German GP Wrap: Verstappen wins amid Hockenheim chaos

Max Verstappen emerged triumphant in a chaotic German Grand Prix that saw Lewis Hamilton pay the price for a crash and Sebastian Vettel surge from the back of the grid to a landmark podium.

Red Bull driver Verstappen claimed his second win of the season as changeable conditions at Hockenheim, which switched between wet and dry, saw strategy fly out the window and numerous safety cars deployed.

Pole-sitter Hamilton was leading the race when he lost control under the safety car at turn 17 on lap 30 and went into the barriers, damaging his front wing next to Charles Leclerc's marooned Ferrari.

The Briton entered the pits illegally and was hit with a five-second time penalty, which he served when trading intermediates for slicks as the track dried out in the closing stages.

Hamilton span out and fell to the back of the field and Mercedes' 200th grand prix as a works team ended miserably as Valtteri Bottas crashed to bring the safety car out yet again.

Vettel, who started 20th due to a turbo problem that stopped him setting a time in qualifying, took advantage and delighted the home fans by passing Carlos Sainz Jr, Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat to earn his 50th podium for Ferrari in stunning fashion.

Following the high of his win in Austria, Verstappen endured frustration at Silverstone when a shunt from Vettel cost him the chance to earn a spot in the top three.

The Dutchman looked set for more of the same when a sluggish start saw him slip from second to fifth, though he quickly regained one position from Romain Grosjean.

Sergio Perez slid out and the safety car was deployed on lap three, with everyone diving into the pits to change from wet to intermediate tyres.

Slicks were required before the midway point but they switched back after Leclerc, who looked to be in the hunt for glory after a fuel system issue resulted in him failing to set a time in Q3 on Saturday, ended up in the barriers.

Hamilton was able to avoid a retirement after going off at the final corner shortly after Leclerc, but a penalty for a bollard infringement at the entry to the pits effectively put an end to his hopes of a second straight win and he could only recover to 11th.

Verstappen soon found himself at the front of the grid and, despite Stroll temporarily leading after fresh slicks were taken following Bottas' error on lap 57, he was able to cruise to a memorable victory.

While Mercedes failed to score any points for the first time since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, Vettel revelled in a solid day's work and a podium that did not appear possible 24 hours prior.

DRAMA FROM THE OFF

Persistent rainfall led to the race director opting to deploy the safety car to guide the drivers round for four formation laps, during which Hamilton and Verstappen were among the voices to express a desire to get the action underway.

Having assessed the track conditions, it was decided the race could commence with a standing start with the distance consequently reduced by three laps.

It proved to be the start of a very busy day for the safety car.

LECLERC'S LUCK RUNS OUT

There was almost a pit-lane collision as the cars dived into the pits after the safety car was deployed for the first time.

Leclerc was released into traffic by Ferrari and Romain Grosjean had to brake heavily to avoid him, but the punishment dished out was a team fine for the Scuderia.

The Monegasque was fortunate not to lose control when he ran wide at the end of lap 13, while he was one of a small group of drivers to get fresh tyres on under a virtual safety car following Daniel Ricciardo's engine blowout.

He quickly set the fastest lap but another error at turn 17 ended with him sliding into the barriers and wreaking havoc on the race.

KVYAT ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Toro Rosso's second podium in Formula 1® was sealed by Kvyat, who had even more reason to celebrate after becoming a father for the first time on Saturday.

The Russian's display could add to the pressure on Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly after the Frenchman struggled in the tricky conditions and failed to finish after colliding with Alex Albon on the penultimate lap.

IN THE POINTS

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +7.333s
3. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) +8.305s
4. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) +8.966s
5. Carlos Sainz Jr (McLaren) +9.538s
6. Alex Albon (Toro Rosso) +10.052s
7. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo) +12.214s
8. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) +13.849s
9. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +16.838s
10. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +18.765s

DRIVER STANDINGS

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 223
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 184 (-39)
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 162 (-61)
4  Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 141 (-82)
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 120 (-103)

CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS

1. Mercedes 407
2. Ferrari 261 (-146)
3. Red Bull 217 (-190)
4. McLaren 70 (-337)
5. Toro Rosso 42 (-365)

WHAT'S NEXT?

The final race before the mid-season break is just a week away, with the paddock moving on to the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Follow the Action