Hockenheim is one of the sport’s classic tracks, with this year’s F1 Grand Prix the 36th to be held there and the last on its current contract.
And fans were treated to a chaotic rain and safety car affected race, with Lewis Hamilton winning against the odds for Mercedes on home turf, the four-time F1 World Champion fighting back from 14th on the grid.
At lights out, polesitter Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the lead into Turn 1, followed by Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, and Kimi Räikkönen, with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen in hot pursuit.
Out front, Vettel began to stretch his legs with a string of fastest laps for a 3.5-second gap on Bottas by Lap 14 – by which time Hamilton had climbed from 14th to fifth, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo going from 19th to 13th.
Two laps later, Raikkonen pitted from third for the softs to try and undercut Bottas, rejoining fourth – and setting a series of fastest laps, but Mercedes kept Bottas out, the Finn taking the lead when Vettel pitted on Lap 25.
Bottas stayed out for another four laps, despite struggling on the ultrasofts, handing the lead to Verstappen on Lap 29 as Ricciardo retired with engine issues – the lead going onto Raikkonen after Verstappen pitted.
The order on Lap 33 was then Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas, but Vettel was losing time behind his teammate as the threat of rain increased - the Ferrari pair ordered to switch places six laps later.
Hamilton pitted from P3 for ultrasofts on Lap 42, with rain only hitting part of the circuit, dropping to fifth, but picked up fourth when Verstappen ahead pitted for intermediates. The race was turned on its head just nine-laps later, though, when Vettel slid into the barriers at Turn 13, bringing out the safety car.
Bottas and Raikkonen pitted but Hamilton stayed out despite a last-minute call, inheriting the lead. At the restart on Lap 58, Hamilton retained P1, with Bottas pushing him hard until team orders were given.
And while the threat of rain increased on the last two laps, Hamilton was home and hosed - with the deluge only coming after the chequered flag.