Max Verstappen won today’s FORMULA 1 MERCEDES-BENZ GROSSER PREIS VON DEUTSCHLAND 2019. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver triumphed at the end of one of the most thrilling and spectacular races of the past few years. It featured a chain of incidents and accidents that had the crowd on its feet for most of the race. And what a crowd – 61,000 thousand today at the Hockenheimring, with 153,000 attending over the whole weekend from Thursday to Sunday. While, away from the track there will have been tens of millions of viewers watching spellbound in front of TV screens and digital devices.
Sebastian Vettel certainly gave his home crowd something to cheer about, as he staged an incredible climb up the order to go from 20th and last on the grid to second at the chequered flag. Third place also caused a stir, with the surprising Daniil Kvyat securing Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda’s second ever podium following on from Vettel’s win in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
After the infernal heat of the past few days, race day saw the rain play its part, not heavy but pretty much constant all day long. Only occasionally was the track dry enough for slick tyres to be used and it was the changeable nature of the track conditions, combined with several Safety Car periods, both virtual and actual, that outlined the script for this amazing race.
In an action packed race, two moments in particular decided its outcome. The first came between laps 23 and 27 when the track was finally dry enough for a switch to slick tyres. At the time, Lewis Hamilton seemed to have everything in hand, followed a safe distance behind by his team mate Valtteri Bottas, who had Verstappen shadowing him, while Leclerc was coming up from tenth on the grid. Vettel was the first to make the tyre switch, fitting Softs while lying sixth. Verstappen came in on lap 24, taking on Mediums, as did Bottas on lap 26 and Hamilton on 28, while Leclerc copied his team-mate on lap 27. Suddenly, the rain intensified and made life more complicated. Ferrari’s Monegasque driver was caught out badly, crashing into the barriers at the final corner on lap 28. Hamilton also skidded off track but was able to continue, cutting across the grass to rejoin the pit lane, for which he was given a 5 second penalty. His team was not ready to fit a new front wing and that cost him a lot of time.
The Safety Car came out while Leclerc’s Ferrari was towed away and all the drivers who had fitted slicks pitted again for intermediates, which shook up the order. It was now Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Albon, Hamilton, Sainz, Raikkonen, Vettel, Gasly and Giovinazzi.
Hulkenberg was another one caught out at the last corner on lap 40, completing a really bad weekend for Renault, as Ricciardo had retired on lap 13 with a technical problem. Then came another decisive phase of the race between laps 44 and 48, just as the window opened for slicks. The first to gamble on dry tyres was Lance Stroll on lap 44, followed by Kvyat and Magnussen on lap 45. Of the leaders, Verstappen and Bottas came in on lap 46, while Hamilton, Raikkonen and Vettel pitted on lap 47.
The final run of pit stops – there were 74 of them in total – once again shook up the order: on lap 48 Verstappen was leading once again, but behind him, we now found the surprising Stroll and Kvyat, while Bottas was fourth, Vettel ninth and Hamilton down in twelfth. The fight between the two drivers brave enough to make the first move to slicks was won by Toro Rosso’s Russian driver, who dispensed with Stroll on lap 51. At this stage of the race, Vettel was the quickest man on track and he began moving up the order again. He was seventh on lap 51, sixth next time round and fourth on lap 60, after another brief safety car period was required after Bottas crashed the Mercedes at turn 1. At the restart, the local hero got himself into a podium position, passing Stroll on lap 62, before even dealing with Kvyat next time round. By then, it was too late to think about attacking Verstappen.
The top ten was completed by Stroll, Sainz, Albon, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi Grosjean and Magnussen, but this order was jumbled up after the race as the Alfa Romeo drivers were found to have violated a rule relating to driver aids at the start. They were both given a 10 second stop and go which was then changed into 30 seconds added to their race time. The main beneficiaries were Hamilton who thus salvages two points and Robert Kubica. The Polish driver was promoted to tenth and thus brings Williams its first points since last year’s Italian Grand Prix, when Stroll and Sirotkin finished ninth and tenth respectively. Today’s point is a well deserved reward for Kubica, given the exceptional efforts he has made to return to Formula 1, after his terrible rallying accident in 2011.
The Dutchman was impeccable at all times, attacking when he needed to and managing the situation when that was the way to go and, in the end he took a well deserved win, his second this year and his career seventh. It was Red Bull’s 61st win, the second with a Honda power unit. It was a memorable day for the Japanese company, the first time it had two drivers on the podium since the 1992 Japanese Grand Prix when Gerhard Berger finished ahead of McLaren team-mate Ayrton Senna.
