Belfast Telegraph

Lewis Hamilton beams with pride after extending title advantage at rival Rosberg's home race

By Jack de Menezes

Lewis Hamilton sealed a dominant performance at Hockenheim with his third German Grand Prix victory.

Hamilton capitalised on home favourite Nico Rosberg's disastrous start from pole, meaning the three-time World champion heads into the summer break with an impressive 19-point championship advantage over his Mercedes team-mate after a 62-point swing since their first-lap accident in Barcelona.

Hamilton believed that Lady Luck was against him at the start of the season when a series of technical failures and incidents left him 43 points adrift of Rosberg heading to the Spanish Grand Prix, where the two Silver Arrows made it as far as four corners before taking each other off.

Since then, Hamilton has won five of the six Grands Prix on offer, and has turned that deficit into a healthy gap that will come in handy when the championship resumes at Spa-Francorchamps in three weeks' time, given he is expected to take an engine penalty for using an unsanctioned sixth power unit.

The 31-year-old reigning champion admitted this week that the full extent of what happened after the crash in Barcelona will come to light "one day".

However, it looked like the pendulum was swinging back in Rosberg's favour as he returned home to Hockenheim, having dominated practice and beaten Hamilton to pole on Saturday after overcoming an electrical glitch.

Yet that good fortune deserted him as soon as the lights went out. As Hamilton rocketed off the line, Rosberg lit up the rear wheels, costing him time and allowing the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo past to relegate him to fourth before reaching the first corner.

As far as Hamilton was concerned, his race was done from that point on, as he led every one of the 67 laps to come home seven seconds ahead of Ricciardo, who utilised a better strategy and management of his tyres to pass Verstappen via a team order after the Dutchman beat him off the line.

"First please let me start with a big thank you to the fans," a beaming Hamilton said on the podium, with the absence of the boos that greeted him in Austria clearly leaving him somewhat surprised. "Germany, this is a great turnout and thanks for coming, great sportsmanship. I've got a lot of fans here.

"I've got to say thanks to the team, I got a great start and then managed the tyres. I didn't make any mistakes so in my heart I'm happy. I came to do a job, and yesterday wasn't perfect but you learn from your mistakes."

If Hamilton's race was straightforward, the battle for second was anything but. Ricciardo initially looked to be well placed as both he and Hamilton embarked on a two-stop strategy to Verstappen and Rosberg's three-stop plan, but it soon emerged that the tyres weren't lasting as was initially hoped.

When Rosberg pitted for a second time, Red Bull reacted by stopping Verstappen to avoid the undercut.

But Rosberg lunged to force his Mercedes underneath the Red Bull into the turn six hairpin that would subsequently ruin Rosberg's recovery drive. He completed the pass, but only by putting Verstappen into a position where he had to drive off the track in defence. The pass not only put Rosberg ahead, but saw him move up to second when Ricciardo pitted to switch to a three-stop strategy. However, Rosberg received a five-second time penalty.

Leading Final Positions after Race (67 Laps): 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1hr 30mins 44.200secs, 2 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:30:51.196, 3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:30:57.613, 4 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:31:00.045, 5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:31:16.770, 6 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:31:21.223, 7 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 1:31:54.249, 8 Jenson Button (Gbr) McLaren at 1 Lap, 9 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams at 1 Lap, 10 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India at 1 Lap

World Championship Standings

Leading Drivers: 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 217pts, 2 Nico Rosberg (Ger)

Mercedes GP 198, 3 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 133, 4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin)

Ferrari 122, 5 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 120, 6 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red

Bull 115, 7 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Williams 58, 8 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India

48, 9 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 38, 10 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Force India 33

Manufacturers: 1 Mercedes GP 415pts, 2 Red Bull 256, 3 Ferrari 242, 4 Williams

96, 5 Force India 81, 6 Scuderia Toro Rosso 45, 7 McLaren 42, 8 Haas F1 28, 9

Renault 6, 10 Manor Racing 1, 11 Sauber-Ferrari 0

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