2019 German Grand Prix
The 2019 German Grand Prix (formally known as the Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Großer Preis von Deutschland 2019) was a Formula One motor race which was held on 28 July 2019 at the Hockenheimring in Germany. The race was the eleventh race of the 2019 Formula One World Championship.
Formally known as the “Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Großer Preis von Deutschland 2019” this was a Formula One race held on 28 July 2019. The event took place at the Hockenheim ring near Hockenheim in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was the eleventh round of twenty-one in the 2019 Formula One World Championship, the 78th running of the German Grand Prix and the 64th time it was run as part of the World Championship since the inaugural 1950 season.
Mercedes announced that they would be running a different livery in tribute to the Silver Arrows’ heritage at this weekend’s German Grand Prix as Mercedes-Benz celebrate their 125th year of competing in motorsport, and their 200th F1 start. Racing Point announced that they would bring a “two step” upgrade package to the weekend and the struggling Williams team announced that they too would be bringing an upgrade package. Haas announced that they would have to split their car setups for the second race running as a result of the inter-team crash at the previous race in Britain with Kevin Magnussen’s car also carrying extra upgrades.
Championship standings before the race
Heading into the weekend it was Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes who held a lead of 39 and 164 points in the drivers and constructors championships respectively. The size of their leads meant that both were confirmed to still be leading their respective championships after the weekend regardless of the race result.
Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice session followed by Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc in second with Lewis Hamilton third fastest. The session passed mostly without incident with the exception being Kevin Magnussen after his car failed causing a brief red flag.
- ^1 – Lando Norris was sent to the back of the grid after taking a third Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (MGU-K), a third Energy Store (ES) and a third Control Electronics (CE). However, because Norris set a qualifying lap time and Vettel did not, he would only drop three positions to 19th.
- ^2 – Sebastian Vettel failed to set a Q1 time within the 107% requirement but was given permission to race at the stewards’ discretion. He also received a 10-place grid penalty for a third Control Electronics (CE), but his starting position remained unchanged as he was due to be starting from the back without the application of any penalties.
The race was scheduled for 67 laps. A rule relevant to a race which has been declared as “wet” at its start was employed at the 2019 German Grand Prix. The rule states that after the formation lap and zero or more additional laps behind the safety car, the race director has three options by which to proceed: a standing start without the safety car, a rolling start without the safety car, or suspending the race.
In this race, after the formation lap and three additional laps behind the safety car, the race director elected to begin the grand prix with a standing start. Accordingly, the race distance was set to 64 laps; all four laps behind the safety car at the beginning of the race were officially scored as formation laps.
Since at race time the track conditions were considered unsuitable due to heavy rain, all 20 cars were obligated to start on wet weather tyres. A standing start was employed after four formation laps. The Red Bulls driven by Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were both very slow off the grid and lost several places each. Kimi Räikkönen took advantage, in 3rd position by the end of the first lap. Both Ferraris, which had suffered mechanical failures in qualifying, had a first lap which saw them better their positions; Leclerc who started in 10th was up to 6th, and Vettel had improved from 20th to 14th. Verstappen, who had dropped down due to his start, passed Räikkönen for 3rd immediately before Sergio Perez spun out past turn 11. This caused the race’s first safety car on lap 2, neutralising the field. As the track began to dry, Sebastian Vettel and Alexander Albon immediately pitted for intermediate tyres, and most other cars in the field did so on their next lap. The safety car period ended at lap 5.
The cars of Magnussen, Stroll, Norris, Russell, and Kubica, all of whom stayed out on their race-start wet weather tyres, quickly found themselves out-classed by those on the faster intermediate tyres due to the drying track. All ultimately pitted for intermediates, but lost several positions for not having done so earlier. Daniel Ricciardo suffered a exhaust failure on lap 14, causing a virtual safety car. On lap 18, Carlos Sainz spun out his McLaren at turn 17 (the final corner of the track), causing only a local yellow before he was able to drive off under his own power. Sainz’s spin would be the first of several – many race-ending – at this corner during the course of the race.
By lap 22, the track had dried sufficiently that teams further down the order decided to risk dry-weather tyres. The first to attempt them was Kevin Magnussen in a Haas on soft tyres, followed shortly after by Sebastian Vettel. Max Verstappen pitted from 3rd position and was fitted with medium tyres. Valtteri Bottas then pitted on lap 27 from 2nd and was also fitted with mediums. Almost immediately after Bottas’s pit, Verstappen lost control of his car and performed a 360 degree spin on track, but managed to recover.
