[F1 2019 NEWS FEATURE] GERMAN GRAND PRIX: RACE REVIEW

Formula 1 news story about [F1 2019 NEWS FEATURE] GERMAN GRAND PRIX: RACE REVIEW

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen remained calm and cool in chaotic conditions to win a thrilling safety car-affected German Grand Prix, the Dutchman in a league of his own as his rivals fell apart.

Verstappen’s seventh career win came despite a terrible front row start, in which he bogged down and dropped back to fourth at the end of the first lap. But he kept his head, and pitted five times, eventually finishing on the softs - 7.3 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who went from 20th to second.

“It was amazing, of course, to win in the end, but it was really tricky out there to make the right calls, and you really had to be focused,” the Dutchman said.

“We went onto the slick tyre for a little moment, but made a nice 360 so it’s nice and enjoyed that. Of course, to come out on top here, it was all about not making too many mistakes. And really tricky conditions, but it was amazing to win.

Daniil Kvyat completed the podium, for Toro Rosso’s first rostrum visit Italy 2008 - when Vettel won at Monza. There’s now just a week until the Hungarian Grand Prix, the last before F1’s summer break.

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired PTS
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 64 1:44:31.275 26
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 64 +7.333s 18
3 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 64 +8.305s 15
4 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 64 +8.966s 12
5 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 64 +9.583s 10
6 23 Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 64 +10.052s 8

Here’s how the 2019 FORMULA 1 GERMAN GRAND PRIX played-out lap-by-lap:

Build Up:
A fascinating wet race, with the first wet start of the season, awaits with drama and changeable weather conditions expected. 5-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton starts on pole position for the 87th time in his career, his fourth this year - in Mercedes’ 200th start as a works team, and on the 125th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz motorsport - but a win, which would be his 81st and a record fifth in Germany, is far from being guaranteed. And there’s good reason, with Red Bull Racing’s gun Max Verstappen alongside on the front row and the Dutchman taking no prisoners into Turn 1.

Behind this explosive pair are - not the Ferraris, as both cars sustained turbo failures in qualifying - but their teammates, in Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly - both racers desperate to grab top results to retain their seats for 2020. Gasly claiming his best-ever starting place with fourth. Closing out the top-five is Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen, who continues to rise about his car with outstanding results. Haas’ Romain Grosjean is sixth, his best slot since Australia… the Swiss-French driver running a Melbourne-spec aerodynamic package to help work out the team’s tyre troubles in race pace.

Carlos Sainz is top McLaren in eighth, ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez - with the team bringing one half of its upgrade to this race, the balance to Hungary. Nico Hulkenberg is ninth, outqualifying teammate Daniel Ricciardo in his home race. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start from 10th, having suffered a turbo failure in Q2 yesterday, while his teammate Sebastian Vettel starts 20th and last - and also at the stewards’ discretion - after an airflow to his turbo issue saw him pull out of Q1. The 4-time F1 World Champion will no doubt be looking to clear as many cars as he can from when the lights go out - and stay out of any carnage into Turn 1.

Strategy-wise, with a wet start, it’s about being on the right tyre at the right time - and staying out of trouble. Last year’s edition saw plenty of chaos with Vettel skidding off into the barrier and Hamilton winning from 14th on the grid. It takes 18-seconds under green flag conditions to make a stop, while there’s been 10 previous safety car/virtual safety car appearances from 2007-2018 - so 38 per cent chance. So it’s all to play for, with lots of tension set for the start.

Formation Lap:
It’s raining as the formation lap begins under the safety car - and the laps will continue until race director Michael Masi decides it’s ok for a standing start or will just stand the safety car down. As a result, all cars start on the full wet tyres. The rain looks set in, with more than an hour of wet weather predicted. We’re onto a second formation lap behind the safety car, and now a third. The drivers are saying conditions are ok for racing. Safety car out for a fourth formation lap, but it will come in at the end of the lap for a standing start.

Lap 1:
Polesitter Hamilton gets a good start, Verstappen bogged down and Bottas goes wide at Turn 1 with Raikkonen close alongside and up to third. Hulkenberg touches Grosjean at the hairpin, but gets ahead and is up to fifth. Verstappen is fourth, after a terrible start.

Lap 2:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 2-seconds, then Raikkonen and Verstappen - then Hulkenberg closes out the top five. Magnussen forces Sainz wide at Turn 1, but Sainz retains the place. Leclerc is up to P6. Verstappen passes Raikkonen for third into the hairpin. Vettel is up to P13, having passed Ricciardo - he’s going after Giovinazzi and P11 now. Perez has spun and he’s into the barrier after Turn 11, with the safety car deployed.

