Verstappen wins German Grand Prix thriller

What a race! Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen mastered the tricky conditions at Hockenheim to win a thrilling German Grand Prix as Mercedes faltered at their home event.

Rain before the start and during the race made for an incident-packed event in which polesitter Lewis Hamilton spun twice on his way to an eventual P11, and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas crashed out.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel raced from the back of the grid to finish in an excellent second position, but it was a mixed day for the Scuderia after Charles Leclerc spun into retirement.

Daniil Kvyat was a brilliant third thanks to clever tactical strategy by Toro Rosso.

Torrential rain throughout the morning ensured this would be the first test of Formula 1’s new wet-weather starting procedures.

Predictably, a number of the more combative-minded drivers began to lobby for the safety car to be withdrawn so the race could begin, and it duly peeled off after several additional formation laps to enable a standing start.

Hamilton seamlessly converted pole into the race lead as Verstappen had too much wheelspin, losing out two places as both Bottas and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen went by.

He almost lost a further place to the fast-starting Haas of Romain Grosjean, too, but Verstappen reasserted himself into Turn 1 and recovered third place from Raikkonen next time around.

Spray and uncertain grip levels precipitated chaos in their wake as Carlos Sainz’s McLaren ran wide in Turn 2 and Nico Hulkenberg and Leclerc pounced, and the midfielders bumped and banged their way through the opening laps.

At the end of the second lap Sergio Perez rotated his Racing Point into the barrier at the exit of Turn 11, bringing out the safety car.

Vettel – starting from the back of the grid after failing to run in qualifying – and Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon dived straight into the pits for intermediates while Hamilton and the rest of the frontrunners had to complete another lap before doing likewise.

A handful of teams gambled on leaving drivers out on the full wet tyres but that soon proved to have been the wrong option as a dry line began to form.

Kevin Magnussen was one such and, although he was running second behind Hamilton in the safety car queue, he was quickly swamped by Bottas and Verstappen when the race was green-flagged on lap 4.

Stopping a lap earlier elevated Vettel to P12 and he quickly cut through the midfielders ahead to run seventh behind Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg and Raikkonen. But he was still over half a minute behind Hamilton, who remained serene in the rapidly changing conditions, stretching his advantage over Bottas beyond five seconds.

Leclerc and Hulkenberg stopped early for new intermediates, on lap 15, and predictably the Ferrari left the Renault blowing in the wind as they rejoined.

By lap 22 Leclerc had closed the gap to Verstappen to below four seconds, leaving Hulkenberg twenty seconds down the road, though the threat to him from Raikkonen and Vettel was diminished by their worn intermediates.

On lap 23 Vettel was the first to pit for slicks, taking on the soft compound, signalling that Ferrari at least believed track conditions had passed the crossover point, even though the start/finish straight was still covered in a film of water. Red Bull brought Verstappen in from third place a lap later and fitted mediums.

Mercedes opted to fit mediums as well when it pitted Bottas on lap 26, while Ferrari went for softs on Leclerc’s car on the following lap. Hamilton was next in, for mediums, but his arrival in the pits coincided with a fresh downpour unheralded on the weather radar.

Leclerc immediately aquaplaned off at T17, beaching himself in the gravel and bringing out the safety car, and then Hamilton speared off-track at the same point on the following lap.

Hamilton managed to gather his Mercedes into line and just glanced the barrier, breaking his front wing, but he was able to head straight into the pits.

There chaotic scenes ensued as his unprepared crew fumbled for a new set of intermediate tyres and a replacement front wing, and to heap further misfortune on Hamilton’s plate he was hit with a five-second penalty for driving on the wrong side of the pit-entry bollard.

The rest of the field then pitted for intermediates as it became obvious that the slicks were unsuitable, leaving Verstappen in the lead ahead of Bottas, Hulkenberg, Albon, Hamilton, Sainz, Raikkonen and Vettel.

Hamilton made short work of Albon in green-flag conditions as Hulkenberg pressured Bottas, handing Verstappen the opportunity to break nearly ten seconds clear.

That enabled Verstappen to gain a free pitstop for fresh intermediates when the safety car came out again on lap 40, triggered when Hulkenberg went off at Turn 17 shortly after being passed by Hamilton for third.

The track began to dry again as the field circulated behind the safety car for four laps, prompting Racing Point to gamble by pitting the hitherto anonymous Lance Stroll for slicks the lap before the green flag, followed by Kvyat.

This dropped them to the tail of the field, but after the other runners also broke for the pits after the track had gone live, the duo benefitted to run second and third behind Verstappen.

