Lewis wins German Grand Prix from 14th
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport retake the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship lead with their second one-two of the season, fighting changeable conditions and tough strategy calls to deliver a stunning home result in Germany.
Eventual winner Lewis Hamilton started a lowly P14 on the grid after hydraulic issues in Qualifying, six rows behind teammate Valtteri Bottas who charged away from P2 alongside Sebastian Vettel at ‘lights out’.
As Valtteri chased the leader on Ultras, Lewis made short work of traffic on the Soft tyre compound and jumped into the Top 10 by Lap 5. This electric pace continued through the first stint, delivering P5 just 10 laps later and shifting the Team’s focus to the cars ahead.
Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Valtteri continued to trade fastest laps with race leader Vettel, keeping the pressure on and the gap separating the two cars below 4 seconds. As predicted by Pure Pit Wall, Vettel then pitted for the Soft compound tyre on Lap 25.
Bottas continued his relentless charge at the front of the field with personal bests over the next three laps, free from the dirty air of the Ferrari. “Box, box, box” came for car 77 on Lap 28 as Ricciardo stopped on circuit – a small chance of a Safety Car perhaps? That would have to wait until later in the race, it turned out.
Following this short period of yellows, the pitlane’s eyes turned to the darkening skies as the Top 5 circulated as follows; Raikkonen, Vettel, Hamilton (who was yet to stop), Bottas, Verstappen. Rain was now very much a threat to proceedings, confirmed by Bottas’ Race Engineer Tony Ross on Lap 41 as ‘8 minutes’ away from the circuit.
It was Hamilton’s turn to pit on Lap 43, fitting Ultrasoft tyres to his Mercedes-AMG W09 EQ Power+ and resuming the race in P4, already a brilliant net gain of 10 places. Not long after, the weather information proved valid as rain began to fall on Turns 2 and 6 – Lewis was now in his element. Fresh rubber, tricky conditions, and hesitant rivals.
Over the course of the next eight laps Lewis was the quickest car on circuit by nearly four seconds, lapping in the mid-1m16’s versus the front-runners’ pace of 1m20+. Valtteri was making moves too, passing Raikkonen for P2 amongst traffic at the aptly-named ‘Mercedes’ Turns 8-9-10 complex.
In a shocking turn of events, Lap 51 saw race leader Vettel crash out of the race lead and Valtteri briefly inherited P1 before the Safety Car was deployed, prompting the team to pit for fresh Ultrasoft tyres. Raikkonen followed suit, and despite some communication confusion resulting in a quick trip across the grass of the final turn, Lewis now had track position as the leader of the German Grand Prix.
The race restarted on Lap 58 and Valtteri wasn’t about to hold back. Challenging for the lead through Turns 6, 7 and 8, Bottas’ fresher Ultrasofts proved difficult for Lewis to hold back, but the fight subsided as the Team sought to consolidate their current home advantage.
Nine laps later the Silver Arrows met the chequered flag P1 and P2, with a side-by-side parade lap in front of the home crowd to celebrate this unlikely but well-deserved result.
Pure Pit Wall recorded a huge 78 overtakes in total, with the addition of a third DRS zone helping to produce 42 of these moves.
Lewis Hamilton (188 points) leads the Drivers’ Championship by 17 points from Sebastian Vettel (171 points), with Valtteri Bottas climbing to P4 (122 points). Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (310 points) lead the Constructors’ Championship by 8 points from Ferrari (302 points).
Find out how Pure Storage gives Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport an #UnfairAdvantage at PurePitWall.com as we build up to this weekend’s Hungarian GP.