Lewis Hamilton took an easy victory at the German Grand Prix to extend his lead in the championship to 19 points ahead of the summer break.
Starting from second, Hamilton made a strong start and took the lead by Turn 1.
Meanwhile, Rosberg got bogged down with wheel spin and was swamped by the Red Bull’s to slot into fourth place.
It was a deficit that German-born Rosberg couldn’t overcome with Ricciardo and Verstappen largely unchallenged as they finished in second and third places.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen ended in fifth and sixth in a disappointing race for the Prancing Horse that will only be remembered for their ongoing implosion.
Hamilton in complete control
The turnaround in Lewis Hamilton’s season is nothing short of remarkable.
Dogged by a series of mechanical failures and poor starts earlier in the campaign, the reigning world champion was at one point 43 points behind team-mate Rosberg.
Hamilton has now won six of the last seven races contributing to a 62-point swing and 19-point lead in the championship.
And Hamilton’s race in Germany exemplified his total control over the car, his title rival and the championship.
The Englishman launched off the grid to claim the lead and was barely challenged at the any point in the race. When Ricciardo put on super soft tyres to close the gap from 9 seconds to 6 seconds, Hamilton responded by finding an extra second on the next lap as if to stamp his authority.
“What a great start,” said Hamilton.
“The balance was amazing. It was just about keeping it cool and looking after the engine.”
“I think today I didn’t make any mistakes, so in my heart I’m happy with what I did today.”
Great day for Red Bull
An intriguing battle between both Red Bull drivers and Rosberg – with teams switching between tyre compounds and race strategies – made for an entertaining see-saw encounter behind the leader.
Verstappen took second place from the start until a controversial moment on lap 29.
Mercedes attempted to use the undercut to get Rosberg ahead of Verstappen. With Rosberg emerging from the pit still behind the Red Bull, he made an aggressive overtake move diving late for the inside into Turn 6. Rosberg went deep into the corner without turning and came out ahead with Verstappen claiming on team radio that he was “forced off the track”.
The race stewards agreed and, remarkably, when Rosberg served the 5 second stop penalty the Mercedes stopwatch malfunctioned and he remained stationary for 8 seconds.
The calamity of that incident stood in stark contrast to Hamilton’s fine race.
“It was a really tough one today for sure,” Rosberg said. “One of those days where it all comes together and goes completely wrong.”
For Red Bull, it was their first double podium since last year’s Hungary Grand Prix.
“For the team it was a very positive day,” added Verstappen.
“The most important thing was for us to be in front of Ferrari. That definitely worked today and we were even challenging Mercedes. We kept Nico behind us on fair pace, so that was good.”
McLaren back in the points
The closing stages of the race also saw a tight battle to claim the remaining points.
Bottas attempted a two-stop strategy and held on to 7th place for most of the race. But his tyres quickly faded and in the final laps he was overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and McLaren’s Jenson Button who put in a strong race to get the team back into the points.
Sergio Perez took 10th place after Alonso’s wearing tyres made him an easy overtake target on the entry to Turn 6.
Torro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kyvat ended in 14th and 15th, and Manor’s Rio Haryanto finished last in possibly his final Formula 1 race unless he can source some additional funding during the summer break.