Williams best of the rest once again in qualifying

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As Mercedes scored its ninth pole position in ten races through Nico Rosberg, Williams once again proved itself to be the ‘best of the rest’ by qualifying second and third at Hockenheim.

Following Lewis Hamilton’s crash in Q1, Rosberg looked set to go unchallenged en route to pole position. Valtteri Bottas did give him a brief scare late on, but the Finn was happy to settle for second place, feeling that he could have not gone any quicker.

“Yeah, today we must be really happy with the result we got, second and third, well done to everyone,” Bottas said after the session on Saturday. “I think Mercedes is still ahead, but the lap I had at the end was no mistakes and a really nice lap, so really felt I got everything out of the car.”

For Felipe Massa, third place was almost a disappointment as he struggled to get a lap together during qualifying, but he is still happy to be fighting at the front alongside Bottas.

“I think I was struggling to put the lap together,” he said. “I had some movement from the tires and I was not able to have a perfect car, just to put all the sectors together.

“I was able to do one sector better in one way, the other sector better in the other way. The car was not 100 per cent perfect in terms of set-up to put the perfect lap and Valtteri did really a very good lap.

“But anyway I’m still quite happy with the result and I’m quite happy with our car and for sure in the race the conditions are completely different, the feeling of the car as well is different, so let’s try to a very good job tomorrow as well.”

Williams is currently enjoying a revival following a difficult period in the history of the team. Last season, Bottas and former driver Pastor Maldonado could score just five points in total, leaving the team ninth in the constructors’ and as the lowest-ranked scoring team.

This year though, everything has changed. Massa started on pole in Austria, leading an all-Williams front row, whilst Bottas has finished on the podium in the last two races. You would have to think that if Mercedes hits trouble in Germany as it did in Canada, this time it would be Williams who could pick up the pieces.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.