That really didn’t go to script. Just four retirements meant a short odds bet (which I’m generally reluctant to make) didn’t come off, and both Ferraris finished. However, if one bet of three comes in, you want it to be the longest and Perez for a podium at 6 was just that. Some fortune involved, but if luck plays a role I shan’t complain if it’s good.
Off the line it was pretty boring, with minor contact near the back, Hamilton dropping one spot and Perez rising to 5th. Surprisingly, there was no serious contact.
Rosberg rode off into the sunset, enjoying the most trouble-free of strolls to victory.
Ricciardo began to inexorably slide down the order as his Red Bull was simply murdered on the straights. This wasn’t helped by him two-stopping, ending, like his team mate, on the medium tyre (not sure anybody else bothered with that).
Hamilton charged through the field, dispatching other cars with ease on the monstrous straight. He reported a vibration problem but new tyres resolved it. However, he then had a wrong setting on his car which cost him significant lap time. He was unable to close on the driver ahead (Perez, at this stage) but wasn’t losing time to the chasing Bottas. Eventually he figured out the problem was, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the radio, but by then it was too late and he appears to have cruised to the flag to prevent wearing various components down.
Vettel had good pace but stopped much later than Raikkonen, who was ahead of him late on. The Finn obligingly moved over, but then developed a problem. A radio call to his team ensued, with his race engineer saying he couldn’t say what the problem was.
Raikkonen moved over because he had a 5s penalty for crossing the pit lane entry line (just a moment of carelessness). His problem was that Perez, who had had a trouble-free race and had a rather fast car, was within that window. When Raikkonen’s technical issue developed, Perez closed up and passed him to secure 3rd on the road.
Hamilton got 5th but he must have hoped for more until a wrong setting sunk his podium prospects. Behind him was Bottas, Ricciardo and Verstappen.
Hulkenberg had been in 7th but got passed by the two Red Bull fairly late on (he was on the supersoft and had been for a while, which may have compromised his pace). Massa nabbed the final point.
There were no major collisions and no safety car (the odds on it were just 1.11). The only retirements were Alonso, Kvyat (these two in the pits) and Wehrlein, Sainz (who both went straight on at the first corner). Very surprised at the low attrition rate.
The race, it must be said, wasn’t great. Passing was impossible in the twisty bits, and boringly easy on the long straight. After, pre-weekend, thinking it’d be tedious and then thinking it’d be exciting after the practice and qualifying sessions, it seems my first guess was correct.
Anyway, it was a green weekend, which is nice. The next race is in a fortnight, in Austria. I expect Williams to do rather well there. McLaren will not.
Gap is back up to 24 points. However, recent events have shown us large gaps can be narrowed rapidly. Hamilton’s problems this weekend were a combination of him cocking up qualifying and a gremlin in the race (reportedly Rosberg had a similar issue but managed to fix it more quickly). In terms of actual mistakes, both drivers have made very few this year. Also bear in mind that Hamilton will likely incur more penalties late on due to replacing bits and pieces, after losing so many early on.
Red Bull 140
Force India 59
Toro Rosso 32
The race served to bolster practically every team’s position in the Constructors’ table. Force India are looking good for another 5th place, which is impressive.
Austria’s nice and fast, so let’s hope the race is even greener, and rather more exciting.