Lap 3:
Vettel pits for intermediates. Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:34.720. Hamilton told to pit as well, will he be able to stay in the lead?

Lap 4:
Hamilton pits and so does Bottas, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Leclerc and Grosjean - top-seven and more. A slew of cars into the pits for the intermediates. Hamilton still leads this race, ahead of Magnussen who is yet to pit. Safety car coming in at the end of this lap. Replays show Grosjean had to brake to avoid Leclerc in pit lane.

Lap 5:
Hamilton leads Magnussen then Bottas, Verstappen, Stroll, Leclerc, Hulkenberg, Norris, Russell and Kubica. Leclerc passes Stroll for fifth. Bottas passes Magnussen, then Verstappen passes Magnussen for third down the back straight. Leclerc in P5 is chasing down Magnussen now, the Dane on full wets.

Lap 6:
Leclerc passes Magnussen out of Turn 1 for fourth. Leclerc runs wide at turn 2, but retains the place - and enables Hulkenberg to pass Magnussen for P5. Bottas sets the fastest lap, a 1:33.076. Vettel is now up to P8, behind Raikkonen his old teammate.

Lap 7:
Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1:30.853 - and leads Bottas by 1.3 seconds. Raikkonen passes Magnussen for P6 down the back straight and stays strong into the hairpin, but he goes wide and loses the place. Vettel behind the pair and closing.

Lap 8:
Hamilton is in a league of his own, sets the fastest lap, a 1:30.025 - blistering pace. Vettel all over the back of Raikkonen, who then goes ahead of Magnussen into Turn 2. Vettel does the same for P7 down the back straight. Leclerc under investigation for unsafe release ahead of Grosjean.

Lap 9:
Hamilton sets another fastest lap, a 1:29.688 - he’s 2.8 seconds up on Bottas. Verstappen is 1.6 seconds behind Bottas in P3. Leclerc is fourth, then Hulkenberg, Raikkonen and Vettel. Sainz, Albon and Giovinazzi close out the top-10.

Lap 10:
Another fastest lap for Hamilton, a 1:29.022. He’s 3.2 seconds ahead of Bottas. More rain expected in 10-15 minutes. Gasly in P14 is chasing down Kvyat, he’s suffering after getting bogged down at the start and losing places.

Lap 11:
Top-three are the only ones in the 1:29s. Hamilton 3-seconds ahead of Bottas.

Lap 12:
Replay showing Leclerc dropping left-rear wheel on kerb and slides but keeps car pointing forward. Impressive. Hamilton now 3.6 seconds ahead of Bottas.

Lap 13:
Hamilton now leads Bottas by 4.2 seconds. Verstappen staying in touch with the two Mercedes cars.

Lap 14:
Hamilton ahead of Bottas by 4.7 seconds, getting close to the point to switch over to slicks - but more rain expected. Team fine given to Ferrari for unsafe release after Leclerc was let go into the path of Grosjean in the pit lane. Gasly passes Kvyat for P12 at the hairpin, as Ricciardo’s engine gives up - he’s set to retire and stops out on track.

Lap 15:
Hamilton leads Bottas as Virtual Safety Car is deployed. Hamilton leads Bottas by 5.3 seconds. Ferrari is out in the pit lane.

Lap 16:
Leclerc pits from P4, he’s opting for more intermediates. He was stopped for 4.8 seconds, issue with the front right. Free stop, with Hulkenberg pitting behind him. VSC ends. Will anyone take a chance on slicks yet?

Lap 17:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 5.4 seconds. DRS enabled. Verstappen is in P3, half a second behind the Finn. But he goes wide at the hairpin - the back end stepping out and loses momentum.

Lap 18:
Leclerc in P4 sets the fastest lap, a 1:27.697. He’s three seconds faster than Hamilton on that last lap.

Lap 19:
Hamilton is almost six seconds ahead of Bottas. Hulkenberg passed Raikkonen down the back straight for P5. Sainz goes off at the penultimate turn, spins and narrowly misses the barrier.

Lap 20:
Leclerc in P4 is showing searing pace, mid 1:29s. He’s 4.7 seconds behind Verstappen.

Lap 21:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 6.2 seconds, then it’s Verstappen and Leclerc. 11-seconds covering the top-four. Stroll passes Magnussen for P15 at the hairpin.

Lap 22:
Verstappen is hounding Bottas for second. Hamilton looks comfortable up front, with a 6.2 second lead. Pack staying out despite need to move to slicks, with more rain expected. Leclerc is in fourth, 4.2 seconds behind the Dutchman.

