’ Valt­teri Bot­tas for eighth place on the penu­ti­mate lap, just af­ter team­mate Fer­nando Alonso had lost out to Force In­dia’s Ser­gio Perez for the fi­nal point af­ter a mix-up with Ver­stap­pen as the Red Bull lapped the McLaren and then slowed down.

Alonso backed out of an at­tempt to un­lap him­self, and Perez took ad­van­tage of the McLaren’s wear­ing tyres to slip by af­ter Alonso locked up on the en­try to Turn Six. — BBC Sport

Lewis Hamil­ton gives a thumbs up on the podium

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