Race Report: Hamilton claims German GP win; Vettel crashes

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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

Update: Post-race review by the race stewards looked into the situation that saw Lewis Hamilton cross back on to track after committing to the pit entry which is an infraction of:

FIA International Sporting Code, Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 4 d) states: “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards), the crossing, in any direction, of the line separating the pit entry and the track by a car entering the pit lane is prohibited.”

The team had to prove force Majeure in order to keep from being penalized. After deliberations and lots of false tweets claiming outcomes, Adam Cooper tweeted that the result stands and Lewis was given a reprimand.

The German Grand Prix looked set to be a weekend of fortunes for Ferrari. With Lewis Hamilton starting from 14th and both Ferraris at the sharp end of the grid, it was a weekend set to extend the Italian team’s lead over Mercedes.

As it turned out, it was a weekend of fortunes but not for the Italians. The weekend turned into a nightmare in changing conditions and fortune favored Mercedes instead. What looked like team-ordered victory for Sebastian Vettel turned into team-ordered victory for Lewis Hamilton. What looked like a Ferrari title-buttressing weekend turned into a Mercedes title-seizing fortune.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas leave Germany with Lewis in the driver’s championship lead and Mercedes in control of the constructor’s championship. What a difference a weekend can make in this very close season. Sebastian Vettel threw away his title lead and Ferrari managed to lose their lead in the constructor’s championship.

Win

A huge win for both Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. What looked like another tough weekend for Lewis turned into a dream with Vettel throwing away the lead on lap 52 in changing conditions. It prompted a Safety Car and a quick decision to keep Lewis out for track position and not stack him behind Bottas meant the 4-time champ managed to secure the win with the help of some team orders that kept a freshly-shod Bottas behind him.

Mercedes ran Lewis on Soft tires to start and his drive through traffic up to 5th was critical to making the strategy work. The team made the late call as Lewis was pitting to stay out and in doing so, maximized their strategy for a Mercedes one, two and proves that you have to execute strategy and never give up…which Mercedes delivered on.

A win for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who tried an aggressive intermediate rain tire change but reverted back to Ultras to pound out quick laps and finish 4th as his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, suffered his second DNF in three races.

A win for Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg who managed to secure 5th place and best of the rest for Renault at his home race. The battle between Renault, Haas F1 and Force India was a race to watch and the late pace of Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean saw a last-lap pass of Force India’s Sergio Perez for 6th place.

A win for Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson who finished 9th and in the points in a race his much-praised teammate, Charles Leclerc, struggled. Also a big win for Brendon Hartley who said before the race that he felt they had the pace to go for points and he did.

Fail

A big fail for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari who threw away their title leads by crashing on lap 52. The team had issued polite team orders to allow Vettel past teammate Kimi Raikkonen on older tires but perhaps they waited too late or it was simply a case of Canada 2011.

Ferrari’s strategy seemed solid up front and even the early pit stop by Kimi seemed to be the right call pressing both Bottas and keeping Hamilton behind. When rain dampened part of the track, Ferrari’s strategy fell apart as Vettel went off track and into the barrier leaving Kimi to take up the slack from third place.

A fail for Valtteri Bottas who looked set to inherit the win from Vettel only to be pit and placed behind Hamilton and told to hold station in quite a departure for Mercedes. Ferrari have never made any bones about team orders while getting lambasted by Wolff and Mercedes for using them but this time, and early in the season, Mercedes had no qualms with issuing team orders to Bottas who looked the quicker of the two. If I were Toto, I would have done the same thing but what I dislike is when Toto and Mercedes berate Ferrari in a virtue-fueled diatribe knowing what is at stake and this weekend proves they understand it and also engage in team orders. For those berating James Vowles strategy, his team order just handed Lewis the title lead.

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

A fail for Carlos Sainz who suffered a 10s penalty for passing under yellow and left points on the table as he teammate delivered.

A fail for McLaren who suffered a miserable weekend like Williams F1. Both Williams cars out and McLaren’s Alonso stopped with Vandoorne struggling to 13th.

A fail for Charles Leclerc who had a tough race spinning and running wide late when the rain came. After setting the paddock on fire with his recent performances, the young Ferrari junior driver struggled to keep up with the veterans.

WTH

A WTH for Toro Rosso and their full-wet gamble only to pit immediately and put Ultras back on Gasly’s car and losing positions.

Anyone can make a mistake but a WTH for Vettel who lost control of a race he had in his pocket. He didn’t need another Canada 2011 and no one knows that more than he does but you can’t throw away opportunities when Mercedes hand them to you.

I enjoyed the WTH moment when Kimi Raikkonen forced his team to actually give the team order instead of hinting at it. Classic Kimi.

