F1 – German GP – Race
The Hockenheimring hosts the 11th race of the 2019 FIA F1 World Championship – possibly for the last time. Did you know that approval for the construction plans for this race circuit (which was originally called Dreieckskurs) was given in 1931 – on Christmas Day!
After a strange qualifying session yesterday, Lewis Hamilton ended up taking a comfortable pole position. However, the British driver has been feeling unwell all weekend, and he actually had more poor laps than good laps through qualifying. The feeling within the paddock is that Lewis would struggle today – and that proved to be correct. Max Verstappen started 2nd ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly. The Ferrari drivers started down in 10th & 20th after mechanical issues in qualifying.
As it turned out, qualifying positions would not matter at all this weekend. Today would be the type of race where blunders are inevitable, and the successful drivers would be the ones who make the fewest mistakes. The rain and subsequent drying track, followed by more rain, and another period of drying, caused absolute chaos with the strategies. In addition, numerous cars found the barriers.
Lewis Hamilton led away, but slid off into the barriers at the final turn (causing a damaged front wing). This, combined with a dramatic spin later in the race – along with inconsistent pace (probably caused by his illness) resulted in the championship leader finishing in 11th place. When was the last time he completed a race outside the points?!
Charles Leclerc probably had a chance to win today, despite starting 10th. The pace of the Monegasque driver was superb until he slid off at the final turn and had to retire from the race. That final corner was incredibly slippy and claiming lots of victims. You know, we learned something significant this weekend. For over a decade there has been an on-going argument regarding run-off areas; grass, gravel or tarmac? I think we may have found a solution here with wet tarmac. I need to think about this a bit more, but I might well be formally submitting this idea to the FIA for consideration going forward.
I’m sure Valtteri Bottas had a chance to win today, but he seemed to lack pace during certain critical phases of the race.
As it turns out; Max Verstappen won the event by 7.3s from Sebastian Vettel – who started dead last! In third place was Daniil Kvyat to take his third podium in F1, and Toro Rosso’s first podium since Monza 2008. Daniil was extremely consistent with his pace today and Toro Rosso executed brilliant strategy on his car to secure the podium. Lance Stroll was 4th for Racing Point, their best ever result in F1, after some superb strategy calls from the pit wall. Rounding out the top five was Carlos Sainz, despite going off the road three times on the opening lap, and also getting stuck near the barriers at one point!
Outside the top five; Alexander Albon finished 6th – similar race to Kvyat, albeit with one spin – hence the lower position. The Alfa Romeo drivers finished 7th & 8th with Kimi Raikkonen leading home Antonio Giovinazzi. Finally, rounding out the points were the Haas drivers – despite them lightly colliding during the race – with Romain Grosjean ahead of Kevin Magnussen.
That race was incredible. F1 has gotten a lot of criticism for “boring” races over the last few years – but that was just as exciting as any Formula E race. It really shows the potential this series has – even though the regulations are currently working against excitement.