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Predictably, a number of the more combative-minded drivers began to lobby for the safety car to be withdrawn so the race could begin, and it duly peeled off after several additional formation laps to enable a standing start.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

6 thoughts to “Verstappen wins German Grand Prix thriller”

  1. German Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Hockenheim delivered an absolutely superb race in 2018 – but it was nothing compared to the absolute humdinger the iconic German track produced this weekend. And it was the large contingent of travelling Dutch fans that left the happiest as Max Verstappen mastered the rainy conditions to clinch victory on a day when many of the other big guns quite literally hit trouble…

    But Verstappen’s victory was just one storyline in what will be remembered as an all-time classic Grand Prix. Behind the Red Bull driver, Sebastian Vettel completed a sensational comeback from 20th on the grid to second, while Daniil Kvyat was a surprise third as Toro Rosso scored just their second ever podium. Runaway chanmpionship leaders Mercedes, meanwhile, suffered a nightmare in their 200th race, with Bottas crashing out and polesitter Lewis Hamilton having multiple offs on his way to P11.

    And to think, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner had his head in his hands at the start, as both Verstappen and team mate Pierre Gasly got handfuls of wheelspin to drop way down the pack. But that was just the first of series of twists and turns as the rain came, and then eased, and then returned, before the track finally started to dry out in the closing stages.

    Starting second, Verstappen and Red Bull mastered the strategy, taking a gamble to switch to mediums first, then realising their mistake and diving back into the pits. The Dutchman pitted five times in total, but made the right calls at the right time to emerge at the head of the field.

    Vettel crossed the line second, the German making up seven places in the last 15 laps to cap a marvellous comeback, after starting dead last having not set a time in qualifying. And he would be joined on the podium by a tearful Daniil Kvyat, the Russian securing a shock podium for Toro Rosso after the Italian team pitted him for fresh boots at the perfect time.

    Lance Stroll briefly led the race in the final stint, after Racing Point rolled the dice and put him on dry tyres. The move proved inspired and while he battled bravely, he eventually succumbed to Kvyat and Vettel to take fourth, ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, who at one stage was as low as 14th.

    Alexander Albon survived contact with Pierre Gasly on the final lap to take sixth in the other Toro Rosso, ahead of the Alfa Romeo duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, with Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen banging wheels but escaping unscathed to complete the top 10.

    What of championship leader Lewis Hamilton? He pitted six times, led the race for large chunks but a spin at the penultimate corner spat him into the barriers, breaking his front wing. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc’s race ended there, too, just when he had hauled himself into victory contention from P10 on the grid, while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg were also casualties when running in P3 and P4 respectively.

    The forecast showers failed to materialise on Saturday afternoon for German Grand Prix qualifying, but the meteorologists got it bang on come race day, with rain falling throughout the morning and into the afternoon at Hockenheim, prompting the formation lap to take place behind the Safety Car, with the whole field on full wet tyres.

    They completed three tours before the FIA F1 Race Director Michael Masi deemed the conditions good enough for racing and a standing start. Hamilton skated away cleanly from pole, while Verstappen was sucked back into the melee behind after picking up handfuls of wheelspin. That allowed Bottas to snatch second and a fast-starting Kimi Raikkonen to slip into third in the Alfa Romeo.

    Just four laps into the race, the first round of pit stops were triggered when Sergio Perez’s crash brought out the Safety Car. Hamilton was the first in, followed by Bottas as Mercedes delivered a cracking double pit stop in double quick time. Much of the field followed suit, opting to ditch the full wets for the intermediate tyres. Those who chose not to rued their mistake a few laps later at the conditions improved.

    When Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault engine let go in dramatic fashion, the French manufacturer suspecting an exhaust issue, the Virtual Safety Car was called into action. That gave Leclerc the chance to pit for fresh intermediates – he was one of only two cars to do so – and that gave him an advantage that allowed him to rise up into fourth.

    Kevin Magnussen was the first to roll the dice and take dry soft tyres, with Vettel following suit a lap later. Verstappen was soon in, too, but he went for the mediums and he struggled to switch them on, spinning dramatically through 360 degrees in the stadium section before rejoining still in third behind Hamilton and Bottas.

    The Virtual Safety Car was required again when Lando Norris pulled off track, citing a loss of power. Leclerc reacted again, this time taking the softs and hauling himself into victory contention – but then he lost the rear end at the penultimate corner, slid off track and into the barriers, beaching the car in the gravel, cueing a series of expletives on team radio.

    Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander was needed again, neutralising the race while the pit lane became a hive of activity once more. Verstappen pitted, this time for inters, and Vettel followed him in. Meanwhile, there was drama a few metres away as race leader Hamilton lost his car at the penultimate corner and hit the barrier, but unlike Leclerc, he had enough momentum to return to the track, albeit with a broken wing.