Kvyat used DRS to pass Stroll on the run to the hairpin on lap 50, while Mercedes’ day went from bad to worse as Hamilton spun down to 15th place and then Bottas gyrated into the barrier at Turn 1 on lap 56, signalling yet more work for Bernd Maylander in what was proving to be a busy day at the office for the safety car driver.

With five laps to run the track went green again with Verstappen leading from Kvyat and Stroll, while Vettel relieved Sainz of fourth immediately after the restart.

Two laps later Vettel blasted by Stroll on the straight before the hairpin, and he nailed Kvyat next time round to grab second position in the final reckoning, crossing the lap 7.3 seconds behind the victorious Verstappen.

Stroll survived late attention from Sainz to retain fourth, while Albon made it to the chequered flag ahead of Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi despite a tag from Gasly that sent the Red Bull into retirement.

Grosjean and Magnussen rounded out the top ten, though was likely to be in short supply in the Haas camp since they contrived to collide once again in the closing laps, this time without eliminating each other.

So a crazy race, full of incidents, action, crashes and drama. With an unusual podium result. Congratulations to the Red Bull sponsored teams with Max Verstappen winning and Daniil Kvyat scoring third. As for Sebastian Vettel, what a fightback from last to second in the Ferrari.

German Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1h44m31.275s
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 7.333s
3 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 8.305s
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 8.966s
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 9.583s
6 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 10.052s
7 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 16.838s
8 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 18.765s
9 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 19.667s
10 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 24.987s
11 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 26.404s
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 42.214s
13 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 43.849s
14 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda Collision
– Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Spun off
– Nico Hulkenberg Renault Spun off
– Charles Leclerc Ferrari Spun off
– Lando Norris McLaren-Renault Power Unit
– Daniel Ricciardo Renault Exhaust
– Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes Spun off

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 225
2 Valtteri Bottas 184
3 Max Verstappen 162
4 Sebastian Vettel 141
5 Charles Leclerc 120
6 Pierre Gasly 55
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 48
8 Daniil Kvyat 27
9 Kimi Raikkonen 25
10 Lando Norris 22
11 Daniel Ricciardo 22
12 Lance Stroll 18
13 Kevin Magnussen 18
14 Nico Hulkenberg 17
15 Alexander Albon 15
16 Sergio Perez 13
17 Romain Grosjean 8
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 Robert Kubica 1
20 George Russell 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 409
2 Ferrari 261
3 Red Bull-Honda 217
4 McLaren-Renault 70
5 Toro Rosso-Honda 42
6 Renault 39
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 31
8 Haas-Ferrari 26
9 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 26
10 Williams-Mercedes 1

Hamilton scores pole at Hockenheim as the Ferrari challenges went broke

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored pole position for the German Grand Prix after the Ferrari challenge went broke following technical issues for Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

With Vettel eliminated in Q1 having completed a single lap thanks to a problem with the airflow to the turbo, Leclerc was the favourite for pole in Q3 having looked quickest up to that point.

But Leclerc was unable to take to the track during Q3, climbing out of his Ferrari and commiserating with the Scuderia and leaving the way clear for Hamilton to set the pace.

Hamilton then dominated Q3, with the lap of one minute, 11.767 seconds he set on his first run which was enough for pole after he failed to improve on his second lap thanks to time lost in the middle sector.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes drivers, lapping 0.346 seconds slower than Hamilton and just 0.016 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas.

Pierre Gasly was fourth, lapping four-tenths slower than his teammate.

With the two Ferraris out of the way, Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen took fifth position with an advantage of 0.316 seconds over an otherwise congested midfield.

Romain Grosjean, driving a Haas running to the same specification used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was sixth and just ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Racing Point’s significant upgrade paid off for Sergio Perez, who qualified eighth ahead of the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

That left Leclerc classified P10 despite not running, as he had at least run without problem during the previous two segments of qualifying.

The Mercedes drivers and Leclerc will both start on the medium-compound Pirellis having used them to set their best times in Q2 – something Verstappen also attempted before aborting his first run after reporting a loss of power.

Antonio Giovinazzi was relegated to P11 and eliminated during a frenetic climax to Q2, lapping just 0.012 seconds slower than Perez.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, driving the latest-spec Haas, was always up against it after a lockup into the first corner on his final lap and failed to improve on his first-run time as a result – ending up P12.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo’s late effort was only good enough for P13, leading him to apologise to the team over the radio, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat just over three-tenths behind.

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll escaped Q1 for the first time in 2019, completing three runs to do so and only having one fresh set of softs for Q2.

He was in contention to get into the top ten, but the rear-end stepped out in the penultimate corner and was unable to improve.

Lando Norris was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 just 0.055 seconds slower than Kvyat after being bumped into the drop zone by Giovinazzi’s late improvement.

