Mercedes strategy helps Hamilton overhaul Verstappen for Hungary win
Lewis Hamilton stole victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix with four laps left after a strategy switch from his Mercedes Formula 1 team defeated long-time race leader Max Verstappen.
Hamilton swapped to a two-stop strategy in a bid to use fresh tyres to mount a late attack on Red Bull driver Verstappen.
Verstappen held on until the start of lap 67 of 70, when Hamilton used DRS to attack on the outside into the first corner and Verstappen’s "dead" tyres left him powerless in defence on the inside.
A switch to soft tyres for the final three laps allowed Verstappen to at least score a bonus point for fastest lap, as Ferrari’s lead driver Sebastian Vettel completed the podium – more than a minute behind Hamilton.
Verstappen held onto the lead at the start as fellow front-row man Valtteri Bottas locked up attacking on the outside and he made light side-by-side contact with Mercedes team-mate Hamilton, who was further to the outside of the left-hander.
Bottas then had to defend from Hamilton into Turn 2 but locked up again, allowing Hamilton to cut back and sweep by around the outside into Turn 3 – compromising Bottas as they made slight contact and letting Charles Leclerc nip ahead in his Ferrari.
Leclerc also made contact with Bottas in the process and the Mercedes driver’s front wing was broken by this touch, which proved too problematic to continue with beyond lap five, triggering an early pitstop and wrecking Bottas’s race.
At the front, Verstapen quickly established a two-second advantage but Hamilton fought back and was almost inside DRS range when Verstappen – complaining about losing grip – pitted on lap 25.
Mercedes opted to extend Hamilton’s stint six laps beyond Verstappen’s, which dropped him 5.8s behind when he rejoined but Hamilton’s pace on fresh tyres rapidly eliminated the gap.
He had DRS to attack Verstappen within five laps of rejoining, causing Verstappen to defend slightly into Turn 1 just as the race ticked past mid-distance.
Hamilton then took to the outside at Turn 2 but ran wide, slightly onto the run-off, which allowed Verstappen breathing space.
A much more aggressive Hamilton attack followed as they ran side-by-side into Turn 1 lapping Daniel Ricciardo, with Hamilton moving to the again outside for Turn 2.
Hamilton attempted to pass Verstappen on the outside of the fast Turn 4 left-hander but had to abort the move and take to the run-off.
Verstappen requested more engine power in his bid to keep Hamilton out of DRS range but Hamilton was also suffering with brake wear, meaning another attack was not forthcoming.
But Mercedes then rolled the dice by stopping Hamilton again on lap 48, a move Red Bull opted not to cover – giving Hamilton 20 laps to attack a 20-second gap to Verstappen on fresh tyres.
With six laps to go, and Hamilton just 5.5s behind, Verstappen reported his tyres were "dead", and two laps later Hamilton was within DRS range.
He breezed by on the outside into the first corner with superior grip and braking performance, and with Verstappen unable to finish the race on his wrecked rubber the Red Bull dived into the pits for his own fresh tyres and he went on to comfortably set the fastest lap.
Leclerc looked set to complete the podium after an anonymous race from Ferrari, which swiftly faded from the lead battle in the early stages and never looked like recovering. But
Vettel switched to "Plan C", which meant a long final stint on softs and a tall task to make up the time he lost to Leclerc by extending his first stint.
With just under three laps left, Vettel caught Leclerc and dived inside at Turn 1 with an aggressive move to wrest the final podium place.
Carlos Sainz Jr took advantage of Bottas’s strife and a bad start for Pierre Gasly to steal fifth for McLaren, also jumping his team-mate Lando Norris on the opening lap.
Sainz ran in that position throughout the grand prix and then withstood pressure from Gasly in the other Red Bull to finish fifth for the second race in a row.
Norris could have completed a five-six result for McLaren but a problem with the left-rear meant a slow pitstop and that dropped him behind Gasly and the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
He was too far behind to catch or pressure Raikkonen, who matched his best result of the season with seventh.
Bottas’s recovery was limited to eighth place, passing Norris late on, despite Mercedes at one point predicting he could make it back to sixth.
Toro Rosso driver Alex Albon caught and passed team-mate Daniil Kvyat and the Racing Point of Sergio Perez in the final third of the grand prix to complete the top 10 and bag another point.
Romain Grosjean was the race’s only retirement.
The Haas driver ran inside the top 10 early on but slipped back after a long first stint did not pay off, and his car was wheeled into the garage with a water pressure problem with more than 20 laps remaining.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||70||17.796s|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||69||1 Lap|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||69||1 Lap|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|8||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|9||Lando Norris||McLaren/Renault||69||1 Lap|
|10||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||69||1 Lap|
|11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||69||1 Lap|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||69||1 Lap|
|15||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||68||2 Laps|
|16||George Russell||Williams/Mercedes||68||2 Laps|
|17||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||68||2 Laps|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||68||2 Laps|
|19||Robert Kubica||Williams/Mercedes||67||3 Laps|
|–||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||49||Water leak|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||58|
Hungarian GP: Verstappen beats Bottas by 0.018s to first F1 pole
Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula 1 pole position at the 93rd attempt in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver took control on the first runs in Q3 with a lap of 1m14.958s, which put him 0.178 seconds ahead of the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.
