Formula 1 is the big winner
Great races at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone meant Hockenheim had some pressure on it to deliver. What we got in Germany surpassed the previous two events by some distance. It was an all-time classic which had everything.
. Problems for Ferrari in qualifying
. Both Mercedes drivers making errors
. Chaos at turn 16
. Verstappen’s masterclass when he got into the lead
. Toro Rosso’s first podium since Monza 2008
. Sebastian Vettel charging from the back of the grid to 2nd
. Racing Point’s bold and brilliant dry tyre call helps Stroll claim a superb P4
. Kubica’s first point since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
. Magnussen and Grosjean touching yet again
Mixed conditions usually deliver some unpredictability – but yesterday produced more twists and turns than a soap opera. It was compelling and exhilarating viewing.
Three incredible races on the spin shows how good the sport can be when the racing is like this. Let’s hope we see plenty more thrilling action across the remainder of 2019.
Bottas blows a golden opportunity
It’s very rare that Lewis Hamilton has an off day, but that was the case at Hockenheim. Following his two big errors, it opened the door for Valtteri Bottas to take some points out of his British team-mate. Unfortunately, he blew it.
Running 4th and struggling to overtake Lance Stroll for the final podium place, he crashed at the exit of turn 1 with less than 10 laps to go. Instead of gaining around 15 points on Hamilton, he finds himself a further two points behind. The gap is now 41 points in the championship, with Verstappen now just 22 behind the Finn.
Yesterday’s costly mistake has upped the pressure on him to retain his drive. Esteban Ocon is waiting in the wings...
Ferrari let their drivers down again
While there have been errors from both Charles Leclerc (including yesterday) and Sebastian Vettel this year, their team has consistently let them down, too.
Incredibly, Sebastian Vettel couldn’t even a complete lap in qualifying before a turbo problem left him stranded in his box and at the back of the field. Things got even worse for the famous Italian squad as Leclerc couldn’t take part in Q3 thanks to a fuel system problem.
Across qualifying sessions and races this year, there have been reliability troubles in Bahrain, France, Austria and Germany.
For a team who was once the benchmark for reliability, they’ve been languishing towards the bottom of that list this year. It’s simply not acceptable.
Kvyat’s amazing weekend
This was the story of the German Grand Prix meeting. Over 3 years after he last stood on an F1 podium, Daniil Kvyat got to taste the podium champagne yesterday.
A points finish seemed unlikely after qualifying with the Russian down in P14 on the grid. The rain gave the smaller teams a chance, however. Toro Rosso’s fantastic decision to put the Russian on dry tyres lap 45 – just as the Safety Car period ended – put him in with a shout of a podium position.
He moved all the way up to 3rd after everyone else came in to switch to dries. Kvyat passed Stroll to take P2. Despite Sebastian Vettel overtaking him on the penultimate lap, the Russian crossed the line in a wonderful P3. At the most criticial stage of the race, he showed great pace and combined with a great call from his team, it saw him end up on the rostrum.
It was a beautiful moment after the incredibly difficult times in 2016 and 2017 – and he also became a father last weekend, too. A couple of days he’ll never forget. Congratulations, Daniil.
Renault’s terrible season continues
2019 has turned into one bad weekend after another for the Renault team. Germany was another fine example of that as the team and drivers failed to perform.
Daniel Ricciardo did a poor job in Q2 and got knocked out. His team let him in down in the race as an exhaust failure in the early stages saw him retire. The Australian is now a lowly 11th in the standings following yesterday’s race.
As for Nico Hulkenberg, there was more heartbreak for him. From P9 on the grid, he found himself up in 4th very quickly. He ran as high as 2nd before crashing out of the race on lap 39 when running in P4. It was another great opportunity spurned by the German to claim that elusive first podium.
Renault’s disastrous day saw them drop a place to 6th in the Constructors’ Championship. They’re now a whopping 31 points behind McLaren in the best of the rest fight.
For a team with such big resources compared to almost all of the other midfield runners, their performance is unacceptable right now.