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Class of the Field
Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Suspension change makes no FRIC'ing difference - Young ones star as Rosberg wins at home


Another race, another Mercedes win. But that doesn't begin to tell the story. While Rosberg was dominant, the star performances came further down the field. Lewis Hamilton recovered well from 20th on the grid, having suffered a brake failure in qualifying, leaving him rooted in 16th before an inevitable gearbox change put him even further behind. His fight back was impressive, though it was made easier by his Mercedes car's dominance.

Even if the ban, or lack of agreement between teams, on FRIC suspension hasn't had much of an impact on the pace advantage of the Mercedes, their reliability is currently among the worst on the grid. Over the last four races, they have had four car failures that have each cost them points. 

Brilliant Bottas at it again

Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing: Started 2nd, Finished 2nd

Finland's best F1 driver, Valterri Bottas, is a star of the present, let alone the future. Bottas had a fantastic German GP weekend, and while he didn't continue his gradual step up the podium to first, he did show his worth.

Bottas showing tenacity and composure beyond his years
Bottas showing tenacity and composure beyond his yearsCredit: Charles Coates/Williams F1

The Finn smelt blood in qualifying, especially once Hamilton had spun into the gravel trap. Bottas was the man to save tyres in Q1, leaving him in good stead for the rest of the weekend, though he didn't have the opportunity to exploit his extra tyres as two stops became feasible in the colder conditions on Sunday.

When the chips were down for Williams in Q3, it was Bottas who took the fight to Nico Rosberg, a mammoth three tenths faster than teammate Felipe Massa. He was only seven thousandths slower than Nico Rosberg on their final Q3 runs, though Rosberg had already gone faster earlier in the session.

The three tenth gap to Massa proved crucial. Bottas got a bad start, and so the Brazilian had a look around the outside, backing out of it to live for another day behind Bottas, or so he thought. Instead it left him on a collision course with Kevin Magnussen, rolling the Williams after an unfortunate tangle of wheels.

Bottas didn't look back, using Sebastian Vettel behind in third as a buffer to allow him to open a gap to the field. It allowed the Finn to maintain his own pace and save his tyres, one of few drivers to run a two stop strategy as tyre wear was surprisingly high throughout the race.

Even the Williams crew were resigned to losing out on second to the Brit but Bottas had other ideas

While Bottas didn't have the race-winning pace that he secretly felt he had, his pace was great but his best was still to come. In the closing laps, Lewis Hamilton was taking huge chunks of time out of second place, desperate to minimise the loss from his brake failure on Saturday. Even the Williams crew were resigned to losing out on second to the Brit but Bottas had other ideas, holding on manfully to his position, showing tenacity and composure beyond his years.

Youthful exuberance costs rookies

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren Mercedes: Started 4th, Finished 9th / Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso: Started 8th, Retired

While Bottas was the class of the youngsters on Sunday, others were starring over the weekend, only to have great results ruined. Kevin Magnussen showed his class on Saturday finishing best of the rest behind Nico Rosberg and the Williams'. He truly did put Jenson Button in the shade, as the Brit struggled to 11th on the grid. Magnussen made a good start and got interested as the Williams boys struggled off the line. But he was right on the inside going into turn one and an unsighted Felipe Massa turned in on the Dane, causing the Williams to barrel roll and the McLaren to spin rather less excitingly. While it wasn't an error by Magnussen, a more experienced driver would likely have avoided the incident. In truth the real cause of the accident is surely the design of the corner as the track gets considerably narrower at the apex.

It left the rookie last in 21st at the restart. But Magnussen didn't let it get him down. McLaren pitted him to check for damage, swap to the prime tyres and run what was effectively a two stop race. He picked off cars methodically and was up to ninth as he was running off strategy. He dropped to 16th after his second stop but great pace and others' final stops launched Magnussen up to ninth and just nine seconds behind Jenson Button.

Kvyat made it into Q3, qualifying eighth ahead of the Force Indias
Kvyat made it into Q3, qualifying eighth ahead of the Force IndiasCredit: Peter Fox/Getty

It was a similar story for Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat. He made it into Q3, qualifying eighth ahead of the Force Indias and behind Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, while the unluckiest man in F1, Jean-Éric Vergne was stuck in 13th as Kvyat found two tenths over the Frenchman when it really mattered at the end of Q2. The Russian ran 8th early in the race and was being held up by Sergio Pérez's Force India. Kvyat grew impatient and tried an adventurous move around the outside of turn eight, pinching down on the Mexican to avoid being run out of road. The result: Kvyat was spun off and demoted to 20th.

He fought on bravely, moving up to 15th before his second stop (having pitted on the lap of his spin). Kvyat had moved back up to 14th from 17th and was even ahead of teammate Jean-Éric Vergne and within spitting distance of a points finish when on lap 43 his race ended in explosive fashion as his power unit caused a fiery exit. Kvyat's disappointment was clear as he ran from the car, making it clear that he thought that points were a possibility.

These two may not be the finished article, but they, along with Valtteri Bottas, are World Championship contenders of the future.

Vettel beats Ricciardo but the Aussie shines

Daniel Ricciardo, Infiniti Red Bull Racing: Started 5th, Finished 6th

Ricciardo has now beaten Vettel five times
Credit: Adam Pretty/Getty

Believe it or not the German GP was the first time that Sebastian Vettel beat Daniel Ricciardo over the course of a race in equal machinery. Ricciardo has now beaten Vettel five times to Vettel's once in the races that they have both finished this year.

That said the Aussie was clearly compromised at turn one, having to avoid Massa's upturned Williams. Ricciardo was 15th at the restart as a result. But Ricciardo knew he had the machinery to fight back, charging through the field with some ingenious overtaking, especially considering his Red Bull's top speed deficit down into the hairpin.

Ricciardo even held off Lewis Hamilton for a while until his first stop.

The Aussie's charge continued and in the end he finished sixth just ten seconds behind Vettel after vastly different races as Vettel slipped back to a distant fourth.