At the start, Verstappen immediately looked for a hole to pass one of the Mercedes. Both Hamilton and pole sitter Bottas came wide at the first corner. Verstappen could not take full advantage of it and kept his third place.
It was announced in advance that there was a 40 percent chance of rain. A few rain clouds piled up over the Nürburgring, but in the end there was no question of a huge downpour.
Mistake and bad luck Bottas
In the meantime, Bottas was in the lead, followed by his British teammate. Verstappen was close behind again, with a big lead over Daniel Ricciardo. The Finn had to make a mistake, after which he had to hit the brakes and a number of them flat spots on his tires, relinquishing the lead in the race to Hamilton. Bottas then drove into the pit lane and dropped a number of places, allowing Verstappen to take second place behind the world champion.
Moment of Valtteri Bottas, with blocking tires.
Ⓒ ANP / HH
“It is starting to rain a little harder in the last sector,” said Verstappen over the on-board radio after 15 laps. That was not the reason behind the virtual safety car, which was deployed at the same time. That was the crash of George Russell, after an incident with Kimi Räikkönen. In that short time that the yellow flag was flying, Verstappen and Hamilton were able to quickly make a ‘free pits’. Red Bull’s stop was a lot faster than Mercedes, narrowing the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen.
Bottas, who started from pole, had to retire after a third of the race. He said he had no power, fell even further back into the field and was told by his team to drive his car to the pits. End of story for Bottas.
In the meantime, Verstappen and Hamilton always alternated with the fastest race lap. One moment in the hands of Hamilton and a lap later in the hands of Verstappen again. The gap the duo made with the other drivers was getting bigger and bigger.
Max Verstappen crawls on Lewis Hamilton’s tail, but eventually has to stop.
Ⓒ ANP / HH
Hamilton and Verstappen were in a class of their own in Germany, but unfortunately it did not come to an exciting fight between the World Cup leader and the Red Bull driver. Hamilton rode too well for that. Even after the safety car, after Lando Norris dropped out, Verstappen could not make it difficult for the race leader.
The gap with Hamilton was of course closed, but after the safety car disappeared from the circuit (with 10 laps to go), Hamilton also quickly disappeared from Verstappen’s sight. In fact, Verstappen was unable to open the attack on Hamilton himself and had to do all he could to keep Ricciardo at bay, which he managed to do with good steering work.
In the end, the Dutchman was not involved at the Nürburgring, compared to Hamilton. The podium was completed by Ricciardo. Verstappen took an extra point at the last minute by setting the fastest race lap.
With his 91st Grand Prix victory, Hamilton equals racing legend Michael Schumacher’s record. In the race weekend from 23 to 25 October, Hamilton can become the only record holder if he wins the Portuguese Grand Prix.
At the Nürburgring, Max Verstappen takes his eighth podium of the season with a second place.
Ⓒ ANP / HH
Verstappen again drives to second place. It is his eighth podium finish of the season. In the battle for the World Cup, Hamilton was able to take full advantage of the failure of his Mercedes colleague. Verstappen is catching up with Bottas, but is still third, behind the Mercedes men.
The drivers now have a two-week rest before they settle in Portugal to show their racing skills at the Portimão circuit.
View the stand in the World Cup here and see the full racing calendar in Formula 1 here.