Halfway through

Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg led the German Grand Prix from pole to checkered flag. AFP PHOTO

Mercedes’s Nico Rosberg led the German Grand Prix from pole to checkered flag. AFP PHOTO

2014 Formula One season starts its second semester at this weekend’s Hungarian GP. Game on
10 down, nine to go. That Mercedes is untouchable at the top is already a given, leaving Red Bull, Ferrari and—surprise, surprise—Williams jostling for scraps.
But while the last grand prix, in Hockenheim, was expected to be an explosive one between Mercedes boys Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, it turned out to be a dud as the former romped away with the win while the latter threw away his chance for victory after crashing out in qualifying (Hamilton still managed a podium, though). Oh, and 2014 has also been a season where rookies are plain beating their veteran, more illustrious, better salaried teammates. In the run-up to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, here is how the F1 season has shaped up thus far:

Australian Grand Prix
Rosberg led from start to finish as rivals dropped out with mechanical problems in a race that saw Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo controversially disqualified from second place over new fuel rules. Pole-sitter Hamilton and world champion Sebastian Vettel both retired early, leaving Rosberg victorious by a wide margin. McLaren’s debutant Kevin Magnussen with teammate Jenson Button took the remaining podium places.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 25 points Kevin Magnussen 18 Jenson Button 15

Malaysian Grand Prix
Hamilton led the first Mercedes one-two in 59 years. He streaked away from pole and was never pressured as he finished ahead of Rosberg, with Vettel coming in third. It was the first time both Mercedes drivers have led the field since 1955, when the German marque departed the sport before returning in 2010 and now confirming themselves as the team to beat in F1’s new era.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 43 Lewis Hamilton 25 Fernando Alonso 24

Bahrain Grand Prix
Hamilton and Rosberg repeated their one-two in Malaysia after a thrilling wheel-to-wheel duel as Hamilton equaled the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio’s record of 24 grand prix victories. Sergio Perez gave Force India its second podium finish in third. Ricciardo, 13th on the grid, continued his impressive start with fourth, followed by Nico Hulkenberg, in the second Force India, and Vettel.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 61 Lewis Hamilton 50 Nico Hulkenberg 28

Chinese Grand Prix
Hamilton sealed his first hat-trick of F1 wins and led Mercedes to its third-straight one-two finish. Hamilton finished 18 seconds ahead of Rosberg, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso third. Ricciardo outran Vettel for fourth spot, with Hulkenberg coming home in sixth. But there was a bizarre finish when Hamilton was inadvertently shown the checkered flag early, meaning that the race was later declared over after 54 laps instead of the 56 completed.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 79 Lewis Hamilton 75 Fernando Alonso 41

Spanish Grand Prix
Hamilton took over the leadership of the drivers’ championship when he made it four wins in a row by grabbing a heart-stopping victory. He finished just 0.6 seconds ahead of Rosberg to move on to 100 points for the season. Ricciardo came home third ahead of Vettel, who had started from 15th on the grid. The win was Hamilton’s first in Spain and the 26th of his career. Valtteri Bottas finished fifth for the resurgent Williams team.

Standings: Lewis Hamilton 100 Nico Rosberg 97 Fernando Alonso 49

Monaco Grand Prix
Rosberg started on pole and claimed a faultless victory for Mercedes to regain the lead in the world championship. He came home 9.2 seconds clear of Hamilton, who coped with loss of vision in one eye as he held off Ricciardo in the closing laps to take second. Alonso finished fourth ahead of Hulkenberg and Button, who came home in sixth.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 122 Lewis Hamilton 118 Fernando Alonso 61

Canadian Grand Prix
Ricciardo ended Mercedes’s dominant run as he won the first grand prix of his F1 career. He took advantage of power problems that forced Rosberg into second place and saw Hamilton retire. The race was also marred by a high-speed collision between Perez and Williams’s Felipe Massa, although neither was seriously hurt. Vettel finished third ahead of Button.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 140 Lewis Hamilton 118 Daniel Ricciardo 79

Austrian Grand Prix
F1 returned to Austria for the first time in 11 years, and the comeback saw another Mercedes double with Rosberg dominant and Hamilton having to settle for second, leaving him 29 points behind in the overall standings. Bottas made it onto his first ever podium in what turned out to be a disastrous home race for Red Bull. For Mercedes, it was a seventh win in eight races.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 165 Lewis Hamilton 136 Daniel Ricciardo 83

British Grand Prix
Hamilton delighted a 120,000-crowd at Silverstone with victory as Rosberg suffered his first non-finish of the season, caused by gearbox problems, reducing his lead in the title race to just four points. Hamilton came home 30 seconds clear of Bottas, who started from 14th on the grid. It was Hamilton’s second home win, his fifth of the season and the 27th of his career, drawing him level with fellow Briton, three-time world champion Jackie Stewart, in the record books. Ricciardo finished third.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 165 Lewis Hamilton 161 Daniel Ricciardo 98

German Grand Prix
Rosberg drove a serene race at Hockenheim to earn his first F1 victory on his and Mercedes’s home soil, increasing his points lead to 14 over Hamilton. Behind him, Bottas drove superbly to take second place while Hamilton, who started in 20th place after crashing out in qualifying (earning him a five-place penalty as his car needed a gearbox replacement; he had qualified 15th), salvaged the last podium spot. Vettel ultimately took fourth place after some superb wheel-to-wheel skirmishes with Alonso—who had to fend off Ricciardo, who came home not even a second behind the Ferrari.

Standings: Nico Rosberg 190 Lewis Hamilton 176 Daniel Ricciardo 106



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