Max Verstappen wins thriller as Mercedes suffer German GP nightmare

Max Verstappen wins helter-skelter German Grand Prix ahead of resurgent Sebastian Vettel who climbs from last to second as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes suffer error-strewn nightmare and score zero points in rain-drenched Hockenheim thriller

  • Max Verstappen secured a second victory in three in an extraordinary German Grand Prix at Hockenheim 
  • Sebastian Vettel salvaged a poor qualifying by surging from last on the grid to a stunning second in home race
  • The changeable conditions on track led to chaotic scenes as manufacturers struggled to adapt
  • Charles Leclerc started 10th and rose to second on the grid before crashing into the barriers while on slicks
  • Lewis Hamilton also switched to softs and crashed in the same spot but was able to illegally make the pits 
  • Renault’s Niko Hulkenberg was on course for his first ever podium but he too lost grip and slid into the wall   
  • Racing Point’s Lance Stroll gambled on soft tyres under safety car and surged up the grid into a points spot
  • Valtteri Bottas was hunting him down but then he ALSO lost grip and crashed out leaving Mercedes pointless
  • Amid the rain-induced chaos on track Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso held out for an unlikely third-placed finish 
  • Kvyat’s wife gave birth on Saturday night and he followed it with his team’s first podium for 11 years 

Max Verstappen won a helter-skelter German Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton crashed off while leading – the world champion was dealt blow after blow all day.

The rain fell steadily on the track for most of the afternoon, but nothing else was steady. It was bonkers. Aquaplaning, strategy blunders, pit-stop botches. Comedy and upset abounded.

For Verstappen, when all the carnage was over, it was his second win of the season and another validation of his abilities in the wet, that true test of the best.

Max Verstappen recorded a second win in three in an extraordinary race in Germany that proved disastrous for Mercedes

The Dutchman held firm as all those around him collapsed including Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton

Verstappen was roared on by more Dutch support as Red Bull showed they can compete with the Mercedes and Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel was anonymous for much of the race but he managed to surge from last on the grid to a stunning second

Vettel crashed out while leading at Hockenheim in 2018 but showed his steel to recover from the back and take a podium

Amid the chaos on track, Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso managed to hold to record an unlikely third-placed finish and podium 

Kvyat’s wife gave birth on Saturday night and he rounded off an amazing weekend with Toro Rosso’s first podium in 11 years

Lewis Hamilton led the race for the from first lap but faced disaster after swapping to soft tyres and crashing into the barriers 

While Hamilton recovered, just a lap beforehand Charles Leclerc crashed in the exact same spot which ended his race

Hamilton lost part of his front wing and illegally entered the pit lane immediately, which led to a five-second time penalty 

Part of the track was treacherous making it difficult to decide on tyres and to gain grip and Leclerc suffered on the softs


1 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1hr 44mins 31.275secs

2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:44:38.608

3 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:44:39.580

4 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:44:40.241

5 Carlos Sainz (Spa) McLaren 1:44:40.858

6 Alexander Albon (Tha) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:44:41.327

7 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:44:43.489

8 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:44:45.124

9 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:44:48.113

10 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:44:50.040 

11 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:44:50.942

12 Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams 1:44:56.262

13 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:44:57.679

14 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Red Bull at 3 laps 

DNF Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 56 laps completed

DNF Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 39 laps completed

DNF Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 27 laps completed

DNF Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 25 laps completed

DNF Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 13 laps completed

DNF Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1 lap completed

Fastest Lap: Max Verstappen 1min 16.645secs on lap 61

Hamilton, who finished 11th, had looked on course for most of the first half of the race to win from pole but his own errors and those of his team cost him that early near-certainty.

He suffered the ignominy of running last.

This is what rain does to Formula One. It turns the tables until the feet are pointing to the sky.

The pivotal moment came on lap 29, when Hamilton ran wide at the final corner, the wettest point. By this time he had been shod on slick tyres – like the rest – but it was an error to have done so. The teams had been seduced into thinking that the track was dry enough. No, it wasn’t; it was a curate’s egg and that last sector had perdition written all over it even if other swathes of asphalt were becalmed.

Hamilton returned for wet tyres and a replacement for the front wing he had damaged. What a shambles unfolded there. First, Hamilton went the wrong side of the bollards into the pits. He was handed a five-second penalty for the misdemeanour. Then, the stop of stops from the usually slick Mercedes boys.

 Hamilton had comfortably led the race before his crash on softs and then a pivotal time penalty ended his chances of a win

His crash caught his team by surprise as they tried to replace his front wing and that in turn meant his stop lasted a minute

Lewis Hamilton led the charge and had a brilliant start at Hockenheim, opening up a 1.5 second lead over Valtteri Bottas

Niko Hulkenberg was having a strong race for Renault and was on course for his first ever podium but he too crashed out

Laurel and Hardy like, they were not ready. Tyres were ferried in and out. One bloke appeared to hurt his back in the melee of desperation. Frantic hand signals were made. The semaphore only confused the issue more. Hamilton was stuck there for 50 seconds. The crowd, many in orange and supporting Verstappen, hollered in delight. Embarrassment for Mercedes on their home turf.

Hamilton emerged fifth and still in with a chance. He then pitted a lap late under the third safety car of the race, called out for Nico Hulkenburg’s crashed Renault, and was struggling in midfield when a massive cheer went up. The crowd had seen Hamilton tumble off again. It was now that he was back in last place.

‘How’s it got this bad?’ asked Hamilton just before his final error. ‘Copy Lewis. It’s something we are going to review.’

Kvyatt’s podium was accompanied by the a brilliant drive from Alexander Albon, who also finished in a points position

Racing Point took a brilliant gamble to put Lance Strong onto the soft tyres and he surged up the grid for a bundle of points

Valtteri Bottas was pushing to chase down Stroll, who was in a podium spot, when he then joined the retirement club

The rain left the rookies nervous as they had never had the chance to race in the wet while driving a Formula One car

Race control ordered a safety car start but after three formation laps there was a standing start in the light drizzle conditions

Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly achieved a career-best fourth on the grid but struggled in the wet with many drivers running wide 

Further agony for Mercedes when Valtteri Bottas, running fourth, crashed out. Team principal Toto Wolff slammed his fist on his desk.

What else? Charles Leclerc had a chance of winning the race for Ferrari but he too spun off. That first race win is proving elusive.

Sebastian Vettel, anonymous all afternoon, crept through the rivulets to finish second having started from last on the grid, a reward for perseverance rather than bravura. It was a tonic for his knocked confidence. Daniil Kvyat was third for Toro Rosso. What were the odds on that? 

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