German Grand Prix – Max Verstappen has weathered a chaotic race at Hockenheim to claim victory ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
Max Verstappen has won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, coming home ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after a chaotic race filled with Safety Cars, crashes and changeable weather conditions.
Verstappen was a constant threat to the early race leaders Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas but, at half distance, the changeable weather conditions proved game changing. Verstappen even spun around completely at one point while out on the Medium tyres, surviving the incident with minimal time loss.
Hamilton, having held the lead through the first phase of the race, crashed from the lead and damaged his car in the stadium section, resulting in him diving into the pits. He picked up a time penalty for that as well, having come into the pits on the wrong side of the entry bollard. Hamilton’s crash came just moments after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc retiring from the race after a very similar mistake. Struggling on the Soft tyres in the damp conditions, Leclerc ran wide and skated on helplessly into the barriers. Unlike Hamilton, Leclerc wasn’t able to continue.
Valtteri Bottas also took himself out of contention. Having fallen behind the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat and the Racing Point of Lance Stroll towards the end of the race through pit strategy, Bottas crashed heavily through Turn 1 while pressuring Stroll. While uninjured, his woes added to Mercedes’ problems as Hamilton straggled around at the back of the field.
Another horror story was for Pierre Gasly. The Red Bull driver struggled consistently throughout the race and, with just five laps to go, damaged his car as he collided with the back of Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon while trying to overtake out of the hairpin.
While Verstappen was able to comfortably control the race at the front through the various Safety Car periods during the second half of the race, Sebastian Vettel had made canny use of aggressive tyre choices to climb up the order and a late race Safety Car for Gasly’s collision allowed the Ferrari driver to close up and pass Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat to take P2 on the penultimate lap. Kvyat was able to get his Toro Rosso home in P3 to return to the podium for the first time since 2015 when he raced with Red Bull.
Stroll finished up in P4, disappointed to have missed out on the podium but thrilled with an inspired strategy call to stay out on the Intermediates in the closing stages.
Carlos Sainz finished P5 for McLaren, despite being another driver to be caught out in the stadium section during the race. He spun off on the treacherously slippery drag strip outside the penultimate corner but was able to save it and get back on track.
Alex Albon finished P6, his car surviving the damage from Gasly hitting the back of him, meaning a double points finish for the Toro Rosso team.
Another double points finish was for Alfa Romeo, as Kimi Raikkonen finished P7 – he was another driver to go off track in the stadium but was able to keep it out of the barriers. He came home just ahead of teammate Antonio Giovinazzi in P8. Romain Grosjean was P9 for Haas, with Kevin Magnussen P10 – the pair surviving a late race clash where they banged wheels down at the hairpin.
Hamilton, having already had a nightmare race, spun a full 360 degrees at the first corner towards the end and finished P11 and outside the points. Williams’ Robert Kubica and George Russell were the last classified runners in P12 & P13.
Pierre Gasly was the last retirement, with Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, and Nico Hulkenberg also crashing out. The Renault driver had run in the podium places towards half distance in the race but made an error in the stadium and crashed into the barriers. Sergio Perez was another self-inflicted DNF as he crashed in the opening stages while the drivers tip-toed around on the wet tyres early on.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo retired with an engine problem, while Lando Norris also had a technical problem on his McLaren.