It’s coming up to a year since the title-swinging race last year in Hockenheim so will this year’s race prove as momentous as previous? F1 returns to Germany and the Hockenheimring for Round 11 of the 2019 Season.
2018’s title-swinging race
It looked like the win was in the bag, that was until the rain started to fall anyway. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel came into the German GP with an 8 point lead over Mercedes Lewis Hamilton and with the Brit starting near back of the grid, the Ferrari driver looked to increase his championship lead as the home-favourite was leading his home race.
With half of the race gone, dark clouds started to form over the Hockenheimring. By running long, Hamilton had brought himself back into contention and made the right call to go onto the Ultrasoft tyres. Light rain started to fall at turn 6 with all the drivers starting to take it more carefully. On fresh tyres, Hamilton had made up the deficit and was now running in 4th with his eyes on the podium. With 15 laps to go, Vettel threw away the victory.
The Ferrari driver simply slid off the track, into the gravel and subsequently into retirement. He was distraught and angry at himself for throwing away the victory after such an easy mistake. This played into the hands of Hamilton, the Safety Car was deployed, allowing drivers to swap tyres and elevating the 4 Time World Champion to first. After defending from team-mate Valterri Bottas, Hamilton went onto win and to take the championship lead and eventually the 2019 Championship and the 5th to his name.
British GP Review
After winning the race for a record 6th time, Lewis Hamilton comes into the German GP with a 39 point lead over team-mate Valterri Bottas. During the first 20 or so laps, the Mercedes drivers duelled as hard as we have ever seen them before and provided exciting racing. Ultimately on different strategies, the pair finished 1st and 2nd ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. It was looking unlikely for the Ferrari driver to finished on the podium but that was until his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel collided with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. After battling, Vettel tried to force the Dutchman into a mistake but ended up running into the back of the Red Bull driver instead. Verstappen recovered to 5th behind team-mate Pierre Gasly, who had his best race so far this year after struggling to find the right set-up with his RB15, as Vettel finished down in 16th.
McLaren’s resurgence continued this year with Carlos Sainz Jr finishing in 6th ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo. Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen finished in 8th ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. The 7th 1-2 finish of the season for Mercedes increased their lead in the championship to 164 points over Ferrari. Red Bull are 52 points behind Ferrari in 3rd with McLaren in 4th with a 21 point gap to Renault in 5th.
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 223pts
- Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 184pts
- Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 136pts
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 123pts
- Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 120pts
Haas seek solutions to difficult season
The American based Haas team finished 5th with 93 points last season but struggling to extract the performance out of the car has left the team in despair and looking for answers. Coming into the German GP, they sit in 9th on 16 points with their last point scored by Romain Grosjean in Monaco, 4 races ago. The team faced a double-retirement as both drivers failed to see the chequered flag as early contact between Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen ended their races early. Team Principal, Guenther Steiner was not best pleased and said that their driving was “not acceptable”. Grosjean has had a another difficult season and it was rumoured that he would be replaced for this race or races to come but it looks he will stay on.