While Bottas was able to eclipse Verstappen’s original benchmark time at the second attempt, Verstappen had already banged in a 1m14.572s to clinch pole position by just 0.018s thanks to his pace in the final sector.
Lewis Hamilton was two tenths off the pace in third place ahead of the lead Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who survived spinning backwards into the barrier at the last corner during Q1 to earn fourth.
Sebastian Vettel was half-a-second off the pace in fifth place ahead of the second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, who was almost nine-tenths off Verstappen’s pace.
All of the top six will start Sunday’s race using medium Pirellis having used that tyre to set their times in Q2.
McLaren led the way in the battle for midfield supremacy, with Lando Norris shading Carlos Sainz Jr by 0.052s.
Romain Grosjean took ninth in the Australian Grand Prix-specification Haas, 0.028s faster than the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was bumped to 11th place and quickest of those eliminated in Q2 by Raikkonen’s late lap – missing out by less than half a tenth.
Although Hulkenberg failed to improve on his second run, that was still enough to keep him ahead of fellow non-improvers, Toro Rosso pairing Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat.
Antonio Giovinazzi was 14th for Alfa Romeo having also failed to find time at the second attempt, putting him ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the latest-specification Haas, who was unable to repeat his strong Q1 pace in Q2.
Giovinazzi also faces the threat of a grid penalty for impeding Lance Stroll’s Racing Point at Turn 5, with stewards investigating the incident after the session.
George Russell missed out on a first appearance in Q2 by just 0.053s having been in the top 15 until the last moment in the first segment of qualifying.
Russell had made sure of clear track for his final run by making his attempt just before the rest started their laps, temporarily climbing as high as eighth.
But he was shuffled down the order as others completed their final laps, with Hulkenberg the final driver to get ahead and push him into the Q1 dropzone.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez did enough on his final run to jump ahead of the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who had to back out of his final lap.
Ricciardo was caught in a gaggle of traffic at the last corner ahead of the start of his lap and attempted to find clear air by going around Perez before having to back out of it when the Racing Point driver was unwilling to let him go.
Stroll was 19th in the second Racing Point, eight tenths faster than Williams driver Robert Kubica.
Provisional starting grid
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m14.572s|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||0.878s|
|8||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.280s|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.469s|
|12||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||2.115s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||2.120s|
|16||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||2.537s|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||2.232s|
|19||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||2.970s|
Hungarian GP FP3: Hamilton strikes late to deny Verstappen top spot
Lewis Hamilton topped an ultra-tight final practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel lapped within a tenth of the Formula 1 points leader.
Mercedes driver Hamilton jumped Verstappen’s Red Bull the final moments of Saturday’s session, setting a 1m16.084s to defeat the 21-year-old by just 0.013 seconds.
Vettel wound up 0.082s off the pace in the lead Ferrari to tease a three-way fight for pole in this afternoon’s qualifying session.
The session started 10 minutes later than planned because of the lengthy process of applying cement dust on the exit of the fast Turn 4 left-hander, where a lot of oil had been dropped during the Formula 2 race that preceded FP3.
When the shortened 50-minute session started the drivers kicked up huge clouds of dust at that part of the track and were visibly struggling for grip.
Lap times improved fairly quickly and by mid-session the pace was faster than on Friday, with Verstappen the first man into the 1m17s before Hamilton set the first truly representative soft-tyre run with a 1m17.051s.
He headed a Mercedes one-two at that stage, but with teams having use of an additional set of soft tyres thanks to the rain-hit FP2 the order changed multiple times in the second half of the session as drivers were able to commit to multiple runs.
Verstappen initially shaded Hamilton on his second flying lap, before switching to a fresh set of softs and smashing the 1m17s barrier with a 1m16.489s.
That was quickly beaten by Leclerc and then Bottas, before Hamilton pumped in a 1m16.339s to reassume the lead in the standings ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen.
McLaren’s Lando Norris kicked off the final bout of fresh-tyre runs and jumped to fifth – having briefly run third after the second runs – before the leaders emerged for their final qualifying simulations.
Verstappen lit up the timing screens and jumped 0.242s clear of Hamilton’s benchmark with a 1m16.097s that included the fastest middle and final sectors so far.
Vettel then moved into second place, 0.069s slower than Verstappen, having earlier complained of struggling with a "different car compared to before" during a scruffy session.
Verstappen aborted a second attempt on the same set of tyres as Hamilton wound up for one final run.
Hamilton did not improve his first sector but a personal best in the middle part of the lap and the fastest final sector hauled him back to the top.
Bottas’s first run on his last set of tyres was hurt by a moment through Turn 4 and then quickly catching a slow Racing Point as he approached Turn 5, which triggered a curse from the Finn on the radio to his team.
