Nico Rosberg wins German Grand Prix at Hockenheim
Extends lead in Formula One title race
Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton fights his way through field for third place
Felipe Massa survives spectacular first lap crash
Nico Rosberg capped a memorable week by winning the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim but Sunday’s race will also be remembered for a frightening opening lap incident involving the unfortunate Felipe Massa.
The veteran Brazilian was clipped from behind by McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and his Williams performed a spectacular somersault before ending in the safety gravel at Hockenheim.
There were immediate fears for his safety but soon allayed by the Twitter account of his team.
“Big crash for Felipe but he is out the car and heading back to the garage,” it said.
It was the second race in a row in which the 33-year-old Massa has been the victim of a first lap incident, his hopes at the British Grand Prix ended when Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari careered off.
Earlier in the season, Massa was also involved in a 300 kph collision at the Canadian Grand Prix, accusing rival driver Sergio Perez of being “dangerous” as they battled for fourth and both ended in the barriers.
The safety car was immediately deployed but on the resumption Rosberg, who had been on pole, took command and drove untroubled to take the checkered flag for his seventh career F1 victory.
Since retiring while in the lead at Silverstone, Rosberg has married his long-time girlfriend Vivian Sibold, signed a contract extension at Mercedes and seen his beloved German football team win the World Cup.
The victory extended his title lead over teammate Lewis Hamilton to 14 points.
“It’s fantastic,” he said in the post race interviews.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win at home. It’s a very special day.”
Britain’s Hamilton had the rub of the green in his home grand prix, but his luck deserted him this weekend, crashing out in qualifying with a brake problem.
It led to a change of brake disc and a five-place grid penalty so starting from 20th.
He cut a swathe through the field and initially looked to be on a two-stop strategy which may have given him the opportunity to challenge Rosberg.
His second stop came on lap 32 of 67, but he pitted for a third time just seven laps later after Adrian Sutil spun his Sauber and was left stranded in the middle of the track.
Race stewards decided not to put the safety car out out for the second time and at this point Hamilton’s engineers pulled him in for a third stop.
He still looked set to overtake Massa’s teammate Valtteri Bottas for second, but the Finn drove superbly to hold him off in the closing stages.
Reigning four-time champion Sebastian Vettel got the better of great rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari for fourth place.
Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo of Australia took sixth.