Mercedes driver Hamilton increases lead with German GP win

ABS-CBN Sports on Jul 31, 2016 10:41 PM
Mercedes driver Hamilton increases lead with German GP win
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain throws his trophy in the air after winning the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

NESHA STARCEVIC, AP Sports Writer

HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton surged into the lead at the start of the German Grand Prix on Sunday and held on to win the last race before the summer break and increase his championship lead.

Hamilton, second on the grid, was faster off the mark than teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg, who started from pole but dropped to fourth before the first corner. Hamilton, a three-time Formula One champion who has won the title the last two seasons, now takes a 19-point lead over Rosberg into the four-week break.

Hamilton has won six of the past seven races and now has 49 career victories.

"What a race, what a fantastic start. It was just about keeping it cool," Hamilton said.

Daniel Ricciardo was second, ahead of Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, the first time these two Red Bull drivers shared the podium. Red Bull pushed past Ferrari into second place in the constructors' standings.

Rosberg also picked up a five-second penalty for pushing Verstappen off the course and had to settle for fourth, after winning the Hockenheim race two years ago from pole.

Hamilton started behind Rosberg at the Hungarian Grand Prix one week ago but beat him to the first corner, winning the race and taking the overall lead for the first time this season.

Sebastian Vettel finished fifth Sunday, ahead of Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

The next race is the Belgian Grand Prix on Aug. 28.

Hamilton got off to a super start, moving past Rosberg, who also saw the two Red Bulls leave him behind. Verstappen overtook Ricciardo from the outside as they raced into the first corner but Ricciardo later regained the second place to finish 6.9 seconds behind Hamilton. Verstappen later said he let Ricciardo pass him "to help the team."

"That is two weeks in a row I've been on the podium and it is great to have the race back here in Germany," Ricciardo said. "This is the first double podium for us in over a year and it is awesome to close out the first part of the season like this."

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