Formula 1

What a difference a day makes....

Lewis Hamilton fights back to win German GP as rain ends Vettel's chances

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Barely 24 hours after being distraught at the side of the track in qualifying, Lewis Hamilton made the most of a mid-race rain shower to come through and claim an unlikely victory at the German GP.

Starting 14th, the current world champion made his way through the field in the first 15 laps and as strategies were thrown out of the window by the change in weather and Sebastian Vettel crashed into the barrier at the Sachskurve, the Mercedes driver took full advantage to claim his fourth win of the season.

In a race also shaped by team orders, Valtteri Bottas looked to attack his teammate on the lap after the Safety Car to recover the stricken Ferrari, but was told to hold station and would have to settle for second.

Kimi Raikkonen was asked to let Vettel by during the race as the two drivers completed different strategies but left to lead the Italian team's charge, the Finn could do nothing about the Mercedes ahead, finishing third.

The race began with Vettel in complete control as he held the lead into Turn 1 from Bottas with the main battle being between Max Verstappen and Raikkonen for third but the Dutchman was unable to get past.

The order remained pretty stable throughout the field with Hamilton taking a lap before starting to make his way through the pack, with a number of comfortable overtakes into the hairpin.

Within 15 laps, he was already up to P5, with Ferrari deciding to react by pitting Raikkonen early to ensure he stayed ahead of the recovering Mercedes.

Also making his way through was Daniel Ricciardo from 19th, having opted to start on the Medium tyres to ensure the longest possible stint with the threat of rain.

The Red Bull driver would never get far enough to see any benefit, however, as he would be the first retirement with engine problems.

Out front, Raikkonen's pace on the Soft tyre after his early stop put him in the lead ahead of Vettel when the German, sticking to a one-stop strategy, pitted for new tyres.

He would sit behind his teammate for several laps and grew increasingly frustrated with lock-ups into the hairpin and radio messages asking to be moved ahead.

Eventually, that order would come but the time lost proved crucial as the weather was about to intervene.

Hamilton would pit for new Ultrasoft tyres, after starting on the Soft but two laps later heavy rain would arrive at the hairpin but not around enough of the circuit to require changes to the intermediates.

Several drivers would look to benefit if the rain did fall harder by taking the gamble, including Verstappen, but the shower was never hard enough to make the track wet enough and soon all switched back to slicks.

The rain would increase just enough to cause drivers to start struggling for grip and it was then that Vettel locked his rears approaching the hairpin in the Stadium and would slide helplessly into the gravel and the barrier.

That would require a Safety Car with Raikkonen and Bottas opting to pit for a second time while Hamilton stayed out after a moment of confusion over the radio.

As a result, he would move into the lead but would have his teammate and the sole Ferrari right behind on new rubber.

When the race resumed, unsurprisingly it was Bottas who had better instant grip and he looked to challenge the Briton into the hairpin and through to Turn 8, soon after chief strategist James Vowles came over the radio to inform the Finn to stay in second, which he would do.

Raikkonen could not get close enough in third with Verstappen also just too far back to challenge in fourth.

AUTO-F1-PRIX-GER

The chaos with the weather and Safety Car allowed Nico Hulkenberg upto fifth for Renault as Haas slipped down the field.

Romain Grosjean would recover some places late on to secure sixth for the American team with the two Force India's seventh and eighth, as Sergio Perez led Esteban Ocon.

Marcus Ericsson benefitted from staying on slicks to claim ninth with Brendon Hartley taking 10th after Carlos Sainz was given a 10-second penalty for passing behind the Safety Car.

A full look at the finishing order can be seen below:

Back at the front and it was all about redemption for Lewis Hamilton after the events of Silverstone and qualifying on Saturday, this was a lift that was very much needed.

Vettel's retirement also meant the 33-year-old jumped back to the top of the Drivers' Championship by 17 points, a useful gap to have ahead of next weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest where Ferrari and Red Bull will likely shine and Mercedes will be hoping for another rain storm.

Topics:
Nico Hulkenberg
Renault
Valtteri Bottas
Haas
Sebastian Vettel
Max Verstappen
Daniel Ricciardo
Romain Grosjean
Kimi Raikkonen
Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari
Mercedes
Red Bull
Formula 1

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