|2018 German Grand Prix|
|Race 11 of 21 in the 2018 Formula One World Championship|
The layout of the Hockenheimring
|Date||22 July 2018|
|Official name||Formula 1 Emirates Großer Preis von Deutschland 2018|
|Location||Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Germany|
|Course||Permanent racing facility|
|Course length||4.574 km (2.842 mi)|
|Distance||67 laps, 306.458 km (190.424 mi)|
|Weather||Overcast with intermittent rain|
|Time||1:15.545 on lap 66|
The 2018 German Grand Prix (formally known as the Formula 1 Emirates Großer Preis von Deutschland 2018) was a Formula One motor race held on 22 July 2018 at the Hockenheimring in Germany. The race was the 11th round of the 2018 Formula One World Championship and marked the 77th running of the German Grand Prix, and the 63rd time the race had been run as a World Championship event since the inaugural season in 1950.
Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix from 14th on the grid, leading a Mercedes 1-2 ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas after race leader and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel crashed out in light rain conditions. The race was not without controversy as Hamilton was seen to abort a pit stop late in the race, cutting across the infield to rejoin the circuit which was against the international sporting code. He was reprimanded for the rules violation but was allowed to keep his race win. As a result of the race, Mercedes and Hamilton advanced to first place from second in the Constructors' and the Drivers' championship standings respectively.
Formally known as the "Formula 1 Emirates Großer Preis von Deutschland 2018" this was a Formula One race which was held on 22 July 2018. This was the first German Grand Prix since 2016 and it took place at the Hockenheimring near Hockenheim in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was the 11th round of 21 in the 2018 Formula One World Championship. The race marked the 77th running of the German Grand Prix and it was the 63rd time it was run as part of the World Championship since the inaugural 1950 season.
Several teams brought car upgrades to this race. Ferrari brought a new exhaust system and a new rear wing. Renault brought an updated front wing and Williams brought an updated aerodynamic package.
Before the race, Ferrari driver, Sebastian Vettel lead the World Drivers' Championship, with Lewis Hamilton in second place, eight points behind. In the World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari held a twenty-point lead over second placed Mercedes.
There were no stand in drivers for the race but Nicholas Latifi and Antonio Giovinazzi drove in the first practice session instead of Esteban Ocon and Marcus Ericsson for Force India and Sauber respectively.
Tyre supplier Pirelli selected the medium, soft and ultrasoft tyres for the Grand Prix weekend. Of the three the ultrasoft was the least durable but offered the most grip with the medium tyres being the most durable but offering the least grip. In addition to this Pirelli brought the intermediate and full wet tyres for light and heavy standing water conditions respectively.
As stated in the sporting regulations, three practice sessions were held, the first two were held on the Friday and were each ninety minutes in length with the last practice session taking place on the Saturday, before qualifying, lasting 60 minutes in length.
The first practice session passed without incident and ended with Daniel Ricciardo being fastest for Red Bull. The second practice session also passed without incident and ended with the other Red Bull of Max Verstappen being fastest with Lewis Hamilton finishing a close second in both practice sessions.
Across the first two practice sessions it was the Red Bulls which set the fastest overall lap, marginally ahead of Mercedes with the Red Bull cars also appearing to have the fastest race pace, around 0.2 seconds quicker than the race pace of Mercedes' and Ferrari's, although Mercedes and Ferrari would rarely reveal their full potential during practice sessions. This meant that despite Red Bull being fastest Mercedes and Ferrari were still considered favourites for the Grand Prix. However Red Bull driver Max Verstappen still thought that his team would be able to compete with the Mercedes and Ferraris over the course of the race weekend, meanwhile Hamilton also prophesied that Sebastain Vettel and Ferrari would be the team to beat. Further back Renault and Stoffel Vandoorne both complained that they had poor first and second practice sessions with Vandoone calling it his "worst Friday for a long time." Williams however had a positive day with the team pleased with the benefits brought on by their new front wing.
Whereas the first two practice sessions were dry, final practice took place in heavy rain and as a result only nine drivers set a lap time as the heavy rain would cause the session to provide little useful data. The session ended with Charles Leclerc quickest in his Sauber.
As per the regulations, qualifying consisted of three parts, lasting 18, 15 and 12 minutes in length and entitled Q1, Q2 and Q3 respectively, with five drivers being eliminated after each of the first two sessions. The drivers who made it into Q3 would have to start the race on the tyres they had used to set their fastest lap time in Q2.
Qualifying started in overcast conditions with an air temperature of 21 °C (70 °F), a relatively cool track temperature of 27 °C (81 °F) and high humidity. Although the track was dry enough for slick tyres the track was still damp in places, this along with the rain earlier in the day meant that a high level of track evolution was expected.[note 1] There was also a high chance of rain latter in the session.
During the first part of qualifying, Kimi Räikkönen set the fastest time for Ferrari. Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Brendon Hartley, Lance Stroll and Stoffel Vandoorne were eliminated as they finished in the bottom five of the classification. World Championship contender Lewis Hamilton set a time fast enough to progress into Q2, but suffered a hydraulics issue later in the session. He attempted to bring the car back into the pit lane, but after communication with his race engineer, he was forced to stop his car on track. This meant that he would be unable to drive for the remainder of qualifying, effectively leaving him 14th on the grid.