He finished fourth, ahead of Leclerc, who failed to improve on his final run. The second Red Bull of Pierre Gasly sixth and six tenths off the pace – having reported possible minor front wing damage after running wide on his first set of soft tyres.
Norris was shuffled back to seventh but won the best-of-the-rest fight, with McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr ninth despite complaining of a "horrible" Renault engine that was suffering from "misfires".
The McLarens were split by the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen, while Kevin Magnussen edged Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean to complete the top 10.
At the tail of the field, Williams’s encouraging practice pace continued as George Russell lapped within two seconds of Hamilton’s benchmark, outpacing the Racing Point of Lance Stroll for the second time in three sessions.
Russell was also just half a tenth slower than Alex Albon’s Toro Rosso.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m16.097s||0.013s||16|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m16.684s||0.600s||19|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m17.216s||1.132s||22|
|9||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m17.217s||1.133s||23|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m17.432s||1.348s||21|
|14||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m17.670s||1.586s||17|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m17.929s||1.845s||22|
|17||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.024s||1.940s||19|
|19||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m18.534s||2.450s||20|
Hungarian GP: Gasly leads Red Bull one-two in FP2 disrupted by rain
Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly topped the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, setting the fastest time before the rain came.
The 90-minute session started with rain widely anticipated, meaning teams were eager to get on track to capitalise on the dry conditions.
But they were interrupted by the session being red flagged after three minutes thanks to Alex Albon crashing his Toro Rosso at the final corner.
Albon touched the grass with his left wheels and was pitched sideways into the barrier at the right-hander, subsequently admitting it was "driver error".
After a six-minute delay, the session resumed and with very light rain sporadically falling the drivers headed out on a variety of different tyre compounds while they could still use slicks.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was the first to set a new fastest time, posting a 1m18.289s on mediums that displaced Kimi Raikkonen’s effort from the initial three minutes of running.
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton eclipsed him with a lap of 1m18.110s on hards, which he subsequently lowered to a 1m17.995s.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen then hit the front on mediums, setting a time of 1m17.909s.
But Gasly then set his fastest time, a 1m17.854s, to secure top spot shortly before the track was officially declared wet after 22 minutes when the rain intensified.
Nobody was able to improve in the rest of the session, although everyone except the eliminated Albon did run on intermediates and Carlos Sainz Jr even ran a single lap on slicks.
Verstappen held onto second place with his lap, which was 0.055 seconds slower, ahead of the two Mercedes drivers, with Hamilton ahead of Bottas.
Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo was briefly as high as second with his pace on softs before being shuffled down to fifth fastest, 0.743s off the pace.
Raikkonen ended up as the best-placed Ferrari-powered car in sixth place, ahead of the lead works car of Charles Leclerc, who used mediums for his fastest time.
Nico Hulkenberg put the second Renault eighth using softs, ahead of the similarly-shod Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, also on the red-walled tyres.
Romain Grosjean, still running the Australian GP-specification Haas, was 11th fastest on mediums, 1.195s off the pace ahead of team-mate Kevin Magnussen’s upgraded version, running hards.
Sebastian Vettel ran on hards when the track was dry, ending up 13th and 1.400s off the pace – also having an off-track moment when he cut the Turn 6/7 chicane.
Sainz was best of the McLarens in 14th with a time 1.544s down on medium rubber, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez on hards three-tenths further back.
Lance Stroll also used hards to take 16th place ahead of the soft-shod Williams of George Russell, who was only two seconds off the fastest time.
McLaren driver Lando Norris lost track time early on to a minor hydraulic leak that manifested itself when he first went out, but did use mediums to set 18th fastest time.
Robert Kubica was 19th and slowest of those to set a time, as Albon had not completed a flying lap before his crash.
|1||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m17.854s||–||16|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m17.909s||0.055s||12|
|6||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m18.682s||0.828s||25|
|9||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m18.909s||1.055s||25|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.957s||1.103s||22|
|14||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m19.398s||1.544s||22|
|15||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m19.721s||1.867s||13|
|16||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m19.774s||1.920s||14|
|20||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||–||–||2|
Hungarian GP: Hamilton heads FP1, team-mate Bottas has engine issue
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in opening practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix while Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Valtteri Bottas failed to post a time after an engine problem.
Hamilton headed a three-team fight at the top of the times in the first 90-minute session at the Hungaroring, besting the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
The trio was covered by 0.166 seconds around the 2.7-mile circuit as Pierre Gasly completed the top four.
Charles Leclerc was out of position in the second Ferrari in sixth and that, combined with Bottas’s trouble, allowed Kevin Magnussen to kickstart Haas’s weekend with the fifth-fastest time.
The session began with a high risk of rain and a few drops fell in the first sector almost as soon as running started.
That did not translate into a downpour though and most teams were able to continue with their early installations uninterrupted.
