In Spain, Mercedes’ mistake afforded Red Bull the opportunity to snatch victory. Just two weeks later it was Red Bull who, having dominated the weekend, made a costly error to allow Lewis Hamilton the opportunity to take his 44th race win.
Such is the speed at which fortunes can change in motorsport, pole sitter Daniel Ricciardo saw his maiden win at the Principality slip away, when a miscommunication between pit wall and garage saw him arrive in his pit-box, while his mechanics were still fumbling over which compound of slick tyres to fit.
Elation on Saturday became heartbreak on Sunday for the Aussie.
Ever since F1’s regulations were overhauled ahead of the 2014 F1 season, Mercedes have been the class of the field. A brace of Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles have been achieved in dominant fashion, with 701 and 703 points amassed by the team in 2014 and 2015 respectively. While 2016 has seen Nico Rosberg claim four victories from a possible four and Mercedes secure two one-two finishes, unreliability has hindered them, particularly on Lewis Hamilton’s side of the garage.
Following accusations that the team are deliberately favouring Rosberg this season, Mercedes have written an open letter to the fans looking to quell the speculation.
Mercedes have been the dominant force on track during the past two years and this week, they have managed to take a stranglehold on the pre-season discussion with an excellent launch of their 2016 challenger, the W07. An on-board video recorded and published on a filming day, followed by an inventive “hyperrealistic” drawing published online and concluding with images of the car posted online this morning marks a long W07 launch campaign.
It has been quite the build up to the unveiling of a car which Mercedes hope can guide them to a third successive constructors crown.
The modern world is unquestionably celebrity-obsessed. There is a catalogue of household names which are seemingly known the world over, from pop-stars to Hollywood royalty. Lewis Hamilton has somehow muscled his way into the top tier of celebrity names – quite a feat for a sportsman in what is a rather niche game – which is something that Damon Hill believes is a positive result for F1.
Following their domination of the 2014 campaign, Mercedes picked up in 2015 from where they left off. Once again, the Brackley based squad were the class of the field, from the moment the W06 rolled out and completed an astonishing 157 laps on the opening day of testing, to the season finale and the team’s 17th win of the year. It was a campaign where their victory t-shirts were never far away, but also where the men and women in red came back to the forefront, with Ferrari surprising the competition to emerge as Mercedes’ closest challengers.
A year where the sport’s power players took center stage and where Brand Hamilton stole the show.
A lot has changed since the Austrian Grand Prix. Red Bull and Renault have filed their divorce papers, Sebastian Vettel has notched victories number two and three for the Scuderia and crucially, Lewis Hamilton has sealed his third World Drivers Championship title. Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg had failed to record his fourth race win of what has been a difficiult campaign. The breakthrough for the German came in Mexico City, as the re-profiled Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez played host to its first Grand Prix since 1992, with Rosberg claiming the spoils ahead of teammate Hamilton.
Their dice usually dominates the headlines, particularly after such a tense duel, yet Sunday was deservedly dominated by the Mexican fans who collectively staked their claim to the accolade of crowd of the season.
In a race which depicted Lewis Hamilton’s career of high’s and low’s, the Briton sealed a historic third world championship title in fine style, with a victory against the odds at COTA. Capitalizing on an unforced error by race leader Nico Rosberg, Hamilton led home a Mercedes one-two, while Sebastian Vettel recovered well from his midfield start to finish a close third. The latter looked to be in a prime position to snatch an unlikely victory at one point, as Safety Car’s prompted a race defined by strategic ebb and flow, with numerous momentum swings and lead changes.
A COTA classic – a spectacle worthy of being 2015’s match point in the battle to be champion of the world.