Hamilton wins German Grand Prix from P14 as Vettel crashes out

Lewis Hamilton scored a brilliant victory in a thrilling German Grand Prix while his championship rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out as a rain storm struck Hockenheim.

Vettel had led for the majority of the race from pole position, but slid out of contention from the lead, on lap 52 of the 67 lapped race. The Ferrari driver hit his steering wheel in frustration at the mistake of crashing into the Turn 13 barriers.

Hamilton started P14 and took advantage of the downpour that soaked the circuit in the latter stages that caught out a number of slick-shod drivers – including Vettel – and which led to the safety car to be deployed.

In the chaos, there was an instant reversal of fortune as a Ferrari 1-2 became a Mercedes 1-2 during the rain shower.

All race, the teams were constantly trying to second guess the conditions and most drivers stayed out on dry-weather tyres while the storm passed and the circuit began to quickly dry up.

Valtteri Bottas finished in second position, but had an attempt at overtaking his teammate when the safety car period ended on lap 57.

Bottas got alongside Hamilton at the Turn 6 hairpin, but Hamilton was just able to retain the lead. Just a lap later, Bottas was instructed to hold position.

Kimi Raikkonen took third place, ahead of Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver took the gamble on wet tyres when the rain started to fall in just one section of the track.

Two laps later, Verstappen had returned back to the pits for dry tyres – the gamble failed – but then the whole circuit was doused, leading to the Safety Car’s deployment.

Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Renault, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Haas and the Force Indias. Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Brendon Hartley both benefitted from the chaotic conditions to scoop the final point-finishing positions.

At the start, Vettel led away from Bottas, Raikkonen and Verstappen and was comfortably in control of his home race. By lap 25, Vettel held a five-second lead over Bottas when he came in to pit from ultra tyres to softs.

His Ferrari teammate Raikkonen was the first of the frontrunners to pit on lap 14 and once the first stops were over, The Iceman held a slim lead over Vettel.

But the German was on tyres that were 11 laps fresher and Raikkonen was instructed by engineering director Jock Clear to led Vettel past.

Hamilton started on the soft tyre and made swift progress in the early laps to make his way through the field.

After starting P14, he was up to seventh by lap eight. It was a remarkable comeback drive that has significant implications in the championship battle, as Hamilton retakes the number one spot.

What a difference a day makes for Lewis Hamilton. Pure heartbreak in qualifying following a hydraulics issue. Racing through the field to first position is just incredible. Well done to Hamilton on this triumph.

As for Sebastian Vettel. Feel really sorry for the Ferrari driver. This small mistake will be costly in terms of the championship. Hopefully Vettel can bounce back in Hungary next weekend.

German Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 67 1h32m29.845s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 67 4.535s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 67 6.732s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 67 7.654s
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 67 26.609s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 67 28.871s
7 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 67 30.556s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 67 31.750s
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 67 32.362s
10 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 67 34.197s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 67 34.919s
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 67 43.069s
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 67 46.617s
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 66 1 Lap
15 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 66 1 Lap
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 65 Not running
– Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 53 Brakes
– Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 51 Retirement
– Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 51 Spun off
– Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 27 Retirement

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 188
2 Sebastian Vettel 171
3 Kimi Raikkonen 131
4 Valtteri Bottas 122
5 Daniel Ricciardo 106
6 Max Verstappen 105
7 Nico Hulkenberg 52
8 Fernando Alonso 40
9 Kevin Magnussen 39
10 Sergio Perez 30
11 Esteban Ocon 29
12 Carlos Sainz 28
13 Romain Grosjean 20
14 Pierre Gasly 18
15 Charles Leclerc 13
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
17 Marcus Ericsson 5
18 Lance Stroll 4
19 Brendon Hartley 2
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 310
2 Ferrari 302
3 Red Bull-Renault 211
4 Renault 80
5 Force India-Mercedes 59
6 Haas-Ferrari 59
7 McLaren-Renault 48
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 20
9 Sauber-Ferrari 18
10 Williams-Mercedes 4

7 thoughts to “Hamilton wins German Grand Prix from P14 as Vettel crashes out”

  1. German Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Sebastian Vettel has achieved many things in his career, but prior to Sunday the Ferrari driver had never won nor led more than a handful of laps at Hockenheim – a venue only a handful of miles from where he grew up. For much of the race he seemed destined to end that barren run…

    That was until rain showers swept over the German circuit late on and turned events on their head. Caught out by the slippery track, Vettel slithered into the barriers on lap 52, allowing title rival Lewis Hamilton – who’d started a distant 14th after his qualifying dramas – to make full use of a brilliant Mercedes strategy call to sweep into the lead, take victory and reclaim the advantage in the title race.