However, Mercedes committed to changing Bottas’s engine after two exploratory laps, which mean he sat out the rest of the session.
The team reported a problem with Bottas’s original engine that it could not trace, so switched to another Friday engine already in the pool to give itself more time to analyse the issue.
Vettel headed the chase of Hamilton for much of the session, 0.166s behind, before Verstappen managed to improve his own time by a tenth to edge ahead of the Ferrari by just 0.001s.
Verstappen escaped two spins without harm: he lost the rear of his Red Bull exiting the final corner early on, then towards the end of the session found himself facing the wrong way on the runoff for the 90-degree right hander at the start of the final sector.
Leclerc was well adrift of the leading times after a scruffy lap on soft tyres left him 1.1s off the pace, and though he made a modest improvement before the session’s ended he could not climb above Magnussen and ended up 0.955s off the pace.
Nico Hulkenberg led Renault’s charge in seventh, 0.475s slower than midfielder leader Haas but ahead of the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr. Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 10 for Alfa Romeo.
Though team-mate Magnussen was fifth, equipped with Haas’s latest upgrade introduced in Germany last week, Romain Grosjean struggled in the second Haas and finished outside the top 10.
Grosjean is again running the aero spec Haas started the season with as the team bids to get a better understanding of its race-pace problems.
However, Grosjean reported he had "everything: understeer, oversteer, it’s like Monza wings" during the session, and wound up 12th.
At the tail end of the field, George Russell gave Williams early hope of fighting at the back of the midfield by lapping 2.4s off Hamilton’s best and outpacing the Racing Point of Lance Stroll.
Early in the session, Stroll had a spin onto the grass exiting the chicane in the middle of the lap, but like Verstappen avoided any damage.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m17.398s||0.165s||28|
|4||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m17.682s||0.449s||25|
|9||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m18.702s||1.469s||23|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m18.787s||1.554s||32|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m18.982s||1.749s||33|
|14||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m19.223s||1.990s||28|
|15||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m19.325s||2.092s||20|
|16||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m19.488s||2.255s||24|
|18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m19.722s||2.489s||34|
Alfa drivers lose German GP points to penalties, Kubica into 10th
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi have been handed post-race penalties that drop them out of the points for the German Grand Prix, with Robert Kubica now promoted to 10th.
The Alfa Romeo drivers were penalised for an offence related to the way the clutch of their cars operated during the wet standing start at Hockenheim, which was deemed to have potentially mimicked traction control in the tricky conditions.
Raikkonen and Giovinazzi had finished seventh and eighth on the road, and they have now dropped down to 12th and 13th respectively as a result of 30 seconds being added to their race times.
Their places now go to Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, while Lewis Hamilton and Kubica move into the top 10 – with the latter earning the first point for Williams in 2019, as well as his own first point since the 2010 Formula 1 season.
Alfa team boss Fred Vasseur has confirmed that the team will appeal the decision.
The Alfas were reported to the stewards by FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer soon after the chequered flag after their race start data was found to not be in compliance.
A later summons clarified that the cars were under investigation for "Alleged breach of Article 27.1, as related to clutch torque application during race starts, as defined in the informational Appendix to the 2019 Formula One Sporting Regulations related to Art 27.1 part C2."
In the FIA document outlining the penalties, the stewards explained how the teams are allowed the option to tune some of the parameters for their clutches via the common ECU on all cars.
But the torque in the clutch must matches the torque demand as the driver releases the clutch at the start within specified limits and this must occur within 70milliseconds.
In the case of the Alfa drivers, Raikkonen’s car took 200milliseconds and Giovinazzi’s took 300milliseconds.
"This provided a more gradual application of the torque, which given the wet conditions was a potential advantage," read the FIA bulletin.
"Regardless of whether there was an actual advantage, the stewards determined that this was a clear breach of the guidance given to the teams as to how this would be adjudicated."
Alfa argued that the cause of the issue "was that they were caught out by the unusual weather conditions and the fact that they did not do any practice starts under these climatic conditions and set the parameters in a way that failed to meet the requirements", per the FIA bulletin.
But the stewards declared: "The obligation to meet the requirements is irrespective of the climatic conditions.
Therefore, the stewards considered that a breach of Article 27.1 occurred."
The stewards opted to give each Alfa driver a 10 second stop/go penalty, which was converted into a post-race time addition.
"The Stewards noted that this was a breach of the sporting regulations and as a guide compared this to a false start with a potential advantage which carries a normal penalty of a 10 second stop-and-go under the sporting regulations," the FIA bulletin concluded.
In a statement released by Alfa, Vasseur said: "It is extremely disappointing to have both cars penalised and pushed out of the points in what had been such an exciting race.
"The situation arose during the laps we spent behind the safety car ahead of the standing start: we suffered a dysfunction of the clutch that was beyond our control and we will further investigate the issue.
"We respect the FIA’s process and the stewards’ work, but will appeal this decision as we believe we have the grounds and evidence to have it overturned.
