Driver of the Day
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Kimi was unlucky in qualifying to fall foul of the drying track, Ferrari got their timing just wrong and he was the first to set a time after the flag fell at the end of Q2, just missing out on being able to set a new time and started 14th on the grid.
Starting on the soft tyres he kept out of trouble gaining places to tenth at the start, he then put in a mammoth 30 lap stint with a car full of fuel to get himself into contention at the business end of the points. A bold strategy saw him do two short stints on the super soft tyres allowing him to pass Alonso, amongst others, on the track and give Max Verstappen a headache for the closing stages to take a credible sixth place.
Overtake of the Day
Nico Rosberg on Daniel Ricciardo
Not a huge amount for Nico to smile about at the end of the race, in the end it was damage limitation as his teammate mugged him off at the start and then held him at arm’s length for 70 laps. Rosberg found himself down in third after turn one, the meat in a Hamilton and Ricciardo sandwich as both drivers passed him.
A small consolation for Nico was that he was able to hang it out around the outside of turn two and get second place back from Ricciardo, in a move identical to the one that that the Red Bull driver pulled on him last year.
Best Team Performance
In an uneventful race the two Mercedes were able to take control from the front, they navigated a tricky qualifying session to lock out the front row and, Ricciardo’s efforts aside, they led the race throughout.
With Hamilton ‘managing the situation’ they didn’t take off down the road as we’ve seen in the past, so when Red Bull pitted early it looked as though they might get undone by the undercut, however, Paddy Lowe and company kept their nerve, left both cars out for five and six laps longer until Ricciardo had taken the best out of his tyres and hit traffic, meaning they comfortably held the lead.
A little hurry up for Hamilton mid race ensured that the Red Bull’s weren’t able to trouble them; and some close quarters racing that didn’t result in a crash will mean a job well done.
Worst Team Performance
Williams were not at the races (pun intended) all weekend. Qualifying tenth and 18th then finishing ninth and 18th, Massa showing perhaps why this season could be his last with a complete lack of pace. Some questionable strategy calls, notably to be the only team to use the medium tyre, ended any hopes of them gaining places.
Radio Comment of the Day
Jenson Button, McLaren
Jenson suffered the ignominy of being the only driver not the finish the race, both McLaren’s qualified well and he was following his teammate in eighth when a hydraulics failure caused his brake pedal to go all the way to floor with, one can assume, not much brake application in return.
Having reported the fault he was told first to pit and then to stay out, Jenson chirped “Oh great, is it going to be one of those races from hell?”. His mood didn’t improve when the stewards decided that McLaren’s use of radio communication to help him fix his brakes didn’t constitute a safety concern and gave him a drive through penalty.
Whoops of the Day
Jolyon Palmer, Renault
An unspectacular qualifying had the two Renaults in 17th and 19th, but prior to the first pit stops Palmer found himself leading his teammate as they ran ninth and tenth. A good in-lap, pit stop and out-lap saw Palmer come out 12th to this teammate’s 14th and he then proceeded to gain places and was running tenth, gaping Hulkenburg behind him in the Force India and looking set for the first world championship point of his career.
Then on lap 49 he dropped the back end coming out of turn 11 and span, falling back to 14th. He had good pace and was able to recover back to finish 12th but it was an opportunity lost due to driver error.