Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2019

2019 German Grand Prix Star Performers

2019 German Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel and Carlos Sainz Jnr were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the German Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Sebastian Vettel

A turbo problem prevented Vettel from setting a time in qualifying and meant he had to start last. He quickly worked his way up through the field to begin with but seemed to get stuck when he caught Kimi 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.

Max Verstappen

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.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hockenheimring, 2019
Verstappen demonstrated his wet weather skill again
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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Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Hockenheimring, 2019
Gasly explored the run-offs too often
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.

Valtteri Bottas

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

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2019
Leclerc was one of several drivers who crashed
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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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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35 comments on “2019 German Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Stars: VER, VET, KVY, STR, and SAI.
    Strugglers: Mercedes, HUL (although Renault as a team as well), Haas, LEC, and GAS.

    1. How could hulk be a struggler? He was in front of his team mate the whole weekend and when he retired he was comfortably fourth. He did a mistake, yes, but he can’t be a struggler

      1. How could Stroll be a star, when all he did was lose yet another qualifying against his team mate (11 out of 11 so far, but hey, at least no Q1 elimination this time …), spend most of the race at the back of the back, struggling to keep the Williamses behind, and make that one perfectly timed pit stop which, thanks two two perfectly timed Safety Cars, allowed him to finish way higher up the order than his pace in any given lap of the race would’ve allowed him to?

  2. Nice picks of drivers for both categories. Also good that you called this out: “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.”

    Very impressive results at the end, but it was motivated by a roll of the dice. Not that there’s anything wrong in doing so, Williams ought to learn from them.

    1. @phylyp It’s strange that Williams didn’t pit at least one of their drivers during the last SC-period. When you are dead last you must take risks. Or were they afraid their drivers would bin it and they don’t have enough money for spare parts?

      1. Or were they afraid their drivers would bin it

        @matthijs – the only explanation I can come up with is similar to yours – Williams brought a new spec of aero parts to Germany (front/rear wings, floor, etc.). With Hungary being a double header, they probably don’t have enough spares yet (not a money problem, just a manufacturing lead time problem), so played it cautious here.

        Of course, if Hungary turns out to be a bone-dry procession with Williams bringing up the rear, they – and we – might wonder “if only, what might have been…” :(

        1. @phylyp I was watching the Dutch broadcast of the race. In the studio they had invited Gijs van Lennep, a former F1-driver and Le Mans-winner. He had a nice anecdote (or urban legend?) about Frank Williams. Van Lennep drove for Frank Williams during the 1974 Dutch GP and he asked the team to increase the front wing downforce in order to qualify for the race. Van Lennep claimed that, rather than increasing, the team decreased downforce to prevent him from qualifying. That would save the engine another 300 km of race wear.

          1. @matthijs – very interesting :) (even if it turns out to be an urban legend)

    2. @phylyp that was nice yes, but you know who had a better race than Sainz? Albon…

      Hamilton made two mistakes, crashed behind the safety car, that is a automatic struggler.

      1. @johnmilk – agreed re. Albon – he was very impressive.

  3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    31st July 2019, 13:45

    It just seems impossible for Leclerc to be considered a struggler… Germany last year, rin and he was awful. Germany this year, Rain and he crashed. Every wet quilifying session last year, (yea not many) but Ericsson beat him each time. Leclerc also binned it in Monaco. Germany last year, Monaco this year and the latest weekend. All were really really poor and he just doesn’t ever seem to get his bad performances recognised as much as other drivers. That is 2 races this year Leclerc has been responsible for his retirement.

    1. “I’m not sore about Leclerc ending Ericsson’s career in F1, but …”

      1. Leclerc is fast, but prone to make mistakes. Very similar to Grosjean. If he’s on it, he’s 100% on it – otherwise he’s nowhere.

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          31st July 2019, 22:36

          Don’t forget how young Leclerc is. It’s quite amazing what he is pulling of and it’s logical that he will make mistakes.

  4. Honestly, Bottas’s performance was appalling. I can’t believe he couldn’t overtake Stroll.
    If I remember correctly, it took Verstappen half a lap and Vettel two laps to pass him.

