2016 German GP: Lewis Hamilton wins to increase title lead as Nico Rosberg pays penalty
World champion leads title race by 19 points heading into summer break; Rosberg hit with controversial penalty; Red Bull overtake Ferrari after Verstappen and Ricciardo finish on the podium
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 31/07/16 9:30pm
Lewis Hamilton has increased his lead of the world championship to 19 points with victory in the German GP.
Having trailed Nico Rosberg by 43 points just two months ago, the reigning world champion has won six of the last seven races to head into the summer break with a firm grip of the championship again as he chases a third successive title.
A faultless Hamilton led every lap after overtaking Mercedes team-mate and title rival Rosberg into the first corner.
But as Hamilton enjoyed an afternoon cruise at Hockenheim to finish ahead of Red Bull pair Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Rosberg's afternoon - like his recent run of form - continued to go from bad to worse in controversial fashion.
Starting off from pole position, the German suffered a disastrous start off the line and slipped to just fourth.
Having bided his time behind the two Red Bulls through his opening stint, Rosberg then fell foul of the stewards when he launched an aggressive move to overtake Verstappen into the hairpin which resulted in the Dutch teenager sliding off track.
The stewards adjudged Rosberg to have been at fault and meted out a controversial five-second penalty. Bizarrely, the punishment was then increased to eight seconds after Mercedes' stopwatch failed when Rosberg pitted to take his penalty.
"It was a really tough one today," Rosberg told Sky Sports F1. "It just completely went wrong at the start with a lot of wheel spin.
"I thought it was a good battle [with Verstappen]. I was very surprised I got penalised, I didn't expect that at all."
After also being hit with penalties at the British and Austrian GPs, it's the third time this month Rosberg has been penalised by the race stewards although on this occasion the German had valid reason to believe he had been harshly treated.
Verstappen had overtaken Ricciardo as well as Rosberg into the first corner with the two Red Bulls brushing wheels as the ever-daring Dutchman overtook his startled team-mate into Turn One. But it was Ricciardo who emerged as the faster Red Bull driver over the next 67 laps, overtaking Verstappen as the team split strategies and then retaining second place when the younger man finished the race on the faster supersoft tyres.
Courtesy of their double-podium finish, the resurgent Red Bull outfit have overtaken Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship with fifth and sixth for Scuderia pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen meagre consolation for F1's most famous outfit.
In a particularly telling moment midway through the race which encapsulated the team's recent loss of direction and apparet lack of leadership following the departure of James Allison, Vettel overruled a direct order from the team's pitwall to stop for new tyres and carried on for a further three laps.
Jenson Button delivered an outstanding performance to claim eighth for McLaren, a display that took on an impressive perspective when Fernando Alonso lost out on tenth to Force India's Sergio Perez on the penultimate lap.
After completing an exhausting five races in seven weeks, the sport will now take a well-deserved summer holiday. But no prizes for guessing which of the field will enjoy the break the most. "It's the best way to go on holiday," said a beaming championship leader.
2016 German Grand Prix Result
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:30:44.200
2. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, + 6.996s
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, + 13.413s
4. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, + 15.845s
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, + 32.750s
6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari + 37.273s
7. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, + 70.049
8. Jenson Button, McLaren, + 1 lap
9. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, + 1 lap
10. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 1 lap
11. Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, + 1 lap
12. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 lap
13. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 lap
14. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, + 1 lap
15. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, + 1 lap
16. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, + 1 lap
17. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, + 2 laps
18. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 2 laps
19. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, + 2 laps
20. Rio Haryanto, Manor, + 2 laps
Retired: Felipe Massa, Williams; Felipe Nasr, Sauber
Don't miss the F1 Report: German GP review and half-term report on Wednesday at 8.30pm on Sky F1 with Natalie Pinkham, Marc Priestley and Mike Gascoyne