Where to begin? Post German GP
Hockenheimring in a rainy day delivered one of the most memorable races in years
The race started with 3 formation laps due to weather conditions which gave enough time for the FIA directors to decide whether its a rolling start race or a regular standing start race. From the very beginning of these laps it was clear that the more experienced drivers were keen to begin already favourably from standing, while the young drivers needed this time to get a hold of the slippery circuit.
The weather radars were quite optimistic at the start, but as the race progressed it was clear that the sun woun't come out today and the rain will be heavier. This massively affected the start, which divided to grid into 2 groups: drivers who slipped and spinned their cars into the lap and drivers who managed to hold a grip of their car. Verstappen for instance, although starting 2nd, spinned and lost the grip ending somewhere 5th-6th but managed to get it back before it was too late. Kimi Raikkonen on the other hand, started 5th but his terrific rain-condition skills got him to 3rd very quickley.
I'm 100% sure that each and every driver slipped and found himself outside of the circuit, sometime during the race, even if it wasn't broadcasted. For some, it was final - Perez, Leclerc, Hulkenberg, Bottas & Gasly had a very disappointing race, mostly because most of them just couldn't handle the wet conditions. Lets remember that driving during heavy rains is something that they train for and part of every F1 driver's career. All 5 should look carefully and see what went wrong.
A big problem of this GP was the backup strategies for wet conditions. it seemed as if the rain completely ruined the standard tyre strategies and left every team principle puzzled and in total chaos concerning which tyre is best for the further laps. The wet\intermediate tyres couldn't get enough heat in given times while the soft\medium ones couldn't get enough grip. This ended in what seemed to be a chaotic yet staggering 5 pitstops on avarage for each driver, full of small technical failures which costed precious seconds.
In my opinion, this race redefined F1 in wet conditiones. Teams should work harder on backup strategies, Pirelli should work harder on compoundes that woun't lack heat and most importantly - drivers should simulate these conditions much better, since this looked like a race during 1960's in terms of handling rain.
Highlights & Lowlights
The winner of this mayhem was driving phenomenally from the very beginning. He had so many problems and slipps, but still managed to win after all. This says a lot about Horner and his team as well - who were by far the best team in terms of strategy. The Dutch didn't drive - he was fighting to survive, and it payed off. In case people tought that the Austrian GP was unique, it wasn't. When Hamilton is not around - Verstappen shows that his potential is enormous.
Vettel is no less than THE driver of the race. Although starting 20th, he finished 2nd in race like no other. Vettel's memory from 2018 Hockenheim is terrible, but this time he finally managed to finish on the podium and put behind him, even for one weekend, the difficulties of the current season. Verstappen won, but Vettel was the absolute favourite. This also shows that sometimes this sport requires years of experience. Luckily for Ferrari, Vettel drove like a beast since Leclerc met the wall after driving neurotically.
Finishing 3rd means a lot for the Russian driver, who acheived Toro Rosso's first podium in 11 years! Kvyat drove great, hardly skidded out of the circuit and managed to take his tyres to the absolute limit with a winning strategy. A strategy that you would have expect from Mercedes and Ferrari.
“It’s hard to swallow. I’m sorry for the team, because we deserved this, the team did a good job, especially today in the race with strategy and everything. It was all good up until that point, but you have to do all the laps.” said Hulkenberg, who personally made me surprisingly upset watching him loses his 2nd place for a nano-second long mistake in turn 16, in his home race. Renault isn't doing well in general, but for me, it is harsh watching Hulkenberg losing like this.
In a race with 7 DNFs, the few drivers who score points deserve it only for finishing. Although Raikkonen finished 12th - he managed to slip aside only one time and was the only driver who controlled his car brilliantly (in Finnish its called "Sisu"). This is what 19 seasons in F1 looks like. Magnificant.
In one single race Hamilton managed to start 1st, to finish 9th, to slip, to smash his front wing, to suffer a horrendous 50 seconds pitstop, being under investigation twice and being penalised with 5 seconds extra. Deffinitely not his avarage race. Its amazing how this race was so thrilling that Hamilton's penalty was the least interesting incident. Mercedes are probably still satisified, even though their 125th anniversary for taking part in motorsports was spolied, since all seems quite circumstantial and nothing reflects on future GPs. This doesn't mean they shouldn't prepare much better strategies for wet days.
When everyone collides - Haas doesn't. Grosjean & Magnussen almost collided with each other as usual, but managed to stay focussed and out of damage. Lets just hope that the two woun't wait only for races like this, for staying clear of troubles.
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