Because Hamilton could not get his car back to the pits it meant that he would be unable to participate in Q2, it was also expected that Daniel Ricciardo would not run in Q2 as he would be starting from the back of the grid regardless of where he qualified. This meant that two of the five drivers who would get eliminated in Q2 were determined before the session had gotten underway. Q2 started uneventfully, however around eight minutes into the session Marcus Ericsson made a mistake at the Sachs curve spinning into the gravel trap. As he made it out of the run-off area, he left some gravel on the track. This caused the red flag to be waved after several drivers complained about the gravel on the track. After the gravel had been cleared there were still seven minutes of the session left. At the session end positions eleven to fifteen were taken by Alonso, Sirotkin, Ericsson, Hamilton and Ricciardo, meaning that they were eliminated from qualifying. All of the drivers who had gotten into Q3 had set their times on the ultrasoft tyres meaning they would all have to start on that tyre.
As usual in Q3 there was time for 2 attempts to set the fastest lap time. Kimi Räikkönen was the first person to set a lap time with 1:11.880, which was a qualifying track record. But Sebastian Vettel broke that time almost immediately setting a time of 1:11.539. The session ended without interruption or major errors with Vettel in first followed by Valtteri Bottas, Räikkönen, Max Verstappen, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hülkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez in that order.
Sebastian Vettel described his qualifying lap as one of his "best moments" in Formula One with his pole making him the favourite for the race. Charles Leclerc was also pleased with his qualifying position of ninth place after he suffered from brake problems in qualifying with Kevin Magnussen also pleased with his qualifying which gave Haas their best ever qualifying result in fifth and sixth. After spinning in Q2, Marcus Ericsson said he was disappointed with his qualifying but also said that he thought they would be able to get into the top ten for the race. Another driver who thought they could get into the points after a disappointing qualifying was Esteban Ocon who would start the race in fifteenth after he only got one session of dry running in practice limiting his preparation for qualifying with Stoffel Vandoorne and Lance Stroll both also putting their poor qualifying performances down to bad balance in their respective cars. Toro Rosso also suffered from a disappointing qualifying, however they were optimistic heading into the race stating that they had some of the best long run pace from the other midfield teams.
|4||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||1:13.127||1:12.188||1:11.822||4|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Renault||1:13.324||1:13.032||1:12.692||8|
|10||11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.427||1:13.072||1:12.774||10|
|14||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1:13.012||No time||N/A||14|
|15||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||1:13.318||No time||N/A||191|
|16||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India-Mercedes||1:13.720||N/A||N/A||15|
|17||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda||1:13.749||N/A||N/A||202|
|107% time: 1:17.580|
The race started in dry conditions although there was a high chance of rain later in the race. As they went through turn 1 it was Sebastian Vettel who led for Ferrari followed by Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Räikkönen. By the start of the second lap Vettel led Bottas by 1.5 seconds, meanwhile Lewis Hamilton had climbed to thirteenth but Daniel Riccciardo had failed to make up any ground from nineteenth. On lap three Räikkönen informed his team over his radio that he was starting to get some rain on his visor. Of the front runners Räikkönen was the first to make a pitstop on lap 14 switching onto the soft tyres (the middle tyre of the three on offer). On the same lap Hamilton overtook Kevin Magnussen to take fifth. The race leaders kept in formation until lap 26 when the race leader, Vettel, made his pitstop and rejoined in fourth place before Bottas pitted himself on the following lap promoting Vettel back into third behind Räikkönen. With the leaders on lap 29 the race saw its first retirement in the form of Ricciardo, the Australian pulling over between turns 10 and 11 with what appeared and later transpired to be power loss, however this did not disrupt the rhythm of the race as his car was recovered quickly. On the same lap Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen also made his first pit stop, this meant that it was Räikkönen who led followed by Vettel, Hamilton (yet to make his compulsory pitstop) and Bottas. However, after a couple of laps Vettel slowed down after complaining of overheating tyres from being with a couple of seconds from Räikkönen and on lap 39 they switched positions on the run down to turn 6 at the same time as Bottas' race engineer telling him over the radio that they expected it to start raining in eight minutes (around 5 laps) time and on the same lap Hamilton made a pitstop onto the ultrasoft tyres.