    He dived into the pits, but he was beyond the bollard denoting the last point in which you can enter and that meant he incurred a five-second time penalty. His team were caught unaware, rushing around to find the tyres and secure a new nose. Fortunately, despite the huge time loss, he still rejoined fifth.

    Back on track, Verstappen was now in the lead ahead of Nico Hulkenberg – who has never reached the podium – and Bottas. When the Safety Car pulled in, Hamilton set about making up for his mistake, passing Albon – racing his first-ever wet F1 Grand Prix – and Hulkenberg to take third. Maylander had barely had time to stretch his legs when he was called out again.

    This time, Hulkenberg was in the same barriers that Leclerc and Hamilton had already got up close and personal with, leading to a groan among his home fans in the grandstands. Verstappen was back in the pits again, this time for inters. Vettel took them too while Hamilton was in and took his five-second time penalty, dropping him to the back – but Racing Point rolled the dice and opted for softs for Stroll. It would prove to be inspired.

    A dry line had formed, the track was improving quickly and further rain was unlikely, prompting the rest of the field to pit several laps later. Stroll, meanwhile, was flying and rocketed up the order as his rivals pitted. All of a sudden, he found himself in the lead of the Grand Prix.

    Verstappen made short work of the Canadian to retake P1 and push clear. Stroll was still second, though, ahead of Kvyat, Bottas and Sainz – who had risen up the order from 14th after a spin. Kvyat then passed Stroll to take second, the Toro Rosso looking immense. It wasn’t going so well for Hamilton, though, the Briton spinning at Turn 1, and while he survived the 360, his tyres were done, forcing him back into the pits again.

    Stroll was doing a fine job of defending from Bottas, with the Finn ultimately pushing too hard at Turn 1, losing the car at the same point as Hamilton had done five laps earlier, but this time hitting the barriers and tearing off the front corners of the car. Back out came the Safety Car, and this allowed the rest of the field to bunch up and set the stage for a thrilling finale.

    On resumption, Vettel made light work of Sainz, then passed Stroll and Kvyat to take a sensational second, making up in part for his qualifying disaster, while Kvyat comfortably had the pace to take third. Stroll crossed the line for fourth, leading to back pats and handshakes all round on the Racing Point pit wall.

    Sainz was fifth – his best result of the season – while Gasly looked like he was going to snatch sixth from Albon only to get caught out when the Thai driver moved to defend and the two collided, breaking the Frenchman’s front wing and sending him sailing off down the escape road.

    Albon continued to take sixth, a career-best result, while Raikkonen – who ran as high as third at one stage – scored points for the fourth race in succession with seventh. Antonio Giovinazzi scored a best-ever eighth, while the Haas of Grosjean and Magnussen collided for the second race in succession, leading to headshaking from Team Prinicpal Guenther Steiner on the pit wall, but they both continued to score points, ending a four-race pointless streak for the American squad.

    Hamilton crossed the line 11th, finishing a race outside of the points for the first time in the hybrid era – the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix was the last time he failed to score – and with Bottas crashing, it means Mercedes depart a Grand Prix without any points for the first time this season.

    It’s not the way they would have wanted to mark their anniversary weekend, as Mercedes-Benz celebrated 125 years of motorsport, but they do still retain a comfortable lead in the constructors’ championship, while Hamilton is still clear of Bottas and the rest of the pack in the drivers’ standings.

  2. Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat has described this German Grand Prix was like a “horror movie with a bit of black comedy”. has the news story.

    Shock German Grand Prix podium finisher Daniil Kvyat has described the chaotic Hockenheim Formula 1 race as “a horror movie with a bit of black comedy”.

    The Russian ran outside of the points for much of the race, as the frequent changes in weather and track conditions contributed to several twists and turns in the lead battle.

    But after making a key switch to slick tyres on the drying track right at the penultimate safety car restart, Kvyat cycled through to third place – which became second when he passed the Racing Point of fellow slick-tyre gambler Lance Stroll.

    He would be overtaken by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the end, but held on to score his second-ever podium in grand prix racing – and Toro Rosso’s first since it won with Vettel at Monza in the wet in 2008.

    “It was amazing. Amazing to be back on the podium,” Kvyat said. “Incredible for Toro Rosso after so many years, to bring a podium to the team is amazing.

    “The race was crazy. Finally I managed to put everything together to get this podium. I’m really happy.

    “It was a horror movie with a black comedy. At some point I thought the race was done for me but it came alive again. It was incredible.“It was incredible. A rollercoaster. A bit like my whole career.”

    Kvyat also revealed his girlfriend Kelly Piquet had given birth to his first child, a girl, the night before the race.

    Race winner Max Verstappen described the German GP as being “about trying not to make too many mistakes”, having himself spun in the opening stages.

