Max Verstappen Wins A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad German Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton starting any race from pole position under wet weather conditions is almost certainly guaranteed victory. But the rain clouds danced a different tune as a chaotic 2019 German Grand Prix turned into a thrilling spectacle for all concerned. The Ferrari’s started well down the order, Leclerc 10th, Vettel 20th after technical issues hampered their qualifying efforts. Mercedes started 1st and 3rd with Verstappen the meat in the inevitable victory sandwich. This looked like an excellent way for Mercedes to wrap up their 125th celebrations in style. But history doesn’t do unicorn over the rainbow and glittering stars.
At first it seemed the unicorn over the rainbow and glittering stars moment was heading towards a perfect weekend for team Mercedes as Bottas jumped a slip-sliding Verstappen into second. A safety car period fell a few laps in after Sergio Perez binned his Racing Point into the wall. That didn’t bother Hamilton too much as he built up a small but comfortable lead after 28 laps. Charles Leclerc began to look a threat in the wet conditions however he crashed out of the race when he was looking good for a possible win.
Mistakes were common up and down the field as drivers got caught out by a specific corner in the stadium section. As the weather eased and the track looked better suited to slicks the Hass team called in Magnussen who soon began posting fast times. Verstappen made the call to switch to slick tyres and soon after leaving the pits did a 360 spin in his Red Bull Honda.
Red Bull opted for medium tyres when soft tyres would have offered better grip in the low temperatures. Nevertheless, Verstappen caught the spin and resumed his race unaffected. However, Mercedes left Hamilton out for too long, perhaps in the belief that it would rain again.
Hamilton also spun off the track into the gravel trap but had enough momentum to find his way out. But not before making contact with the advertising placards. His front wing was twisted off as a result and he just about made it back into the pit lane. But he cut over the grass and picked up a 5 second time penalty. The Mercedes crew were not prepared for Hamilton and scrambled around frantically trying to find the correct tyres and a new front wing.
Indeed so many tyre changes were necessitated due to the variable conditions. And it seemed the safety car was routinely called out, thus the field always reformed under the safety car. So any mistakes were minimised and the race reset. By lap 34 Alex Albon of the Torro Rosso team found himself in 4th position simply by making no mistakes and timing his pit stops correctly.
For Albon it wouldn’t last as faster cars leapfrogged him as tarck conditions became dryer. Sebastian Vettel who seemed invisible for much of the race was now priming himself for a podium after starting last. Lance Stroll was also another driver who found himself out of position. He actually led the race after making the correct call for tyres. After yet another safety car period Racing Point’s lead was to be short-lived.
Verstappen who had retained his head and position had the superior car and easily fought his way back into the lead. The Torro Rosso of Kyvatt was by now 2nd, again due to reading the weather and making the correct call. And it has to be said by not making any mistakes. Bottas was third by lap 51, Hamilton had fallen to 12th after taking that 5-second penalty.
So this was Bottas’ chance to make a dent in Lewis Hamiltons championship lead. Second looked easy, a win more than a possibility. But as he pushed hard he lost it on lap 57 and crashed out of the race. The safety car bunched the field up once again. Vettel by now was by now up to fifth and soon found himself up to second.
And the race ended with Verstappen taking his second victory of the year. Red Bull and Verstappen made the least mistakes and deserved the win. While Vettel didn’t have a scintillating race until 10 laps from the end he too made no mistakes as did Kvyatt. For Hamilton, Bottas and Mercedes this was a hero-to-zero race to forget.
Hamilton finished the race in 11th position but was promoted to 9th after Alfa Romeo’s points finish was disallowed due to a technical infringement. So, in the end, Hamilton actually increased his lead over Bottas.
2019 German Grand Prix Results
2019 German Grand Prix Notes – Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race. Raikkonen and Giovinazzi had 30 seconds added to their race times for use of driver aids at the start.