Max Verstappen beat Sebastian Vettel and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat to victory at the German Grand Prix, as Mercedes failed to score with Bottas crashing out and Hamilton finishing only eleventh.
Verstappen’s winning margin over Vettel was 7.3 seconds, with Kvyat claiming an incredible third place in the Toro Rosso. Both Mercedes were into the barriers at some point of the race, it was terminal for Bottas, whilst Hamilton was able to recover to P11.
Story of the session
The race started in wet conditions, with the safety car leading the drivers off to kick off the formation lap. After two laps behind the safety car, there was a real urge by drivers on the radio to get on with the race – including leader Hamilton.
After a much awaited time, it was announced that a standing start would take place – much to the appreciation of the neutral audience.
As the light went green, Hamilton was into the lead, as Verstappen had a horrible start and went falling down the order. Meanwhile, Raikkonen was up to third. However, by the second lap, Verstappen stormed back up to third, and set about chasing the two Mercedes cars upfront, as they were starting to runaway yet again.
The first retirement came on the third lap, as Perez binned it into the wall. This got the safety car out, which put in a bunch of drivers into the pits for intermediate tyres, including leader Lewis Hamilton and Bottas.
Magnussen, who hadn’t pitted, was second at the restart, but Verstappen and Bottas easily cleared the Haas, meanwhile Vettel was making quick work of moving up the field, and was up to ninth right after the safety car came in.
On Lap 15, Ricciardo’s engine went up in flames, which brought in the virtual safety car. This triggered Leclerc and Hulkenberg to pit for another set of inter tyres, however nobody elected to pit for slicks just yet.
With Leclerc’s free pitstop, he was gaining in excess of four seconds a lap on Verstappen in front, however that benefit started to reduce, but nonetheless was catching the top three.
Lap 23 and the first slick pit-stop was for Kevin Magnussen, despite more rain arriving in the pit-lane. Meanwhile, the Verstappen vs Bottas battle was heating up, as they struggled to find grip on their warn inter tyres, as Leclerc was fast catching them.
Just two laps after Magnussen pitted, Vettel was in for new soft tyres, with Magnussen starting to pump into good sector times. This pushed Verstappen into the pits, in their bid to leapfrog the Mercedes of Bottas. In his effort to cover Verstappen, however the Dutchman spun on his in-lap, allowing Bottas to get back out ahead.
In the middle of this chaos, Norris parked his car for a technical issue, which gave Leclerc a second free pitstop to get onto slicks, and was out back into second, and jumped the Verstappen/Bottas battle.
Just as Ferrari’s race was coming together, Leclerc crashed out at the very wet penultimate corner. Meanwhile, after the safety car was deployed, Hamilton crashed in the same area and pitted with a broken front wing. The chaos meant the drivers needed to get rid of the of the slick tyres.
After all this mess, Verstappen led the grand prix, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenbberg up to second, with Bottas in third place. After Hamilton’s near minute pit-stop, he was still running in fifth place.
On the restart, Verstappen got the jump on Hulkneberg, whilst Vettel cleared Gasly after he was jumped at the start.
Meanwhile, there was more bad news for Hamilton, as he got a five second time penalty when he pitted from the wrong side of the bollard after his crash. This wasn’t the last of bad news for Hamilton, as he was now under investigation for going unnecessarily slow behind the safety car. Meanwhile, the British driver cleared Albon for fourth.
The battle for brewing up for second between Bottas and Hulkenberg, and Bottas cleared the Renault driver on lap 37, but already had an 8.5 second deficit to leader Verstappen. Hamilton, too, cleared Hulkenberg on the following lap, and had a two second gap to his team-mate.
The next car off was Nico Hulkenberg, as he was once again caught out at the final corner, which brought out yet another safety car. As that happened, Verstappen pitted for new inter tyres, and came out ahead of second place man Bottas. Meanwhile, the two Mercedes didn’t pit due to the gaps and was one of the consequence of Hamilton’s time penalty.
Verstappen got a great jump on the field, but was in after one lap for slick tyres. Meanwhile, just before the restart Stroll pitted, and momentarily led the race, before Verstappen re-passed him for the lead.
As the front-runners started catching the midfield drivers for podium positions, Kvyat easily cleared Stroll. However, Bottas behind really struggled to clear Stroll, but Bottas then went off and crashed out of the grand prix, whilst his team-mate Lewis Hamilton ran in last place. This triggered yet another safety car.
As the pack was released, Vettel quickly cleared Carlos Sainz, and was on to the back of Lance Stroll for the final step on the podium. The following lap saw Vettel clear Stroll and was straight onto the back of Daniil Kvyat for second place. He was able to easily clear Kvyat the following lap for second place.