    “I had a little moment, made a nice 360, so that was nice, enjoyed that,” he joked. “Really tricky conditions, so of course it’s amazing to win. “Really happy with the whole performance today.”

    Second-placed Vettel, who had been relegated to last on the grid by an intercooler failure in qualifying, said the race – the longest of the season so far at one hour and 44 minutes – felt “never-ending”.

    “It was very tough with the conditions, very tough to read what’s the smartest move,” Vettel said.

    “In the beginning with the intermediates I couldn’t get the hang of it – eventually I got going, so it’s good the afternoon took so long.”

  3. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was unlucky to crash out in the German Grand Prix and commented that the low-grip Hockenheim run-off was “unacceptable”. has the full details.

    Charles Leclerc says it is “unacceptable” to have what he considered as low-grip asphalt at the corner in which the Ferrari driver crashed out of Formula 1’s German Grand Prix.

    Leclerc also admitted that he was “completely at fault” for the crash after sliding off on the approach to Turn 15 and skating across the soaking wet run-off and into the barriers.

    The Ferrari man had been set to take over the lead of the race following Lewis Hamilton’s pitstop – the Mercedes driver damaged his front wing shortly after – but instead, Leclerc was forced into retirement.

    Leclerc then hit out at the track conditions, following similar offs at the same corner for Hamilton and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.

    I’m disappointed with myself today,” Leclerc said to Scandinavian broadcaster Viaplay. “It’s not a huge mistake. It’s a small mistake, I’ve done a lot bigger mistakes during the season.

    “It doesn’t make anything better for my mistake but, first of all, I think the Tarmac in the last two corners – it’s just unacceptable we have that on a Formula 1 track when it’s wet.

    “We can’t have so much low grip. We’ve seen other drivers [go off], maybe I was the only one on slicks but I was at 60kph and had absolutely no grip. There’s something there.

    “But overall that does not forgive my mistake. I’m completely at fault today and it’s a huge shame. I’m very sorry for the fans and the team.”

    While Leclerc had climbed from 10th on the grid and into victory contention, teammate Sebastian Vettel rose from last place to take second place at the flag.

    The four-time world champion struggled to make up ground in the mid-phase of the race, after he had switched to intermediates following a rise into the top 10 within the first six laps.

    “It took a while I don’t think there was a problem but at the beginning, with the intermediates, I couldn’t get the hang of it, but eventually I got going, so it’s good the afternoon took so long,” said Vettel.

    “I stayed tidy for most of the race. It was a long one. I don’t know if I can recap the whole race now. Congrats to [race winner] Max. He drove superb. For us, it was just going and getting the next car, get the next car, get the next car.”

    He continued: “Before the last safety [car, caused by Valtteri Bottas] I realised I was quite a bit quicker and happy to pass people.

    “I was a little faster and could time it [overtaking] right. I saw a lot of people being cautious into the first corner and that’s why I was giving it everything to get into DRS range and make the move down the back straight.”

  4. Lewis Hamilton has been told he is in the clear for an alleged breach of the safety car regulations in the German Grand Prix, after the FIA confirmed that an “anomaly” in the system was to blame for the situation.

    Hamilton could have been given a post-race penalty if the stewards had found he had been in the wrong for driving unnecessarily slowly behind the safety car.

    But an investigation by the stewards discovered that Hamilton had only been picked up for a potential rules breach thanks to a situation that had never occurred before.

    The FIA announced it was looking into Hamilton’s actions for driving too slowly behind the safety car that had been called out for Charles Leclerc’s crash.

    The situation arose when Hamilton returned to the track following his crash into the wall at the final corner and a lengthy spell in the pits for repairs.

    Under F1’s regulations drivers have to keep to a set time delta until the safety car has crossed the first safety car line for the second time.

    It means cars that have crossed that line twice are allowed to run at normal speed behind the safety car, while those that have crossed it once – like Hamilton – still have to keep to the delta.

    Hamilton therefore drove slowly to the delta time to keep within the rules, while other cars were driving much quicker – and it was this speed difference that prompted the alert for him driving too slowly.

    F1 race director Michael Masi said: “It was an anomaly basically with the way the system is. So there was no further action with that one.

    “Effectively your first two laps under the safety car, you have to respect the delta time to effectively catch up.

    “The anomaly was everyone else was on their third lap so was able to catch up, but Lewis was on his second lap so was having to effectively respect the delta while everyone else around him was racing to catch the back of the line.

    “Speaking to a couple of the sporting directors since, it is a situation that we have not seen before. So it is something for us to look at generally.”

    Masi also explained that he had no cause for concern about Hamilton crashing under safety car conditions, after he lost control at the final corner and hit the wall.

    “I think it is one of those where you look at the conditions the way it was,” added Masi. “It was tricky conditions all afternoon for everyone. It wasn’t even part of the equation so to speak.”


