Disaster for Mercedes and Hamilton as Verstappen wins chaotic, wet German GP
Mercedes endured a torrid race as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both crashed in a chaotic and wet German Grand Prix won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The race burst into life on lap 28 in treacherously wet conditions. Charles Leclerc swapped to softs, but a safety car forced him to keep his pace down, and with a lack of heat in his tyres, his race ended the next lap when he slid off.
At the same turn, one lap later, Lewis Hamilton lost his wing but skidded, throwing his race into disarray and moving down to fifth. Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg then slipped ahead into first and second place respectively - but the German would later finish in the barriers.
Lewis HamiltonGetty Images
Hamilton, now stuck behind Alexander Albon, was then given a five-second penalty after failing to enter the pits correctly while nursing his damaged car back to the garage.
Amid the chaos, Lance Stroll emerged briefly on in the lead after assiduously changing his tires in an emergency car period, but Verstappen quickly whipped it back off him to re-establish himself top of the back.
Mercedes’ nightmare continued. Bottas was offered a golden chance to slice into Hamilton's championship lead after a botched pitstop for his team-mate, and subsequent spin requiring fresh tyres, but the Finn blew it by crashing out at the first corner.
Hamilton outperformed his partner but failed to take any points by finishing in a lowly 11th.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull) celebratesGetty Images
DRIVER OF THE DAY - Max Verstappen
He only gained one place from his starting position, but that stat does not scratch the surface. He, too, almost lost his place on the track when he slipped in the wet, but he held his nerve and battled through the pack. When the safety cars stacked the pack, he kept his advantage with lightning quick restarts. A brilliantly earned second victory in three races.
TALKING POINT - Hamilton loses his way
Verstappen made ground on Hamilton and Bottas, as did Vettel. It was a brilliant drive from the German, but after a run of almost perfection, this is a chance for Mercedes to stop and reconsider. They were well off their game and made countless mistakes. Was it just the weather, or are they losing focus?
1/64 - Hamilton keeps the lead, Bottas is in second. No stramashes yet. Raikkonen is in third, with Verstappen down two places in fourth Leclerc is up four positions, into sixth. Vettel is up from 20th to 14th.
29/64 - Hamilton pits... and Leclerc is out! He slides off the track and into the gravel, and he has no chance of getting the car going again. "Bleep! No!" He screams.
30/64 - Hamilton is off! He skids off the track in the same spot as Leclerc. He pits, needing a new wing. They rush out to replace his nose, put some new tires on, but they weren't expecting him and they are taking an age to find the tires. He is sliding down the pack now That's a stop of around a minute - and he's now down in fifth.
48/64 - Raikkonen is in second, and Vettel is into third and sets a new fastest lap. Stroll - who pitted during the emergency car period - is now first with Verstappen behind him... and he takes the lead. Hamilton is now 12th and in danger of falling further behind.
57/64 - The Haas drivers collide, and Bottas spins out! Toto Wolff bangs his desk as the Dutch fans cheer.
64/64 - VERSTAPPEN WINS! Vettel takes a brilliant second from 20th with a fastet lap bonus! Dani Kvyat completes the podium. Hamilton finishes in 11th, just out of the points, fractionally behind Kevin Magnussen. An absolutely brilliant race.