The stopwatch never lies they say in Formula One but in Nico Rosberg’s case it did and that was one of several things which went wrong for the German in a woeful home race on Sunday.
Rosberg was hit with a five-second time penalty for forcing Max Verstappen off the track in his bid to overtake the Red Bull on lap 29 of the 67-lap race at Hockenheim.
But when the Mercedes driver pulled into the pits, he was stationary for eight seconds instead of the required five.
“Stopwatch failure,” team boss Toto Wolff explained after the race.
“The damn thing failed, it didn’t function like it should have done. Once we realised, we had to take it safe and this is why it took longer than normal.”
Rosberg, who started on pole after putting in a scorching lap under pressure in Saturday’s qualifying session, finished a disappointing fourth on Sunday.
But the delay made little difference to his race.
The German lost the lead off the line to team mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton, who started alongside him on the front row, and was also swamped by Red Bull’s Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.
The race only got worse from there for Rosberg, with the 31-year-old struggling to make up the lost ground and collecting the penalty for his pass on Verstappen, which he was surprised to get.
“Today I’m very disappointed because I had an awesome qualifying yesterday and I was feeling good,” said Rosberg.
“So I was really optimistic and thinking that I can bring it home today so just really disappointed that everything went wrong.”
Rosberg’s miserable afternoon contrasted with that of Hamilton, who cruised to a comfortable fourth win in succession.
The Briton’s lights-to-flag display of dominance, his sixth win from the last seven races, allowed him to extend his overall lead over Rosberg to 19 points.
However, despite Hamilton gaining a crucial psychological edge heading into the sport’s annual summer break, Rosberg – winner of the opening four races – said he was confident he could turn the momentum back in his favour.
“I have enough evidence to show myself that I’m always strongest after difficult moments time and time again,” said the German. “So no issues there.”