Lewis Hamilton has sensationally won the German F1 Grand Prix at Hockenheim. The race had been dry until a squall came in the latter part of the event and race leader Sebastian Vettel, in front of his home crowd, crashed out. The following safety car had both Mercedes (Vatteri Bottas) and Ferrari (Kimi Raikkonen) pit and miraculously Hamilton was in the lead.
The resultant win now has Hamilton on top of the driver’s championship with a gap of 17 points now. Bottas claimed second after the restart and this has bumped Mercedes to the top of the manufacturers championship.
However, Hamilton’s win didn’t come without drama for the Briton. In the mess of communications after Vettel’s crash Mercedes called Hamilton in for a tire swap. Suddenly that call was reversed, leaving Hamilton’s car in pit lane but needing to exit. But he did cross the blend line and this was referred to the stewards. A post race decision was handed down and a relieved Hamilton was left with nothing more than a reprimand. The stewards took into consideration the team admitting the stuff up was on their backs and that Hamilton’s exit was not endangering any other drivers.
Further in the field it was Romain Grosjean that brought the crowd to their feet. The Swiss born French national hunted down the pack after the restart and scythed his way through the field to finish sixth after a ten lap charge from tenth. There was a moment, too, for Charles Leclerc, after losing traction on damp track. He had plenty of track space around him and it was needed as his car snapped away from under him, performed a perfect 360 degree spin, and continued as if nothing had happened.
Red Bull and Daniel Riiciardo will continue their fractious relationship after Max Verstappen finished fourth. Ricciardo’s car expired early, coming on the back of a rear of grid start after a number of engine components had been swapped prior to the race start and resulting in a penalty.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenburg had a great race as well, with the fifth placed finish his best at a German Grand Prix. Toro Rosso’s Kiwi driver, Brendon Hartley did well, finishing tenth and scoring the team their first Hockenheim points in a decade. This was counterbalanced by the Mercedes Williams team having both cars out, making it the first time both cars failed to finish a GP since 2015’s United State event.
But the race will be remembered for that brilliant drive from Hamilton. After starting outside of the top ten, and being held out on track on team orders, a swap to ultra soft tires on lap 42, and his own natural doggedness and refusal to give up, his win is the first since 2008 to have a driver take the chequered flag after starting as low as fourteenth. He also matches Michael Schumacher’s four German GP wins, grabbed the fastest lap of the race, and along with the second place with Bottas, gives Mercedes their first one-two in Germany.
The series heads to the Hungoraring in Hungary this weekend, the last race before the Grand Prix takes a mid-summer break.