2019 German Grand Prix Review

After the thrills and spills of Silverstone, Formula One headed to Hockenheim for the 2019 German Grand Prix which certainly delivered an all-time classic. 

This weekend also Mercedes celebrating 125 years of motorsport by sporting a one off livery but fans will remember this race weekend as one of implosions, fightbacks and thrilling racing. 

Now here is how each team fared this weekend. 

 

Mercedes

Race Results: Lewis Hamilton – 9th, Valtteri Bottas – DNF

 

This was a tough weekend for Mercedes who struggled in Friday’s heat but recovered enough to benefit from Ferrari’s qualifying failures to take pole with Lewis Hamilton. 

Raceday however saw the Silver Arrows implode in an error strewn race, which initially appeared set for another one-two finish after a great getaway at the start and well executed double stacked first stop

The change to slicks mid-race was however a major turning point with both drivers running wide, and Hamilton made the ultimate race defining moment when he ran wide and clipped the barrier just a lap after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed at same corner to bring out the safety car. 

That incident consequently came with a five second time penalty after the Brit cut across the track to enter the pits via wrong side of the bollard, which was served at his next stop to end all hopes of victory as he fell to 12th before eventually recovering to ninth after both Alfa Romeos were handed 30 second time penalties post race. 

Bottas meanwhile struggled to get pass an inspired Lance Stroll before eventually spinning out of the race at Turn One with a few laps left, finishing what had been a torrid race for the reigning champions. 

In summary, this is a race to forget for Mercedes but they will be back stronger as they so often do. 

 

Ferrari

Race Results: Sebastian Vettel – 2nd, Charles Leclerc – DNF

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Having dominated all three practice sessions, Ferrari again looked to had self destroyed their weekend with more unreliability hitting them in Qualifying as Vettel failed to set a time after a turbo issue, whilst a fuel issue befell Leclerc at start of Q3. 

Rain however came to their rescue on Sunday with a spirited drive from Vettel up into the lower point paying positions, before his charge hit a snag in very tricky conditions. 

Leclerc meanwhile made his double inters gamble work before a switch to the softs saw him crash out at the penultimate corner, after a snap of oversteer was enough to send his car into the barrier via the drag strip and completely change the race’s dynamic. 

We however must mention that Leclerc was lucky that his unsafe release from his first stop only earned Ferrari a fine, which is quite controversial given that we don’t normally see fines dished out during the race and probably would of be even more unfair if he went on to win the race. 

Vettel however reaped the full benefit of his teammate’s error as the track began to dry up with a superb charge to second place via a nicely timed late Safety Car for removal of Bottas’ car. 

That drive meant that he became the first driver since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2005 to go from last place up onto the second step of the podium at the German Grand Prix, plus is redemption after his own crash in similar conditions last year here. 

Nevertheless this weekend was yet another victory that got away from Ferrari and in particular, Leclerc. 

 

Red Bull

Race Results: Max Verstappen – 1st, Pierre Gasly – DNF

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What a weekend for Red Bull who produced possibly their most intelligent victory yet from the realms of a tough Friday. 

Both drivers were off the pace throughout Friday practice and a final corner shunt for Gasly raised further questions about his future, having enjoyed a great British GP just a fortnight ago. 

Verstappen however got his act together on Saturday to qualify in P2 and split the Mercedes duo, whilst Gasly continued to struggle although wasn’t far off that front row if not for breaching track limits to have his time deleted. 

Their race starts however was poor with both drivers struggling for grip off the line but a solid recovery by Verstappen to third proved key because he was able to snatch the lead in amongst the mid race chaos, albeit losing it at his fifth stop briefly to Stroll. 

This however was a mature drive by Verstappen who controlled the Safety Car restarts beautifully before sprinting off to take a brilliant victory. 

Gasly meanwhile had a tough race after his poor start dropped him down into mid-pack, defending against Leclerc who soon passed him due to a huge difference in grip. 

That grip issue meant that the Frenchman’s pace was poor throughout majority of this race, culminating in a late move on Alex Albon backfiring as he destroyed his front wing to send him crashing out of the race down an escape road. 

Red Bull therefore have a lot of thinking to do because whilst Verstappen is continuing to mature into a top driver, Gasly is costing them plenty of points and a change is surely needed if are to catch Ferrari for second in the Constructor’s Championship. 

 

McLaren

Race Results: Carlos Sainz – 5th, Lando Norris – DNF

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McLaren were unusually quiet this weekend with Sainz lingering around the lower half of the top ten whilst Norris struggled for pace in every session. 

The rain however offered McLaren a huge opportunity to potentially get some huge points but a power related issue wrecked Norris’ race early on, although the rookie was having a torrid time in the wet conditions anyway. 

Sainz therefore flew the flag for McLaren throughout the race and was close to a podium for a few laps, but a lack of pace on slicks meant that fifth was the best that he could do but ten crucial points for the team in their Constructors scrap.