  5. Lance Stroll says mistake cost him a German Grand Prix podium. has the details.

    Racing Point driver Lance Stroll believes a mistake late in the German Grand Prix cost him his second Formula 1 podium.

    Stroll was the first driver to switch to slick tyres after the penultimate safety car period, having run outside of the points for most of the race.

    However, the Canadian eventually found himself in the lead as all his rivals pitted for dry-weather tyres.

    Stroll went on to finish in fourth position – his best result of the season – but said an error in the final laps of the race allowed Toro Rosso rival Daniil Kvyat to pass him and take what would end up being the final podium place.

    “I made an error at Turn 8 when it was still quite damp and I was the first one on slicks,” said Stroll.

    “I made an error in Turn 8 and that forced me on to the green Astro paint. I think it’s paint on the exit kerb, which allowed Daniil to overtake me.

    “Without that, I’d definitely think we would have been on the podium, but it’s easy to say in hindsight if only that wouldn’t have happened, but really happy with P4.”

    Stroll admitted the race, with track conditions changing all the time, was very hard to read.

    The Racing Point driver pitted five times and said four of those stops were to fit the wrong tyre compound for the conditions.

    “It was extremely challenging and there was a bit of a gamble every time we were stopping and putting on a different compound,” he said.

    “I think we pitted five times if I counted correctly and four out of the five times it was wrong pitstop.

    “We were on the wrong tyre and at one point I spun I think two times in one lap on slicks, with 40 laps to go, and then I pitted at the end with 20 laps to go and I was leading the race.”

    He added: “Initially when I got on to the slicks with 20 laps to go there were still two or three corners were you had to just survive and it was not dry.

    “But I knew with 20 laps to go and everyone was on inters and we were I think last at that stage we had to give it a go and put the slicks on.

    “I was leading for maybe one lap. Maybe not quite one lap. I heard a message on the radio saying ‘you are leading the race’ so it might have been for a couple of corners and then I think Max [Verstappen] overtook me.”

  6. UPDATE: Alfa Romeo Formula 1 drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi have lost their top-10 finishing positions in the German Grand Prix due to post-race penalties.

    The drivers were penalised for an offence related to the way the clutch of the cars operated during the wet standing start, which was deemed to have potentially mimicked traction control in the tricky conditions.

    The penalty – equivalent to an in-race stop-and-go – was the same as that which which be given for a false start.

    Alfa boss Fred Vasseur has confirmed to that the team has already submitted a notification of intention to appeal. It now has 96 hours to decide whether or not to pursue the appeal.

    The Alfa drivers had finished seventh and eighth on the road, and they have now dropped down to 12th and 13th respectively.

    Their places now go to Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, while championship leader Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica move into the top 10 – with the latter earning the first point for Williams in 2019.

    The Alfa cars were reported to the stewards by FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer soon after the chequered flag after their race start data was found to not be in compliance.

    A later summons clarified that the cars were under investigation for “alleged breach of Article 27.1, as related to clutch torque application during race starts”. Article 27.1 says that that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”

    The summons added that in addition to that alleged sporting regulation breach the team was also being investigated under Article 9.3 of the technical regulations, which relates to traction control.

    It says: “No car may be equipped with a system or device which is capable of preventing the driven wheels from spinning under power or of compensating for excessive torque demand by the driver. Any device or system which notifies the driver of the onset of wheel spin is not permitted.”

    In their verdict, the stewards noted: “The clutch is controlled electronically via the Common ECU. However, the teams have the option to tune some of the controlling parameters.

    “In order to prevent the teams from using this tuning to affect the way in which the clutch engages at the start of the race in a way that could potentially mimic traction control or other advantageous schemes, the FIA requires that the torque in the clutch matches (within specified limits) the torque demand as the driver releases the clutch. This must occur within 70 milliseconds.

    “In the case of both cars of Alfa Romeo Racing, the time that it took for the torque to align with the torque demand was close to 200 milliseconds [for Raikkonen] and 300 milliseconds [for Giovinazzi] respectively. This provided a more gradual application of the torque, which given the wet conditions was a potential advantage. Regardless of whether there was an actual advantage, the Stewards determined that this was a clear breach of the guidance given to the teams as to how this would be adjudicated.

    “The Stewards held a hearing and reviewed the data, with three members of the team present, including the engineers concerned, along with the FIA Technical Delegate and his assistants responsible for these checks. The team accepted that they were not within the required limits.

    “The Stewards accepted the team’s explanation that the cause of this was that they were caught out by the unusual weather conditions and the fact that they did not do any practice starts under these climatic conditions and set the parameters in a way that failed to meet the requirements.

    “However, the Stewards noted that the FIA Technical Delegates check this parameter on all cars, and that no other irregularities were found. The obligation to meet the requirements is irrespective of the climatic conditions. Therefore, the Stewards considered that a Breach of Article 27.1 occurred.”


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