On lap 44 it started to rain and on the following lap Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc came into the pits to put on the intermediate tyres and Pierre Gasly changed to a set of full wet tyres. Two laps later Verstappen also made a pitstop onto the intermediate tyres. On lap 46 Vettel mounted the kerb at the final corner and lost a small portion of his front wing. Then on lap 52, braking into turn 12, Vettel locked the rear brakes and went straight on into the barriers, taking himself out of the race, this caused a safety car so that they could recover Vettel's car. As a result of the safety car Valtteri Bottas decided to make a pitstop on lap 53, however because of the late call Mercedes didn't have the tyres ready and therefore Bottas was in his pitbox for almost 20 seconds (pitstops times are usually 2-3 seconds). On the same lap Hamilton was also told to pit, he started to enter the pitlane but aborted the pitstop after a miscommunication with his engineer, Hamilton then cut back on to the track essentially cutting across the final corner. Räikkönen then made a pitstop on the following lap onto the ultra soft tyres handing the race lead to Hamilton and second to Bottas. On lap 52 it stopped raining and Sergey Sirotkin pulled over to the side of the track to retire and on lap 54 his teammate Lance Stroll retired in the pits with a brake failure. On lap 58 the race resumed and although Hamilton retained the lead fairly easily through turn 1 Bottas attacked Hamilton going into turn 7 with what ex-F1 driver turned analyist Jolyon Palmer considered an unusually high level of aggression from Bottas, however Hamilton managed to hold him off. An investigation also started into Carlos Sainz for overtaking while under safety car conditions. On lap 61 Bottas was told that he wasn't allowed to try and overtake Hamilton, behind Bottas was Räikkönen around 1.2 seconds back followed by Verstappen another 1.5 seconds behind. On the following lap there was confirmation that Sainz would be given a 10-second time penalty for overtaking behind the safety car. Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean charged through the pack making up 4 places in the final 10 laps. The race was won by Hamilton with Bottas and Räikkönen completing the podium. Although Sainz was tenth at the finish line he was demoted to twelfth following the application of his ten-second penalty.
Approximately 90 minutes after the race finished Lewis Hamilton was summoned to the stewards for crossing the line between the pit entrance and the track when he aborted his pitstop on lap 53 which, according to the international sporting code, is prohibited. A five-second penalty was considered by pundits as the most likely penalty as was given to Kimi Räikkönen at the 2016 European Grand Prix for a similar incident, this would have dropped him to second. However, after about 15 minutes the stewards gave Hamilton a reprimand meaning he got to keep his race win. The stewards justified their lack of time penalty by saying that because Hamilton cut across the pit entry line in such a way that he did not present a danger to anyone and because the change of direction was carried out safely a reprimand would best reflect the severity of the infringement of the rules.
Hamilton described his race win as a "dream" and said that he felt that this was a potential turning point in his championship campaign. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, admitted that the crash which took him out of the race was his fault, but he said that overall he was happy with how the weekend had progressed as it appeared that Ferrari still had the quickest car, something which Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also picked up on. Another driver who had a strong performance was Nico Hülkenberg who finished in seasons best position of fifth, a result which he admitted he was very happy with, his teammate Carlos Sainz finished a disappointing twelfth, however on the whole Renault were pleased with their result. Another team with mixed fortune were the Haas cars, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were among those who switched to intermediates and back again during the rain period and although Grosjean managed to get through the field from tenth to sixth in the closing laps his teammate Magnussen was unable to replicate this finishing eleventh, with team principal Guenther Steiner appearing to be neither pleased nor disappointed with the result.
Brendon Hartley was also pleased with his result following a difficult first half of his 2018 season. His teammate, Pierre Gasly however suffered from a poor strategy call causing him to finish fourteenth, although the team were neither pleased nor disappointed with their result team boss Franz Tost said that the weekend gave them optimism for future Grands Prix after the team showed strong pace. Force India were also very pleased with their performance with Sergio Pérez finishing seventh, one place ahead of Esteban Ocon who had started a disappointing fifteenth but finished eighth. Red Bull had a mixed day with Daniel Ricciardo retiring but with Max Verstappen finishing in fourth, although there was a chance for them to finish on the podium Verstappen said that he felt positively about how the weekend had progressed. Sauber also had a mixed day with Marcus Ericsson finishing in the points but teammate Charles Leclerc had a disappointing race coming last of the finishers in fifteenth. Williams and McLaren both had bad weekends, although both Williams' cars were running relatively well, poor reliability meant that both cars were forced to retire, the second and third retirements for the car all season, at McLaren meanwhile Fernando Alonso also had to retire with mechanical problems and although teammate Stoffel Vandoorne did manage to finish the race he still had a poor weekend with the team's sporting director Gil de Ferran stating that he felt that the car and both drivers had the ability to finish in the points.
|4||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||67||+7.654||4||12|
|7||11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||67||+30.556||10||6|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||Force India-Mercedes||67||+31.750||15||4|
|12||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Renault||67||+43.0691||8|
|14||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia Toro Rosso-Honda||66||+1 lap||20|
|15||16||Charles Leclerc||Sauber-Ferrari||66||+1 lap||9|
|Ret||35||Sergey Sirotkin||Williams-Mercedes||51||Oil leak||12|
|Ret||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer||27||Power loss||19|
In the drivers' Championship, Lewis Hamilton took first place from Sebastian Vettel, further back Valtteri Bottas overtook Daniel Ricciardo for fourth place. Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz swapped positions with Perez climbing to tenth from twelfth and Sainz dropping two positions. Romain Grosjean jumped two positions to thirteenth knocking Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc down one position each to fourteenth and fifteenth respectively. Marcus Ericsson also took seventeenth place from Lance Stroll with the rest of the positions being unchanged.