Vettel’s fight back certainly had the crowd on its feet, but it must have left Ferrari thinking about what might have been, as it really had the potential to take its first win of the year if it had not been for yesterday’s reliability problems and Leclerc’s mistake today, for which he readily accepted the blame.
Mercedes celebrated its 200th Grand Prix in great style, with all team members kitted out in Fifties-themed clothing. But it definitely had not expected to see a run of races in the points dating back for over a year, end here at its home race. The last time it failed to score points was the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix. Eleventh place for Hamilton and Bottas’ retirement have interrupted what had so far been an almost perfect season for the Silver Arrows.
Daniil Kvyat’s third podium is definitely the best possible way to celebrate the birth of his first child yesterday evening. Lance Stroll too must have got a real confidence boost, given that he often comes in for some unfair criticism.
Away from the race, a talented youngster currently racing in F2 with the Prema team, under the tutelage of the Ferrari Driver Academy, also had reason to be happy today. Mick Schumacher was again behind the wheel of a Ferrari F2004, having also given it a run yesterday, much to the delight of the crowd. He drove three laps of the track in the car his father Michael raced to win his seventh world championship title. It was a moment that will be long remembered by everyone who was at the track to witness it.
After a run of three truly exciting and thrilling Grands Prix, the World Championship does not even pause for breath, with the cars back on track as from this coming Friday 2 August at the Hungaroring, on the outskirts of Budapest for the FORMULA 1 ROLEX MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2019.
FROM THE DRIVERS
1st “To come out on top after a race like that is amazing and for the Team to win for the second time this year with Honda is incredible. I don’t know exactly what happened at the start but it seemed that everyone on the right side of the grid had a bad getaway and low grip. I had a particularly poor start when I released the clutch but stayed calm and followed the Mercedes cars closely. It was hard to pass due to the dirty air and the tyres started to struggle as the track dried. From there onwards we always made the right decisions. Even though the first slick tyre was maybe a bit hard and I had a few moments, with a 360 spin, I luckily kept going. "Once I was back on the intermediates and in the lead I was able to control the race and really show the pace of the car. Once you are ahead you can take a few less risks and everything feels a bit nicer. The conditions were very tricky and it was all about survival. 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. The orange fans were standing up, especially when I was in the lead which was also amazing to see. A big thank you to the whole Team and it has been a crazy but amazing Sunday.”
DNF “That was an insane, crazy race and it just had everything. With the rain, crashes, safety cars and pit stops, it was a lottery and there were a lot of opportunities so I’m quite disappointed not to have made the most of it on my side and not finish the race. Towards the end, I was fighting with Alex during the last few laps and we made contact, which took my front wing off and gave me a puncture, so I had to stop the car. I don’t know what to say but it’s annoying not to score points when you have a race like this. At the start, I had wheel spin so I was slow off the line and I lost a lot of positions into Turn One so it was quite hectic from there. In these conditions, it’s a gamble when to pit and when not to and sometimes you just need to get lucky but the pace was there so we will keep pushing and next week, we go again in Hungary. For the Team and Honda, it was great to get Max’s win today and bag another decent amount of points.”
9th "What a crazy race. This has been one of the most difficult races we've had as a team for a long time. I thought I had the race under control, but we took a risk going out on slicks and the race fell apart from there. I went wide at Turn 16 and it was like ice out there, then hit the wall and damaged my wing. I made a mistake and paid the price. I was in the lead and then finished P11. I'm not even sure how, but that's very painful and I'm just glad it's over. It's hard to perform when you're not at 100 per cent. I need to make sure I'm fit and healthy again in time for the next race. You live and you learn from days like this. It's important now that we regroup for Hungary. I'm happy for Seb, who fought his way back to P2 from the back, and how good to see Daniil and Toro Rosso on the podium too - good for them."
DNF "That was a really tough race and I'm very disappointed. It was tricky out there: the track was very slippery and the conditions changed all the time. It was very easy to make a mistake and unfortunately I made a mistake in the end which lost us a lot of points. It's a shame because today was a good opportunity for me to make up some points to Lewis and it was my own fault that I ended up not getting any points at all in the end. I had a good shot to get a podium and I was pushing hard to get past Stroll. I was quite close to the limit in Turn 1, then I suddenly lost the rear and just went off; I don't think there was any time to catch the car. It's very disappointing for the entire team, but we'll give it everything to come back stronger in Hungary."
2nd “That was quite a race. I enjoyed it even though it was a tricky race, something of a lottery. It was a very long one and I don’t even remember all of it. It was very tough at times, especially on the intermediates in the slippery conditions. 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. "To be honest in these kind of races you can’t count on anything until the last couple of laps. I think I was about P8 when the last safety car came out. 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.”
