Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

German Grand Prix: Hockenheim could prove to be the race where Lewis Hamilton broke Nico Rosberg's spirit

While Hamilton led every lap on the way to a sixth victory in seven races, Rosberg plummeted to fourth and conceded that he had no answer to his Mercedes teammate

Jack de Menezes
Monday 01 August 2016 17:51 BST
Comments
Nico Rosberg appeared to accept that he couldn't beat Lewis Hamilton in the German Grand Prix
Nico Rosberg appeared to accept that he couldn't beat Lewis Hamilton in the German Grand Prix (PA)

The reaction from Toto Wolff and Nico Rosberg to Lewis Hamilton’s fourth consecutive victory this season spelt bad news for anyone hoping to beat the three-time world champion in the years to come, with the Mercedes pair conceding that on his day, Hamilton is unbeatable.

A wire-to-wire victory in the German Grand Prix secured a 19-point advantage for Hamilton heading into the summer break, with the 31-year-old boasting six grand prix victories from the last seven races to overturn a 43-point deficit.

Hamilton was all smiles on the podium afterwards, not least because he was flanked by the two Red Bull drivers of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen and not his main rival in Rosberg. The body language of the German after the race demonstrated mass disappointment at failing to win in front of his home fans rather than conceding further ground to Hamilton in the championship, but there was no getting over the fact that the mid-season stretch had been disastrous for him.

Wolff appeared to be in agreement, and the Mercedes executive director conceded that when Hamilton fired on all cylinders, Rosberg nor any other current driver can rival him.

"That guy has great talent speed and on a good day, I think he is unbeatable," Wolff said.

"It is a very good streak and an impressive record," Wolff added. "He has recovered all those points that he lost, and if there is something like momentum it is for him to keep that momentum."

When speaking to media after going from first to fourth in a frustrating afternoon on home turf, Rosberg appeared to accept that he couldn’t rival Hamilton fairly easily. Many times this season Rosberg has taken a blunt approach with reporters when losing out to Hamilton, but there was no sign of that this time around and there was the feeling that if Hamilton lifts the world championship come the end of the year, Germany may well be the moment he broke Rosberg’s spirit.

A revealing interview with Sky Sport’s Martin Brundle before the race showed a side of Rosberg rarely seen, one who admitted that until he has three titles under his belt like his teammate, he can’t really claim to be the better driver. Such a concession is rare in a sport where confidence is a must. Did Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher ever concede another driver was faster than them? Would Hamilton? Certainly not.

Hamilton was quick to play down Wolff’s lavish praise of invincibility, and looked surprised that the team boss would make such a comment midway through the season.

"I didn't know he would say that,” Hamilton responded. “I never feel invincible or unbeatable. I do feel when I'm at my strongest, number one is where I will be."

Lewis Hamilton lifts the trophy after winning the German Grand Prix (Getty)

It’s a difficult point to argue. The only time Hamilton was threatened on Sunday was when Ricciardo managed to reduce the lead gap to six seconds. It took one lap for Hamilton to turn up the power on his Mercedes, put in a personal best time and prove that he had the beating of every other driver on the track, something that has been seen more often than not in over the last two and a half years.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in