“Welcome back, Nico Rosberg.”

Round 8 of the Formula 1 crazy circus headed to the hills of Spielberg in Austria, and this time it was Nico Rosberg who got the job done with one of his most important Mercedes victories to date, as Lewis Hamilton coughed up two fatal errors before coasting home in 2nd, with Felipe Massa holding off Sebastian Vettel for the last podium spot.

While it wasn’t a particularly newsworthy grand prix, I have some things to talk about, including fan entitlement, the predictability of the race, and the midfield having a fun time, so let’s break it all down in a shorter than usual, race review.


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The Mercedes Role Reversal

This was a strange weekend in general. Lewis Hamilton didn’t look like his normal self in practise, making mistakes, and even until Q3, looked like he was second best, until he set a stonker of a lap to steal pole as both Mercs decided to replicate Swan Lake at the end of the session.

But then during the GP, Rosberg took advantage of a poor Hamilton start, let into Turn 1, and never looked back. This was exactly the kind of win that Rosberg needed, where he COULD pass Lewis on track (A common criticism of Nico so far in his Hamilton relationship), and then was in complete control from start to finish. You know, that exact same kind of performance that Sky F1 would give Hamilton a 9.5 over.

Lewis Hamilton made life very difficult himself not only with his poor start, but by also receiving a 5-second time penalty for driving over the white line on pit exit as he nearly lost control of the car, effectively ending the battle for the win, although, it never looked like he was going to challenge to be honest. This was Nico Rosberg’s day, he won it fair and square and he should be applauded for it. If he can do this more often, there’s no reason why we can’t have an actual title fight this year, as opposed to mechanical retirement convenience in 2014.

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Massa, Vettel and Ground Effects

Well done Felipe Massa, keeping Williams good form going with another podium as he narrowly pipped Sebastian Vettel to the line in a close feud, as Vettel had a nightmare pitstop, losing around 10 seconds. Props to Williams, they don’t have the outright pace to challenge second just yet, but when Ferrari have slipped up, Williams have capitalized, and keeping them honest is the least they can do at the moment.

What was a shame for me was all the dirty air and how once again, a Williams can’t get passed around at the moment. We need ground effects aero to try and encourage closer racing, because no-one wants a lead battle like Canada or China where there’s 1.5 seconds between the leading cars and they don’t want to push to get closer because they know they’ll ruin their tyres and that it’s near impossible to pass. Look kids, a “show” improving solution, happy now? 😉

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The Midfield Steals The Show

I don’t know about you, but there was a lot of decent passing in the midfield in this race, guys like Romain Grosjean (pre-retirement), Felipe Nasr, the struggling Red Bulls, and Max Verstappen all used the DRS into Turn 3 well and made the most of the limited passing opportunities. Maldonado and Verstappen had a great fight at the end with Pastor pulling off one of the craziest bits of car control I’ve ever seen!

In Qualifying, Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Nasr and Max Verstappen were all superb and barely any of them, ESPECIALLY “