Nico Hulkenberg’s crash out of the German Grand Prix coincides with “important discussions” about his future according to his boss Cyril Abiteboul, who says he and other Renault team members had “tears in our eyes” when the German slid off the wet Hockenheim circuit and lost his first-ever F1 podium.
Abiteboul told Auto Hebdo, “You have to wonder about the psychological side, but with so many things happening, you cannot blame him.”
Indeed, Hulkenberg holds the record for the longest F1 career without a single podium. His contract is up at the end of the season and Esteban Ocon is being linked with his seat.
“Let’s be honest,” said Abiteboul, when asked about Hulkenberg’s crash. “This comes at a time of important discussions for the future. We’re thinking about our options and he knows it. It is something that comes into play. It’s a human and even sentimental element because Nico has been with us for three years now.”
At the same time, Abiteboul also acknowledges that, amid an admittedly “difficult” season for the French team, Renault must do better with its 2019 car, “The aerodynamics of our car are absolutely not at the level of our expectations.”
Now, Renault’s slide from fourth to just sixth in the constructors’ standings is made even worse by an incident that occurred on the road to Budapest.
One of the team’s yellow transporters crashed into a ditch on the side of a Hungarian motorway. It is not known if the truck was carrying the F1 cars.
“The driver, who was driving within the respected regulations, is conscious and has not suffered serious injury. He’s been transported to hospital for further checks,” Renault said in a statement.
Finally, F1 legend Alain Prost – formerly a team advisor – has now been appointed non-executive director of Renault Sport. It is a role similar to that held at Mercedes by the late Niki Lauda.
Company documents, as revealed by F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, show that Prost replaces Thierry Bollore, who is now CEO of Groupe Renault.
Big Question: Does the Hulk deserve to keep his seat at Renault?
Russell says he also requested an early tyre swap during the Safety Car period and feels Williams left a big result on the table by ignoring his call.
“I wanted to start on the inter but we started on wets, we stayed out on the wets under the first safety car when we should have pitted to the inter,” bemoaned the Brit.
“Then at the end of the race I wanted to box to go to the slick. For some reason we stayed out but I understand the position the team were in, probably why we chose to do that, and you know everyone is struggling to keep on the black stuff.
“We’re not in a position to throw something away like that. We were ahead of Lance when he pitted under the safety car and we didn’t, and he ended up coming out in second!
“So it proves we made the wrong choice.”
Russell concluded his German Grand Prix just outside the top-10 and one spot behind teammate Robert Kubica who delivered the first point of the season to Williams, helped in large part by a post-race 30-second time penalty handed to both Alfa Romeo drivers.
In hindsight, Russell reckons he should have been more “forceful” with his team over the radio regarding tyre choices.
“The car felt really poor in all conditions,” he said. “The worst thing was we had the opportunity to go onto slicks under the last safety car when I was ahead of Lance.
“I wanted to pit, but I probably wasn’t forceful enough to tell the team to pit for slicks. For some reason we decided to stay out and next thing, we’re pitting one lap later and Lance is up to P2.
“So it could have been so much more.”
Russell concluded his German Grand Prix just outside of the top-10 and one spot behind teammate Robert Kubica who delivered the first point of the season to Williams, helped in large part by a post-race 30-second time penalty handed to both Alfa Romeo drivers.
Formula 1 race director has cleared Hockenheim of blame for much of the carnage seen during the wet German Grand Prix. that delivered an enthralling race which is a candidate for the race of the century.
Top drivers including Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg all crashed last Sunday.
Speaking to Globo, Masi cleared the circuit of blame, “We inspected it the other day and looked again after the race.”
“It’s one of those cases where even if you paint it with non-slip paint, it’s still more slippery than unpainted asphalt,” Masi said.
After his incident, Leclerc said the ice-rink style grip in the runoff where he crashed was “unacceptable”, even though he insisted: “I don’t want there to be headlines that say ‘Charles Leclerc blames the track for his mistake’.
“I take responsibility for my mistake,” the Ferrari driver added.
The Formula 1 world may never again see Toto Wolff and the Mercedes team wear fancy dress after the German carmaker kept this year’s Hockenheim race on the calendar by sponsoring it
They also took the opportunity to use a special livery and dress team members in old-style costume to mark Mercedes’ 125 years in motor racing.
Furthermore, Netflix documentary team was also on hand to film the team’s home race, but ultimately it was easily Mercedes’ worst showing for some time.
“It just shows you can’t mess around with this stuff,” team boss Wolff said. “You should always concentrate on the job. We had the whole team present as well as the Netflix guys.
“We’re not superstitious, but we do believe in karma, so this was a day to learn. Maybe you get distracted, and you start doing things differently than you would normally. In the end, we will learn from it.”
It was also a notably off weekend for Lewis Hamilton, who admitted he felt ill throughout the event.
“I have never felt this sick,” he said on Monday. “It really does highlight just how precious health is.”
At one point, the championship leader radioed his engineers to ask to “retire the car”.
“Negative, Lewis,” came the reply. “There are always opportunities.”
Wolff excused Hamilton for expressing the rare desire to give up, “Lewis wasn’t healthy for the whole weekend, but I think he did the most he could. Many of us wouldn’t have considered being in the car but he did.”
Hamilton said he will now use the few days between Hockenheim and Hungary to get better, “I’ve cancelled all my appointments and will spend a few days at home. Not having to sit in the car helps you the most. I don’t feel very well but I hope that in a few days everything will be fine.”
In contrast, Sebastian Vettel had an abysmal qualifying session and started last, but he ultimately drove through the carnage to finish second.
“Last year, Hockenheim was the beginning of the end,” noted La Repubblica newspaper. “This year, it could be the beginning of the resurrection.”
Red Bull set a remarkable Formula 1 record during German Grand Prix by changing all four tyres on race winner Max Verstappen’s car in 1.88 seconds, according to official timings.
Formula 1’s logistics partner DHL holds an annual fastest pitstop award with points accrued over the season. Red Bull are leading Williams in the standings after 11 of 21 races, with Ferrari third.
It was the second race in a row that the expertly-choreographed Red Bull mechanics had broken the record, with a 1.91-second pitstop for French driver Pierre Gasly at the British Grand Prix two weeks earlier.
Verstappen made five pitstops in a chaotic race at Hockenheim, and Gasly four, with the fastest coming on the 46th of the 64 laps.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner sent chief mechanic Phil Turner up to the podium to collect the winning constructor’s trophy.
“The pit stop crew were unbelievable today,” said Horner.
Mercedes, who were caught off guard by one of five-times world champion Lewis Hamilton’s pitstops during the race, could not manage a pitstop faster than 2.50 seconds on a dismal Sunday for them.
Hamilton’s slowest lasted some 50 seconds and came just after he had hit the barriers, with some of his mechanics changing the front wing while others swarmed around uncertain which tyres to fit.
Four-time F1 world champion and Renault advisor Alain Prost has been appointed as a non-executive director of Renault F1.
Prost replaces Renault Group chief executive officer Thierry Bolloré who took on additional responsibilities recently at the French automotive company following the resignation of former CEO Carlos Ghosn.
Prost has been associated with Renault since the manufacturer’s return to F1 as a works outfit in 2016, first as an Ambassador to the brand and then as an advisor.
In addition to Prost, Renault F1’s board of directors includes managing director Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport president Jérôme Stoll, Renault Group financial chief Thierry Cognet and Genii Capital boss Gérard Lopez, who became a minority shareholder of the team when Renault F1 took over Lotus at the end of 2015.
It’s unclear if Prost’s presence on the board of directors will change his involvement or current duties with the F1 outfit.
Renault described the role of the team’s board of directors as “establishing vision, mission and values, setting strategy and structure, delegating to management, exercising accountability to shareholders and being responsible to relevant stakeholders, and taking key decisions for the company such as approval of the annual accounts and financial statements and approval of key contracts with sponsors, partners and drivers.”
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he is considering calling the race from the pit wall after Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen again collided in the German Grand Prix.
Grosjean was attempting to pass Magnussen around the outside under braking for the hairpin, but the pair made contact as they turned in for the corner. As it was wheel-to-wheel, no damage was sustained, but Steiner was left angered by another incident just two weeks after the pair collided and retired at Silverstone, and said he may take drastic measures.
“I think we got lucky that there was no damage, but I didn’t see it properly,” Steiner said. “I want to look at it properly and calm down about it, and then I need to see what I’m going to do. I can talk, but if they don’t listen…
“I am just going to call the race, that’s my job now. Tell them what to do.”
Stating he will speak to the two drivers on Thursday in Budapest ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Steiner said he is reluctant to impose such orders, but needs to find a solution in order to allow Haas to work on its car problems after again showing impressive one-lap pace but struggling in race trim in Hockenheim.
“I need to think about it, but there are not many options,” he said. “At some stage something needs to be done, and I normally try to avoid [team orders]. I like racing, I think that’s what we should be doing. But if it always works against us, I can’t keep letting it happen. We were lucky that nothing got (damaged), but it could have happened again.
“It’s a headache. It doesn’t help to find a solution. It doesn’t help to always be constructive, because I’m thinking about things I shouldn’t be thinking about. I should be thinking about everything else. It’s a lot going on, so the more you can focus on your real issues, the better it will be.”
The German Grand Prix looks likely to drop off next year’s Formula 1 calendar, despite Hockenheim having served up a thriller – a candidate for Race of the Century – for the second straight year on Sunday.
The race, hosted at the historic venue which had a deal to host a Grand Prix every alternate year, was already out of contract after last season’s event.
A last-minute deal kept it on the 2019 calendar with Mercedes-Benz, parent company of the dominant Mercedes Formula One team, stepping in as title-sponsor but there has been no word on a fresh agreement.
“They are putting a lot of effort in, a lot of passion, and they’re very keen on staying, having the grand prix here,” said Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who grew up down the road in Heppenheim.
“It’s a great show, I don’t think they make any money, I think they lost money last year and thanks to Mercedes they were able to have the grand prix again.
“The problem is Germany is not keen to pay anything,” added the four-times world champion, who got his first taste of Formula One action watching boyhood idol Michael Schumacher at the circuit.
“So you need people from outside, investors. The government is not happy to support,” said Vettel, who went from last to second on Sunday in a race won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Germany used to have two races on the calendar at the height of Schumacher’s success, which boosted the sport’s popularity to new levels in the seven-time champion’s homeland, with the Nuerburgring hosting the European Grand Prix.
Attendance figures have dropped since Schumacher retired, despite Vettel running away with four straight titles from 2010-13 and Mercedes embarking on a run of unchallenged dominance since.
Last year 165,000 fans attended over the course of the weekend. This year the race drew a weekend crowd of 153,000, with 61,000 people on race day.
Germany’s problem is that new venues are queuing up for a slot on the calendar, some willing to pay far bigger hosting fees.
Zandvoort will host a Dutch Grand Prix next year, back for the first time since 1985 to tap into local hero Verstappen’s popularity, while a contract has been signed for a street race in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, whose team celebrated 125 years of motorsport involvement at the weekend, said the German marque was not in a position to sponsor the race every year.
“I think (commercial rights holders) Liberty Media has a great problem in having more demand than supply which is good and also good for the teams as fundamentally we share a large part of the prize fund,” he said.
“We will encourage them to look at the German Grand Prix but it is (Formula One chief executive) Chase (Carey’s) call to decide where we go.”
Big Question: Does F1 need a Grand Prix in Germany?
Toto Wolff insists Mercedes cannot blame any distractions for its disappointing result at the German Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton started from pole position and Valtteri Bottas from third, with the pair running one-two for the first part of the race. However, Hamilton went off on slick tires on a damp track and later spun to drop to 11th at the flag, before being promoted back up to ninth due to penalties for both Alfa Romeo cars. Bottas crashed out of fourth place late on, on a weekend where Mercedes was being followed by Netflix cameras for the first time and also marked 125 years of motorsport with a special livery and team outfits.
“Then we made the wrong call with the tires. The tires were not ready, which can happen if you crash right on the entry of pit lane, but nevertheless we lost a lot of time with the wrong tire call there. From then on we were on the back foot with Lewis all of the time.
“It is not embarrassing, it is motor racing and sometimes you’ve got to take a slap on the nose, on the chin as you say, and learn. These are the days which make us better. We’ve got to think about what went wrong, and then if things come together, like Valtteri crashing out at the end which was not great, this ends in an Armageddon weekend for us.
“We were celebrating 125 years here, with all the board here and all the Netflix guys here, that played no role at all. It probably gave them more content than any other weekend. We’ve got to stick our heads together and learn.”
Wolff had earlier told Sky television that the result “shows you shouldn’t fool around with stuff”, and while he notes Mercedes will look at every aspect of its race weekend, he said it is important to remember how successful his team has been this season.
“I do believe in karma, and when you want to do particularly well things can go wrong,” he said. “Maybe you get distracted, and maybe you are doing things differently to how you would normally do. I don’t know. At the end we will learn and summarize it rationally.
“Right now all the wrong things, all the calls that we missed and all the things we shouldn’t have done, we see [those] and we will progress as a team. We have a few days to come back, regroup and come back stronger at Budapest, hopefully with a strong result. We are still leading the championship and in a good position, which must not be forgotten.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insists Lewis Hamilton should be admired for surmounting a bout of illness in Hockenheim and racing when others would have thrown in the towel.
Hamilton felt under the weather from the outset in Germany, with signs of the flu even inciting Mercedes to ask reserve driver Esteban Ocon to prepare himself to substitute for the reigning world champion on Saturday.
However, Hamilton reported for duty, took part in FP1 and duly secured pole in the afternoon shootout.
Charles Leclerc says his own mistake should be the main focus of his crash in the German Grand Prix, after he criticized the track run-off at Hockenheim.
The Ferrari driver was up to second place after an early change for slick tires when he ran wide at the penultimate corner and slid into the barrier. The incident was one of many on the outside of that turn, where a drag strip offered very little grip in the wet conditions and resulted in numerous drivers who slid off either retiring or losing significant time.
Immediately after the incident, Leclerc described the surface as “unacceptable” for a Formula 1 circuit.
“I need to understand what happened, but to be honest, looking at what happened with the mistake, it was tricky conditions and you very often lose the car in these conditions.
“I am not convinced about the tarmac in that area of the last two corners. This is in no way an excuse of my mistakes and I take the full responsibility, but we are in Formula 1 and this type of tarmac is just unacceptable.
“It was tricky, but again, it wasn’t like I was going stupidly quick out of the track. It was a small snap and I had to try to get it back, but I couldn’t when I arrived on the track surface.”
After seeing initial headlines, Leclerc says his comments were not intended to take any of the blame away from his initial error.
“I don’t think I will comment any more,” he said. “I said I didn’t want any headlines that I was blaming the track for mistake, but the first things I see on social media – ‘Leclerc is blaming off for slippery track’ – it’s not the message I wanted to give.
“It was very slippery off-track, but the mistake… I did it myself. I’m very sorry for the team and the people supporting us this weekend. It’s a shame as it was a great opportunity.
“I was aware, because obviously it was shown on TV, at one point I had a big drifting moment, and fortunately for me I could catch it back. I knew it was very poor grip, but I was surprised by how much water there was on entry. Obviously on inters I could not feel it so much; on the dry tires I felt it a lot more, but then I was even more surprised when I went on the off-track just by the lack of grip. I expected poor grip, but not as poor as this.”
One of Renault’s truck drivers has been taken to hospital following a crash on his way to the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest.
Images on social media showed a Renault team truck had crashed through the central reservation on a motorway and ended up in a ditch on the opposite side of the carriageway. The team then confirmed that the incident had occurred on the M1 motorway near Gyor – around 75 miles from Budapest – on the way to the Hungaroring from Hockenheim.
F1 is in the middle of back-to-back races in Germany and Hungary, a double-header that has been carried out on numerous previous seasons. The Hungarian Grand Prix is the final round before a mandatory two-week factory shutdown, with the following race in Belgium not taking place until September 1.
Both Renault cars failed to finish Sunday’s German Grand Prix, with Nico Hulkenberg crashing out of fourth place after Daniel Ricciardo retired early on with an exhaust failure.
Despite securing his second win of the season in Hockenheim, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen downplayed his championship chances, insisting Mercedes remained “miles ahead”.
In a race marked by changing conditions and multiple Safety Car periods, strategy and skill played a crucial role in surviving the German Grand Prix’s chaos.
But Red Bull and Verstappen worked together to pull off a well-deserved win that consolidated the Dutchman’s third place in the drivers’ standings while also bringing him within 22 points of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.
However, the 63-point spread between Hamilton and Verstappen keeps the reigning world champion comfortably ahead, a gap the Red Bull charger feels he’ll be challenged to fill given Mercedes’ supremacy.
“They are so miles ahead in the championship, it [the 63-point lead] is more than two victories, and they are still the dominant team, I think,” said Verstappen.
“We managed to do a good job but we still have to work very hard to close that gap and actually really fight for the victory every single race, so there’s still a lot of work to do.”
After a post-race inspection to verify the drivers’ claims, Masi said the run-off area provided absolutely normal levels of grip.
“The drag strip looks fine,” said Masi, quoted by motorsport.com.
“We inspected it the other day and had a look again post-race with the water on it. It is fine.
“Even Sebastian [Vettel] is quoted as saying that it is normally one of the grippiest parts of the track and it is no different to any of the other painted run-off, to be quite honest.
“I think it was one of those ones where if you put water on painted run-off then, as much as you can do anything to make sure it is anti-slip paint, it is still more slippery than unpainted tarmac.”
Regarding run-off areas, Masi underscored the drivers’ general view that wandering off the track should entail consequences.
“It punishes them for making mistakes and it was a similar way here,” added F1’s race director.
“We saw the other implementation we had to do regarding Turn 1 with the track limits side.
“You are balancing it to a degree, but credit where it is due, all 20 drivers have been very consistent in their views that if they run off track there should be a consequence from doing it.
“Maybe straight after a race they may have a different view about the way it has affected them but sitting down individually with them and as a group that has been consistent in their view and that hasn’t changed.”
Formula 1 World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton is planning to get plenty of rest over the next few days as he seeks to shake off the sickness that laid him low in Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver, who has little time to recover before the next race in Hungary this weekend, left no doubt that Hockenheim had been an ordeal.
“Never felt this sick and this has been the hardest race weekend of my life,” the Briton said in a social media post after a chaotic grand prix.
“I’ve cancelled everything I have for the next few days so I’m going home probably just to sleep the next few days and try and get over this bug,” the jet-setting champion told reporters on Sunday evening.
Hamilton had complained of a sore throat on Saturday, revealing after taking pole position that Mercedes had put French reserve Esteban Ocon on standby in case the five-times champion felt too unwell to drive.
While he led the early stages of a mentally-taxing rain-hit race, his afternoon unravelled with a smashed front wing, a penalty for a pit-lane offence and a wild spin.
He took the chequered flag in 11th place, which stood as his worst finish since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, until penalties for Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi moved him up two places.
“It was probably the worst day I’ve had in the office for a long, long time,” he said of a race won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who will also be a strong contender for victory in Hungary.
“Things are going to be thrown at you on days like this, but it felt like one domino after another, like snakes and ladders, and I kept hitting the snakes today.”
Hamilton said his condition was “not really improving massively” but hoped he would be back to as close to full fitness as possible for Budapest, the last race before the August break.
Hamilton leads teammate Valtteri Bottas, who failed to finish on Sunday, by 41 points after winning seven of 11 races so far.
Hamilton, who has a diverse range of interests outside Formula One including music and fashion, has often been criticised for his globe-trotting lifestyle but has never allowed that to get in the way of his on-track performance.
Two titles and 11 wins shy of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record tally, the Briton’s error-riddled display on Sunday was uncharacteristic for a driver considered one of the sport’s all-time greats.
“I’m only human,” said Hamilton. “It was a mistake and mistakes happen.”
His team boss Toto Wolff said it was only to be expected that Hamilton would not be on top of his game in the circumstances, “Many of us wouldn’t have considered being in a race car but he did.
“He did feel better today but you can’t be physically in your best game when you’ve been ill for a few days,” explained the Mercedes team chief.
Big Question: Should sick or unfit or ill drivers be allowed to race in F1?
A Renault transporter heading to Budapest for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix was photographed having crashed on a highway with the driver reportedly admitted to hospital in the Gyor region of the country.
Reports describe firefighters and a rescue helicopter at the scene with the driver initially trapped in the cabin.
He has since been transported to hospital in Hungary for further checks, the Enstone team stating that he is conscious and had been driving within the speed limit.
No other vehicles were involved but the exact cause of the accident and the cargo being transported by the vehicle were not known at time of writing.
Renault confirmed “that a Team truck was in an accident on the M1 in Hungary, near Gyor. The driver, who was driving within the respected regulations, is conscious and has not suffered serious injury. He’s been transported to hospital for further checks. No other vehicles were involved.”
A day after enduring a dismal race in Hockenheim, the Renault F1 team suffered another setback on Monday morning when one of its transporters crashed on its way to the Hungaroring.
According to report, the accident occurred on the motorway near Gyor, or about 120km from Budapest. Pictures show the team truck, which had left Hockenheim on Sunday evening, T-boned into the crash barrier.
Renault stated on Twitter that its truck driver had not suffered any serious injuries.
Honda’s second win of the season in Germany – delivered once again by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – was an opportunity for the Japanese manufacturer to take a dig at good old Fernando Alonso.
Upon its return to F1 with McLaren in 2015, such was Honda’s poor performance that Alonso labeled the beleaguered unit a “GP2 engine”, and he did it over the team’s radio at the manufacturer’s home race in Japan.
That gibe obviously wasn’t forgotten by Honda on Sunday afternoon, its Twitter account posting a message that mocked the Spaniard’s past put-downs.
But Sunday’s race also saw a second Honda-powered driver on the podium, with Toro Rosso’s Dany Kvyat joining the party.
And it was the first double podium for Honda since 1992, when McLaren’s Gerhard Berger and Ayrton Senna finished second and third in Portugal.
“An absolutely fantastic result, securing our second win of the year with Max Verstappen, but this time extra special, with Daniil Kvyat making it two Honda drivers on the podium,” said Honda F1 boss Toyoharu Tanabe
“It was a very difficult race, because of the changing conditions between wet and dry and the result is down to the excellent drives from both drivers, spot on strategies from the two teams and great work from both pit crews. Honda really appreciates their efforts.
“After winning with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing already in Austria, it is particularly pleasing to see Red Bull Scuderia Toro Rosso on the podium, as they helped us get back on the right road to success last year.
“We will briefly celebrate on this special day, but immediately focus on next week’s race in Hungary.”
A race that more than lived up to expectations, the 2019 German Grand Prix will be one that lives long in the memory of F1 fans.
It’s with good reason everyone get’s excited at the prospect of a wet race in F1. There’s always a bit of extra excitement when the heavens open, and yet, no one could’ve expected that much.
In the myriad spins, crashes and safety cars, the 2019 German GP might’ve been the most chaotic race we’ve seen this decade – and certainly of the V6 turbo era. Sure, the rain usually provides a few mishaps, or a chance for a team to roll the dice on tyre choice, but rarely does it give us races like Sunday’s.
Aside from Max Verstappen, who was the only front-runner to keep his head in a well-deserved second win of the season, approximately seven other drivers – Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Charles Leclerc, Daniil Kvyat, Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel – staked a claim to the podium at one time or another, the fact that Vettel (from last) and Kvyat (from 14th) were the ones who actually did was a fittingly wacky end to such a wacky story.
Even if this race has ends up having no real effect on the championship – and odds are it won’t – this might be the most important race of the 2019 season. Like Canada 2011 or Europe ’07, it is a race that captures the sport at its most dramatic, and it is such drama that could be for many, the gateway drug to a lifetime of F1 fandom.
Obviously a fantastic day for Daniil Kvyat, but perhaps an even better day for Toro Rosso’s strategy department. They absolutely nailed the decision to keep him on his second set of inters when most everyone was going for their third, and four laps later swapped him for softs – a lap ahead of the rest of the front-runners – which carried him to the end of the race. Ferrari should hire the lot of them.
Its official: miracles do happen – Williams have a 2019 championship point! Congrats to Robert Kubica, who now hold the record at eight year, eight months and fourteen days between points finishes, although you do have to feel a little sorry for George Russell, who has been the superior driver all season.
An uncharacteristically poor day for Lewis Hamilton, but he was clearly under the weather. He mentioned in his post-race presser he was dealing with a “bug”, and certainly looked like it had taken a lot out of him.
Driver of the Day: Sebastian Vettel
Came from last on the grid to second at the flag, delivering the sort of composed drive we used to know him for.
Worst of the Day: Valtteri Bottas
Obviously not the only one to crash, but definitely the one who could least afford it. He had a significant opportunity to gain some points on Lewis Hamilton, instead, he blew it.
Quote of the Day:
“Could you describe the conditions around the track please?”
“Uh, fucking wet? Can’t see a thing. Very wet” – Lando Norris, providing valuable insight to his engineer.
The contact was light enough for both cars to remain on course, but Steiner was unimpressed and pondered the prospect of imposing team orders in the future to put an end to the incessant on-track encounters between his drivers.
“I need to think about it but there is not many options. At some stage something needs to be done,” a calm but visibly fed-up Steiner told Sky F1.
“I normally try to avoid it, [team orders], as you know I like racing, I think that’s what we should be doing.
“But if it works always against us I can’t keep it happening. Today we are lucky that nothing [happened], they both were there, but it could happen again. The result looks better than it is.”
As far as Magnussen was concerned, there was no doubt as to who was responsible for the Turn 6 mêlée.
“We’ve been told very clearly that we can’t touch each other, and I see no reason why we had to touch each other,” said the Dane.
“It’s very clear I was on the inside, it’s not like I was diving on the inside, and then he chooses to turn into me. I don’t know what he was doing.”
Grosjean was reluctant to offer his side of the story when questioned on the incident immediately after the race, although he later alleged that he had an edge over his teammate.
“I won’t comment on that one. We got lucky,” initially said the Frenchman.
“I guess we are going again to Gunther’s office. But on that one I think I was ahead, and it’s a bit of a shame.”
Steiner had no intention of taking up the matter with his drivers after the race but promised he would address the issue before next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“I didn’t see it properly, I want to look at it properly and calm down about it and then I need to see what I am going to do,” said the Italian.
Red Bull has ruled out replacing Pierre Gasly with on-form former team driver Daniil Kvyat before the end of this season, despite the fact that at Sunday’s German Grand Prix the Russian scored junior team Toro Rosso’s first podium finish since Sebastian Vettel won at Monza in 2008.
“It was a horror movie with a black comedy,” replied Kvyat with a huge grin when he was asked about the sensational wet race at Hockenheim.
“At some point I thought the race was done for me, but then it came alive again, it was an incredible rollercoaster. A bit like my whole career,” he added with a laughed.
It has also been a rollercoaster last 24 hours for Kvyat, with his girlfriend Kelly Piquet giving birth to their first daughter late on Saturday.
Now, the 25-year-old is on top of the world, despite the lows of almost seeing his F1 career end altogether when he was ousted by Red Bull in late 2017.
“It was an incredible few years in my life,” said Kvyat. “It was sometimes tough times and I thought maybe Formula 1 was over for me, and especially the podium.
“I thought I would never have that again, but life just proves that if you work hard and never give up, things are possible.”
One of those possible ‘things’ is that Kvyat could return to Red Bull’s senior team, particularly as Pierre Gasly has struggled for much of 2019 and was humbled by both Toro Rosso drivers during the race, and of course the Frenchman absolutely no match for race winner on the day, his teammate Max Verstappen.
Kvyat has returned to the top flight a matured man and his undeniable talent again allowed to surface and Hockenheim was a loud and clear message to all, “It was hard work to reach this moment and hopefully I can send the message out there that I’m ready now to fight for this kind of moment on a consistent basis.”
However, Helmut Marko – Red Bull’s ruthless driver manager – is ruling out changing the driver lineups at Toro Rosso or Red Bull at least for the rest of 2019, “We have the teams that we have and we will finish the season that way.”
Ironically Marko said similar things about Kvyat before he surprised the paddock and demoted him from Red Bull to Toro Rosso and promoted Verstappen in his place back in 2016.
Big Question: Should Red Bull give Daniil another crack at the big team? If so when?
Nico Rosberg has described Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto’s latest comments about Sebastian Vettel as “brutal” hinting at cracks forming in the relationship between the two top men at Maranello.
Earlier at Hockenheim, Binotto was asked about Vettel’s career slump at Ferrari and he told RTL, “How can we help him? By being open and honest with him. By making it clear — we expect more from him. By telling him he was not as good as he could be.”
“At the moment I would even say that Vettel is maybe overdriving the car, because he wants to compensate for the lack of performance,” Binotto added.
Nico Rosberg, the 2016 world champion, expressed surprise at Binotto’s comments, “I see the situation simply. The handling of the Ferrari, particularly with the rear of the car, suits Leclerc better than Vettel.
“Ferrari is currently unable to give him a car in which he feels comfortable,” the former Mercedes driver said. “The six drivers in the top three teams are all under extreme pressure. I know because I’ve been in the same situation.”
“But I have to wonder a little bit about Ferrari and how frankly they express themselves. Even Mattia Binotto is criticising Vettel’s driving style in public and saying he overdrives the car. That’s pretty brutal,” Rosberg ventured.
Big Question: Are Seb and Mattia heading for a showdown?
German Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen has played down his chances of fighting for the 2019 Formula 1 title in the remaining half of the season, pointing out that Mercedes are still dominant despite their setback on Sunday.
However, the Dutchman and Red Bull-Honda are clearly on the ascendance, having won two of the last three grands prix, including Sunday’s sensational wet race at Hockenheim.
2019 had looked to be turning into a Lewis Hamilton whitewash, but Verstappen’s successes of the last month means the gap to the championship lead is 63 points with the whole second half of the long season still to run.
When asked about his title chances and beating Mercedes regularly Verstappen answered, “I don’t know. They’re so miles ahead in the championship. If [the gap] is more than two victories, and they are still the dominant team, I think. Today was just very tricky out there and yeah, it was not their day.”
But the Verstappen camp is not ruling the title out altogether as the 21-year-old’s manager, Raymond Vermeulen, thinks it is not just wet weather or Mercedes’ mistakes that are powering Red Bull’s progress.
“We still have to take a small step,” he told the Dutch publication Formule 1. “But if you look at Silverstone, we could have finished second and had pole position so I think we are really much closer.
“You could see that even at Mercedes there can be panic with the pitstops, but for us everything was perfect, so compliments to the team,” said Vermeulen.
It was only a month ago that the Verstappen camp was hinting about leaving Red Bull, with the existence of a performance clause in his 2020 contract revealed. But any talk of Verstappen’s Red Bull exit has now gone quiet.
“You know what it is,” Vermeulen said. “This business is synonymous with performance, so everyone has performance clauses. Everyone wants to be at the highest level. We always said ‘We are very happy here but we want to win’. Well, we are winning now.”
And so, with 10 races still to go, a sensational world championship win for Verstappen and Red Bull-Honda cannot be discounted.
“We know what is still in the pipeline at Red Bull and what is in the pipeline at Honda, so we are approaching the second half with a great deal of confidence. I really think we will have a very strong second half,” added Vermeulen.
Big Question: Can Max still challenge for the title this year?
As the team’s driver crisis continues, Haas boss Gunther Steiner insists “something has to change” within his team after the latest episode in the shenanigans of the team’s drivers.
After Silverstone, where Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen collided for the third time in 2019, Steiner’s fury prompted rumours that Grosjean could be axed. Then, during the sensational wet German Grand Prix, they collided again.
“Something has to change,” a resigned Steiner told Formule 1 after the race at Hockenheim. “I don’t know what else to say.”
He said he didn’t want to comment too much immediately after the race because the replays of the incident had not been fully analysed but insisted, “They cannot keep bumping into each other every weekend. We have to see with the team what steps we are going to take because this can’t keep happening.”
After Sunday’s clash, Grosjean – reportedly the most endangered of the driver duo – said of the latest incident: “No comments. Let’s see what happens now.”
But on Danish television TV3 Magnussen clearly blamed his teammate for the coming-together: “We were not told that we cannot race each other, but we were told very clearly that we must not hit each other.”
“I think I drove very consistently and predictably, but still Romain turned into me. I didn’t do anything wrong — it was up to him to avoid that situation.
“I respect him as a driver and in all other areas, we work well together as teammates. But these episodes must be avoided. We only hit our wheels together so nothing happened, but it’s still just unnecessary,” added the Dane.
Big Question: What does Guenther have to do to resolve the situation with his wayward drivers?
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg says that crashing out of the German Grand Prix and squandering a chance of a podium finish – the first in his 167-race career – was “a tough one to take”.
A flawless performance coupled with timely pit stops by his team had put Hulkenberg in contention for a spot on the podium in his home race.
But with 25 laps to go, the German went off at Hockenheim’s treacherous Turn 16, a spot which also caught out Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton during Sunday’s chaotic race. But that was no consolation for the Hulk.
“It’s a tough one to take,” admitted the Renault driver when all was said and done.
“I’m upset for myself, the team and for Renault because they deserved an excellent result today.
Alex Albon completed his first wet F1 race an impressive and career best sixth, but the Toro Rosso driver admitted that when it came to timing his pit stops in Sunday’s chaotic German GP, his inexperience left him lost at sea.
After switching from wet tyres to intermediates after just handful of laps, like the majority of the field, Albon progressively found his footing in the semi-dry conditions, moving swiftly into the top-ten and all the way up in to fourth by the time the race had reached its halfway point.
Just outside the top-3 was where the remarkable Toro Rosso appeared to remain until a Safety Car intervention prompted Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and teammate Daniil Kvyat to make an early and well-timed switch to the dry tyre.
Albon could not hold his two midfield rivals behind after the restart but the 23-year-old also believes he lost time while sparring with Lewis Hamilton during the commotion.
“I’m really happy with myself, I’m happy with the team,” he enthused. “I think the team did an unbelievable job. Every strategy call we did was the right one on both cars.
“We were running in the top five and I thought this really is our pace. We weren’t losing out to the guys in front and the guys behind were dropping back so I was really, really happy with how it was going. And I thought three-quarters through the race as long as we just finish where we are we’re sorted.
“Unfortunately, there was a restart. I got caught with Lewis, the last person I expected!
“I didn’t want to overtake him but I was kind of forced in a position that I had to try it. And we lost a bit of ground and of course the guys on the slick tyres undercut us quite severely.
“But to be honest it’s a weird feeling. It’s a slightly disappointing sixth position.”
Transcript from the parc ferme interviews and top three press conference after the German Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Hockenheim.
Featuring race winner Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing), second-placed Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and third-placed Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)
Track interviews conducted by Martin Brundle
Tell us about the race…. Max Verstappen: I had a little moment, but I made a nice 360, so that was nice. I enjoyed that. Of courser to come out on top here it was all about trying not to make too many mistakes. Yeah, really tricky conditions but amazing to win.
Q: It’s a day for a wise head. You’re such a young man but you still you’re wise head on young shoulders. You really kept your head in the most treacherous conditions when others didn’t. MV: Well you learn, isn’t it, over the years. Of course very happy with the whole performance today.
Q: Congratulations. Sebastian, well done, you must be so pleased with that, 20th to second. Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, thank you. It was a long race, at some stages it felt like it was never-ending. But it was a lot of fun. It was very tough with the conditions. It was very tough to read what was the smartest move, but yeah, I’m just happy.
Q: Did we hear that you had a little turbo problem early on? You seemed to be struggling for pace and then it really came good. SV: It took a while. I don’t think there was a problem but in the beginning with the intermediates I really couldn’t get the hang of it. Eventually then I got going so it was good that the afternoon took so long. Obviously I stayed tidy for most of the race but yeah, it was a long one. I don’t know if I can recap the whole race now but congratulations to Max, I think he drove superbly, but for us it was just go and get the next car and the next car and the next car.
Q: When did you first smell a podium? SV: I think before the last safety car, when I realised that I was quite a bit quicker and happy to pass people, it was quite straightforward. I was a little bit faster and could time it right. I saw a lot of people being cautious into the first corner and that’s where I was really giving it everything and it worked to get really into DRS range and I had good moves down the back straight but I don’t know, this race was so long…
Q: You need to watch your back. SV: Yeah, exactly.
Q: OK, thanks a lot, Sebastian. Daniil, well done, a podium. Not your first podium but a very enjoyable podium for you. Daniil Kvyat: Yes, it is amazing to be back on the podium. Incredible for Toro Rosso after so many years to bring as podium to the team is amazing and the race was crazy. Finally I managed to put everything together to get this podium and I’m really happy.
Q: Any big moments? Any scary things going on out there? DK: It was a horror movie with a black comedy. At some point I thought the race was done for me, but then it came alive again, it was an incredible rollercoaster. A bit like my whole career!
Q: And you’re expecting your first child soon as well. DK: Yeah, she was born last night…
Q: Oh, fantastic, congratulations. DK: Thank you very much.
Q: Many congratulations Max, what a bonkers race. How does it feel? How does it compare to the other six wins? MV: Are you going to keep asking me that question: ‘how does it feel compared to the other ones’? I don’t know. It’s always different. It’s always a different feeling, but this was really good, because it was very tricky out there. We had to stay very focused; we couldn’t afford too many mistakes. I mean now, after the race, I can say I did that 360 for the crowd, but at the time it was a bit tricky out there with the medium tyre, very low grip. I think the information between myself and the team was crucial today. I think we made the right calls and that gave us the victory also. Once I was ahead of the Mercedes cars you could really see the pace we had, because I was stuck in the dirty air in the4 first few laps behind Valtteri but once you are ahead you can basically save your tyres a bit more and everything was a bit more under control. But yeah, good victory.
Q: Great victory. Congratulations. Sebastian, your 50th podium for Ferrari. It’s been a bit of an emotional weekend for you if you think what happened yesterday and you’ve charged through from the back today. Just describe how it feels? SV: Well, obviously after the disappointing day yesterday, where everything was ready: the crowd was ready; I was ready, the team was ready. Obviously we didn’t have qualifying, so starting last today I was very excited about the race in these conditions. Anything can happen. Obviously the racer turned out a lot crazier than I thought beforehand but yeah I’m very happy obviously. I’m very happy for the team first of all. It’s a tough period for us. We are pushing very hard, we are doing mistakes, we are not where we want to be, but we need to keep believing in ourselves, in our abilities, our strengths, and I’m confident that our days will come. Obviously today very happy for myself, at my home race and it was great to see the crowd, especially at the end, every time I passed in the car they were really excited. I really did enjoy that. A crazy race, a lot of decisions to make, a lot of communications between the car and the pit wall, but I think we stayed calm and tried to do the best at the time. Most of the time we were right, sometimes we were wrong but we kept it clean and I think that was the key and in the end I really started to come alive in these mixed conditions on dry tyres, we were quite comfortable and able to make good progress, because I think two safety cars to the end I was still not even in the top 10 and I was thinking ‘what happened?’ But it was a day like that and a race like that, so I’m quite happy.
Q: Well done. Dany, what a huge race for you. The birth of your daughter last night and what a way to celebrate that. At what point in the race did you realise the podium was on? DK: Yes, thank you. It was an incredible race for myself, a lot of things going on. I guess it was the same for everyone. The beginning of the race was so-so, I think, I was always around the top 10 and I thought some points were possible today. The first when I chose to go on slicks, it was the wrong moment. The second time I think it was the perfect moment and when I saw that others didn’t pit for slicks when I did i thought that’s our moment and I was right and I exited in P3. I had to overtook Stroll forP2 and then from there I just had to hope that quicker cars would take time to catch me at the end of the race. So yeah, I’m very happy with this podium. It’s fantastic also for the team – 11 years since the last podium, which Sebastian did in 2008. I think everyone is very happy today and we have to be happy. From my side of course I would dedicate this podium to my girlfriend Kelly and to my daughter.
Questions from the Floor
Q: (Luke Smith – crash.net) Dany, your career’s been on a bit of a rollercoaster over the past couple of years. To now have this result and this breakthrough, how good does that feel over everything that’s happened the last couple of years, and repaying that faith Toro Rosso have shown in you. DK: Yes, you’re right. It was an incredible few years in my life. A lot of realisations in my life because it was sometimes tough times and I thought maybe Formula 1 was over for me, and maybe I thought, especially podium, I would never ever have it again, but life just proves that if you work hard and never give up, things are possible. I think that’s exactly what happened today. Even the race was tough for everyone, I managed to keep it cool and just… all these three difficult years, just felt like they crashed from my shoulders finally. I lost these chains today. It was hard work to reach this moment and hopefully I can send the message out there that I’m ready now to fight for this kind of moment on a consistent basis – and there is no stronger message than a podium like this.
Q: (Arjan Schouten – AD Sportswereld) Question for Max. Big drivers, big champs crashed today. Christian Horner just told Sky that under these chaotic, difficult circumstances, you always stand out, don’t lose your head. Can you explain why you are always so talented under these circumstances? MV: A lot of practice I think, from when I was young, in the wet. Working many hours together with my Dad who, I think, was also pretty decent in the wet. So he always gave me good tips. And not only driving in the wet. It’s also making decisions as well, while driving, and paying attention to what’s happening around you. And, of course, experience. In life, in Formula 1. I think if you do over 90 races, you have experienced a lot already and, based on that, of course, you can also make better decisions, I think.
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – motorsport-total.com) To all three guys. I guess this is a special result for each and every one of you – but it’s probably even more special for Dr Marko because, at some point in your careers, you went through his hands. Can you probably remember a couple of stories with him? Tell us what he meant for your careers and sort of give us some thoughts on that. Sebastian, why don’t we start with you? SV: He’s calling on a regular basis. Not any more for me so regular. I don’t miss the early calls at 7am! “How are you?” MV: “I’m in the gym!” DK: “Running!” SV: It probably pops up on your phone as a pre-select message: ‘I’m in the gym’. No, I mean, obviously he has a great talent for spotting young drivers early on and certainly he’s very tough and very straightforward – but I think you can learn to cope with that. I’m very grateful for the support that I had throughout my career from his side. I think it’s the same for these two. Yeah. I have too many memories; too many stories. Some to share, some not to share, better not to share. He’s always been very funny and we still keep in contact and I appreciate him now as a friend very much.
Max, Dr Marko? MV: Yeah, of course, we are dealing with Helmut every day still, so for me, of course he took the gamble of putting me in Toro Rosso when I was still very young. I’m still young – but back then I was very young. SV: You’re not very young any more… MV: Getting old? SV: Older. MV: Older, yeah… DK: You look quite old… MV: Already? I should retire in five years than I think. I look older than you? DK: I don’t know. SV: I look older than you two. MV: It’s fine. OK, so back to this story. Helmut is a real racer and he has a good eye of what’s happening still, at his age. So, it is quite impressive still, to see that. But it’s also no nonsense. If you make a mistake, you make a mistake. If you do a good job, you do a good job. I think he prefers when you come up to him and tell him honestly if you made a mistake, or like something went wrong, than make a whole story – because that’s what he doesn’t appreciate. Basically I grew up like that because my Dad was the same – or maybe even worse than that. So… yeah. It’s good to have people like that in the team, of course, and in charge as well. For me, he is still very important and yes, of course it’s great to have him around and experienced a lot of stories with him still – and hopefully many more to come.
Dany? DK: Helmet yeah, so many rollercoasters he organised for me in my career! Maybe more than them. Yeah, a special person in my life, of course our lives now, I guess. And, well, thanks to him very big time we are who we are and the personal improvement, the professional improvement I made thanks to him is huge – and obviously I appreciate what he’s done for me. And I’m here thanks to him. Obviously stories, like Sebastian said, many to share/not to share. I think the most relevant today, it was raining I think once, again 7am, at a test and I was maybe three or four seconds off in my first wet test in Formula BMW at the time and he said: “So, you’re quite useless in the wet,” and just hung up on me. MV: You’re imitating him really well! DK: Lot of practice! Lot of hearing. So yeah, there was that – and many others. He is always tough on you but he’s always – most of the time – he’s right. And maybe at first it’s hard to take but then you analyse and you improve, simple as that. He always give you the opportunity if you deserve it and I’m very thankful for him. MV: You still picking up the phone at seven? DK: Yeah! I started to wake up at seven every day now, thanks to him. MV: I just turn my phone off, pick up after nine… better. Anyway now, you have to wake up at like… well, you wake up every three hours, go to bed, wake up… DK: Well, now that you’re doing so well, you can even sleep until mid-day.
Q: (Joe van Burik – Racing News 365) Many congrats to all three, especially to Dany with being a father now. Question to Seb and Max though: you’ve shown today that Mercedes can be vulnerable, in their home race in fact. Do you think this has in any way blown open the championship fight again? MV: I don’t know, they are so miles ahead in the championship. Q: You’re 62 points behind. MV: Yeah, still quite a lot, isn’t it? It’s more than two victories, and they are still the dominant team, I think. Today was just very tricky out there and it’s easy to make a mistake, as you could see. Yeah, today was not their day. We managed to do a good job but we still have to work very hard to close that gap and actually really fight for the victory every single race so still a lot of work to do. But of course when you can, it’s good to score more points than them. SV: Not much to add. We still have a lot of races to go, a lot of things can happen but it’s not like we can expect them to score no points for the rest of the season so pretty much the opposite – they will be up there. We need to make sure we improve and give them a much harder time and naturally if you put people under pressure then things start to move. So it’s up to both of us, I guess, or us as Ferrari and them as Red Bull.
Q: (Daniele Sparisci – Corriera della Sera) Seb, do you consider this second place almost as a victory from what happened yesterday, from what happened today? You did a fantastic job, congratulations. SV: Well, I know that Max finished first so it’s not a victory but starting last, I think, with the race that we had, I think we can certainly be very happy recovering and I think it was a very tough race, easy to lose focus or momentum but we kept it throughout. I’m very happy, especially also racing here. I hope that we don’t lose this race. I think not only for me and Nico as German drivers, I think for the German crowd that we saw today and yesterday is very passionate, a lot of people turning up. It was sold out today despite the weather. I think we had a great race and it would be a shame to lose it. Obviously I’m not quite sure what’s in the future, whether there’s a chance to keep it but certainly when it comes to passion and effort that people put into this race it’s pretty high up, so I hope that it’s not… People make some decisions on common sense and not based on how much the wallet is opening. I think we have Grands Prix that we just mustn’t lose such as Monza, such as the race at Silverstone in the UK. I think Germany and Spain have a long history of racing so it would be a shame to lose those and instead go to a place where they pay millions for the race to turn up but nobody is sitting in the grandstand. For us it’s dull, as drivers so I think we rather enjoy here, close to the Netherlands with a lot of Dutch people coming… MV: It was a bit tricky today because it was orange against red, you know those colours don’t really match. SV: Well, they’re similar. I was taking the orange as well on my side. MV: When they were going up, right? SV: No, but I think it’s great to see. Obviously for the Germans and the Dutch in particular it will be difficult to go to… I don’t know… overseas. Anyway, to come back to your question, it’s certainly a tough time for us as Ferrari with days like yesterday because it shows that we have things that we need to sort out, we have things that we need to do better but I think in this period it’s very important that we keep the morale, we keep supporting the team. From the inside that is happening, from the outside I hope it’s happening as well. I know the tifosi are behind us but sometimes the headlines can shift in either way so it’s important that we keep the support because I think things are moving, we are pushing very very hard and when it comes to passion I think we put a lot of effort and a lot of hours in; the people are very determined. I’m as impatient as everyone else to get the results finally but it will take a little while. We know what we can improve and that’s where we are working on but in the meantime I hope that people are a bit patient and give us that freedom in that time. But yeah, so in that regard it feels like a small victory today.
Q: (Lennart Bloemhof – Volksrand) It was pretty spectacular over there all day, where does this race rank in your top five of craziest races? DK: I think it was clear enough how crazy it was. I think it was the first wet race in a while – and especially this year, so new tyres for everyone, no one knew how to use them very well at the beginning. The spray in the beginning was very high, then the track started drying, then it was on the borderline with slicks and it was very important not to make any mistakes. It was very easy to lock up the wheels under braking or just go a bit wide in some corners and I think today was just about avoiding those costly mistakes and making the right calls at the right time, so it was all about that but the race, I think, must have been quite spectacular to watch from outside. Lucky you. MV: Yeah, bit like Brazil 2016 was also quite crazy, all the time switching between extremes and intermediates. Of course we didn’t really get to try slicks, I think. Maybe some tried, I’m not sure but maybe not SV: Not in Brazil, no. MV: I don’t think so. So it’s maybe a little bit different to here but it’s definitely been one of the most challenging ones. SV: Well I’ve had a lot of races, also a lot of great crazy races but it was certainly among the craziest for a while. Max mentioned 2016 in Brazil. Always when the weather is really funny and you have all sorts of conditions it’s very challenging. Today we had between three and five stops for everyone or some even more. Obviously I had a crazy race in 2012 in Brazil as well, Korea 2010. MV: Malaysia in 2009? Q: Red flag after 36 laps wasn’t it? SV: I had stopped a bit earlier than that, actually! I was out before, I spun out so it wasn’t that crazy. As I said, it’s mostly when the weather is up and down and you have to make those decisions. It’s very tough, you are on the fine edge but it’s also very exciting because you know you can make the difference very quickly. Sometimes you have laps and laps and laps and you’re fighting for half a second that you can make up and other times in these conditions you can gain or lose five seconds and five places.
Q: (Christian Nimmervoll – Motorsport-total.com) Seb, a couple of drivers lost it in the stadium section today: Lewis, Nico, Charles as well. Does it make you feel any better one year after that the world kind of sees how quickly that can happen in conditions like this? SV: Not really, no. I think that the answer is no. To protect them, I think they know what they’re doing and mistakes happen so I don’t think you should give them a hard time. It was very very tricky out there. I think we all had small mistakes here and there. Obviously some had a bit bigger ones in the wrong places but that’s part of racing so obviously nowadays a lot of people tend to judge everything very quickly but I think as much as they, I am not listening to all of those people. It happens in these conditions, it’s part of racing, as I said.
Where to start!? The German Grand Prix of 2019 might be the last for some years, but it will definitely go down as one of the most exciting races ever witnessed at the venue – perhaps in Formula 1 history – as Max Verstappen triumphed in crazy conditions that took its toll on the best of the best.
The Dutchman emerged from an incident-packed thriller, to claim victory, while all around him lost their collective heads. He recovered from a tardy front row start which saw him gobbled up and in the wars for most of the frantic early stages of the race, including a spin!
Mercedes were celebrating 120 years of motorsport this weekend and what a nightmare that turned into as both their drivers crashed, Lewis Hamilton managed to continue but was last of the runners and penalised five seconds for his post-crash pit entry, while Bottas pranged heavily exiting Turn 1 late in the race with a podium on the cards.
A weekend to forget for the German team celebrating their 200th Formula 1 race.
LAP 57/64: SAFETY CAR
The race goes from bad to worse for Mercedes 👀
Valtteri Bottas’ race is over as pushes beyond the limit in the race for the final podium place 💥
Earlier no one would have backed a dollar on Verstappen recovering from a wayward early spell and a good old moan for being on the ultra-slippery mediums which provided some hair-raising moments on his roller-coaster ride to the top step of the podium.
By the time the spray had settled the #33 Red Bull eked out a ten seconds lead and it stayed that way until the end, bagging the fastest lap point with his effort on lap 61 of the 64 lap race.
After two days of scorching heat, the skies opened up over Hockenheim forcing the German Grand Prix to start behind the safety car as rain fell after lunch which turned the circuit wet with patches of standing water. It looked pretty tricky.
After a couple of sightseeing laps behind the safety car they lined up for a standing start. Pole winner Lewis Hamilton was well off the line with his teammate from third place tucked behind the leading Mercedes while Max Verstappen, from second, was tardy off the line as he struggled to find grip and was gobbled up.
But that was nullified when shortly after the field was released Racing Point’s Sergio Perez crashed when he aquaplaned and speared into the wall.
SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED
Sergio Perez is out after colliding with the wall 💥
What followed in the race will take volumes to describe as they hit that no-man’s land of when to swap to slicks. Most got it wrong and, in retrospect, there was no benchmark to follow as everyone were affected differently.
But soon it became apparent that slicks might have been marginally faster as Kevin Magnussen bolted a set on and was three seconds faster than anyone at that point. Like sheep they all followed, some opting for softs and others mediums.
Most pulled the trigger too early as the skies opened up again which prompted the mayhem that turned the race on its head.
Charles Leclerc looking strong with the benefit of a well-timed pitstop under VSC conditions, the Ferrari youngster looking feisty until he made a mistake, much like Sebastian Vettel’s faux pas last year. The Monegasque’s race over on the spot.
Earlier his team were handed a fine for an unsafe release during his pitstop, the Ferrari nearly clattering into the Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Thereafter it was chaos on track and even more so in the pits. A proper brawl as drivers and teams were taken apart by the conditions they always revel to race in.
We had a Racing Point in the lead briefly, a Toro Rosso with the fastest lap as the weather really levelled the playing field then wobbled it all afternoon.
But in the end the day belonged to Verstappen who said afterwards, “It was an amazing race to win in the end, it was really tricky out there to make the right calls, and we really had to be focused. We had a little moment on the slick tyres, but it was a really nice 360! I enjoyed that, but it was all about trying to not make too many mistakes. You learn over the years.”
Red Bull and Honda need a standing ovation along with their star driver who got one from his Orange Army, while Daniil Kvyat gave a good case to his bosses to dump wretched Pierre Gasly with immediate effect and give the Russian another crack with the big team because he ticked all the boxes on a torrid afternoon.
His teammate rookie Alex Albon was also impressive on his way to sixth. The manner in which he twice dispatched of Gasly twice, late in the race is sure to be the final straw that will prompt the axe, because the Thai driver made it look simple in an inferior car.
It was a bittersweet race for the Reds as Sebastian Vettel turned last place on the grid into xxx place by the time the chequered flag waved, providing great entertainment as he scythed his way up the order to claim a cherished second place.
It was some sort of redemption for the German who last year dumped it while leading the race and gave his team reason to believe when some may have had doubts. But he had no ammo to close the four-second gap that Verstappen had when it mattered.
Vettel summed up afterwards, “It was a long race, at some stages it felt like it would never end and it was very tough with the conditions and I’m just happy. It was a lot of fun. It took a while, at the beginning with the intermediates I couldn’t get going but eventually it was good that the afternoon took so long and I stayed tidy for most of the race.
“For me, it was just a case of go and get the next car, and then the next car. Before the last Safety Car, I realised I was quite a bit quicker and could move past people. I was a little bit faster and could time it right. I saw people being cautious on the first corner and it worked getting into DRS range and I had moves down the back straight. But this race was so long,” added the Ferrari driver
Another German, Nico Hulkenberg, also survived the early shenanigans and was running strongly in second place for Renault, after Daniel Ricciardo retired early in the race with a smoking engine, but on slicks he made a mistake and slithered into the barriers.
Heartbreak for @HulkHulkenberg as he crashes into the barriers and can’t recover 💔
At one point Lance Stroll looked set for a podium, the Canadian again proving his worth in races of high attrition to deliver one of his best performances in a long while which will do the world of good to his confidence and reputation. He was fourth.
Carlos Sainz was another ‘war survivor’ who survived a spin and several tense battles to finish on a day in which he was the only Renault powered driver to finish the race. Fifth a good result on a weekend in which the midfield was closer than ever.
Alfa Romeo celebrated a double points finish with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi seventh and eighth respectively but that only lasted three or so hours when the cars were found to be illegal and penalised accordingly. Report here>>>
This promoted Haas duo of Romain Grosjean to seventh and Kevin Magnussen to eighth claiming the final point, the Dane at one stage running second in the topsy-turvy race!
Hamilton thus was promoted to ninth and Kubica getting the final point for Williams.
Valtteri Bottas might have fancied his chances of winning the German Grand Prix as he survived the early mayhem and was charging in fourth place when it all went wrong for the Mercedes driver as he crashed out of the race on a tricky incident-packed afternoon at Hockenheim.
It was Mercedes 200th race and they even had a 125th anniversary of motorsport livery, as well as pit and paddock in retro theme for their milestone race. But with new Daimler chairman Ola Källenius watching alongside team chief Toto Wolff the actual race was a disaster for the World Champions.
Bottas, who spent most of the race in second, found himself in fourth place with good pace at the sharp end of the race. The #77 car was on a charge but that soon changed with third in his sights, into Turn 1 the Mercedes lost traction and skidded over the wet into the barriers prompting the fourth safety car period during the 64 laps incident-filled race.
The Finn avoided the press pen when he returned to the pits for an early shower but reported afterwards, “That was a really tough race and I’m very disappointed. It was tricky out there: the track was very slippery and the conditions changed all the time.
“It was very easy to make a mistake and unfortunately I made a mistake in the end which lost us a lot of points. It’s a shame because today was a good opportunity for me to make up some points to Lewis and it was my own fault that I ended up not getting any points at all in the end.
“I had a good shot to get a podium and I was pushing hard to get past Stroll. I was quite close to the limit in Turn 1, then I suddenly lost the rear and just went off; I don’t think there was any time to catch the car.”
“It’s very disappointing for the entire team, but we’ll give it everything to come back stronger in Hungary,” added the Mercedes driver on a forgettable afternoon for the Silver Arrows in Germany.
His teammate Lewis Hamilton also had a torrid afternoon despite starting from pole and leading a chunk of the race, but he too had a big moment in Turn 1 which Bottas replicated later with less luck. But Hamilton also was in the wars.
The World Champion spun and damaged his wing near the pit entrance which he dived into to get to his pit box as quickly as possible, his crew were not ready for him and there was a panic over what tyres to bolt-on.
It was all pretty chaotic for the normally ice-cool operators and taking home a mere two points from their landmark-packed home race must hurt.
Nico Hulkenberg is 167 Formula 1 races into his career and has yet to celebrate on the podium, a sad statistic for a driver that was expected to do big things in the top flight but his record to date will show him as a luckless journeyman.
That podium drought looked set to end at his home German Grand Prix on Sunday but fate had more sinister plans as Hulkenberg crashed on lap 39, having run as high as second place and was in fourth when his mistake brought an end to his hopes.
He too was a victim of a treacherous patch of waterlogged, wet and slippery tarmac in the final turn which caught out several of his rivals. On Pirelli intermediates, the Renault driver locked up his brakes, sliding into the barriers where his car remained beached.
Hulkenberg said afterwards, “It’s a tough one to take. I’m upset for myself, the team and for Renault because they deserved an excellent result today. It’s one of those days where you have to make it stick, and I’m just gutted with how it ended especially in front of the home crowd.”
“The final corner was very tricky as it was damp. I lost the rear a bit, went into a spin so I opened the steering and went onto the black tarmac. It was like ice there and by that point I couldn’t stop the car.”
“We were doing a phenomenal job, strategy was very difficult so it hurts and it will hurt even more tomorrow,” added Hulkenberg whose teammate Daniel Ricciardo retired early on in the race when his Renault PU expired in a cloud of smoke.
Heartbreak for @HulkHulkenberg as he crashes into the barriers and can’t recover 💔
The deja vu was inevitable: a red Ferrari showing hot pace loses control and slithers across the gravel and into trackside billboards, beached in the sand when a a sure podium and even a sniff of victory was apparent.
That’s how Charles Leclerc will be remembered his role in the epic that was the German Grand Prix, doing a repeat of what his teammate Sebastian Vettel did last year at the same venue.
In doing so the younger driver denied himself a sure second place and perhaps even first as when he crashed he was among the fastest drivers on track although he did himself no favours with a scrappy lap or two, but the same applied to his rivals fighting the constantly changing elements.
But lap 27 changed all that, as he hit the barriers exiting the final corner (which caught out many of his peers on the day) when the Ferrari got airborne over the kerbs, on the tractionless slippery edge of the track, and car plunged straight into the barriers and turned Leclerc into a spectator for the rest of the afternoon.
The 21-year-old reflected afterwards, “Unfortunately, I made a mistake in turn 16 and lost control of the car. I hit the wall and that was the end of my race. It’s a shame and I am sorry for the team and our fans. Seb did a great job today and his result is well-deserved.
“It is a disappointing end to the weekend for me. After a good start, we worked our way forward in rather tricky conditions. The team did a great job and let me arrive in second place to fight for the win. The strategy was the right one and the car felt good.”
“Our car and performance were strong all weekend, in both wet and dry conditions, which is a positive. We have to stay focused and we will give our best again at the next race in Hungary,” he added.
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto commented, “Charles is aware today was an opportunity missed, but he will get over it. There are plenty more races and there is no doubt that the guy is very quick and today he was delivering an extraordinary performance.”
In contrast to Leclerc, teammate Vettel delivered a timely performance of a champion as he carved his way through the field from 20th on the grid and salvage second for the Reds. It was a giant effort and result in the wake of the criticism the German has copped in recent weeks.
But in retrospect, it is actually a similar script packaged differently as they are still winless after a weekend that promised so much.
While Leclerc’s error will be a reality check for those who believe he is the saviour for the desperate Italian team. He is indeed the future but that’s long term as he is still an unpunished diamond and he may wake up to find another Vettel, more inspired when they go at it again in Hungary next weekend.
Veteran Racing Point driver Sergio was the first casualty of a crazy Sunday at Hockenheim when the rain-affected race delivered an incident-packed race that claimed some of the mightiest victims.
After two sighting laps the field gathered for the normal standing start procedure and on inters the race began, that there were no casualty in that frantic opening lap was the first surprise, the second followed a little later when Perez’s race ended early and in the wall.
It was a rare error by the Mexican who has tended, over the years, to shine in weta and tricky conditions but this time around Perez was the victim. His teammate Lance Stroll finished fourth.
Perez was quick to take the blame after the race, “First of all, I need to apologise to my team because I made a mistake. I’ve thrown away a great opportunity today to score big points for the team. The first rule in these conditions is not to make a mistake and I did.
“I was picking up the power and then had some aquaplaning on the rear. I lost it and just couldn’t recover from it. I put my hands up for it – I’m extremely disappointed with myself.
“Watching the race from the garage is always tough, but I’m happy that Lance had such a great race. We needed those points and it’s a boost for everyone. I think we’ve definitely taken a step forward this weekend. Now we look forward to Hungary where hopefully we can come back stronger,” added Perez.
SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED
Sergio Perez is out after colliding with the wall 💥
Sebastian Vettel says his fightback in the chaotic German Grand Prix is important for Ferrari’s morale after the team came under fire on Saturday.
After Ferrari was quickest in every practice session, an issue with the airflow to the turbo saw Vettel unable to take part in qualifying, while Charles Leclerc missed Q3 with a fuel system problem. Starting from last on the grid, Vettel produced an excellent drive in changeable conditions, rising to fifth by the time the final Safety Car set up a five-lap sprint to the finish, and then overtaking Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat to take second place.
“After the disappointing day yesterday, where everything was ready — the crowd was ready; I was ready, the team was ready — obviously we didn’t have qualifying, so starting last today I was very excited about the race in these conditions,” Vettel said. “Anything can happen.
“The race turned out a lot crazier than I thought beforehand but yeah, I’m very happy. I’m very happy for the team first of all. It’s a tough period for us. We are pushing very hard — we are doing mistakes, we are not where we want to be, but we need to keep believing in ourselves, in our abilities, our strengths, and I’m confident that our days will come.
“Obviously today very happy for myself, at my home race and it was great to see the crowd — especially at the end, every time I passed in the car they were really excited. I really did enjoy that. A crazy race — a lot of decisions to make, a lot of communications between the car and the pit wall, but I think we stayed calm and tried to do the best at the time.
“Most of the time we were right, sometimes we were wrong but we kept it clean and I think that was the key. In the end I really started to come alive in these mixed conditions on dry tires, we were quite comfortable and able to make good progress, because I think two Safety Cars to the end I was still not even in the top 10 and I was thinking, ‘What happened?’ But it was a day like that and a race like that, so I’m quite happy.”
“Max (Verstappen) finished first so it’s not a victory but starting last, with the race that we had, I think we can certainly be very happy recovering and I think it was a very tough race, easy to lose focus or momentum but we kept it throughout.
“It’s certainly a tough time for us as Ferrari with days like yesterday because it shows that we have things that we need to sort out — we have things that we need to do better but I think in this period it’s very important that we keep the morale, we keep supporting the team.
“From the inside that is happening, from the outside I hope it’s happening as well. I know the tifosi are behind us but sometimes the headlines can shift in either way, so it’s important that we keep the support because I think things are moving — we are pushing very very hard and when it comes to passion I think we put a lot of effort and a lot of hours in; the people are very determined.
“I’m as impatient as everyone else to get the results finally but it will take a little while. We know what we can improve and that’s what we are working on; but in the meantime I hope that people are a bit patient and give us that freedom in that time. But yeah, in that regard it feels like a small victory today.”
Both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were demoted out of the points as a result of the torque being delivered by the clutch taking too long to match the torque being requested by the drivers at the start of the race. Only a small leeway is allowed in order to prevent teams using different settings to mimic the effects of traction control, and with both cars exceeding those limits the stewards handed out retrospective 10-second stop-and-go penalties — converted to 30-second time penalties — that cost Raikkonen seventh place and Giovinazzi eighth.
“We respect the FIA’s process and the stewards’ work, but will appeal this decision as we believe we have the grounds and evidence to have it overturned. In this regard, we will be in touch with the FIA soon.
“Kimi and Antonio drove very well in challenging conditions and seventh and eighth place were the rightful reward for their performance. The team worked really hard to put both cars in the points and we showed once again that we have the pace to fight at the sharp end of the midfield. This race was a great showcase for Formula 1 and it’s a pity it ended this way.”
As it stands, the four drivers to benefit from the penalties are Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica in seventh to 10th respectively, with the latter scoring the first point of the season for Williams.
The FIA stewards initiated an investigation over both Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi receiving help during the clutch torque application process at the start of the race, or a breach of Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations which states: “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.”
“The race start data of car numbers 07 and 99 were checked,” stated FIA Formula 1 technical delegate Jo Bauer.
“These were found not being in compliance with Article 27.1 of the 2019 Formula One Sporting Regulations and Article 9 of the 2019 Formula One Technical Regulations.”
Alfa Romeo team boss Frédéric Vasseur was predictably unhappy with the outcome of the stewards’ investigation and said that Alfa will appeal the ruling.
“It is extremely disappointing to have both cars penalised and pushed out of the points in what had been such an exciting race,” said Vasseur.
“The situation arose during the laps we spent behind the Safety Car ahead of the standing start: we suffered a dysfunction of the clutch that was beyond our control and we will further investigate the issue.
“We respect the FIA’s process and the stewards’ work, but will appeal this decision as we believe we have the grounds and evidence to have it overturned. In this regard, we will be in touch with the FIA soon.
“Kimi and Antonio drove very well in challenging conditions and seventh and eighth place were the rightful reward for their performance.
“The team worked really hard to put both cars in the points and we showed once again that we have the pace to fight at the sharp end of the midfield. This race was a great showcase for Formula One and it’s a pity it ended this way.”
Alfa’s pain is Kubica and Williams’ big gain – at least for now, with an appeal pending – as it allows the Pole to score his first world championship point since Abu Dhabi in 2010 while the British outfit enjoys its first top-ten finish since last year at Monza.
Joy turned to heartbreak for Alfa Romeo hours after the German Grand Prix as the stewards penalised Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi for clutch infringements at the start of the race.
The outcome knocking them out of the top ten and promoting four drivers up the order, including Robert Kubica to give Williams their first point of the 2019 campaign.
Raikkonen and Giovinazzi crossed the line seventh and eighth respectively, giving Alfa Romeo their best result of the season. However, soon after the race, the stewards summoned a team representative to discuss an alleged breach of Article 27.1, related to clutch torque application during race starts.
The stewards found the torque in the clutch at the start did not match the torque demand as the driver released the clutch within the specified 70-millisecond maximum period. This time was measured at approximately 300 milliseconds.
They compared this breach to that of a false start with a potential advantage and therefore opted to give both drivers a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, which equates to 30 seconds added to each of their race times.
It means Romain Grosjean moves up to seventh and Kevin Magnussen slots into eighth. World championship leader Lewis Hamilton scores two points in ninth, meaning he extends his points-scoring streak to 23 races, while Kubica scores his first point since returning to F1 this season after an eight-year hiatus with 10th.
It’s a fine reward for a Williams team that has endured a dreadful season, lacking the pace to race in the midfield but having appeared to make improvements in recent races courtesy of a series of developments that have shown promise.
Robert Kubica has scored the first point of 2019 for Williams after the two Alfa Romeo cars were penalized after the German Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi originally finished in seventh and eighth respectively but were then investigated by the stewards for an issue related to “clutch torque application during race starts.” It transpired that the time for the actual torque in the clutch to match with the torque demand as the driver releases the clutch was outside of the required limits.
Following a hearing with the team, the stewards found that the time for the torque to match with the driver’s demands took close to 200 milliseconds on one car and 300 milliseconds on the other — above the 70 milliseconds permitted and potentially providing an advantage from smoother torque application in wet conditions.
Alfa Romeo argued that this occurred due to the team setting the wrong parameters for the conditions given the fact that no practice starts in the wet had been possible. While the stewards accepted that, they stated no other team suffered the same issue and that the obligation to meet the requirements is irrespective of the climactic conditions.
The penalties demote Raikkonen to 12th and Giovinazzi to 13th, promoting Lewis Hamilton — who avoided an additional penalty of his own for going slowly compared to those cars trying to catch the Safety Car, as it was determined he was actually following the delta time as he should have been and following regulations — to ninth place and Kubica to 10th. It is the first point of the season for Williams and Kubica’s first point since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he finished fifth.
Haas also benefits, with Romain Grosjean moving up to seventh place and Kevin Magnussen eighth, giving the team a total of 10 points from the weekend.
Max Verstappen scored an incredible seventh career win in an incident-packed, rain-affected German Grand Prix that saw Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc crash out, Lewis Hamilton finish outside the points, and Toro Rosso score a first podium finish in 11 years courtesy of Daniil Kvyat.
The Red Bull driver sent the huge Dutch contingent in the grandstands wild, as he crossed the line to take his seventh career win.
Behind Vettel, Kvyat hung on to claim his third career podium finish and Toro Rosso’s first podium finish since Vettel won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix for the team.
P1: Max Verstappen: “To come out on top after a race like that is amazing and for the Team to win for the second time this year with Honda is incredible. I don’t know exactly what happened at the start but it seemed that everyone on the right side of the grid had a bad getaway and low grip.
I had a particularly poor start when I released the clutch but stayed calm and followed the Mercedes cars closely. It was hard to pass due to the dirty air and the tyres started to struggle as the track dried. From there onwards we always made the right decisions. Even though the first slick tyre was maybe a bit hard and I had a few moments, with a 360 spin, I luckily kept going.
Once I was back on the Intermediates and in the lead I was able to control the race and really show the pace of the car. Once you are ahead you can take a few less risks and everything feels a bit nicer. The conditions were very tricky and it was all about survival. It was definitely not an easy race and very tricky with the changing conditions.
The Team made all the right calls. They were giving me the right information and keeping an eye on all the other teams and sector times. They were really on top of things and everyone worked so well together. It has been one of my most difficult races and it is great to come out on top.
“For sure I enjoy driving in the wet but also you need a good car for that. You can find a bit of pace in yourself but today we had both things right and I’m very happy with the result. The orange fans were standing up, especially when I was in the lead which was also amazing to see. A big thank you to the whole Team and it has been a crazy but amazing Sunday.”
DNF: Piere Gasly: “That was an insane, crazy race and it just had everything. With the rain, crashes, safety cars and pit stops, it was a lottery and there were a lot of opportunities so I’m quite disappointed not to have made the most of it on my side and not finish the race.
“Towards the end, I was fighting with Alex during the last few laps and we made contact, which took my front wing off and gave me a puncture, so I had to stop the car. I don’t know what to say but it’s annoying not to score points when you have a race like this.
“At the start, I had wheel spin so I was slow off the line and I lost a lot of positions into Turn One so it was quite hectic from there. In these conditions, it’s a gamble when to pit and when not to and sometimes you just need to get lucky but the pace was there so we will keep pushing and next week, we go again in Hungary. For the Team and Honda, it was great to get Max’s win today and bag another decent amount of points.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “What an unbelievable performance from Max and the Team today and it took five pit stops to win that race. Max kept his head in tricky conditions, he had great pace when he needed it and he made that win happen.
“It’s fantastic for Honda to see two engines and both teams on the podium, and a massive congratulations go to Toro Rosso and Daniil Kvyat, who also became a father last night. The pit stop crew were unbelievable today and that was the reason for sending our Chief Mechanic, Phil Turner, up to collect the Constructors’ Trophy as he did an amazing job.
“For Pierre, it was a shame as he had sections of the race that were going really well for him and it looked like he would finish in the top five, but it wasn’t to be. He had an incident with Albon late in the race which I’ve only briefly seen, but thankfully both of them were unhurt and Pierre will bounce back.”
Carlos Sainz believes McLaren was only denied a shot at the podium in the German Grand Prix by its rivals’ risky strategies unfolding in their favour.
Sainz was the only driver among the top ten to have only stopped three times in Sunday’s chaotic race, with McLaren opting for a cautious approach in terms of strategy, contrary to Toro Rosso and Racing Point which were the first to switch Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll to the dry soft compound tyre when the race entered its final 20 laps.
That decision gave both drivers an edge compared to Sainz who resorted to a used set of softs for his third and final stint.
“Every decision that we do probably was the right one,” said Sainz.
“In the end we lost out on a podium because of two cars with nothing to lose.
Toro Rosso report from the German Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Hockenheim.
P3: Daniil Kvyat: “It’s incredible to be back on the podium in what could be called my ‘second career’. I thought it would never happen again in my life, so I’m so incredibly happy. There’s so many emotions I still need some time to let it all sink in!
“This achievement is so great for us since it’s 11 years since Toro Rosso’s last podium with Sebastian in Monza. It was such an amazing day and I’m so happy. Thank you to everyone in the team, it was just an incredible day. I was readier than ever to fight for this kind of position.
“This year I feel more mature, my head is cooler, and I’m readier to fight on top, so I think I proved that today to myself and everyone around here. I hope this will become a habit soon! These kinds of races aren’t easy, it was a tough call to pit that lap earlier, but it’s a 50/50 call between the team and me, we win and lose together and today we won together.”
P6: Alexander Albon: “It was a good race today! I was a bit scared at the start, learning how the car behaves in the wet around this track, although, I’m really happy with how I performed as it was my first time in these conditions in an F1 car.
“The pace was really good, we were a bit fortunate and we timed our first pitstop right, and I was really excited racing in P4, I was thinking ‘OK here we go!’ Unfortunately, at the second stop we were caught out and pitted a lap later than Dany to switch from wet tyres to dry, so four cars passed us.
“It’s funny, it’s like a disappointing P6 because we were running in P4 for quite a while. It was an amazing job by the team, the strategy was great and we were able to bounce back from a difficult Qualifying.”
Guillaume Dezoteux, Head of Vehicle Performance: “What a race! This is an amazing result for us and it has been a fantastic team effort to achieve it, here at the track, in our Operations Rooms in Faenza and Bicester and from Sakura.
“Today was about being on the right tyre at the right time and making no mistakes. The pit-wall discussions were intense during the entire race, engineers were managing the situation well, the mechanics made no mistakes, we had good pitstops and obviously, both drivers showed a fantastic drive.
“Daniil was on it straight from the start, making no mistakes and giving good feedback in those epic conditions. Alex has been amazing if you consider it was the first time he ran our car in the wet! Both have been able to keep their head down, trust our decisions and push to the end. This is a great day for STR and Honda and gives a lot of motivation to everyone for the rest of the season.”
Franz Tost, Team Principal: “It was another fantastic and very exciting Formula 1 race. Congratulations to Max Verstappen for the victory and to Honda, for their second win in the turbo era.
“Enormous congratulations to Daniil Kvyat, he really deserved this third position! He had a fantastic race, he showed really good overtaking manoeuvres and he could keep focused until the end without any mistakes, in difficult conditions. The rain seemed to be on our side, so thanks to the rain Gods!!
“I must compliment the strategy team, the call to bring Daniil in for Option tyres quite early was a risky one but it paid off and he was able to finish on the podium. We had a fantastic car today, the engineers did a great job on the setup side.
“I’m also very satisfied with Alex’s performance as he had a fantastic race. It was the first time for him driving an F1 car in such changing conditions and he had everything under control, including managing the tyres, which was very important to finish in sixth position.
“want to thank the everybody in Toro Rosso, who have made this possible. We are now looking forward to Budapest, in the past we showed good performances there and we can’t wait to do it again.”
Masamitsu Motohashi, Chief Honda Engineer – Scuderia Toro Rosso: “To see Daniil on the podium was an incredible feeling coming after we have worked so hard with Toro Rosso for one and a half seasons. In recent races, we have struggled a bit and even today it was a difficult race for us.
“However, everything came together today. Last year our best result was a fourth place, even if we came close to getting good results in some other races too, which for one reason or another did not happen. Today, we feel we did the best we possibly could.
“This was an unforgettable race – the team, drivers and all Honda members working so well together. I would also like to thank our fans, especially those in Japan, who have never given up on us. Today’s result is for them also.
You can see how much it means to everyone, our first podium since Monza 2008… How sweet it is! 🏆
Max Verstappen credits Red Bull’s strategic decisions as being the key to his victory in the remarkable German Grand Prix.
