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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||67||7.654s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||67||30.556s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||67||31.750s|
|10||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Honda||67||34.197s|
|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|
|–||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||51||Spun off|
|–||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams/Mercedes||51||Not running|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||27||Not running|