Lewis Hamilton is heading up the drivers’ table for the first time this season, as the Formula 1 machine travels to Hockenheim in Germany for the final race before the sport’s traditional summer break.
Can the British F1 driver maintain his lead, however, or will Rosberg use his home advantage to reclaim the top spot?
The Hungarian Grand Prix – The Battle between Mercedes’ Drivers Continues
Lewis Hamilton claimed his third consecutive race win, and his fifth victory of 2016, when he crossed the line in first place at the Hungaroring last weekend. The 25 points that he picked up also gave him a six point advantage over fellow Silver Arrows driver, Nico Rosberg, who finished in second place.
It was the tension between the two of them, rather than just the race results, that made the headlines once again, however, due to a controversial decision during Saturday’s qualifying session.
Fernando Alonso span at Turn Nine, towards the end of Q3, leading to the stewards waving double yellow flags. Hamilton was forced to lift off, so was unable to improve upon his fastest time, but Rosberg pipped his rival to pole position on his final lap. The stewards investigated but concluded that Rosberg had slowed down substantially when he’d seen the yellow flags, so his lap time (and pole) stood.
Despite winning the Grand Prix, Hamilton made his opinions clear during the post-race press conference, stating that:
“…the whole 23 years of my racing, it has been ‘if it’s yellow flag, you slow down’ and ‘if it’s double yellow flag, you be prepared to stop’ and Nico was doing the same speed at the apex as I was doing on the previous timed lap.”
Rosberg’s irritation was there for all to see, as he patted his team mate on the back and said: “Thank you for making that statement.”
“What you have to do with double yellows is significantly reduce your speed and make sure you’re going safe. I went 20km per hour slower into that corner,” he added.
Their clash of views is just the latest in the long line of issues between the two drivers since they have been with Mercedes. They collided on track in this year’s Spanish Grand Prix, for example, and again during the last lap of the Austrian Grand Prix.
The German Grand Prix – Who Will Have the Advantage at Hockenheim?
The rivalry between the Silver Arrows’ drivers could even be set to step up a level at the German Grand Prix. They’ll both want to be in the lead in the Formula 1 Championship as they go into the summer break and, with so few points between them, it could go either way.
The race, which didn’t feature on the 2015 F1 calendar, will take place at the Hockenheimring – and both drivers have won the German Grand Prix at that track before. Rosberg picked up the winner’s trophy there in 2014, whilst Hamilton was victorious in 2008.
Historically, the race has taken place at the Nürburgring on alternate years, however, so it’s more difficult to compare the drivers’ performances at this Grand Prix than it is at others on the calendar.
Lady Luck, who seemed to have taken a shine to Nico Rosberg at the start of the season, does appear to have turned her attention towards Lewis Hamilton recently though, so things are looking positive for the Brit.
Which driver do you think is set to win the 2016 Formula One Championship? Are you heading to Germany to watch the race? Leave us a comment to let us know.