Lap 23:
Magnussen pits for softs! The first to move onto the slicks. He’s in P16 right now. Verstappen all over Bottas. Both on inters. Leclerc is 3.5 seconds adrift in P4 and chasing the pair.

Lap 24:
Vettel told to box at the end of the lap. He’s in P7. Vettel pits for the softs as well, looks a very risky move. But could be a masterstroke if it stays dry.

Lap 25:
Red Bull garage shows team preparing slick tyres. Verstappen is 0.7 seconds behind Bottas, the pair dicing hard for second. Norris says last few corners are wet.

Lap 26:
Verstappen pits from third. He’s onto the mediums, 2.0 second stop. But struggling for grip on exit. Bottas told to push hard now. So the order is Hamilton, Bottas, Leclerc, Verstappen. Kvyat, Norris and Stroll pit.

Lap 27:
Bottas pits from second, takes on mediums. 2.6 second stop. Replays show Verstappen spinning at Turn 16. Norris has gone off and looks like he’s retiring from the race. He’s lost power.

Lap 28:
So order is Hamilton, Leclerc - who pits now. He goes onto the softs, 2.7 second stop. He retains second ahead of Bottas. Virtual Safety Car deployed again. So it’s Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas, Verstappen, Hulkenberg. Hamilton tip-toeing under VSC.

Lap 29:
Hamilton pits from the lead, he’s onto the softs - 5.6 second stop, issue with the right front. Leclerc has gone into the barriers at the penultimate turn! This is unbelievable, just as he was looking down at a maiden victory chance! Safety car deployed. Vettel pits, and has gone onto the inters. Hamilton goes off at the same spot damaging his front wing.

Lap 30:
We’re under the safety car. Bottas takes the lead as Mercedes struggles to fix Hamilton’s front wing, and he goes onto the inters after softs went on to start. This is chaos! So Hamilton is down in fifth. It’s Bottas, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Albon and Hamilton. Bottas pits from the lead.

Lap 31:
We’re still under the safety car. Bottas goes onto inters, 2.8 second stop - he’s out in P3. Hamilton under investigation for entering the pits wrong side of the bollard. So Verstappen leads Hulkenberg and Bottas. Then it’s Albon, Hamilton, Sainz, Raikkonen, Vettel, Gasly and Giovinazzi - closing out the top-10. Replays show Hamilton lost part of front wing with contact with penultimate corner wall.

Lap 32:
This race is still under the safety car. Lapped cars can now unlap themselves.

Lap 33:
Another lap under the safety car, but it’s in at the end of this lap.

Lap 34:
Verstappen gets a good blast out of the penultimate corner, with Hulkenberg keeping Bottas behind. Hamilton trying to pass Albon around the outside but can’t. Hamilton gets a five-second time penalty for going wrong side of board. Vettel passes Gasly for P8.

Lap 35:
Hamilton chasing down Albon for P4. Bottas is 1.2 seconds behind Hulkenberg and chasing down P2. Intermediate tyres will be wearing heavily on dry tarmac.

Lap 36:
Hamilton again under investigation for going too slow under the safety car. But he passes Albon for fourth into the hairpin. Bottas is chasing down Hulkenberg for second.

Lap 37:
Verstappen leads Hulkenberg by 8-seconds. Bottas takes Hulkenberg for second at the hairpin, slipstreaming him down the back straight.

Lap 38:
Hamilton passes Hulkenberg for third again down the hairpin, with a slick move up the inside - he’s up to third. So it’s Verstappen, Bottas and Hamilton.

Lap 39:
Both Mercedes are marginally faster than Verstappen ahead. A few tenths up. Gasly told the rain expected to slowly reduce.

Lap 40:
Verstappen sets the fastest lap, a 1:27.623. He’s 9.8 seconds ahead of Bottas. Raikkonen spins at penultimate corner, but finds his way back to the racing line.

Lap 41:
Hulkenberg is into the barrier at the final corner - this is amazing! The safety car is deployed.

Lap 42:
Safety car out. Verstappen pits from the lead, he takes another set of inters. 2.1 second stop. Safe bet. Vettel also pits, again for more inters. It’s a slow 4.4 second stop, right front issue. Hamilton told to stay out rather than pit and take penalty.

Lap 43:
Safety car remains out. Magnussen pits for more inters. Hulkenberg’s car is still being recovered, while the driver shakes his head at a marshal’s post. First official double retirement since Mexico 2017. Hamilton says tyres aren’t in great shape.

Lap 44:
Safety car is still out.

