Lewis Hamilton has taken victory in another dramatic race to give Mercedes a first 1-2 finish at the German Grand Prix. The Englishman had a dreadful weekend after starting fourteenth on the grid following problems in qualifying.
Hamilton ran a very long first stint and made his way through the field to be fourth by forty-fourth lap. That set him up for a battle with his teammate Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, as the rain moved in before Mercedes ordered Bottas to hold the position.
Hamilton’s title rival Sebastian Vettel was on course for the win, until the race was turned on its head by the rain. Hamilton took an early switch to the inters while the German stayed out. The Englishman then used Vettel’s error of not stopping leading to his crash, to close up on Bottas and then with team orders was given the lead.
The two Mercedes had been fighting for position following Vettel’s retirement. The German had lost control at Sachs in the stadium section before becoming beached in the gravel and brought out the safety car, and give the Englishman not only the win but the championship lead.
Vettel appeared as he braked late into Sachs before running into the gravel and tyre wall. The frustration clear, he slammed down the steering wheel.
It was remarkable, given the fact that Vettel had led from the start and Hamilton started fourteenth. Vettel was on course to open a seventeen point lead going to Budapest next weekend, but it’s now Hamilton who leads by seventeen points.
Vettel’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen was third, earlier in the race the Finn was the first to stop, which annoyed Vettel who believed that he was losing out. He told the team “This is just silly, I’m just losing time and destroying my tyres,” complained Vettel over team radio. “What are you waiting for? Can’t you see the tyre temperatures?”
The order to yield was eventually delivered but Vettel’s composure was then further challenged by a sudden mid-race rain shower.
Hamilton told the press conference “It’s great to be here on Mercedes’ home ground and get the one-two. It’s just a tremendous day for us. I’ve never had a race like this. After racing for some many years, you never know where you’re going to have a race as good as your best. This was up there with them”
Vettel told Sky Sports “I don’t think it was a huge mistake. It’s not like I will have huge difficulties sleeping tonight because I made a big mistake. We didn’t need the rain.”
“We have a strong car, so we can be as confident, more confident, than anybody else. It was one of those moments. My mistake. Apologise to the team.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fourth, the Dutchman’s gamble paying off as he was the first of the top six to go to inters as the rain began to fall on track. However that gamble backfired when the rain got heavier and the safety car came out following Vettel’s retirement.
Retirements for two of the top six and the weather proved hugely rewarding for the midfield, Nico Hulkenberg fifth ahead of Romain Grosjean proving key for Renault’s and Haas’s fight in the constructors. Sergio Perez finished seventh ahead of his Force India teammate Esteban Ocon.
Sauber continued to add to there points haul, this time it wasn’t the Monacan impressing it was Marcus Ericsson who was ninth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was one of the four cars to retire, the Australians car grinding to a halt just before the halfway point with a engine failure.
Ricciardo’s team had started from the back after fitting a new power unit, but he had worked his way to sixth by lap twenty-seven when his engine lost power. Both Williams drivers also failed to finish, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin stopping within two laps of each other in the closing stages.
- German GP – Qualifying Result
- German GP – Vettel takes pole as Hamilton suffers hydraulic problems
- GERMAN GP – Verstappen fastest in second practice by two tenths over Ricciardo
- GERMAN GP – Ricciardo fastest in FP1 with Hamilton not far behind
- Prixview – German Grand Prix