    On the weekend he signed a new two-year Mercedes deal, Hamilton, who had never previously won from outside the top six on the grid, led home team mate Valtteri Bottas to give the Silver Arrows their first ever one-two on home soil. In doing so Hamilton also equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of four German GP wins, as the seven-time world champion’s former team Ferrari had to make do with third place for Kimi Raikkonen.

    Max Verstappen brought his Red Bull home in P4, a gamble to switch to intermediate tyres having failed to pay off, while Nico Hulkenberg took a superbly judged fifth for Renault in front of his home fans.

    Haas’s Romain Grosjean pipped Force India’s Sergio Perez to sixth on the final lap, with the Mexican’s team mate Esteban Ocon, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley – all of whom had been out of the points before the rain came – completing the top ten points scorers.

    Vettel made no mistake at the start to lead Bottas, Raikkonen and Verstappen into Turn 1. Behind them fears of opening-lap contact proved unfounded as the field circulated cleanly, with Hamilton, starting on soft tyres, dropping a place at the start before re-passing Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams into the stadium section.

    As Vettel held Bottas at arm’s length up front, Hamilton continued to make his way up the order. By Lap 11 the Briton had climbed to P6, but by then he was a full 25s behind leader Vettel and his podium chances looked slim.

    Ferrari were the first of the frontrunners to show their hand from a tactical point of view, calling Raikkonen in for a switch from ultrasoft to soft tyres at the end of lap 15. The Finn returned in front of Hamilton in P4, but after Vettel, Bottas and Verstappen had pitted more than 10 laps later, Raikkonen emerged in the lead.

    Between those events, Daniel Ricciardo – who’d started on the back row of the grid after Red Bull elected to change multiple power unit elements on his car – pulled over after complaining of ‘losing power’. By that stage the unlucky Australian, who’d started on the medium tyres and has now retired from four of the 11 races in 2018, had fought his way into the top 10.

    Up front, Raikkonen continued to lead from Vettel, but with the latter complaining that his tyres, much fresher than his team mate’s, were beginning to suffer in the Finn’s wake, Ferrari soon instructed the 2007 world champion to move over and let the 2018 world championship leader through.

    Three laps later, at the end of lap 42 of 67, Mercedes finally called Hamilton in after a mammoth opening stint. The Briton was switched to the fastest ultrasoft tyres, with his team telling him they represented his best chance of catching those ahead – how right they were…

    Within two laps of leaving the pits the first drops of rain began to fall at the Turn 6 hairpin. Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly all gambled the weather would hastily worsen and pitted, the first of the three for intermediates, the latter for full wets.

    In reality, a major downpour didn’t transpire and all four would quickly switch back to slicks – but in the slippery conditions, Leclerc was lucky to survive a full 360-degree spin out of Turn 1 and another off-track moment out of Turn 3 which dropped him out of points contention.

    As the drivers struggled for grip, Bottas – now right behind Raikkonen – put a pass on his countryman, while Perez was another to spin. But the major drama was to follow as Vettel drew audible groans from the huge crowd in the stadium section as he understeered off at the Sachskurve, his agony obvious in his slapping of his helmet and teary apology over team radio. It was the fifth time in his career he had retired from the lead of a race.

    With the Safety Car summoned to recover Vettel’s stricken car, Bottas was called into the pits for fresh rubber and Raikkonen followed a lap later, while Hamilton took a trip across the grass at pit entry having been initially called to do the same only to be told at the last minute to stay out.

    All of a sudden Hamilton led, and having seen off the challenge of Bottas at the re-start (and then benefitted from the Finn being told to hold station), the four-time world champion coolly reeled off the remaining laps – during which both Williams limped into retirement to join Ricciardo and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne – to complete a thoroughly unlikely victory.

    With it an eight-point deficit to Vettel in the championship was converted into a 17-point advantage, while Ferrari’s misery was completed as Mercedes reclaimed the lead in the constructors’ race by eight points.

  2. Mercedes explains team orders call on Bottas. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the team imposed team orders on Valtteri Bottas at the German Grand Prix because it didn’t want to risk throwing away a lucky 1-2 finish.

    Lewis Hamilton had managed to haul his way to the front of the field ahead of his teammate at a late safety car period, which had been called out when race leader Sebastian Vettel crashed out in damp conditions.

    At the restart, Bottas briefly challenged Hamilton – but almost immediately Mercedes’ strategy chief James Vowles instructed the Finn to hold position.

    Speaking about the reasoning for calling off the fight, Wolff said that the team did not want to risk throwing away valuable points at a time when it needs to respond to Ferrari’s pace.

    “First of all we didn’t have the quickest car here and we need to progress for the next races because that is the most important,” Wolff told Sky.

    “It was still raining at the time and the fight was so intense. There was all to lose with the bad luck that we had in the last races, and we wanted to keep it calm at that stage.”

