Sundays German Grand Prix from Hockenheim was exciting for what it didn’t produce, another dominant display from Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton crashed, had a 60s pitstop, a 5s penalty, and still extended his lead. That he might as well have this season tied-up is all the more reason that Sunday’s race was exactly what the fans needed.
It was another sea of Orange in the grandstands. The Max Verstappen army continue to support their man in their droves, as evidenced by the rumour that the Dutch Grand Prix is oversubscribed 10-1. So it was a welcome reward to those that had travelled so far. After getting too much wheelspin off the line, both Red Bulls dropped way down the order. Verstappen’s lowly position was consolidated after pitting for medium compound slicks, in damp conditions, and pirouetting over the kerbs before coming back in for inters. He was not alone in struggling in the conditions. First to stick it into the wall was Sergio Perez. The Daniel Ricciardo’s engine went bang on lap 15. Leclerc stuffed it into the wall on lap 28, then Hamilton (almost) did the same, requiring the impromptu disastrous pitstop for a new nose. On lap 53 Bottas made the same mistake with no opportunity for any rectification work, he was out. So when all were losing their heads, the top 5 drivers were Stroll, Verstappen, Kvyat and Sainz. Fortunately for the home fans, the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel was making rapid progress, with the final podium positions: Verstappen, Vettel, Kvyat.
A special mention goes to the last placed podium winner, Danil Kvyat. The young Russian was dumped by Red Bull to make way for Verstappen, then dumped again by Toro Rosso after both sides lost faith in each other. To have beaten the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, this must feel like a very sweet victory indeed.
Next stop, the European driving holiday to the Hungarian Grand Prix.