Where the race was won

From the very beginning, really. Lewis Hamilton had a decent start from pole while Nico Rosberg, next to him on the grid, was swamped by the chasing pack, and the defending champion held on until the end. Rosberg never even looked like challenging his team-mate – obviously he has more important things to think about, but it was very unlike this consummate pro to not at least give Hamilton a race.

Hamilton watch

Formula 1
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Pole to P1 has to be assessed as a very good day’s work. The only real threat would have been a botched pit stop or the weather intervening, but fortune smiled on Lewis Hamilton today. He cruised his way round, increasing his speed when he really needed to, which wasn’t very often; and allowed the chasing pack to engage in their own battles which simply did not involve him.

Pit radio exchange of the week

Jenson Button’s smiling chisel-jawed exterior hides a seething ball of rage. Always an entertaining correspondent over the radio, today he pleasantly enquired of his team whether they had “forgotten to connect the batteries” in his pathetically underpowered McLaren Honda.

Move of the race

Max Verstappen overtaking Felipe Nasr on the outside – risky, yes, but brilliant. Watching this 17-year-old over the course of this season has been an absolute joy – he knows no fear and has brought excitement into the chasing pack. Expect big things from him in the years to come.

Tactical masterstroke

Telling Lewis Hamilton that if he doesn’t take the pit stop that’s been set up for him then team-mate Nico Rosberg will instead – this is the most brilliant reverse psychology I have seen in a long time. What a way for Mercedes to make their drivers do as they’re told – just invoke the rivalry between them.

Rosberg hopes start will help top ‘too quick’ Hamilton

Image credit: F1i

Unsung hero

Romain Grosjean’s third place might get overlooked a touch – those points are going to make little difference to anything come the end of the season – but one simply had to look at his face to see how much this podium meant to him and to Lotus – particularly on a weekend when his colleague Pastor Maldonado failed to show the car off to its best abilities. Sebastian Vettel may well have clung on for that position had his tyre not blown out in the penultimate lap, but equally Grosjean had driven so well that he might well have forced the Ferrari into an error before the chequered flag.

Facepalm of the weekend

Eleven laps in, Valtteri Bottas pitted for a change of tyres. And his team gave him a mismatched set – one prime at the back, on the right. He didn’t go back in to fix the errant rear tyre, he got a drive-through penalty, and his race was effectively over. Ridiculous. Williams have promised an investigation.

Star-spotting

Actor Adrien Brody was there with McLaren, apparently, but there were few other celebrities on show – to the extent that it was David Coulthard who conducted the podium interviews. Not a complaint – I’d always rather there were fewer famous people wandering around grinning inanely at the cameras – but it does seem to be a less-than-starry denouement to the 2015 season.
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