In a topsy-turvy rain-soaked German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Max Verstappen was the big winner for Red Bull Racing. The two Mercedes finished out of the points for the first time in the season. Lewis Hamilton ended up 11th and Valtteri Bottas crashed out of the race. It took a horrid weather to stop Mercedes’ progress in the championship, so be it…at least we have an interesting race to witness.
The 11th round of the Formula 1 World Championships was going Mercedes’ way after Saturday’s qualifying where they secured positions 1 and 2. But, the tide turned against them on Sunday. Verstappen was the winner, but it was Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel who overcame the odds from last place on starting grid to second place at the finish.
At race start, Vettel quickly made up grounds from 20th to 14th and up 12th, after dispatching Daniel Riccairdo in a Renault. Verstappen tagged the Mercedes cars as the rest of the field struggled for grip on a damp track. Hamilton gambled on slicks rather than intermediates. It would soon became a nightmare for him
After the first stop and a safety car period, the restart saw Charles LeClerc zip past Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen for fourth. Few cars behind, Vettel jumped from tenth to seventh.
The rain came pouring round about the halfway mark of the race which made it more interesting. LeClerc fell victim to the weather as he crashed into the barriers, while running second at the time. Vettel had to switch to intermediates and retook the track in eighth.
Another safety car period at the three quarters mark following Hulkenberg’s crash. The surviving Ferrari ran ninth after a stop for tyres.
In the final stint, Hamilton ran wide and hit the wall, damaging his front wing. He dropped out of the race. Later, Bottas would crashed out from the lead. With the two Mercedes gone, Verstappen led from the field as everyone got promoted. Vettel, meantime, carved his way to the front with relative ease. Another restart was required but it didn’t stop Vettel as he took out Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll to get up to third, with three laps to go.
Final two laps, the Ferrari made quick work of Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso to take the chequered flag in second place behind Verstappen. If there were more laps, Vettel could have snatched the win from the factory Red Bull…
Although Mercedes had the worst race of the season they still lead the standings, way ahead. Hamilton was classified 11th but somehow finished ninth in the classification. Robert Kubica took home a point for Williams by finishing tenth.
The next round takes place in Hungary, next weekend/
Top three drivers’ quotes:
Verstappen: It was definitely not an easy race and very tricky with the changing conditions. The Team made all the right calls. They were giving me the right information and keeping an eye on all the other teams and sector times. They were really on top of things and everyone worked so well together. It has been one of my most difficult races and it is great to come out on top. For sure I enjoy driving in the wet but also you need a good car for that. You can find a bit of pace in yourself but today we had both things right and I’m very happy with the result.
Vettel: That was quite a race. I enjoyed it even though it was a tricky race, something of a lottery. I made up a lot of ground immediately after the start and in the first couple of laps, even though it was difficult to see. After that, it was quite hard to get into a rhythm as I did not feel so comfortable on the intermediates and their degradation was quite high. It was hard to tell if the lack of grip was because of the track being greasy or because the tyres were going off. There are so many decisions to make, but overall we stayed on track and in the race. In mixed conditions when it was starting to dry on the slicks I felt comfortable and that’s when we made up the most ground.
Kvvyat: It’s incredible to be back on the podium in what could be called my ‘second career’. I thought it would never happen again in my life, so I’m so incredibly happy. There’s so many emotions I still need some time to let it all sink in!
2019 F1 German GP results
1 Max Verstappen RED BULL 1:44:31.275
2 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI +7.333s
3 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO +8.305s
4 Lance Stroll BWT +8.966s
5 Carlos Sainz MCLAREN +9.583s
6 Alexander Albon TORO ROSSO +10.052s
7 Romain Grosjean HAAS +16.838s
8 Kevin Magnussen HAAS +18.765s
9 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES +19.667s
10 Robert Kubica WILLIAMS +24.987s
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 225
2 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 184
3 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING HONDA 162
4 Sebastian Vettel GER FERRARI 141
5 Charles Leclerc MON FERRARI 120
6 Pierre Gasly FRA RED BULL RACING HONDA 55
7 Carlos Sainz ESP MCLAREN RENAULT 48
8 Daniil Kvyat RUS SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 27
9 Kimi Räikkönen FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 25
10 Lando Norris GBR MCLAREN RENAULT 22
1 MERCEDES 409
2 FERRARI 261
3 RED BULL RACING HONDA 217
4 MCLAREN RENAULT 70
5 SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 42
6 RENAULT 39
7 RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES 31
8 HAAS FERRARI 26
9 ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 26
10 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1