The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team saw both drivers finish on the podium for their home Grand Prix in Germany, with Nico Rosberg taking a popular home win to extend his championship lead over team-mate Lewis Hamilton to fourteenth after the Briton was able to climb from twentieth on the grid to finish third.
Rosberg had an untroubled race at the front, making a good start and pulling away steadily from the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, and with some pace to spare. He was happy that without FRIC the team were still the ones to beat, and it was the perfect end to a good weekend that saw him get married and his nation win the football World Cup.
“Wow, what a great day after so many great events for me this week,” said Rosberg. “I came here hoping for a win and it worked out perfectly. My Silver Arrow was so dominant, thanks to the team for this fantastic car. Before the race I was worried that without the FRIC system the gap in the race would be smaller. But we were again the quickest out there.
“I did a two stop strategy, which was difficult to manage at the end of the stints as the tyres were almost gone. I’m so happy for Mercedes; it was the first win for many many years in Germany. Thanks for the support here at Hockenheim, the fans were amazing to me. Now I look forward to Hungary.”
For Hamilton, he managed to climb from twentieth on the grid, after his qualifying crash and subsequent gearbox penalty, to take another podium finish, finishing on the tail of second placed Bottas. Despite claiming the race was straightforward for the Briton, from the outside it appeared far from it, with clashes with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and the McLaren of Jenson Button, and pitting early for his final stop when thinking a safety car would come out to recover the stranded Sauber of Adrian Sutil. He was disappointed about losing ground to Rosberg in the championship but happy with his race.
“First of all, congratulations to Nico on winning his home race; it’s a special feeling and I am very proud that we could put both cars on the podium for Mercedes-Benz in Germany and represent for all the Mercedes employees and fans here this weekend,” said Hamilton. “From a personal point of view, I can’t be too ecstatic about the race because it has been a tough weekend for me and I’ve ultimately lost more points to Nico in the championship battle. But I’m grateful that I could limit the damage with a podium finish.
“When you are sitting on the grid basically in last place, with no other cars in your mirrors, it’s very hard to imagine that you could be standing up there two hours later. I’m so grateful to the team for this car, I really take my hat off to them for building a machine that can put in that kind of performance. To be honest, it was a pretty straightforward race for me, although I had some trouble following what was going on and where I was running at times.
“I had a nice battle with Kimi early on, when I was lucky not to damage the front wing, then the incident with Jenson was just unfortunate. He has been such a gentleman this year and not given me too much trouble getting past but it was just a misunderstanding today. I wasn’t close enough to try and pass but I was on the inside line in the corner. It looked like he had gone wide, then he cut back across the corner and perhaps he didn’t see me there. I lost quite a bit of downforce with the damage and it made it very hard to look after the front left tyre. I had a lot of understeer and the tyre was degrading fast, which is the reason why we converted from a two-stop strategy to three.
“Then the team called me in early on the first set of option tyres because we expected a Safety Car to come out – and I was surprised that there wasn’t one, to be honest I caught Valtteri pretty fast in the final laps but he just had too much straight-line speed to get past. I’m doing absolutely everything I can to get back on level terms with Nico in the title battle: I can’t focus more or work harder than I am doing right now. This championship is proving a big challenge for me but that’s how I love it – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff was delighted with Hamilton’s climb through the field and with Rosberg’s confident, mistake free race to victory. He thanked everyone within the Mercedes-Benz outfit, and even had some kind words to say about a German hero.
“It feels like a 1-2 today because considering where Lewis was coming from in P20, it was a magical drive,” said Wolff. “He had a misunderstanding with Jenson that could have cost us the race. Personally I know he is a very competitive guy and he will never be satisfied with third but it felt like a very good performance from our side, with so much going on out on track and the need to convert his pit strategy.
“For Nico, he was controlling the race from the beginning to the end. He knew that the task was to pull a gap and then bring the car home and that’s exactly what he did. It was a brilliant performance from him.
Finally, I wish to make two special mentions for this victory: first of all, I offer this win to all of our colleagues at Mercedes-Benz who have given us so much support and dedication to reach this level of performance. We are proud to wear the three-pointed star and to represent the best car company in the world. But our thoughts on every race weekend are also with Michael Schumacher, who did so much for our sport in Germany and won so many times here in Hockenheim. He is fighting as only Michael can and we send all our wishes of strength and support to him and his family.”