DNF “It is a disappointing end to the weekend for me. After a good start, we worked our way forward in rather tricky conditions. The team did a great job and let me arrive in second place to fight for the win. The strategy was the right one and the car felt good. "Unfortunately, I made a mistake in turn 16 and lost control of the car. I hit the wall and that was the end of my race. It’s a shame and I am sorry for the team and our fans. Seb did a great job today and his result is well-deserved. "Our car and performance were strong all weekend, in both wet and dry conditions, which is a positive. We have to stay focused and we will give our best again at the next race in Hungary.”
3rd “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! This achievement is so great for us since it’s 11 years since Toro Rosso’s last podium with Sebastian in Monza. It was such an amazing day and I’m so happy. Thank you to everyone in the team, it was just an incredible day. I was readier than ever to fight for this kind of position. This year I feel more mature, my head is cooler, and I’m readier to fight on top, so I think I proved that today to myself and everyone around here. I hope this will become a habit soon! These kinds of races aren’t easy, it was a tough call to pit that lap earlier, but it’s a 50/50 call between the team and me, we win and lose together and today we won together.”
6th “It was a good race today! I was a bit scared at the start, learning how the car behaves in the wet around this track, although, I’m really happy with how I performed as it was my first time in these conditions in an F1 car. The pace was really good, we were a bit fortunate and we timed our first pitstop right, and I was really excited racing in P4, I was thinking ‘OK here we go!’ Unfortunately, at the second stop we were caught out and pitted a lap later than Dany to switch from wet tyres to dry, so four cars passed us. It’s funny, it’s like a disappointing P6 because we were running in P4 for quite a while. It was an amazing job by the team, the strategy was great and we were able to bounce back from a difficult qualifying.”
4th “I’m really happy with that. What an amazing day! Fourth place feels great considering everything that happened this afternoon. I was running at the back for most of the race; I spun a couple of times and we pitted five times! As special as it is to finish fourth, I am disappointed that the podium slipped away from us. I think a critical moment was the mistake I made in turn eight on my second or third lap on slicks, which is when Daniil [Kvyat] managed to get ahead of me. We tried our best to keep the quicker cars behind, but the podium was just out of reach. Today’s race shows why you should never give up because it’s never over until it’s over. It’s great to see how much this result means to the team and it was so special to see the crew celebrating on the pit wall when I crossed the line. This important result is for everyone in the team and we will enjoy this moment.”
5th “Quite an intense Sunday and a good day for Formula 1. On my side, I’m very happy with that P5. Obviously the podium opportunity was there and now it’s easy to say we could’ve made it, but when we were P5 under the Safety Car, it was a very tough call to pit for slicks and nobody around me was stopping. “We decided not to and the guys who were further behind had more margin to take that risk. In general we made the right decisions at the right time. Clever race and well-managed under stressful conditions, so congratulations to the team.”
German Grand Prix Final Classification
1st Max Verstappen Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 64 1:44.31.275
2nd Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 64 +7.333
3rd Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 64 +8.305
4th Lance Stroll SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 64 +8.966
5th Carlos Sainz McLaren F1 Team 64 +9.583
6th Alexander Albon Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 64 +10.052
7th Romain Grosjean Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 64 +16.838
8th Kevin Magnussen Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 64 +18.765
9th Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 64 +19.667
10th Robert Kubica ROKiT Williams Racing 64 +24.987
11th George Russell ROKiT Williams Racing 64 +26.404
12th Kimi Raikkonen* Alfa Romeo Racing 64 +42.214
13th Antonio Giovinazzi* Alfa Romeo Racing 64 +43.849
14th Pierre Gasly Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 61
DNF NC Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 56
DNF NC Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 Team 39
DNF NC Charles Leclerc Scuderia Ferrari 27
DNF NC Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 25
DNF NC Daniel Ricciardo Renault F1 Team 13
DNF NC Sergio Perez SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 1
Fastest lap: Max Verstappen (1.16.645 on lap 61)
1 Lewis Hamilton 225
2 V. Bottas 184
3 M. Verstappen 162
4 S. Vettel 141
5 C. Leclerc 120
6.P. Gasly 55
7 C. Sainz 48
8 D. Kvyat 27
9 K. Raikkonen 25
10 L. Norris 22
1. Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Pts 225
2. Scuderia Ferrari 261
3.Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 217
4.McLaren F1 Team 70
5.Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 42
6.Renault F1 Team 39
7.SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 31
8.Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 26
9.Alfa Romeo 26
10.ROKiT Williams Racing 1