2018: Round 11/21, GERMAN GP, Hockenheim


Vettel throws away home victory

1st    LEWIS HAMILTON       Mercedes
2nd   VALTTERI BOTTAS      Mercedes
3rd    KIMI RAIKKONEN        Ferrari

Late rain produced a sensational race of two distinct phases. The first saw pole-sitter Vettel on course for a comfortable win from Bottas, while Hamilton, condemned to start P14 due to a Q1 hydraulics failure, carved through the field to P5 by lap 14, 25.6s behind Vettel. On this lap Ferrari switched Räikkönen to a two-stop, re-emerging just ahead of Hamilton. On ‘softs’ Kimi was really motoring, as was Hamilton on ‘mediums’, these two closing on the leaders such that when Ferrari pitted Vettel on lap 25, he rejoined between the flying Kimi and Lewis. Rather than wave past the faster Seb, Kimi stayed ahead for 13 laps until a belated lap 39 ‘pass’ order. Despite imminent rain, Mercedes had to pit Hamilton for ‘ultras’ on lap 42, the two red cars now leading the silver pair. Next lap the rain hit, but being localised and sporadic, any switch to ‘inters’ a gamble. The top four tiptoed around on slicks until incredibly, on lap 52 with a 9s lead, Vettel crashed out at the slippery Sachskurve. The resultant SC saw Bottas and Räikkönen pit, but Hamilton, receiving confused messages, aborted his pit entry – for which he was later reprimanded – to miraculously take the lead on lap 53. Still it wasn’t over, Bottas on fresh ‘ultras’ attempting to pass Hamilton at the SC restart. Lewis defended resolutely until the pit-wall intervened. With Ricciardo starting last with PU penalties, then out with further engine issues, Hulkenberg finished P5 to win the ‘B’ race.
As F1 approaches 1,000 races, this one was special. The chance of victory from outside the top 10 is 100:1. Yet Hamilton did it to lead in a Mercedes 1-2 in Germany. It was a perfect example of what a difference a day can make in F1. Saturday had Lewis head in hands after hydraulics failure while Seb took pole. On Sunday, Hamilton won with Vettel in the wall at his home GP that he has yet to win. Next stop the Hungaroring.

The Championship Chase
Hamilton 188, Vettel 171, Räikkönen 131, Bottas 122, Ricciardo 106

Mercedes 310, Ferrari 302, Red Bull 211, Renault 80, Force India 59

Formula 1 All the Races