- Fourth win of the season extends lead to 14 points
- Bottas holds off charging Hamilton for second place
- Big accident for Massa after contact with Magnussen on opening lap
for full race results.
Nico Rosberg took a comfortable victory in the German Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton recovered from 20th on the grid to third place.
Hamilton was due to start from 15th place following his crash in qualifying, but the incident damaged his gearbox and the resulting penalty compounded his problems as it dropped him to 20th. With Rosberg leading away from pole position, he was never threatened and eased away to victory while Hamilton fought back to take third behind Valtteri Bottas.
Bottas had looked like a sitting duck as Hamilton closed at over 1.5s per lap but once the Mercedes arrived on ageing supersoft tyres, Bottas managed to hold off Hamilton despite being on soft tyres that were also over 20 laps old.
It was still a strong result for Hamilton who drove more than half the race with a damaged front wing after hitting Jenson Button during his climb through the field. Sebastian Vettel was fourth but over 20s behind the second Mercedes, with Fernando Alonso holding off Daniel Ricciardo for fifth place by less than 0.1s at the line.
Nico Hulkenberg took seventh ahead of the two McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, while Sergio Perez scored the last point in tenth.
While Bottas took his third consecutive podium finish with third place, it was a bittersweet day for Williams as Felipe Massa was involved in a spectacular accident at the start of the race and retired having started third.
When the lights went out, Rosberg led away but Magnussen made a strong start from P4 and was attacking the two Williams cars in to the high-speed Turn 1. Magnussen yielded to Bottas – who had the majority of his car ahead – but Massa didn't leave enough space at the apex of the corner and his right rear tyre made contact with the McLaren's front left, launching the Williams in to the air and leaving Massa sliding upside down in the run-off area before the car righted itself.
The safety car was immediately deployed as the Williams was cleared, with Hamilton 17th at the restart behind Max Chilton's Marussia. With Rosberg easing away at the front all eyes were on the second Mercedes which was soon in the top ten as he and the recovering Ricciardo – who had dropped to 14th avoiding Massa's crash – scythed through the field.
Having started on the soft tyre and able to run longer in the first stint, Hamilton found himself involved in some brilliant wheel-to-wheel racing with Kimi Raikkonen. Initially Ricciardo passed the Ferrari on lap 11 and then Hamilton went side-by-side through Turn 12 but had to concede. Two laps later, however, Hamilton got a run on both drivers approaching the Turn 6 hairpin and he locked his front brakes as he pulled off an excellent move on both as they went three wide in to the corner.
Vettel soon came out on top in a similar move involving Raikkonen and Alonso as the racing remained high-quality throughout the field, with Hamilton profiting from pit stops to run second before dropping behind Bottas and pitting to come out in eighth place. Having passed Ricciardo for P7, Hamilton misjudged a move on Button at the hairpin and ran in to the side of the McLaren, damaging his front wing.
On the next lap, Hamilton passed Button using DRS and took the time to apologise for the contact as he did so. From that point on strategy became crucial as Hamilton switched to two short closing stints on supersoft tyres due to the front wing damage. With rain holding off, a safety car period may have turned the race on its head but two retirements – one where Daniil Kvyat pulled off at the hairpin with his car on fire and the other when Adrian Sutil spun in to retirement on the pit straight – were cleared under yellow flags.
Sutil's incident looked certain to require the safety car as the Sauber sat stricken on the pit straight and marshals ran across the track to move it. Mercedes thought as much, pitting Hamilton early in case of the safety car being deployed but that left him with a 17-lap stint on supersofts at the end of the race which ultimately proved too long in his fight with Bottas.
Well-timed late stops from Red Bull got Vettel ahead of Alonso and left Ricciardo chasing the struggling Ferrari, but Alonso was just able to get enough power down to hold off Ricciardo to the line on the final lap.