A rain-hit German F1 GP at the Hockenheim circuit was sensational, with Max Verstappen emerging as the winner as many others found themselves wanting on the tricky track.
The on-again-off-again rain caused havoc with the teams and drivers, with almost all cars pitting five or six times to change tyres to cope with the variable conditions. The entire field started on wets, with the two Mercedes flying off the line to claim positions one and two into the first corner. The two Red Bull's, however, couldn't get their power to the ground and Max Verstappen was swallowed into the middle of the pack.
On lap four, Sergio Perez put his Racing Point BWT Mercedes into the wall, triggering the first of many pit stops. Most of the field followed Hamilton and Bottas in for a set of intermediates, which proved the right choice as those who remained on full wets found themselves outpaced when the racing got underway again.
This would set the tone for the race as the Safety Car would be called into action countless more times. The Virtual Safety Car made its first appearance after Daniel Ricciardo's Renault gave up, pumping out plumes of smoke with a suspected exhaust failure, then again when Lando Norris lost power in his Mclaren.
By this point, the cars were either driving on intermediates, soft or medium tyres. The penultimate corner would prove to be the undoing of many drivers though, with Charles Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas sliding across the slippery outer track and into the barriers. Even championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, found himself skidding into the gravel but had enough momentum to get through, albeit with a broken front wing.
This incident would cause chaos for the Brit, who had a disastrous day, as he entered the pits beyond the bollard denoting the last point of entry and earning a 5-second penalty. The pit crew weren't ready for him either, scrambling for a new nose cone, which delayed his pit stop, dropping him to fifth from first place. He took his penalty during the next stop but after spinning at Turn 1, he required another set of tyres.
By this point, Hamilton found himself near the back of the grid after six pit stops, eventually finishing in 11th place and, for the first time in the hybrid era, out of the points.
Verstappen and Red Bull, on the other hand, had their finger on the button, managing to correctly predict the correct tyres all but once during his five pit stops. Although he found himself doing a 360 while wearing the mediums, he rejoined in third, eventually gambling on the softer compound to see him through to the end of the race.
Through all the turmoil, Sebastien Vettel, who started last on the grid in his Red Bull after failing to post a time in qualifying, drove a patient and considered race, eventually finishing second after claiming seven places in the last 15 laps.
An emotional Daniil Kvyat, whose wife gave birth the night before, claimed a surprise third in his Toro Rosso, only their second podium finish ever.
Another inspired drive was delivered by Racing Point's Lance Stroll, who rolled the dice and was the first to select dry tyres. This decision propelled him briefly into first place, but he was outpaced by Vettel and Kvyat and lost out to Verstappen's pit strategy, eventually taking fourth.
Mercedes were the big losers on the day, their 200th race and the anniversary of 125 years of motorsport, going home without a single point. They are still comfortably leading the Constructors' Championship, and the drivers' standings still see Hamilton and Bottas in first and second.
Check out the highlights of this action-packed Hockenheim F1 GP here.
1 – Max Verstappen – RED BULL RACING HONDA
2 – Sebastian Vettel – FERRARI
3 – Daniil Kvyat – SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA
4 – Lance Stroll – RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES
5 – Carlos Sainz – MCLAREN RENAULT
6 – Alexander Albon – SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA
7 – Romain Grosjean – HAAS FERRARI
8 – Kevin Magnussen – HAAS FERRARI
9 – Lewis Hamilton – MERCEDES
10 – Robert Kubica – WILLIAMS MERCEDES
11 – George Russell – WILLIAMS MERCEDES
12 – Kimi Räikkönen – ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI
13 – Antonio Giovinazzi – ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI
14 – Pierre Gasly – RED BULL RACING HONDA
NC – Valtteri Bottas – MERCEDES
NC – Nico Hulkenberg – RENAULT
NC – Charles Leclerc – FERRARI
NC – Lando Norris – MCLAREN RENAULT
NC – Daniel Ricciardo – RENAULT
NC – Sergio Perez – RACING POINT BWT MERCEDES