German Grand Prix results

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 67 1h32m29.845s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 67 4.535s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 67 6.732s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 67 7.654s
5 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 67 26.609s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 67 28.871s
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 67 30.556s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 67 31.750s
9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 67 32.362s
10 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 67 34.197s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 67 34.919s
12 Carlos Sainz Renault 67 43.069s
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 67 46.617s
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 66 1 Lap
15 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 66 1 Lap
16 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 65 Not running
Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 53 Brakes
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 51 Spun off
Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 51 Not running
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 27 Not running

Driver’s Championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Lewis Hamilton 188
2 Sebastian Vettel 171
3 Kimi Raikkonen 131
4 Valtteri Bottas 122
5 Daniel Ricciardo 106
6 Max Verstappen 105
7 Nico Hulkenberg 52
8 Fernando Alonso 40
9 Kevin Magnussen 39
10 Sergio Perez 30
11 Esteban Ocon 29
12 Carlos Sainz 28
13 Romain Grosjean 20
14 Pierre Gasly 18
15 Charles Leclerc 13
16 Stoffel Vandoorne 8
17 Marcus Ericsson 5
18 Lance Stroll 4
19 Brendon Hartley 2
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructor’s Championship

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 310
2 Ferrari 302
3 Red Bull/Renault 211
4 Renault 80
5 Force India/Mercedes 59
6 Haas/Ferrari 59
7 McLaren/Renault 48
8 Toro Rosso/Honda 20
9 Sauber/Ferrari 18
10 Williams/Mercedes 4
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

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subcritical71
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subcritical71

Lewis is under investigation, it isn’t official yet. The FIA may have a WTH entry soon. (that meeting was at 12:15 EST).

The driver and team representative are required to report to the Stewards at 18:15 in relation to the incident below.
No / Driver Reason
44 – Lewis Hamilton
Alleged breach of Appendix L Chapter IV Article 4 (d) of the FIA International Sporting Code, car 44 crossed the line separating the pit entry and the track.

Member
Fast Freddy

I told you watching Hamilton come up from the back would be fun. Ricciardo not so much.

Tim
Guest
Tim

I understand why it’s done and I understand the reason teams do it, but I absolute hate team orders. As a fan, I wanted to see Vettel pass Kimi and Lewis pass Bottas straight up. Having drivers just move over at the request of their team just doesn’t do it for me. It robbed us of what could have been some back and forth battles between teammates. And, isn’t battles between drivers why we watch racing to begin with. I was so close to switching off the race, but there wasn’t anything else on worth watching. Loading...

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

I’m with you. I know if they get it all wrong (aka Red Bull, pick a generation) it is worse and people will be upset that team orders were not given to prevent it. However, I’m happier with 2 guys crashing each other out because they were trying vs just letting another pass. I am a bit of a hypocrite though, as if the guy in front isn’t getting the passing done he needs to let the other guy go and maybe follow him through the field. But this should just be strategy between teammates handled with a wave through,… Read more »

Member

Wow, that was quite a race. The pace different between the top 3 teams and the rest is still immense. Hamilton 14th to 5th in 10 laps,Ricciardo 20th to 6th in 14 laps. Because of those sharks cutting through the pack, and the rain and safety car disruptions, we got to see a lot more of the mid and rear field. I know the racing isn’t always that close back there, but those guys were doing a great job of following, racing and passing on this circuit. And after the abuse the Mercedes strategist took for the Austrian GP strategy… Read more »

jtr
Member
jtr

The midfield race was largely decided by the meteorologists, with several drivers really suffering from the decision to get onto intermediate and then having to pit again to get right back onto slicks. Hate to see positions decided by who guesses the weather correctly rather than on-track action. Gasly’s case of the team putting him on full wets rather than just intermediates was particularly baffling. I feel bad for the Toro Rosso drivers this year. They’re constantly taking PU grid penalties, playing guinea pig for Red Bull engineering experiments (like the incredible exploding suspension at Silverstone), and just generally getting… Read more »

MIE
Editor

This season is certainly providing an interesting battle for both championships. It certainly helps having two teams fighting at the front, with the dominant car changing as developments are introduced.
I not quite so keen on both the leading protagonists trying to throw the results away ( Hamilton/Mercedes in qualifying and Better/Ferrari in the race). Interesting that both the second drivers felt able to take the right to their respective team mates, until asked to fall into line by their teams.

I hope this battle continues for the remaining ten races.

jtr
Member
jtr

Leclerc wins on style points for his sweet 360 on the wet track. I love how he comes out of it facing exactly the right direction. It’s not the fastest way through the corner, but it is the most fun.