    With Mercedes having faced it fair share of bad luck in recent race – including a double retirement in Austria and Hamilton’s clash with Kimi Raikkonen in Britain, Wolff did not shy away from the fact that fortune had been on his team’s side at Hockenheim.

    “All the bad luck that we have came back to us with tremendous good luck,” he said. “And that makes me happy.”

    Although Bottas was disappointed at seeing an opportunity for his first win of the season slip through his grasp, he said he accepted the Mercedes call.

    “We had a bit of a battle on lap one after the safety car with Lewis,” he said. “I didn’t get past then and they told me to minimise the risk, which I understand.”

  3. After crashing out of the German Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel admitted he won’t lose sleep following his retirement at Hockenheim. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Sebastian Vettel says he won’t have trouble sleeping following the error that caused him to crash out of the lead of the German Grand Prix.

    The Ferrari Formula 1 driver appeared on course to extend his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton with a victory on home soil at Hockenheim, but he slid off the road and collided with the barriers in the stadium section at the end of lap 52 when a brief rain shower hit.

    Asked by TV crews how he could process such a disastrous outcome, Vettel said: “I was in the barrier, and I realise I don’t get out from there, so how do you process that?

    “I don’t think it was a huge mistake, it was a huge impact on the race because we retired.

    “But it’s not like tonight I will have difficulties to fall asleep because of what I’ve done wrong.

    “It’s disappointing because up to that point everything was sweet. We didn’t need the rain.”

    Vettel said he would go away from the weekend looking at the positives about Ferrari’s performance, having taken pole position and led the race.

    “We have a strong car, so we can be as confident, more confident than anybody else,” he said.

    “It was a very positive weekend, just one of those moments, and my mistake.

    “Apologies to the team, they did everything right and I had it in my hands. Small mistake, big disappointment.”

    Vettel now trails Hamilton – who won the race from 14th on the grid – by 17 points in the championship.

  4. Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the German Grand Prix has been thrown into doubt, with the Mercedes driver summoned to see the stewards over a potential breach of the rules for crossing the pit entry line.

    The world championship leader cut across the pit entry back on to the track during the late-race safety car period on lap 52, amid a confusing situation about whether to stop again or not.

    His actions have now been reported to the stewards and, if he is found guilty of an offence, then he faces a time penalty that could drop him down the order.

    Although the FIA’s race notes ahead of the Hockenheim weekend did not make specific reference to drivers cutting back on track, the regulation that Hamilton is believed to have broken is clear.

    FIA International Sporting Code, Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 4 d) of the FIA International Sporting Code states: “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards), the crossing, in any direction, of the line separating the pit entry and the track by a car entering the pit lane is prohibited.”

    Speaking about the situation before the summons, Hamilton said that the late decision to cut back to the track was prompted by the fact that he was trying to do the opposite to what race leader Kimi Raikkonen was doing.

    “It was so confusing,” said Hamilton. “We came around Turn 16, and Kimi started turning in, they had asked me to box, and I said Kimi is pitting.

    “Then they said ‘stay out.’ I was already in the lane and then I started turning out to go over the grass. Then they said no ‘stay in, but I was already back on track.

    “The reason I mention it is that there are times when you do the opposite to the car in front and I felt this was a chance to do the opposite to Kimi and gain ground on the road. That is why I questioned it and ultimately it turned out to be the right thing.

    “But it was so intense and really confusing – because they were all panicking on the pit wall and I was probably the only relaxed one.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  5. Former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg commented that Sebatian Vettel “threw away” win by pushing too hard. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Nico Rosberg says Sebastian Vettel “threw away” victory in Formula 1’s German Grand Prix because he was pushing too hard in damp conditions.

    Race leader Vettel slid into the barriers towards the end of lap 52 while a rain shower was hitting the Hockenheim circuit, the crash dealing a huge blow to his title challenge as championship rival Lewis Hamilton went on to win the race, having started 14th.

    Vettel said it was a small mistake with big consequences, but speaking in his role as a TV pundit for Sky Sports, Rosberg said Vettel should have known better.

    “Such a big one – unbelievable!” said Rosberg. “He threw it away.

    “Yes, the conditions were difficult, we know that, and they are horrible as a driver, because it’s so tough.

    “But he still had a gap to the guys behind, he could have just taken out a little bit more, gone a little bit slower and taken it a bit more easy, and he just chucked it into the wall. It’s so bad.”

    When it was put to Rosberg that in those tricky conditions the margins for error are small, he added: “But you know the Sachskurve, that’s the one corner where there is no margin for error.

    “So in that corner you’re going to leave even more in reserve, and he didn’t. He went over the edge.”

