- Lewis Hamilton wins German GP after impressive charge up field
- The Mercedes driver secures his first DHL Fastest Lap of the season
- Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas head the DHL Fastest Lap Award
Lewis Hamilton secures DHL Fastest Lap at Hockenheim
Nowhere is the dividing line between victory and defeat as narrow as in Formula 1. Both Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton experienced that for themselves in the German Grand Prix. While Vettel took pole position on Saturday, Hamilton was unable to qualify higher than 14th on the grid due to technical problems.
On Sunday, though, things were completely turned on their head. Vettel was in the lead but lost control of his car on a wet track, burying any hopes of a first home win while with Ferrari in the gravel trap at the Hockenheimring. Hamilton, though, made an incredible charge up the field and produced an error-free drive to become the first driver since Jenson Button in Budapest in 2006 to win from 14th on the grid.
"I've never experienced a race quite like this. 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. 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", Hamilton said. "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."
What led to Hamilton’s success was his crucial decision not to pit when the safety car came out following Vettel’s crash. The British driver was already in the entrance to the pit lane when he changed his mind at the very last moment and decided to stay out on track, making it possible for him to retain the lead, which was the key to victory.
"Things were pretty chaotic when the Safety Car came out - it was a very late call, a lot of traffic on the radio and we ended up with one car in the pits and one car out on track", Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said. "In the end, this covered every option for us - then the battle was on when they went back to racing."
On the restart, Hamilton first had to fend off an attack by teammate, Valtteri Bottas, after which the four-time world championship winner drew away from his rivals and burned the DHL Fastest Lap time of 1:15.545 into the asphalt of a track which was now dry to retake the lead in the overall standings.
Fastest laps: FORMULA 1 EMIRATES GERMAN GRAND PRIX 2018
- 01 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:15.545 - on Lap 66
- 02 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:15.721 - on Lap 65
- 03 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:15.852 - on Lap 66
- 04 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 1:15.990 - on Lap 64
- 05 Romain Grosjean (Haas) 1:16.716 - on Lap 66
- 06 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:17.290 - on Lap 39
- 07 Carlos Sainz (Renault) 1:17.430 - on Lap 63
- 08 Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) 1:17.537 - on Lap 67
- 09 Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso) 1:17.681 - on Lap 66
- 10 Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 1:17.697 - on Lap 66
History: Fastest Laps during the FORMULA 1 GERMAN GRAND PRIX
With his DHL Fastest Lap of 1:15.545, Lewis Hamilton failed to beat the lap record at the Hockenheimring by almost two seconds. Kimi Räikkönen still holds the record which he set in 2004 while with McLaren. He lapped the circuit back then in 1:13.780.
This was Hamilton’s first DHL Fastest Lap of the 2018 season. Overall, the British driver has now notched up 39 fastest laps, putting him in fourth place on the list of all-time fastest lap high achievers in Formula 1. Only Michael Schumacher (77), Kimi Räikkönen (46) and Alain Prost (41) have ever managed to do better.
Bottas and Ricciardo head the DHL Fastest Lap Award
With three successes each on the day, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo still head the overall standings of the DHL Fastest Lap Award. Max Verstappen is next up with two fastest laps. Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen and now Lewis Hamilton are right behind them, having posted one DHL Fastest Lap each.