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GP Week : Issue 233
Not for the first time this season, the race to the apex of turn one proved the story of the race. When Nico Rosberg hit his marks and held Lewis Hamilton off as they poured into the senna s, victory was all but assured. From that point on, every one of the race's 71 laps were of little consequence. Rosberg held the lead throughout and while Hamilton was at times close enough to shape up for a move at no point was he close enough to actually make one. Hamilton picked up the lead during the pitstop cycle, but it was only ever borrowed because of the team's policy on treating its drivers equally. By being the lead Mercedes, Rosberg was afforded pit priority and that was always enough to see him regain top spot by the time Hamilton emerged from the lane. Had the start have gone differently so too would the race, in all likelihood. During Friday practice Hamilton had shown a slight edge on race pace but when things mattered on Saturday afternoon it was Rosberg who gained the upperhand. That was evidenced by the fact Hamilton was able to run in his teammate's wheel tracks and while he pace dropped away late in the race the victory had gone by that stage unless Rosberg threw it at the weeds. Hamilton's plight was one shared up and down the field as wheel to wheel action was sparse. Sebastian Vettel's third place never came under threat, nor did Kimi Raikkonen's fourth. They ran in open air, unchallenged by the race unfolding around them. Much of the positional changes happened during the pit cycle with precious little action on track. Max Verstappen was, as he tends to be, one of the few protagonists able and willing to take the race by the scruff of the neck, putting a strong move on Sergio Perez at turn two. It was the highlight of the race, another example of the blossoming talent Verstappen possesses which has placed him firmly on the radar of a host of leading teams. 18 GPWEEK.com // 18 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BRAZIL PARTNERS: