Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz Jnr were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the German Grand Prix. Here’s why.
Sebastian VettelKimi Raikkonen. Vettel wasn’t happy on his worn intermediates.
But he made good calls on his tyres and kept it cleaner than most on a day when almost everyone made some kind of mistake. When his car came good at the end of the race he was flying, and ripped through the field for second place. He nearly came a cropper on the final lap, though.
Neither Red Bull driver started well, due to problems with their engine mapping. But Verstappen came roaring back into contention, passing Kimi Raikkonen with ease and going after the Mercedes drivers.
The team’s switch to medium tyres when the track began to dry was a questionable call and Verstappen had a quick spin but didn’t hit anything, pressed on, and jumped ahead of Bottas by switching back to the intermediates. With Hamilton bouncing off a wall, Verstappen hit the front of the field, and pulled away with supreme confidence after each restart. Not a flawless drive, but an excellent one in trying circumstances.
Carlos Sainz Jnr
Another driver who had a spin early on. But Sainz, who had qualified strongly, fought back with some canny tyre calls. He was one of very few drivers not to jump on to slicks when the track initially dried, which gained him a lot of places. The result was a well deserved fifth place.
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From the moment he bounced off a barrier in second practice it seemed Gasly had left his good form behind at Silverstone. Sure enough, his race effort was plagued with errors which repeatedly undid his better efforts and those of his team.
After a series of off-track moments he eventually tangled with Alexander Albon, and failed to take the chequered flag.
This was the opportunity to get back into the title hunt Bottas has been waiting for, and he blew it. Having already qualified behind Hamilton, he wasn’t able to capitalise when he got ahead of his team mate later in the race. Having wasted several laps failing to find a way past Lance Stroll’s Racing Point, he crashed, throwing away an easy 15 points, if not more.
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And the rest
An unwell Hamilton took another pole position and was on course for victory when a poorly-timed switch to slick tyres led to a crash. He went off again later in the race and would have failed to score if the Alfa Romeos hadn’t been penalised. Charles Leclerc had a scruffy race too, and ended it in the barriers.
Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez both out-qualified their team mates but crashed out of the race. Daniel Ricciardo never had a chance to show what he could do before his power unit failed. Lando Norris was compromised by a battery problem in qualifying, and had just got in front of his team mate in the race when his Renault motor also let him down.
Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll’s excellent results came about thanks to late-race gambles which they might not have taken had they been running so low down the order. Stroll had a few off-track moments, one of which allowed Kvyat to beat him to the final podium place. That spot might have gone to the impressive Alexander Albon who deserved better than his sixth position after an excellent drive in his first wet F1 race.
The Alfa Romeo drivers finished seventh and eighth on the road before their penalties for technical infringements. Raikkonen was one of few drivers to survive going off at the treacherous drag strip. Their relegation promoted the Haas pair, who were again driving cars of different specifications and again managed to collided with each other.
Robert Kubica took the final points place ahead of his team mate, who went off with a dozen laps to go. However George Russell had been lobbying Williams to put him on slicks around the same time Stroll did, so an even greater opportunity was missed.
Over to you
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2019 German Grand Prix
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- Kubica sets new record by ending eight-year wait for points