What did we learn from the German Grand Prix?

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Germany, Hockenheimringde

What a thrilling race! – thousands of Formula One fans shouted out unanimously after yesterday’s German Grand Prix which turned into the best race so far this season. Max Verstappen secured his second win of the year, but Sebastian Vettel’s storming drive to the second place from the back of the field was at least as entertaining and delightful as the Dutchman’s classy victory.

Vettel’s weekend did not start in the best fashion as he could hardly cover more than an installation lap during the qualifying session when a technical failure on the turbocharger forced him to sit out the session and start the race from the very back of the field. The problem could have not gone in a worse moment as the German wanted to give his home crowd something to cheer about after last year’s dismal result when he crashed out from the lead in the later stages of the race.

On Sunday, however, the heavens opened, turning the Grand Prix into a lottery. Despite being unable to find the grip in the early damp conditions, Vettel avoided any mistakes and delivered dominant performance to storm through the field to second place.

Fighting with the Mercedes drivers in the beginning, Max Verstappen came out on top after Bottas and Hamilton made crucial mistakes to take his second win in the season and seventh carrier victory. Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat completed the podium thanks to his team’s effective strategy and good reactions to the difficult and constantly evolving track conditions.

Just two – Mercedes started the race strongly. With Max Verstappen’s slowly getaway from the grid, things were looking rosy for the reigning champions as Hamilton was leading the race in front of him teammate Bottas. With the track drying out, the team started to fall apart. Hamilton’s visit to the wall around the second-to-last corner was the first moment when the utterly successful outfit lost the momentum. The Briton’s mistake was followed by strategy mistakes, late reactions to the changing track conditions, miscommunication and another driver error from Hamilton before Bottas crashed into the barriers at the first bend. In the end, Mercedes only collected two points thanks to Alfa Romeo’s post-race double punishment.

No panic – Despite leading its second home grand prix, Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are still very much in control in the championship. In the Drivers’ Standings, the Briton managed to increase his lead to his teammate Bottas with the gap now reaching 41 points. Verstappen is third on the list with 63 points adrift the leader while the fourth-placed Vettel is a further 21 points behind the Dutchman. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes is a whopping 148 point clear of Ferrari and 192 points ahead of the third-placed squad Red Bull.

Just outside the podium - Fourth place at Hockenheim was Lance Stroll’s best result since he finished third in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Of his 52 race starts, he finished 13 times in the top ten. So far this year, he has collected points on four occasions with three ninth-place finishes and with his fourth place in Germany.

Eight – Eights teams managed to score points on Sunday. Interestingly, the Toro Rosso and the Haas Ferrari outfits were the two teams scoring points with two cars. The usual suspects, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes only added to their points tally with a solo car.

Miserbale race – Alfa Romeo originally scored ten points on Sunday, but their post-race time penalty demoted them outside the top-ten. Renault was the least successful team in Germany as the French manufacturer lost both its cars during the race. Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire from the race on lap 13 due to an engine-related issue while Nico Hülkenberg crashed out on lap 39 while driving in the fourth position. The Australian engine was his very first internal combustion engine of the season with lots of mileage after Renault elected to use his old unit as they wanted to install a fresh one in Budapest where Riccardo could have better chances for a good result.

Brilliant performance – New father Daniil Kvyat scored his third podium finish on Sunday. His first came with second place at the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix and his last before yesterday was for third at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix. Both were scored while driving for Red Bull Racing.

Only for the second time – Thanks to Kvyat’s third place at Hockenheim, Toro Rosso recorded the second podium finish in its 14-year-long history. The team’s first was famously scored by Sebastian Vettel at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, where his P1 was also the team’s maiden victory.

1m16.645 – Max Verstappen did not only come out victorious on Sunday, but he also set the fastest race lap with a lap time of 1’16.645. Second on this list was Sebastian Vettel with his best time 0.149 behind the Dutchman’s fastest lap. Lewis Hamilton recorded the third fastest race lap, but he was 0.840 seconds down on Verstappen.

Six – Sunday’s challenging and always changing track conditions invited drivers to visit the pit lane on a regular basis. Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen dived into the pits on six occasions, making them the most regular guests in the pit lane. Of the drivers who finished the 64-lap German Grand Prix, it was Kimi Räikkönen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat who completed the least number of pit stops with four occasions.

First point - Robert Kubica’s post-race inheritance of 10th place in Germany meant that the Polish driver scored his first championship point since the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a gap of 3,178 days. Thanks to the tenth place of the Polish driver, Williams scored its first point of the season. The Grove-based outfit last scored points at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix where Lance Stroll finished ninth and Sergey Sirotkin tenth.

Never outside the points – Despite to the errors, Lewis Hamilton scored two championship points on Sunday following penalties for both Alfa Romeo drivers, meaning that the Briton continued his run of points-scoring races. He’s now up to 23 in a row, stretching back to last year’s British Grand Prix.

Storming drive – Saturday indicated that home hero Sebastian Vettel faced another challenging and disappointing home race, but Sunday saw him performing in his best form in rather challenging weather conditions. For the second time in his career, the German finished on the podium after starting from P20 or lower. On home turf on Sunday, Vettel started from the grid and rose 18 places to claim P2 at the flag.