"In this regard, we will be in touch with the FIA soon. Kimi and Antonio drove very well in challenging conditions and seventh and eighth place were the rightful reward for their performance.
"The team worked really hard to put both cars in the points and we showed once again that we have the pace to fight at the sharp end of the midfield.
"This race was a great showcase for Formula 1 and it’s a pity it ended this way."
Verstappen wins wild German GP from Vettel, disaster for Mercedes
Max Verstappen mastered both wet and dry conditions to win the 2019 Formula 1 German Grand Prix for Red Bull as Mercedes faltered badly at its home race.
Rain before the start and during the race made for an incident-packed event in which polesitter Lewis Hamilton spun twice on his way to an eventual 11th place finish, and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas crashed out.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel raced from the back of the grid to finish second, but it was a mixed day for the team after Charles Leclerc hit the barriers and retired.
Daniil Kvyat was third thanks to astute tactical choices by Toro Rosso. Torrential rain throughout the morning ensured this would be the first test of F1’s new wet-weather starting procedures, with the safety car leading the pack for several formation laps.
Predictably, a number of the more combative-minded drivers began to lobby for the it to be withdrawn so the race could begin, and it eventually peeled off to enable a standing start.
Hamilton seamlessly converted pole into the race lead as Verstappen squandered his front-row start with too much wheelspin, conceding two places as both Bottas and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen went by.
He almost lost a further place to the fast-starting Haas of Romain Grosjean, too, but reasserted himself into Turn 1 and recovered third place from Raikkonen next time around.
Spray and uncertain grip levels precipitated chaos in their wake as Carlos Sainz’s McLaren ran wide in Turn 2 and Nico Hulkenberg and Leclerc pounced, and the midfielders bumped and banged their way through the opening laps.
At the end of the second lap, Sergio Perez rotated his Racing Point into the barrier at the exit of Turn 11, bringing out the safety car.
Vettel – starting from the back of the grid after failing to run in qualifying – and Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon dived straight into the pits for intermediates while Hamilton and the rest of the frontrunners had to complete another lap before doing likewise.
A handful of teams gambled on leaving drivers out on the full wet tyres but that soon proved to have been the wrong option as a dry line began to form.
Kevin Magnussen was one such and, although he was running second behind Hamilton in the safety car queue, he was quickly swamped by Bottas and Verstappen when the race was green-flagged on lap 4 of 64.
Stopping a lap earlier elevated Vettel to 12th and he quickly cut through the midfielders ahead to run seventh.
But he was still over half a minute behind Hamilton, who remained serene in the rapidly changing conditions at this stage, stretching his advantage over Bottas beyond five seconds.
Leclerc and Hulkenberg stopped early for new intermediates during a brief virtual safety car period on lap 15 after Daniel Ricciardo pulled off with his Renault engine badly smoking, and Leclerc shot clear.
By lap 22, Leclerc had closed the gap to Verstappen to below four seconds, leaving Hulkenberg 20s down the road, though the threat to him from Raikkonen and Vettel was diminished by their worn intermediates.
On lap 23, Vettel was one of the first to pit for slicks, taking on the soft compound, and Red Bull brought Verstappen in from third place a lap later and fitted mediums.
Mercedes opted to fit mediums as well when it pitted Bottas on lap 26, while Ferrari went for softs on Leclerc’s car on the following lap.
Hamilton was next in, for mediums, but his arrival in the pits coincided with a fresh downpour unheralded on the weather radar.
Leclerc immediately went off at the penultimate corner after making a small mistake and slid into the barriers at slow speed, beaching himself in the gravel and bringing out the safety car.
But then Hamilton speared off-track at the same point on the following lap.
He managed to gather his Mercedes into line and just glanced the barrier, breaking his front wing, but he was able to head straight into the pits.
There, chaotic scenes ensued as his unprepared crew fumbled for a new set of intermediate tyres and a replacement front wing, and to heap further misfortune on Hamilton’s plate he was hit with a five-second penalty for driving on the wrong side of the pit-entry bollard.
The rest of the field then pitted for intermediates as it became obvious that the slicks were unsuitable, leaving Verstappen in the lead ahead of Bottas, Hulkenberg, Albon, Hamilton, Sainz, Raikkonen and Vettel.
Hamilton made short work of Albon in green-flag conditions as Hulkenberg pressured Bottas, handing Verstappen the opportunity to break nearly 10s clear.
That enabled Verstappen to gain a free pitstop for fresh intermediates when the safety car came out again on lap 40, triggered when Hulkenberg went off at the last corner in a similar fashion to Leclerc shortly after being passed by Hamilton for third.
The track began to dry again as the field circulated behind the safety car for four laps, prompting Racing Point to gamble by pitting the previously anonymous Lance Stroll for slicks the lap before the green flag, and he was followed by Kvyat.
This dropped them to the tail of the field, but after the other runners also broke for the pits after the track had gone live, the duo benefitted massively to run second and third behind Verstappen.
