Lewis Hamilton stormed to yet another successive win, cruising to victory in the German GP on Sunday.
While it is certainly too early to say this season is all his, Hamilton was leagues above his nearest championship rival that Nico Rosberg might as well have handed him the crown on that podium today. The German was off at all the crucial moments in the race.
Nothing went right for Nico Rosberg
It all started going wrong for Rosberg as soon as the lights went out. Bogged down by wheel spin as he struggled into third gear, but also lacking the lightning speed reactions all others around him possessed, Rosberg was quickly down to fourth place by Turn One, behind the two Red Bull's of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, and his adversary Hamilton.
This was how the order stood even after the first couple rounds of pits stops, it was only up until the half-way mark that Rosberg could mount a challenge against Verstappen, to which he received a five second time penalty for forcing the junior Red Bull driver off the track.
Rosberg dived down the inside on Turn Six on Verstappen, but missed the apex by yards. But, in circumstances that will echo the Austrian GP where Hamilton and Rosberg collided on the final lap, Rosberg once again turned too late in a late attempt to cement his position on the track. This was followed by Verstappen being pushed onto the dirty run-off area and he was instantly on the team radio; which has finally had its restrictions lifted, and complain he had been impeded.
Was the punishment fair?
Now, we hate to see in motor-sport a driver being punished for attempting to make a move on his competitor and we should never discourage it. Many fans complained it was too harsh on Rosberg, but for me the scenario was too similar to Rosberg's cheap tactics in Austria last month. He failed to turn into the corner at the right moment. He knew full well where Verstappen was and where the track limits were. It was not good enough and he got punished.
To add mayhem to the misery, when Rosberg came in to serve his time penalty, he was left in the pits far too long, serving over an eight second penalty as the team did not react quick enough. I'm not sure why Mercedes did not continue as normal and take the five second deduction after the race, because they risked it turning into something worse, and it did.
By then Rosberg could not deliver what his team was asking of him. At one point Mercedes were asking for 1.19.500 lap times and Rosberg was nearly a second down. He could not match the two Red Bull's when the chequered flag flew as Ricciardo took second and was arguably driver of the day. Michael Schumacher's son; Mick was in attendance the whole weekend as he saw Max Verstappen, who is only a year older, take third ahead of Rosberg.
Hamilton takes charge in Championship race
It does look likely that Hamilton will take at least one penalty into the next few races due to gearbox and engine restrictions, but Rosberg has to do more if he wants to win his first championship as he might not get an easier chance than this season.
Elsewhere, it was a day to forget for the Ferrari drivers who lost their place in the constructor's title to Red Bull. Vettel was fifth and Raikkonen was sixth and they never came close to challenging. It looks like Ferrari will switch to their 2017 car development and it has to be better than this car.
The Williams team lost ground to Force India in the battle for fourth place in the constructors as Nico Hulkenburg finished in the points once again to come home in seventh, sticking to a three stop lap over Valteri Bottas who opted for a two stop strategy. It did not pay off and he fell ninth to Jenson Button's McLaren; who team-mate Fernando Alonso took the final point's paying position.
This was not helped by Jolyon Palmer who damamged the suspension of Felipe Massa's Williams and had to retire after falling far behind the field. Felipe Nasr was the only other retirement of the day.
As we enter a four week break after an intense 2016 season, can Hamilton maintain the best shape of his career at the Belgian Grand Prix or will Nico Rosberg bite back?