Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has won a breathtaking German Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel came from the back to finish second with Daniil Kvyat taking his first podium since 2016. The race saw many drivers taking gambles and saw Mercedes finish out of the points for the first time since Austria last year.
Mercedes had looked the favourites going into the race but was a difficult day at the teams 200th Grand Prix. With both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas make mistakes in very wet conditions, through the race chaos ensued.
Verstappen meanwhile drove a perfect race closing up on the Mercedes by the halfway point, then Red Bull made all the right calls for the Dutchman to take victory. Hamilton led early on from Bottas before his race became unstuck when he had a bad stop thirty laps in, but managed to hung on to the position before spinning off with ten laps to go.
Verstappen said “It was an amazing race to win in the end,” said Verstappen, who had a 360 spin himself druid was really tricky out there to make the right calls”
Sebastian Vettel added “It was a long race, at some stages it felt like it would never end and it was very tough with the conditions and I’m just happy. It was a lot of fun.”
“It took a while, at the beginning with the intermediates I couldn’t get going but eventually it was good that the afternoon took so long and I stayed tidy for most of the race.”
The Russian taking Toro Rosso’s first podium since Monza 2008, and giving Honda a one-three finish, since Vettel’s win in equally challenging conditions.
Vettel meanwhile drove a perfect race, putting behind last years drama he drove from the back of the grid to third. But it was a tough race for teammate Charles Leclerc, mirroring the German’s accident last year he went straight on at Sachs after the tiniest error and crashed out.
The half way point was the turning point, Leclerc was first to stop from second in a bid to pass Hamilton. The Mercedes came in to try and pass the Ferrari, he then got caught out at the same point of the circuit on the next lap, as he spun out and damaged his front wing on the following lap.
Hamilton returned to the pits, then went around the wrong side of the barrier and was handed a five second penalty. He served his penalty at his next stop but his Mercedes mechanics had not been ready for him) to briefly hand the lead to Bottas.
Bottas was then the only man on soft tyres, as he returned to the pits he crashed into the wall handing Verstappen the lead.
The Finn wasn’t the only driver to be caught out, Nico Hulkenberg looked in a strong third to take his first podium. But followed Leclerc and Hamilton by sliding off on lap sixty three. He lost the possibility of changing the championship by closing the gap, as such Hamilton retains a thirty nine point lead.
It was a strong race for Racing Points Lance Stroll, he had led the race before Verstappen made his last stop and passed him. He was then unable to fend off Kvyat or Vettel in the closing stages, but it’s a result Racing Point would have snatched with both hands before the race.
Carlos Sainz was fifth, recovering from an early spin to finish ahead of Alex Albon. The British-Thai driver had been running here up before making contact with Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman made a late move causing a puncher and dropped to fourteenth.
Alfa Romeo are the biggest gainers, both Kimi Raikkonen and Anotnio Giovinazzi finished seventh and eighth ahead of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, who ended Haas’ long wait without a point.
However, both Alfa drivers where awarded a ten second penalty, because of the way they operated the clutch which potentially mimicked traction control in the tricky conditions. The penalty, equivalent to an in-race stop-and-go, was the same as that which be given for a false start.
That moves Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica move into the top ten, earning his first point since Abu Dhabi in 2010 and his team’s first Monza last year.
Alfa team principal Fred Vasseur has confirmed to Motorsport.com that the team has already submitted a notification of intention to appeal. It now has until Thursday to decide whether or not to pursue the appeal.
Haas will be happy with the result, but will need to look at their drivers after they collided for the second race in succession while vying for position in the final laps. The Haas cars survived the incident, but not before both drivers had opened up their channel to angrily shout about their teammate’s driving.
Hamilton was eleventh ahead of Robert Kubica and George Russell in the two Williams.
There were a number of retirements, including both the Renaults Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren’s Lando Norris stopped at the side of the race track, prompting a Virtual Safety Car period which ended just as Hamilton stopped for a dry-tyre change of his own.
- German GP – Qualifying Results
- GERMAN GP – Lewis Hamilton takes pole as Ferrari breaks down with both drivers failing to set times
- Notebook – German Practice
- GERMAN GP – Charles Leclerc heads a Ferrari one-two in second practice
- GERMAN GP – Sebastian Vettel sets the pace as Ferrari have an encouraging first practice
- F1 Today – German Prixview – 25/07/2019
- Prixview – German Grand Prix