    1. @carbon_fibre
      Forget Verstappen, forget Vettel … Kvyat needed a single lap to catch and pass Stroll.

      1. Forget Verstappen,


        it took Verstappen half a lap

        Kvyat needed a single lap

        thats double the distance VER needed.

        1. @ erkje
          Not the point I was trying to make. My point is that Verstappen (like Vettel and Bottas) had a car at his disposal that was inherently a second per lap faster than Stroll’s. Kvyat … didn’t.
          Think about it this way: If you wanted to embarrass Bottas (which is what @carbon_fibre was getting at), would you rather tell him “It took Verstappen just half a lap and Vettel just two laps to pass Stroll”, or would you tell him “It took Kvyat just one lap to pass Stroll, in a Toro Rosso“. Methinks that, unless one were really, really preoccupied with making it absolutely clear that Verstappen is teh greatest driver, that bit about Kvyat is a much better choice.

        2. @ erikje
          Also, I checked the replay, because I couldn’t shake the feeling you were comparing apples and oranges. I said “a single lap”, because I looked at the lap chart and saw that Kvyat was within striking distance of Stroll on lap 50, and ahead of Stroll on lap 51. That “single lap” was just the smallest unit of granularity of the source I used.
          The side-by-side comparison of Verstappen’s and Kvyat’s overtakes, however, tells a different story:
          – Verstappen caught Stroll on the approach to Sachs curve (time stamp 1:34:47 of the replay) and overtook him almost immediately after activating his DRS on the “Parabolika” section (time stamp 1:35:32) => 45 seconds to complete the pass
          – Kvyat caught Stroll in turn 10 (the quick right-hander leading out of the Mercedes section; time stamp 1:38:43) and overtook him shortly after the DRS activation point (time stamp 1:39:34) => 51 seconds to complete the pass
          In other words: Kvyat didn’t take “double the distance VER needed”, but nearly 13% more. I’m inclined to say that this difference is negligible. Kvyat did catch Stroll a little bit earlier than Verstappen, but seeing as there was not a single overtaking spot between where he caught him and the Parabolika, he effectively needed half a lap, just like Verstappen. But in a Toro Rosso. See, Valtteri? It’s not rocket science …

    2. And he was close to half a second off Hamilton in qualifying. Incredibly good lap from Hamilton or not, that’s wayyy too much if he ever wants to be WDC. iirc (but this may be wrong), whenever Hamilton did a great lap against Rosberg, there was never really that much of a gap – may 1-2 tenths.

    3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      31st July 2019, 17:51

      i feel some don’t realise that this race, an overtake on the same tyres a lot of the time sort of required a mistake from the driver ahead in these conditions. Either that or you have a different compound that suits the conditons better. I’m pretty sure Stroll admited to a mistake that let Kvyat by so soon. When Bottas was behind Stroll, he was driving perfectly and didn’t create an opertunity for Bottas to pass. On these tyres, going off line can cause big issues as hamilton and Bottas (and loads of others) found out. If a driver makes a mistake, they loose speed and the other driver can gain from that and that was the main time drivers managed to overtake really. If people critisize Bottas for not finding a way by Stroll, then look at hamilton. he couldn’t get by Grosjean. And very likely had the same issue as Bottas. They likely both will have had to wait for an error from the driver ahead. I do think the mercedes seems to struggle behind other cars a lot of the time more so then Red Bull and Ferrari. It is rare to see Hamilton struggle, but he really did this race and until Bottas crashed, his race actually looked far worse than Bottas overall. He ended up having 6 stops and I think at least 2 were because of damage he caused.

      Regarding Verstappen and Vettel overtaking Bottas, that didn’t happen. Verstappen could not get by Bottas to begin with. Bottas shoud have beaten Verstappen in qualifying, but in the race and the wet, I think Red Bull had an advantage over mercedes. Despite being quicker, he couldn’t get past. As I said before, I think it was just because overtaking was to difficult without the driver ahead making an error, which Bottas didn’t really for the majority of the race. Verstappen got ahead due to strategy and good thinking by Red Bull. He didn’t overtake Bottas on track. And Vettel also didn’t as he was behind the whole time Bottas was in the race.