Lap 45:
Safety remains out on track, with final section of corners slippery - and causing drivers to crash. Order is: VER, BOT, HAM, ALB, SAI, GAS, RAI, GIO, KVY, VET - top-10. Stroll gambles on slicks, he’s onto the soft tyres and in 14th place. Bottas told to go after Verstappen at the restart. Safety car coming in at end of lap.

Lap 46:
Verstappen launches out of Sachs curve - and leaves the two Silver Arrows behind. Albon is staying with Bottas. But Sainz takes place - as Albon gets pinched at hairpin. Albon goes wide, drops to eighth.

Lap 47:
Verstappen, Bottas, Sainz, Gasly, Albon and Grosjean pit - all for the softs. What a gamble! Vettel fighting with Raikkonen, but can’t get past into the hairpin. The Finn a wily old fox. Hamilton leads, after he stayed out on inters.

Lap 48:
Hamilton pits for his time penalty and softs - as do a string of other drivers. Stroll leads this race with Verstappen behind him. Verstappen passes the Canadian. Hamilton is down in P12. Albon passes Gasly for P7 at the hairpin. Kvyat sets the fastest lap, a 1:21.430.

Lap 49:
Verstappen sets the fastest lap, bettered by Kvyat - 1:20.031 - who is in third. So it’s Verstappen, Stroll, Kvyat, Bottas, Sainz as the top-five. Hamilton is in P12 still.

Lap 50:
Verstappen sets the fastest lap, a 1:18.386 - the Dutchman leads Stroll by 4.4 seconds. Albon passes Magnussen for P6 along the back straight.

Lap 51:
Another fastest lap for Verstappen, a 1:18.157. Kvyat in third is chasing down Stroll for second. He passes the Canadian down the back straight and into the hairpin. Giovinazzi sets the fastest lap, a 1:17.643. Vettel passes Magnussen for P7.

Lap 52:
Vettel in P7 sets the fastest lap, a 1:17.590. Verstappen leads Kvyat by 9.5 seconds. Then it’s Stroll, pursued by Bottas.

Lap 53:
Hamilton goes off at Turn 1, but manages to keep the car going. The replays show him spinning on exit. He’s now down in P13.

Lap 54:
Magnussen battling with Raikkonen for 10th, the Finn gets past down the back straight. Hamilton pits for more softs, he’s down in P15.

Lap 55:
Vettel sets the fastest lap, a 1:17.045 - in P6. Bottas in P4 tries a long shot on Stroll into the hairpin, but backs out.

Lap 56:
Verstappen leads Kvyat by 10.8 seconds. Then it’s Stroll, heavily pursued by Bottas. Both Haas cars make contact again at the hairpin, bumping wheels. Bottas slides off at the first corner, spun off into the barriers - and out of the race. Safety car deployed. Last non-score by Mercedes would be Austria 2018.

Lap 57:
Safety car still out. Hamilton pits again, sixth stop - he’s down in P14.

Lap 58:
Safety car remains out as Bottas’ car is recovered.

Lap 59:
Safety car still out, but in at the end of the lap.

Lap 60:
Verstappen takes off - and Kvyat retains second ahead of Stroll, and Sainz, and Vettel. Only 14 finishers so far. Vettel passes Sainz for fourth into the hairpin. Albon passes Gasly for sixth. Stewards now investigating both Haas cars for contact.

Lap 61:
Vettel all over Stroll, and is focused on that podium place.

Lap 62:
Verstappen sets the fastest lap, a 1:16.645 - as Vettel gets closer to Stroll. He passes Stroll into the hairpin for third. Gasly goes wide - and he’s stopped - his front wing destroyed. He made contact with Albon out of the hairpin.

Lap 63:
Vettel passes Kvyat for second into the hairpin. An impressive run as the crowd goes wild. Wow! Gasly and Albon under investigation.

Lap 64 - FINAL LAP AFTER FOUR FORMATION LAPS:
Verstappen wins the German Grand Prix, it’s his second win this year and his seventh career victory - in of the most chaotic races in recent memory!

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired PTS
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 64 1:44:31.275 26
2 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 64 +7.333s 18
3 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 64 +8.305s 15
4 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 64 +8.966s 12
5 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 64 +9.583s 10
6 23 Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 64 +10.052s 8
7 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 64 +12.214s 6
8 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 64 +13.849s 4
9 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 64 +16.838s 2
10 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 64 +18.765s 1
11 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 64 +19.667s 0
12 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 64 +24.987s 0
13 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 64 +26.404s 0
14 10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing Honda 61 DNF 0
NC 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 DNF 0
NC 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 39 DNF 0
NC 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 27 DNF 0
NC 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 25 DNF 0
NC 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 13 DNF 0
NC 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 1 DNF 0