    In the six laps before his crash Vettel had extended his lead over teammate Kimi Raikkonen from 3.5 to 9.9 seconds.

    The Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas – who passed Raikkonen just before Vettel crashed – and Hamilton were catching the Ferraris, but Rosberg doesn’t think that influenced Vettel’s driving.

    “We didn’t hear a radio conversation with Sebastian about that during the race, so I don’t think he was aware of that,” he said.

    “He was just doing his own race and he messed it up, totally, which is unbelievable for him. That doesn’t happen too often for him.”

    While Vettel played down the error itself, he offered a similar verdict to Rosberg when asked about the crash.

    “Yeah, obviously, threw it away,” he said. “It was a small mistake but a big impact on the race.

    “I was just a tiny bit too late [on the brakes], locked the rears and I couldn’t turn it.

    “We managed quite well up to that point, I thought it was still fine with dry tyres.

    “It was nothing spectacular, really. It feels better if it’s spectacular because then you’ve done something really wrong.

    “In this case I didn’t really do much wrong, but enough to finish the race.

    “It wasn’t the biggest mistake I’ve done, but it was probably one of the most costly.”

  6. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton given a reprimanded following his messy pit lane entrance (cutting the grass and stays out of the pits) but he keeps his German Grand Prix victory. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton has kept his German Grand Prix win following a stewards’ investigation into a pit entry incident.

    Hamilton won the race on the road from 14th on the grid, aided by intermittent rain and a crash for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who was the runaway race leader when he slid off into the barriers.

    Vettel’s off triggered a safety car and, with the end of the lap approaching fast, Hamilton was given a series of conflicting instructions from his Mercedes pitwall in quick succession.

    As a result, he took to the pitlane entry road but then cut across the grass the emerge on the start-finish straight – a decision which ultimately allowed him to lead the race at the restart and take the chequered flag in first.

    But Hamilton and Mercedes were called up to the stewards after the podium ceremonies had concluded, with the summons’ notice citing a potential violation of the FIA International Sporting Code.

    Hamilton’s race-winning margin of 4.5 seconds over teammate Valtteri Bottas meant that his race win was under threat due to the possibility of a time penalty.

    However, following lengthy deliberations, the stewards decided that the sanction would be limited to a reprimand – Hamilton’s first of the season.

    The stewards’ explanation for the decision read: “It was clear that there was an infringement of the above mentioned rule – the driver clearly crossed the line separating the pit entry from the track.

    “In deciding on the penalty for the infringement, we took into account the following mitigating factors.

    “(i) The driver and the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact that there was confusion within the team as to whether to stay out or to enter the pits and that led to the infringement.

    “(ii) The fact that the infringement took place during a Safety Car period.

    “(iii) At no time was there any danger to any other competitor and the change in direction was executed in a safe way.

    “Taking all of the above into account, including considering previous infringements of the above rule, we are of the opinion that a reprimand would be the appropriate penalty for the said infringement on this occasion.”

    The decision means that Hamilton will take a 17-point lead over Vettel in the standings into the next race in Hungary.

  7. Lewis Hamilton says he was “100% open” with the FIA stewards when he was called in to explain his manoeuvre at the pit entry during the German GP – a meeting that ultimately resulted in a reprimand.

    Hamilton was summoned for cutting across the grass from the pit entry and back onto the track when there was some confusion within the Mercedes team about whether he should pit or not.

    The stewards – including driver representative Mika Salo – gave Hamilton a reprimand rather than a more stringent penalty because the incident happened under a safety car, and there was no danger to other drivers.

    “It’s been an emotional, the most emotional day, up and down,” said Hamilton just after hearing the outcome.

    “No one ever wants to go and see the stewards. They have the hardest job, because every scenario is always different.

    “They ask you to explain what happened, and I was 100% open with them. I’m very rarely there.

    “There have been many times in the past, I was there a lot, but I hardly ever see them now.

    “I respect the rules and I respect the job that they have to do. I just was open, said this is how it was. They could hear and see how confusing it was, and that was that.”

    The stewards also noted that “the driver and the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact that there was confusion within the team as to whether to stay out or to enter the pits and that led to the infringement”.

    Hamilton admitted that he didn’t know what to do, especially as teammate Valtteri Bottas pitted just in front of him.

    “It was just the most confusing second and a half. I honestly thought that was going to stay out, I was happy with my tyres, and then they said, ‘Come in,’ and I saw Valtteri ahead coming in. So I was like are they sure about it?

    “By the time I got in it was no, stay out. It was literally go left, go right? I just slowed down and trundled over some grass and made sure I joined the track as safe as I could.

    “I don’t know if you heard the radio after, it was guys, the most confusing couple of seconds, because they were shouting in my ear. ‘No left, no right!’ I think it was still relatively exciting.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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