McLaren therefore will be happy with how this race has turned out because they can learn and improve for the future. 

 

Toro Rosso

Race Results: Daniil Kyvat – 3rd, Alexander Albon – 6th

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What an incredible result for Toro Rosso after a solid weekend as they were the biggest winners from a wet race. 

Starting with Kvyat, he drove a brilliant race with a perfectly timed final stop for softs proving crucial to clinching third for his third F1 podium, even if he looked set for second until Vettel caught and passed him on the penultimate lap. 

We mustn’t forget that Kvyat became a father on Saturday evening so this podium is even more special for the young Russian. 

Albon meanwhile mustn’t be forgotten because he could of well been on the podium if luck had gone his way, having found himself fourth in amongst the mid race chaos but he produced his best drive yet. 

Toro Rosso however will be delighted with a haul of 23 points which lifted them from eighth in the team standings to fifth. 

 

Renault

Race Results: Daniel Ricciardo – DNF, Nico Hulkenberg – DNF

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Renault will definitely view this as a race to forget after struggling for pace throughout the weekend, as Hulkenberg only scraped into Q3 by a tight margin as those between 8th and 13th were separated by just 0.033s in Q2. 

Raceday however was just disastrous as Ricciardo suffered yet another power unit failure to end his race mid battle with Kvyat and Gasly for 12th place. 

Hulkenberg however seemed to relish the conditions and chaos as he climbed up to second, potentially offering him the chance to end his podium hoodoo but a similar mistake to Leclerc ended his race just further up the same corner. 

Now that is a hard crash to swallow because he is one of Germany’s nicest racing drivers and so deserved a podium on home soil. 

Their reliability issues however need resolving otherwise I doubt Ricciardo will stay beyond next season at best. 

 

Racing Point

Race Results: Lance Stroll – 4th, Sergio Perez – DNF

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This weekend was definitely a tale of two halves because their upgrade definitely provided them with a great step forward throughout practice and qualifying, as Stroll avoided a 15th straight Q1 exit.

That achievement clearly boosted Stroll’s confidence because he mounted a great drive and a fantastic gamble to switch to softs on Lap 44 briefly put the Canadian in the lead, although inferior pace cost him a podium finish. 

Fourth therefore is a great result for the young Canadian and Racing Point after a rough start to the season. 

Perez meanwhile spun out on the opening lap after the rear aquaplaned as he picked up the power towards Turn 11, throwing away a potentially huge haul of points for the team. 

The big question therefore has to be whether this is a turning point for Stroll or another fluke podium, although things do look promising going forward for the team. 

 

Haas

Race Results: Roman Grosjean – 7th, Kevin Magnussen – 8th

Haas touch at Hockenheim

After a disastrous British Grand Prix, Haas opted to continue their experiment comparing their Australian spec with their current spec this weekend which certainly is looking promising. 

Grosjean opted to run the Aussie spec and was on the pace all weekend, even if he did struggle for race pace in the wet initially as he slipped out of the points after an error at Turn One when fighting Verstappen. 

Both drivers however produced solid drives in challenging conditions and survived a late collision to bring home ten vital points, which lifted them up to eighth in the Constructors. 

We therefore cannot say which spec is better yet because they haven’t had a proper dry race battle between both specs, which hopefully will happen in Hungary. 

 

Alfa Romeo

Race Results: Kimi Raikkonen – 12th, Antonio Giovinazzi – 13th

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This weekend has been one of Alfa Romeo’s best so far this season with Raikkonen amongst the top midfield runners after a difficult FP1. 

Raikkonen in particular was a stand out in qualifying as he put his car fifth on the grid and a great start saw him challenging Bottas out of Turn One before settling for third early on. 

A mistake however undid his great work but a controlled drive on the same strategy as his teammate saw both cars finish the race in seventh and eighth place, only for a post race investigation to find that their starts were illegally aided as a result of their clutch torque demands not being met within the 70 millisecond period.

Reluctantly both cars were penalised after the race and awarded a 30 second time penalty, although the team are planning to appeal both penalties.

Penalties aside, this was a great performance by the team and Giovinazzi was unlucky to miss out on Q3 but there’s room for improvement as the midfield battle continues to ramp up. 

 

Williams

Race Results: Robert Kubica – 10th, George Russell – 11th

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After another boring weekend racing at the back, Williams benefitted from Alfa Romeo’s post race penalties to earn their first point of the season with Kubica. 

That is worrying though because Williams were unable to compete in wet race conditions, which suggests that there is plenty of work to do to get the team competitive again in all conditions but their aero upgrades are working. 

As much as I do hope that Williams can bounce forward from this valuable point, it’s hard not to acknowledge that they only got one point from various retirements and penalties. 

In summary, a race of small progress car wise but lucked into points through mistakes of others. 

 

I do hope you join us here next time for the Hungarian Grand Prix and click here to catch up with our previous race reviews and more. 

Thank you.

Craig Telford.

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