But behind him was the furious Alex Albon, who was held up at the hairpin on his final Q1 lap by Norris and unable to improve on his first-run time as a result.

George Russell won the Williams team battle for the eleventh time this season, lapping just over a tenth quicker than Robert Kubica – the duo taking P18 and P19 thanks to Vettel’s failure to post a time.

So congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton with this pole position. An important grid slot at the team’s home race. As for Ferrari, this was a terrible qualifying session as both drivers had the pace to grab P1 following an impressive practice sessions. Sunday’s German Grand Prix is going to be fascinating.

Qualifying positions, German Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.767s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m12.113s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m12.129s
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m12.522s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.538s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.851s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m12.897s
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.065s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m13.126s
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari –
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.786s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.789s
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m12.799s
14 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.135s
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.450s
16 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m13.333s
17 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.461s
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m14.721s
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m14.839s
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari –

Hamilton victorious at Silverstone for the sixth time

Championship leader and home favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth victory at the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver benefitted from a safety car to jump his teammate Valtteri Bottas to score a popular Silverstone win.

Hamilton overhauled poleman Bottas by running a longer first stint that allowed him to only stop once, and it proved crucial when a safety car emerged after Bottas pit.

That gave Hamilton track advantage and he won comfortably after Bottas made a late second pitstop to use his mandatory second compound, having used mediums in his first two stints.

Charles Leclerc finished third after a dramatic battle for the final podium spot, in which Leclerc had an epic fight with Verstappen – who was later fired into the gravel by Vettel.

Pierre Gasly scored his best result for Red Bull with fourth, while Verstappen managed to get his car out of the gravel and finish fifth, with Vettel down in P16 after needing a new front wing and being hit with a ten-second time penalty.

Bottas led the first part of the race but kicked off the pitstops amongst the leaders while Hamilton extended his stint to lap 20. That was vital for Hamilton, who was already considering switching to the hards and executing a one-stop strategy.

He and Vettel, who struggled in the opening stint down in sixth, but also extended it, then had their persistence rewarded when the safety car emerged.

Antonio Giovinazzi locked the rear wheels on his Alfa Romeo entering the penultimate corner and slid sideways into the gravel.

With the race neutralised Hamilton and Vettel dived into the pitlane, rejoining in first and third respectively and with no further pitstops to make.

In the fight for the win, Bottas was hamstrung by the decision not to pit under the safety car and switch to hard tyres, which locked him into a two-stop strategy.

He was unable to attack Hamilton at the restart and ran a couple of seconds adrift, before eventually pitting seven laps from the end having opened up a big enough gap to the best of the rest.

That meant he still finished second, and looked to claim the fastest lap bonus point as consolation for his lost victory – before Hamilton pumped in an even faster time on the final lap on old hards.

Hamilton’s last-gasp fastest lap meant he extended his points lead to 39.

Behind the Silver Arrows drivers, Leclerc finished third after a thrilling British Grand Prix.

Leclerc held the place early on but had to withstand enormous pressure from Verstappen, who then managed to just jump him in the pitlane as they stopped at the same time.

However, Leclerc quickly retook the place when Verstappen ran wide at The Loop immediately after exiting the pits, before falling back behind after Ferrari opted not to stop him again as soon as the safety car was deployed.

Red Bull reacted quicker and stopped Verstappen swiftly, and he rejoined fifth – behind Vettel and the sister Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, who pit earlier and stuck to a one-stop.

Ferrari’s call to stop Leclerc a lap later dropped him to sixth, and when the race resumed he attacked Verstappen immediately.

Their wheel-to-wheel fight recommenced and peaked when Leclerc attacked on the outside into the final complex of corners just before mid-distance.

They bumped wheels slightly when Leclerc had the inside for the right-hand penultimate turn, and Verstappen took to the run-off on the outside, keeping the position as he rejoined through the final corner.

Leclerc’s challenge faded after that unpenalised incident, while Verstappen passed Gasly for fourth and then caught and attacked Vettel for third.

Max nailed the Ferrari on the outside at Stowe on lap 37, but ran slightly wide and Sebastian tucked into his slipstream on the short run down to Vale – but positioned his Ferrari on the inside, with nowhere to go, and tried to switch back to the outside too late.

Vettel locked and crashed into the back of Verstappen’s car, pitching it airborne over a kerb and into the gravel as the Ferrari ended up facing the wrong way with its rear wheels in the gravel.

They both rejoined, but Verstappen was limited to fifth – fortunately not losing further positions – as Vettel dropped to the back.

Vettel’s elimination from the front allowed Carlos Sainz to take sixth for McLaren, fighting off Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault in a fierce best-of-the-rest fight.

