Dazzling Hamilton steals German GP winposted in F122 | 07 | 2018

    LEWIS HAMILTON DELIVERED a dramatic victory in the Formula 1 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. Starting from 14th on the grid, Hamilton took full advantage of his title rival Sebastian Vettel crashing his Ferrari into gravel as a light rain swept the track. (Related: Jim Clark Lotus competition)

    Hamilton’s win, the 44th of his career, allied to Vettel’s retirement means he heads to the Hungaroring this weekend leading the championship by 17 points. It was the first time Hamilton had won a race starting from outside the top six places on the grid. (Related: Vettel wins British GP as Hamilton is spun)

    “I’ve never experienced a race quite like that,” Hamilton admitted afterwards. “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. (Related: Verstappen wins as Mercedes implodes)

    “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.

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    “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.”

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    The race also delivered Mercedes its first 1-2 finish on home soil when Valtteri Bottas finished ahead the the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. The result also means Mercedes has overtaken the Italian team in the race for the coveted Manufacturers’ title: the gap is just eight points.

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    Polesitter Vettel had dominated the race from the start. But the German, uncharacteristically, made a mistake on lap 52 of the 67 race when he locked up his rear wheels entering the left-hander at the Hockenheim complex. Unable to stop, or turn his Ferrari, he slowed off into the gravel before nestling agains the advertising hoardings.

    Bereft at his error, Vettel thumped his steering wheel with both first before apologising — almost in tears — to his team over the radio.

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    Hamilton — who had started 14th after an error-strewn qualifying — took advantage of the rain shower which soaked part of the circuit in the latter stages. The wet conditions caught-out a number of slick-shod drivers, including Vettel, resulting in the safety car to be deployed. In the blink of an eye, what had been a comfortable Ferrari 1-2 became a Mercedes 1-2.

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    On the restart on lap 57, Bottas made a strong bid to pass his team-mate, aggressively getting alongside Hamilton’s Mercedes at the Turn 6 hairpin. But the four-time champ just managed to fend off the Finn before the team issued “hold position” instructions to Bottas. The Finn, who must have expected the call, responded immediately with: “Copy”.

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    Third-placed Raikkonen — who earlier had been instructed to allow Vettel to cruise past him — finished ahead of Max Verstappen, whose Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire early in the race with engine problems.

    Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg impressed in fifth, ahead of Romain Grosjean's Haas and the two Force India cars of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley completed the points-finishing positions.

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    F1 — German Grand Prix, Hockenheim (Result):

    1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 67 laps, 1hr 32m 29.845s

    2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +4.535s

    3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +6.732s

    4. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +7.654s

    5. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team +26.609s

    6. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team +28.871s

    7. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team +30.556s

    8. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team +31.750s

    9. Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +32.362s

    10. Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +34.197s

    11. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team +34.919s

    12. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team +43.069s

    13. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team +46.617s

    14. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda +1 lap

    15. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1 lap

    16. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team +1 lap

    Retired:

    Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing

    Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari

    Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing

    Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

    Related: Hamilton dominates French GP

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    Jim McGill

     

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