Kvyat used DRS to pass Stroll on the run to the hairpin on lap 50, while Mercedes’ day went from bad to worse as Hamilton spun down to 15th place with a high-speed moment at Turn 1 and then Bottas had a near-identical moment a few laps later but hit the barriers hard at Turn 1, bringing out the safety car.
With five laps to run the track went green again with Verstappen leading from Kvyat and Stroll, while Vettel relieved Sainz of fourth immediately after the restart.
Two laps later, Vettel blasted by Stroll on the straight before the hairpin, and he nailed Kvyat next time round to annex second place in the final reckoning, crossing the lap 7.3s seconds behind the victorious Verstappen.
Stroll survived late attention from Sainz to retain fourth, while Albon made it to the flag ahead of Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi despite a tag from Gasly that sent the second Red Bull into retirement late-on.
Grosjean and Magnussen rounded out the top 10, though bonhomie was likely to be in short supply in the Haas camp since they contrived to collide once again in the closing laps, this time without eliminating each other.
Results – 64 laps
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1h44m31.275s|
|3||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||8.305s|
|4||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||8.966s|
|5||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||9.583s|
|6||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||10.052s|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||12.214s|
|8||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||13.849s|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||Collision|
|–||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||Spun off|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault||Spun off|
|–||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||Spun off|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault||Power Unit|
|–||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||Spun off|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||48|
Hamilton takes F1 German GP pole, both Ferraris forced out early
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s 2019 German Grand Prix after Ferrari’s challenge imploded with power unit problems for both Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.
With Vettel eliminated in Q1 without setting a time thanks to a problem with the airflow to his turbo, Leclerc was favourite for pole in Q3 having looked quickest up to that point.
But Leclerc was unable to take to the track during Q3, climbing out of his car and commiserating with his team and leaving the way clear for Hamilton to set the pace.
Ferrari has said a fuel system issue prevented Leclerc from joining the pole shootout.
Hamilton then dominated Q3, with a lap of 1m11.767 seconds, which he set on his first run, good enough for pole after he failed to improve on his second lap thanks to time lost in the middle sector.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes drivers, lapping 0.346s slower than Hamilton and just 0.016s quicker than Valtteri Bottas.
Pierre Gasly put the second Red Bull fourth, lapping four-tenths slower than Verstappen after his final attempt was disallowed for exceeding track limits exiting the final corner.
With the two Ferraris out of the way, Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen took fifth place with an advantage of 0.316s over an otherwise congested midfield.
Romain Grosjean, driving a Haas running to the same specification used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was sixth and just ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
Racing Point’s significant upgrade paid off for Sergio Perez, who qualified eighth ahead of the lead Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
That left Leclerc classified 10th despite him not running in Q3, as he had at least run without problem during the previous two stages of qualifying.
The two Mercedes drivers and Leclerc will both start on the medium-compound Pirellis after they all used them to set their best times in Q2 – something Verstappen also attempted before aborting his first run after reporting a loss of power.
Antonio Giovinazzi was relegated to 11th and eliminated during a frenetic climax to Q2, lapping just 0.012s slower than Perez.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, driving the latest-spec Haas, was always up against it after a lockup into the first corner on his final lap and he failed to improve on his first-run time as a result – ending up 12th.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo’s late effort was only good enough for 13th, leading him to apologise to his team over the radio, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat just over three-tenths behind.
Racing Point driver Lance Stroll escaped Q1 for the first time in 2019, completing three runs to do so, which meant he only had one fresh set of softs for Q2.
He was in contention to get into the top 10, but his rear-end stepped out in the penultimate corner and was unable to improve late in the second segment.
Lando Norris was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in 16th place, just 0.055s slower than Kvyat after being bumped into the dropzone by Giovinazzi’s late improvement.
But behind him was the furious Alex Albon, who was baulked at the hairpin on his final Q1 lap by Norris and was unable to improve on his first-run time as a result.
George Russell won the Williams team battle for the 11th time this season, lapping just over a tenth quicker than Robert Kubica – the duo taking 18th and 19th thanks to Vettel’s failure to post a time.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||0.346s|
|4||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||0.755s|
|5||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||0.771s|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1.130s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.298s|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1.019s|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.368s|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1.683s|
|16||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1.694s|
Leclerc tops Germany FP3, Mercedes struggles despite lower heat
Charles Leclerc was fastest again for Ferrari in third practice for the 2019 German Grand Prix, outpacing the quickest Mercedes by half a second.
Leclerc’s 1m12.380 second lap, set during his second run on soft tyres, stood to the end of the session and was 0.264s faster than team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s best effort.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen split the Ferraris with a 1m12.548s as Mercedes came up short.
Valtteri Bottas was 0.510s off Leclerc’s benchmark time in fourth, while Lewis Hamilton finished sixth overall, 0.585s down on Leclerc and slower than Kevin Magnussen (Haas).
An overnight change in the weather as the sweltering heat gave way to thunderstorms made for vastly different track conditions in FP3, with an ambient of 27C and a track temperature that hovered around 40C, well below Friday’s peaks.
