When the race began at Hockenheim, Sebastian Vettel was in the driver’s seat – with rival Hamilton starting on 14th and Ricciardo back all the way on 19th, his pole position aiding his championship challenge. But by the end of the race, with some unwelcome showers partly to blame, Vettel had crashed into a tyre wall with Hamilton on point followed by Valtteri Bottas with Kimi Raikkonen hanging on to third.
At the start Vettel managed to to get the hole shot and build up a decent lead while Hamilton back on the grid was banking on soft tyres to keep him out for long enough. After dropping back he began his challenge run and managed to bring himself up to sixth by the eleventh lap.
Ricciardo had similarly fought his way up the grid from his penalty induced last row start but his issues with car continued as he quietly pulled off.
It looked like pit strategy would also favour Ferrari as they managed to get Raikkonen off ultrasofts and on to softs and back out ahead of Hamilton. At one point Raikkonen also lead the race.
But that meant he was ahead of Vettel who had fresher tyres and team orders came into play moving Vettel back on point. When Hamilton was finally called in with only a third of the race to go, he swapped his soft tyres for ultrasofts.
That’s when the rain hit, sending Verstappen, LeClerc, Gasly and Alonso in for wet tyres, but the rain eased off and there was another rush to switch back. LeClerc managed to recover from a spin and the gravel trap, putting gravel on the track and getting the safety car out, although belatedly.
Vettel was another of the victims, following Perez spinning off and this time it almost looked like he was going into the tyre wall Sachskurve in slow motion, with very visible reaction once he got out of the car.
The fresh safety car saw the two leaders Bottas and Raikkonen dive into the pits for new tyres, but Hamilton stayed out (perhaps on instinct) despite being called in. The flick towards pitlane and back out on the grass verge called for an investigation, but Hamilton was let off later with a reprimand. This move saw him tailing the safety car and it was a position he didn’t let go off till the end, partly due to team orders.
The podium saw Hamilton top Bottas and Raikkonen as the skies finally opened up. Verstappen managed a decent fourth place, while Hulkenberg brought his Renault in fifth ahead of Grosjean’s Haas.
Lewis Hamilton said post-race, “I’ve never experienced a race quite like this. I knew sitting on the grid that I had to catch the guys at the front – that was my goal. I did a very long first stint, but I had to stop just before it started to rain as the tyre just couldn’t hold out any longer. It rained more and more and it was so tricky out there, but I’d come so far, there was no way I was giving it up. To get the 1-2 for Mercedes, especially on a weekend when the Team showed their confidence in us by re-signing us, is tremendous. I would never have thought you could do something like that today but I just kept pushing, I kept believing and it happened. I prayed as I always do before the race, and it feels like those prayers were answered. There was a lot of negativity this weekend, but I feel like the rain has come down and washed away all of that negativity. It’s been a real dream and a day I’ll always remember.”
2018 Formula 1 Drivers
|Car No||Name||Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||216||168|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||146||200|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India||57||100|
|31||Esteban Ocon||Force India||49||87|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||29||0|
|28||Brendan Hartley||Toro Rosso||4||0|
2018 Formula 1 Teams
|Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|Red Bull Racing||362||368|
|Force India Mercedes||47||187|
|Toro Rosso Honda||33||53|
2018 Formula 1 Races
|Mexico||28/10/2018||Max Verstappen||Sebastian Vettel||Kimi Raikkonen|
|United States||21/10/2018||Kimi Raikkonen||Max Verstappen||Lewis Hamilton|
|Japan||07/10/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Max Verstappen|
|Russia||20/09/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Sebastian Vettel|
|Singapore||16/09/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen||Sebastian Vettel|
|Italy||02/09/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen||Valtteri Bottas|
|Belgium||26/08/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen|
|Hungary||29/07/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Sebastian Vettel||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Germany||22/07/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Britain||08/07/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Austria||01/07/2018||Max Verstappen||Kimi Raikkonen||Sebastian Vettel|
|France||24/06/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Max Verstappen||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Canada||10/06/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Max Verstappen|
|Monaco||27/05/2018||Daniel Ricciardo||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton|
|Spain||13/05/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Valtteri Bottas||Max Verstappen|
|Azerbaijan||29/04/2018||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen||Sergio Perez|
|China||15/04/2018||Daniel Ricciardo||Valtteri Bottas||Kimi Raikkonen|
|Bahrain||04/04/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Valtteri Bottas||Lewis Hamilton|
|Australia||25/03/2018||Sebastian Vettel||Lewis Hamilton||Kimi Raikkonen|