Starting from second place, Verstappen dropped to fourth on the opening lap and, despite quickly repassing Kimi Raikkonen he was then stuck behind the two Mercedes drivers for the early part of the race. After catching Valtteri Bottas, Verstappen made two pit stops in five laps — one for slicks and then a return to intermediates following a spin — and emerged in the lead as Lewis Hamilton crashed, going on to take the sixth victory of his career.
“It’s always a different feeling, but this was really good,” Verstappen said. “It was very tricky out there — we had to stay very focused, we couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. Now after the race I think I can say that I did that 360 for the crowd, but it was tricky out there, on the medium tires with very low grip.
“The information between myself and the team was crucial today, and I think we made the right calls. That gave us the victory. Also, once I was ahead of the Mercedes cars, you could really see the pace we had because I was stuck in the dirty air in the first few laps behind Valtteri. Once you’re ahead, you can basically save your tires a bit more and everything was basically a bit more under control.”
“I don’t know, they’re still miles ahead in the championship — still quite a lot isn’t it, more than two victories — and they’re still I think the dominant team. Today was just very tricky out there, easy to make a mistake, as you could see. Today was not their day.
“We managed to do a good job. We still have to work very hard to close that gap and actually really fight for the victory every single race, so still a lot of work to do, but of course where you can it’s good to score more points than them.”
At one point, Sunday’s German Grand Prix looked like it might finally be the race in which Nico Hulkenberg could finally finish on the podium after 167 race starts. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for the 31-year-old local hero.
Hulkenberg was one of the few drivers not to succumb to the temptation of slick tyres at a key stage of the eventful race. Instead he remained on intermediates, and when the rain picked up again and everyone else dived back into pit lane it meant he found himself up in second place.
Although he was quickly overtaken by the two Mercedes cars of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, Hulkenberg still looked on course for at least a fourth place finish – until the R.S.19 went off the track in the final corner on lap 40.
“It’s a tough one to take,” the German driver admitted. “I’m upset for myself, the team and for Renault because they deserved an excellent result today.
“It’s one of those days where you have to make it stick, and I’m just gutted with how it ended especially in front of the home crowd.
“The final corner was very tricky as it was damp,” he explained. “I lost the rear a bit, went into a spin so I opened the steering and went onto the black tarmac. It was like ice there, and by that point I couldn’t stop the car.
“We were doing a phenomenal job, strategy was very difficult so it hurts and it will hurt even more tomorrow.”
His team mate Daniel Ricciardo had an even shorter day of it, retiring on lap 14 with an engine-related issue.
“We had an exhaust failure today, which caused the retirement
Team principal Cyril Abiteboul admitted that it had been a day of high emotions for everyone at Renault.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster today with highs and lows. Unfortunately, we’re finishing on a low with two retirements.
“Daniel’s was caused by an exhaust leak and we need to look into the problem, which is our first reliability glitch in a while.
“Nico had been driving an amazing race and was supported by decisions from the pit wall and good execution by the pit crew. We made the call not to put dry tyres on too early and made up a lot of positions to second.
“The final corner looked tricky all day and Nico could not save the car from the wall. It’s difficult to take as it was an exciting race and we’d have liked to have been part of it until the end.
“We missed an opportunity for big points over our direct competitors, but there are certainly positives from the weekend,” he insisted.
“We want to taste being higher on merit more regularly. It doesn’t deter from our focus of pushing on and building a more competitive car.”
Daniil Kvyat dedicated his shock podium in the German Grand Prix to his girlfriend and new daughter after revealing he had become a father on Saturday night.
The Russian drove a sublime race in changing conditions at Hockenheim, with an early pit stop for slick tires with 20 laps remaining proving crucial to his climb into the top three. After overtaking Lance Stroll, he lost out to Sebastian Vettel but still crossed the line third to give Toro Rosso its first podium in 11 years and Honda its first double podium since 1992, a result he says came at the end of a special weekend.
“The first time when I chose to go on slicks, it was the wrong moment then. The second time I think was the perfect moment, and that’s exactly when I thought when I saw the others pit after I did, I thought it’s our moment, and I was right. I exited the pits in P3, had to overtake Stroll for P2, and then from there on just hope the quicker cars would take time to catch me at the end of the race.
“I’m very happy with the podium. It’s a fantastic race for the team, 11 years since the last podium Sebastian (Vettel) did in 2008. I think everyone is really happy today and from my side of course, I would dedicate this podium to my girlfriend, Kelly, and to my daughter.”
Kvyat battles through the pack with Ricciardo’s Renault. Image by Zak Mauger/LAT.
The former Red Bull driver described his race as “a horror movie with a black comedy” as he was outside the points at the halfway stage, but sees the final result as a significant moment having returned to Formula 1 for a second chance at Toro Rosso this season.
“It was an incredible few years in my life. A lot of realizations in my life because there were sometimes tough times, and I thought maybe Formula 1 was over for me — especially podiums. But life just proves if you work hard and never give up, things are possible. And I think this is exactly what happened today.
“Even the race today, I managed to keep it cool. All these three difficult years just felt like they crashed from my shoulders finally. This changed today. It was hard work to reach this moment, and hopefully it can send a message out there that I’m ready now to fight for these kind of moments on a consistent basis, and there is no stronger message than a podium like this.”
“We can’t have so much low grip,” he continued, adding that he had been far from along in hitting trouble at that corner on Sunday.
“We’ve seen other drivers [go wide],” he said. “Maybe I was the only one on slicks, but I was at 60kph and had absolutely no grip. There’s something there.
“It’s like a dragster track. Once you go on it, it’s just very, very dangerous,” he said later. “So my mistake was not huge, but the fact that going on this tarmac meant I had absolutely no control over the car.”
But at the same time, Leclerc admitted that the initial error of running wide onto that section of tarmac had been down to him.
“This is in no way an excuse to the mistake,” he conceded. “I take full responsibility of it.
“I feel very bad for the team, for the fans, for everyone that has been working also to put the car back together for today,” he said, referring to overnight repairs to tackle an issue with the fuel supply problem that impeded his qualifying effort.
“It’s a big shame.”
When he crashed out, Leclerc had been pushing hard to try and take the lead from Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes had just pitted as a Virtual Safety Car was coming to an end, and Leclerc hoped to use his fresh set of slick tyres to gain the upper hand.
“I’m completely at fault today and it’s a huge shame,” he told Scandinavian broadcaster Viaplay. “I’m very sorry for the fans and the team.
“It’s not a huge mistake. It’s a small mistake, I’ve done a lot bigger mistakes during the season,” he added. “[But] I’m disappointed with myself today.”
Leclerc had earlier been lucky to escape a penalty for an unsafe release in pit lane when he was ushered out of his pit box in front of Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
The race stewards decided to fine the team 5,000 euros for the incident rather than hand Leclerc himself a sporting penalty in the race.
As recently as Monaco, Max Verstappen was given a five second time penalty for a similar incident. Team fines have usually been handed out when a tyre had been improperly attached rather than for colliding with another car on pit lane.
The official verdict was the Leclerc had been waved out “into the path of the approaching car eight” and that “the cars made minor contact.”
Leclerc then had to find a way between Grosjean’s car on the outside and mechanics waiting to receive other drivers on the inside.
“Leclerc drove at an acute angle to avoid a tyre changer in the next pit and had no opportunity to drive in the merge area,” reported the stewards.
SportPesa Racing Point’s bold and timely decision to switch Lance Stroll to soft tyres for the final stage of Sunday’s rain-hit German Grand Prix delivered big points to team and driver.
Shortly after the start, a longer stint on the wet tyre put Stroll among the top six before he tumbled down the order after switching to the intermediate rubber.
Spins and frustrations ensued until an inspired decision by the Racing Point pit wall to gamble on the soft compound 20 laps from the checkered flag – the first team to do so – proved timely and massively beneficial for Stroll who, from 14th, pushed through the field and incredibly into second place, helped also by a few drivers falling to the side.
Unfortunately, a small mistake by the Canadian gave Toro Rosso’s Dany Kvyat the upper hand in the closing stages of the race, after which Stroll fell into the clutches of the fast-moving Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.
Fourth was nevertheless a great result for the 20-year-old and his always tenacious team.
“It’s a bit unfortunate that the podium slipped away from us today, because we were definitely in a position to finish on the podium with 20 laps to go,” Stroll said
“A small error in Turn 8 allowed Dany to get by. hat was a bit disappointing but aside from that it was a hectic race, and we were in the back for the majority of it but we were on the right tyre with 20 laps to go.
“We tried our best to keep the quicker cars behind, but the podium was just out of reach.
“Today’s race shows why you should never give up because it’s never over until it’s over.
“It’s great to see how much this result means to the team and it was so special to see the crew celebrating on the pit wall when I crossed the line.
“This important result is for everyone in the team and we will enjoy this moment.”
It was all about trying to not make too many mistakes,” he added. “You learn, over the years. I was very happy with the whole performance today.”
Verstappen did make one error during the afternoon when he spun while making his first run on slick tyres.
But he got away with it and was able to get back underway without losing position – and soon changed back to intermediate tyres to avoid a recurrence.
“We pitted onto the slick tyre, had a little moment, made a nice 360 so that was nice. Enjoyed that!” he laughed.
“That ended well too, thankfully. Those red tyres have way more grip, of course, especially when the track is still that slippery. Luckily it started raining again and we went back to the inters.”
And after he hit the lead of the race following another safety car, he was able to keep his cool all the way to the finish.
“Once I took the lead I could just drive away,” he said. “Before that, my problem was that I was stuck behind Bottas.
“[Later] I could drive safely and I didn’t have to push that much. Eventually, it all ended well. I stayed out of trouble. Just that one spin, but I had it under control.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that Verstappen’s victory in today’s rain-hit race almost defied belief.
“To win a race like that when conditions are like this, it’s a little bit of a lottery anyway, but Max kept his head and he was brilliant out there,” Horner said.
“It was unbelievable,” he continued. “Those kind of races he excels at. He was in total control when he got to the front. Once he got clean air he was in a class of his own.”
The team gave him all the help it could when it came to no less than five visits to pit lane for tyre changes during the afternoon’s intense action.
“Out of the five stops we got one pit stop wrong, thinking we would need that tyre to get to the end of the race,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “You’ve just got to keep your head.
“We had the opportunity to put another new set of tyres on, and that gave Max a really good tyre to build a gap, and then with the new slicks, and then he was away.
“We were just making sure we kept the right tyre at the right time. Different things are happening at different corners,” he explained.
“We were giving him all the information we could about where he was tyre-wise compared to his opponents and he was still able to push, push, push – and once he’d got clean air, then he was in a class of his own.”
The only real area of weakness for the team was at the very start, with Verstappen losing two positions to Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen as he struggled to get away from the wet grid.
“I just had no grip,” Verstappen said. “But I think everyone on the right side had little grip for some reason.
“In the end, it didn’t matter that much, luckily. It was all about making the right calls and staying out of trouble.”
“They were pretty horrible,” Horner admitted when asked about the starts of both Verstappen and his team mate Pierre Gasly.
“I don’t know whether it was that side of the grid. It didn’t move, but they kept their head. [Max] passed the cars that he needed to and got in behind the Mercedes.”