Even so, there was little urgency at the beginning of the session and 10 minutes passed before anyone set a timed lap.
Any suggestion that Ferrari’s relative strength in hotter temperatures might diminish in the cooler conditions was quickly dispelled by Leclerc, who went quickest of all in the initial running with a 1m12.736s he set during a six-lap stint on the soft-compound tyres.
Vettel’s best effort on a similar run plan was half a second off.
At this point, both Mercedes drivers were focusing on race simulations but Hamilton set a tidy time of 1m13.463s at the beginning of a 15-lap run on the softs.
Bottas was just over two tenths shy on a similar run plan, although his stint began with an off-track moment at Turn 2.
Red Bull’s pace on the medium tyres was very respectable early in the session – or at least Verstappen’s was, since his best lap was marginally faster than the soft-shod Hamilton.
Pierre Gasly, whose car was rebuilt around a new tub after his crash in FP2, was half a second adrift of his team-mate after their first runs.
On the soft rubber, Verstappen was even more punchy.
While the Ferraris made incremental improvements on their second soft-tyre runs – Leclerc to the session-best 1m12.380s, Vettel to 1m12.644s – Verstappen split them with his 1m12.548s.
The Mercedes drivers continued to struggle to match Leclerc on their second soft-tyre runs as Bottas circulated half a second off the benchmark lap and Hamilton had a time struck off for violating track limits.
The results of the session will have generated more intrigue for Haas, which is attempting to benchmark its latest developments against the troublesome VF-19’s early specification by running Romain Grosjean with its Australian Grand Prix aero package.
In FP2, Magnussen was 1.29s off Grosjean’s best, but in Saturday morning’s cooler conditions he was initially over two-tenths faster than Grosjean over the course of a similar seven-lap run plan.
He then put in a 1m12.893s that was good for fifth overall while Grosjean finished 10th fastest on 1m13.378s.
Behind Hamilton there was a substantial time gap as the latter portion of the top 10 came up nearly a second off the frontrunning pace.
While Kimi Raikkonen was ‘best of the rest’ early on, he was trumped by late efforts from Gasly and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.
|1||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||1m12.380s||18|
|2||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||0.168s||12|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||0.264s||18|
|4||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||0.510s||24|
|5||Kevin Magnussen||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||0.513s||13|
|6||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||0.585s||22|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team||0.920s||18|
|8||Pierre Gasly||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||0.944s||17|
|9||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing||0.971s||18|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||0.998s||15|
|11||Sergio Perez||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||1.096s||15|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault F1 Team||1.116s||19|
|13||Alexander Albon||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||1.174s||24|
|14||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||1.176s||15|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing||1.291s||16|
|16||Lance Stroll||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||1.292s||15|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||1.387s||21|
|18||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault F1 Team||1.436s||20|
|19||Robert Kubica||ROKiT Williams Racing||3.160s||20|
|20||George Russell||ROKiT Williams Racing||3.444s||11|
German Grand Prix practice: Leclerc leads another Ferrari one-two
Charles Leclerc edged out his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel as Mercedes came up short on single-lap pace in second practice for Formula 1’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
Leclerc’s 1m13.449s lap, set on soft tyres during a qualifying simulation run mid-session, was 0.124 seconds faster than Vettel’s best, with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes just 0.022s further adrift.
In a session that may well prove redundant if the weather changes as dramatically as expected on Sunday, Hockenheim sweltered in ambient temperatures ranging up to 37C and the surface temperature of the track itself spiked to 51C.
Rapid tyre degradation therefore became an issue as several teams spent the early phase of the session experimenting with shorter runs on tyres at the harder end of the spectrum.
Single-lap pace was proving tricky to unlock since the tyres required delicate management before, during and after any ‘push’ laps; drivers migrating to the soft tyres later in the session found they had to run up to two achingly slow cool-down laps between faster efforts.
Morning pacesetter Ferrari went straight back to the top of the timesheets early on as Leclerc – despite a brief complaint about the positioning of his brake pedal – set an initial benchmark of 1m14.523s on the hard-compound Pirellis, eclipsing a 1m14.804s set by Vettel on mediums.
But when the Mercedes emerged, Hamilton displaced them with a 1m14.074s set on mediums, followed by a 1m14.467s for hard-shod Valtteri Bottas.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen also got between the Ferraris during the opening half hour until Vettel bolted on a set of soft tyres and broke through the 1m14s barrier, clocking up a 1m13.573s that was rapidly eclipsed by Leclerc’s soft-shod riposte of 1m13.449s.
Verstappen couldn’t get as close to the Ferraris when he took on soft rubber, although he reported a power issue that required examination in the pits. His team-mate Pierre Gasly proved unable to summon a properly fast lap from the softs and his best of 1m15.089s left him well outside the top 10.