      Given how poor Hamilton looked regarding overtaking and spinning, I don’t think Bottas should be this heavily critisized. Hamilton may have been quicker in the first stint by a long way, but as soon as he made his first mistake, he was constantly making more and almost did the identical mistake thet ended Bottas’s race. As I said, he also had a stage of the race he couldn’t get by much slower cars. This was not just the mercedes drivers underperforming. Vettel had the same problem behind Kimi and I’m sure there were enough other situations just like this too.

      1. Meh! You’ll always prop up Bottas by using Lewis as a step. He was awful. End of.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          31st July 2019, 18:20

          and you make no effort to go into detail. i did not just use hamilton. plenty of other drivers relied on strategy, and mistakes from other drivers to get ahead of them. I’m not just basing it on bottas. But one of my points was that i don’t understand why he is not getting critisized compared to Bottas given his hype for wet weather driving as wellll as being the best on the grid… his performnce was surely even more awful by his own standards? Especially given his attitude was bad enough that if the team didn’t force him to continue, he would likely have retired before Bottas. Sorry for defending him, but Bottas’s drive looked decent until that 1 small mistake had a unfortunate outcome.

  5. Alex Albon was *the* star of the race. Real shame he wasn’t rewarded.

    Also, can we just start making it standard that Verstappen is involved? He seems to be in it every time.

    1. Surprised he wasn’t a star tbh. Only thing against him is that he finished behind his teammate, which only happened because his teammate was out of the points and therefore was able to take a risk.

    2. I do like Albon, but rewatch last laps one more time (or youtube highlights). When he was afraid to battle with Hamilton he lost three positions with really poor driving on this particular lap. He did good but not great, even for the first time in wet, and really needs more confidence.

    3. THANK YOU!

  6. Vettel was a starperformer just cause he started dead last….and finished 2nd….. how did he actually do racing and what was his distance to Verstappen..? The gap before and after each series of pitstops:

    Lap 1> 9.5 lap 5> 9.9 sec, gained 0.4 sec
    Lap 22> 35.4 lap 31> 10.3 sec, gained ~15 sec
    Lap 40> 26.5 lap 43> 17 sec, , gained ~10 sec
    Lap 57 18 sec > after SC 2.8 sec, gained ~15 sec
    Gap on the finish line was 7.3 sec

    Vettels gap to Verstappen was much bigger than showed… even close up to a minute, he gained massive time during pitstops and SC. Vettel lacked pace and was hardly ever faster on track than Verstappen…in fact he lost shocking much time racing. Verstappens spin can be labeled as an imperfection….though compared to Vettels worrying pace it hardly compares.

    1. during the race I thought his performance was meh! but as always he chose to ‘try to win’ by being one of the earliest drivers on slicks during the first pit stops who didn’t make a hash of it!.
      Towards the end when the track was drying and even on intermediates while some of the grid had opted for slicks he set a FL.
      What’s interesting is that both his and Verstappens strategies were almost identical! and they proved to be the fastest way to the finish, the only difference being their starting positons

      1. AND racepace… Vettel dropped back massively racing and caught up after each SC.
        Without SC Vettel would have dropped back around a full minute under similar conditions and wouldn’t been rated a star perfomer probably

        1. That’s because Vettel’s new turbo malfunctioned at the start of the race too. He drove an ailing car all race.

  7. Sainz: some canny tyre calls = star performer
    Kvyat: gambles = the rest
    Nice and non-biased as always!

  8. LoL. Yeah yeah, keep on hyping up Russell.

  9. Why is Sainz a star? For the pitstop calls? Cause other than that he wasn’t stellar: he spun and lost a minute to get back going, he had some pace but not enough to slice through the field, and basically was beaten by Stroll and Kvyiat lesser cars. In a race where Ham, Bot , Leclerc and Gasly are all DNF or very far away, a 5th place for Sainz doesn’t mean much (kinda equals to a 9th in a normal race). He was supposed to be Verstappen-like in the rain…

  10. You forgot to mention that Vettel had MORE turbo problems in the race, even with a brand new turbo. It’s a big reason why he couldn’t make up much ground in the middle part of the race and why he lost something like a second per lap to Leclerc.

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