Lando Norris’s car lost power on track on lap 26, prompting a second deployment of the virtual safety car. Many teams took the opportunity to pit their drivers for dry weather tires, including Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton. A notable exception was Carlos Sainz; with McLaren putting on a fresh set of intermediate tyres. As Hamilton was leaving the pits on soft tyres, Leclerc spun into the tyre barrier at turn 17 just before the start-finish line. This ended his race, and prompted the second full safety car of the day. At the end of the lap, Hamilton, now in the lead behind the safety car, also lost control at turn 17, damaging his front wing and returning into the pit lane. The team was not ready for him, and Hamilton endured a 50.3 second pit stop in which his front wing was replaced and he had switched back onto intermediate tyres. It became clear to all teams at this point that dry weather tyres were not viable, and all teams were back on intermediate tyres by the time the second safety car period ended at lap 34.
At the beginning of lap 34, the top five drivers in order were Verstappen, Hülkenberg, Bottas, Albon, and Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel, who had started last, was now racing in 8th. Shortly after the safety car restart, Hamilton was found to have entered the pit lane on the wrong side of a safety bollard during the safety car, and was penalised five seconds. Meanwhile, on track, Bottas and Hamilton dispatched cars ahead of them to race 2nd and 3rd behind Verstappen. Kimi Räikkönen avoided beaching his car in a turn 17 gravel trap on lap 39, losing numerous places. One lap later, Nico Hülkenberg slid into another gravel trap on the same corner, and was unable to free his car. This brought out the third safety car of the day. A few drivers including race leader Verstappen pitted during this safety car period. All drivers who did so kept intermediate tyres, with one notable exception: Lance Stroll, who was the only driver to take slick tyres. The third safety car period ended on lap 46.
By this point in the race, what light rain had been falling had stopped, and a clear dry line had formed on the track. Half the field pitted on lap 46 for dry weather tyres, including Verstappen and Bottas. Hamilton took the lead ahead of both. All other drivers on intermediates, Hamilton included, pitted on lap 47 for slick tyres. Hamilton, because of his previous five second penalty, was relegated to 12th position after his stop. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll, the only driver to take slicks during the previous safety car, briefly inherited the lead of the race. Verstappen and then Kvyat soon passed him, leaving Stroll in 3rd.
The next several laps of the race saw Verstappen extend his race lead to more than ten seconds. Sebastian Vettel, who had started lap 46 in 8th, began showing pace on dry tyres and moving through the midfield. The field was frozen once again on lap 56, when Valtteri Bottas, running in 4th, slid off track and into a tyre barrier, suffering front wheel damage that would end his race. Verstappen’s 10 second lead disappeared as Bottas’s shunt brought out the fourth and final safety car of the race. Sebastian Vettel, who had by this point moved up to 5th position, would find himself in a favourable position to attack the frontrunners at race-end.
The safety car caused by Bottas’s crash ended on lap 60. Pierre Gasly’s car suffered terminal damage when he collided with Alexander Albon two laps later. Verstappen extended his race lead once again, pulling over 7 seconds ahead of 2nd position by the final lap. Vettel was able to pass Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll, and Daniil Kvyat to finish in 2nd after starting the race in last. Kvyat, finishing 3rd, achieved Toro Rosso’s first podium since Vettel’s victory at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen won his 2nd race in the last 3, also picking up the fastest lap and the driver of the day award.
After the race, both Alfa Romeo drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi were penalised 30 seconds for use of driver aids at the start. This relegated them to 12th and 13th, respectively. The penalties moved Hamilton up to 9th and prevented Mercedes from leaving the race without points. It further allowed Robert Kubica, bumped up to 10th, to earn his and Williams’s first points in 2019.
- ^1 – Includes one point for fastest lap.
- ^2 – Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi originally finished 7th and 8th respectively, but both had 30 seconds added to their race times for use of driver aids at the start.
- ^3 – Pierre Gasly was classified as he completed more than 90% of the race distance.
Championship standings after the race
- Only the top five positions for each set of standings are shown.
Constructors’ Championship standings
|3||Red Bull Racing-Honda||217|
|3||5||Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda||42|