Kimi Raikkonen executed a one-stop strategy to finish eighth, while Daniil Kvyat’s well-timed safety car pitstop allowed him to charge to ninth. Nico Hulkenberg completed the point scorers in tenth position.

The two Haas drivers joined Giovinazzi in retirement – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen colliding on the first lap and both retiring as a result shortly afterwards.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton in achieving a record of six victories to become the most successful British driver winning at Silverstone. Sure, the safety car helped but this is racing. Taking the opportunities in the right moment.

As for the racing, that was pure quality at Silverstone. The battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen was a pure highlight.

British Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 1h21m08.452s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 24.928s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 52 30.117s
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 52 34.692s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 52 39.458s
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 52 53.639s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 52 54.401s
8 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 52 1m05.540s
9 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1m06.720s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 52 1m12.733s
11 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 52 1m14.281s
12 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 52 1m15.617s
13 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 52 1m21.086s
14 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 51 1 Lap
15 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 51 1 Lap
16 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 51 1 Lap
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 51 1 Lap
– Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 18 Spun off
– Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 9 Accident damage
– Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 6 Accident damage

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 223
2 Valtteri Bottas 184
3 Max Verstappen 136
4 Sebastian Vettel 123
5 Charles Leclerc 120
6 Pierre Gasly 55
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. 38
8 Kimi Raikkonen 25
9 Lando Norris 22
10 Daniel Ricciardo 22
11 Nico Hulkenberg 17
12 Kevin Magnussen 14
13 Sergio Perez 13
14 Daniil Kvyat 12
15 Alexander Albon 7
16 Lance Stroll 6
17 Romain Grosjean 2
18 Antonio Giovinazzi 1
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 407
2 Ferrari 243
3 Red Bull-Honda 191
4 McLaren-Renault 60
5 Renault 39
6 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 26
7 Racing Point-Mercedes 19
8 Toro Rosso-Honda 19
9 Haas-Ferrari 16
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

Bottas beats home crowd favourite Hamilton to Silverstone pole

Valtteri Bottas won the qualifying battle over his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the British Grand Prix by six thousandths of a second.

Bottas set the pace on the first runs in Q3 at Silverstone, although Hamilton’s time was compromised by the rear stepping out at Brooklands, which meant he ran wide at the exit of the corner.

Although Bottas was unable to improve on his final run in Q3, Hamilton fell just short of grabbing pole in front of his home fans having not been able to match his first-sector pace from the first run.

Ferrari driver Charles Lerclerc was third quickest, within a tenth of Bottas, and a tenth of a second clear of Austrian Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen.

Leclerc looked a threat for pole position, but lost time to the Mercedes drivers in the final sector.

Pierre Gasly was fifth fastest after a strong run during practice, although was 0.314 seconds slower than his Red Bull teammate, while Sebastian Vettel was sixth after a tricky run in Q3 in the Ferrari, lapping six tenths off pole position.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was seventh fastest ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris.

Alex Albon did well to reach Q3 in the Toro Rosso and ended up qualifying ninth, lapping 0.041 seconds quicker than the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers will start the race on medium-compound Pirellis thanks to using that tyre to set their Q2 times, with the rest of the top ten qualifiers using softs.

Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was quickest of those eliminated in Q2 after being bumped by Vettel at the end of the session.

Giovinazzi was 0.027 seconds of a second quicker than teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who ended up P12 ahead of McLaren driver Carlos Sainz, who failed to improve on his second Q2 run.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean was P14 ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who also failed to improve on his second runs.

Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in Q1 and ended up P16 after being jumped by Perez, who was last driver to improve their time in the first segment of qualifying and outpaced the Haas driver by 0.013 seconds.

Magnussen ran through the gravel at the Luffield right-hander on his final lap while “trying to make up for something that wasn’t there”, so was unable to improve on his first-run time.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat failed to improve his lap time on his second set of softs, so ended up P17 after what he described over the radio as a “poor” lap on his final attempt.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was eliminated in Q1 for the tenth time in 2019 after running wide at the exit of Stowe and Club on his final lap and losing time.

George Russell won the intra-Williams battle for P19, lapping almost half-a-second faster than teammate Robert Kubica.

So congratulations to Valtteri Bottas in achieving his tenth career pole position in Formula 1. Beating the home crowd favourite is an upset and it will be fascinating to see Lewis Hamilton striking back in the race. Bring on the Silverstone action.

Qualifying positions, British Grand Prix:
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m25.093s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.099s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m25.172s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m25.276s
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m25.590s
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m25.787s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m26.182s
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m26.224s
9 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m26.345s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m26.386s
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m26.519s
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m26.546s
13 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m26.578s
14 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m26.757s
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m26.928s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m26.662s
17 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m26.721s
18 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m26.762s
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m27.789s
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m28.257s