When Hamilton and Bottas moved on to the softer rubber they fell just short of the Ferraris on their first attempts at ‘push’ laps, and Hamilton bailed out of a second flier when it became apparent there wouldn’t be a decent time at the end of it. Bottas’s best was 0.662s off Leclerc’s benchmark.
Vettel then went back out on medium tyres for a long run but aborted that after just four timed laps, saying, "We’re not learning anything from this." He then joined the rest of the frontrunners in doing race-simulation runs on the soft rubber; for the majority of the top 10 this entailed circulating at 6s a lap off qualifying pace.
The session was briefly red-flagged with 16 minutes remaining when Gasly looped his Red Bull under acceleration out of the final bend and speared into the barriers hard enough to trigger a deployment of the medical car.
It restarted with nine minutes left on the clock, enough to allow a flurry of track activity that yielded little in the way of laptime improvement since most of the runners bar Vettel were out on medium or hard tyres.
Verstappen ended the session in sixth, two-hundredths shy of Bottas, while Romain Grosjean was ‘best of the rest’ for Haas with a 1m14.179s he set mid-session during a qualifying run on softs.
Just behind Grosjean, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen also cracked the top 10 with their quali-simulation efforts on the soft tyres.
Nico Hulkenberg was the fastest of the Renault pairing with a 1m14.472s set on soft rubber midway through the session, but he was then left stranded in the pitlane when his car stuck in neutral as he lined up to perform a practice start.
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had an eventful session, locking up and going off at Turn 2 early on while running on the mediums. His soft-tyre qualifying simulation of 1m15.010s left him separated from Hulkenberg by Sergio Perez’s Racing Point, the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso.
Practice two times
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m14.133s||0.684s||23|
|7||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m14.268s||0.819s||32|
|8||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m14.458s||1.009s||33|
|10||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m14.518s||1.069s||30|
|11||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m14.662s||1.213s||34|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m14.800s||1.351s||39|
|14||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m15.062s||1.613s||36|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m15.089s||1.640s||19|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m15.406s||1.957s||31|
German GP: Vettel heads Ferrari one-two in FP1, late off for Bottas
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel topped the first Formula 1 free practice session of the German Grand Prix weekend at Hockenheim.
Vettel used soft rubber to knock team-mate Charles Leclerc off top spot by a quarter of a second with 20 minutes remaining, setting a time of 1m14.013s.
Leclerc had used the same rubber to relegate Lewis Hamilton to third place, with the Mercedes drivers using medium tyres to set their best times after spending the first part of the session on softs.
Hamilton, who was three-tenths off the pace but had lagged behind Bottas when on soft rubber, lapped almost three and a half tenths quicker than his team-mate on mediums.
This also allowed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen to split the pair – lapping just 0.015 seconds slower than Hamilton – and take fourth place.
Bottas ended his session with an off into the gravel at Turn 12 after a lock-up with two minutes remaining, but was able to dig himself out and return to the pits – scattering gravel on the track as he rejoined.
Pierre Gasly struggled early on with vibration issues, but was able to climb to sixth using soft rubber in the final half-hour.
McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr, who spent the early stages of the session fastest when on hard rubber, climbed back to seventh just before the half-hour mark when he bolted on softs.
That put him 0.012s ahead of Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who set his time moments before Sainz.
Grosjean is running the specification of Haas that was used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, continuing the back-to-back experiment the team started at the last race at Silverstone with Kevin Magnussen now running the latest, upgraded, version.
Lance Stroll, in the heavily upgraded Racing Point, was ninth having concentrated on using medium Pirellis, comfortably ahead of the lead Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who set his time on softs.
Ricciardo had a spin late in the session at Turn 1, but was able to recover.
Sergio Perez was 11th fastest in the second Racing Point, also using mediums, and just ahead of the second McLaren of Lando Norris.
Magnussen was 13th after returning to the track shortly after causing an eight-minute red flag early on when he stopped in the stadium section.
The issue was revealed to be a sensor problem – he reported over the radio that, "I have some sort of alarm and no power" – so after being towed back to the pits he was ready to go again.
Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat set the 14th-fastest time ahead of team-mate Alex Albon – who switched halos during the session, having initially run a more basic version before returning to the usual spec fitted with an aero faring.
Nico Hulkenberg was 16th in the second Renault ahead of Alfa Romeo duo Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi.
Robert Kubica was 19th in the upgraded Williams, lapping almost six tenths faster than team-mate George Russell.
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Honda||1m14.330s||0.317s||28|
|6||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull/Honda||1m14.813s||0.800s||23|
|7||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren/Renault||1m15.062s||1.049s||30|
|9||Lance Stroll||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m15.191s||1.178s||26|
|11||Sergio Perez||Racing Point/Mercedes||1m15.604s||1.591s||24|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m15.776s||1.763s||30|
|15||Alexander Albon||Toro Rosso/Honda||1m15.777s||1.764s||24|
|17||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m15.953s||1.940s||26|
|18||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo/Ferrari||1m16.382s||2.369s||31|