Lewis Hamilton is back in charge of the Formula One world championship after his dramatic victory in Germany.
Hamilton won from 14th on the grid as his title rival Sebastian Vettel threw away the win after he crashed out.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five things we learned from Sunday’s eventful race.
Hamilton proves his star quality
Moments after his remarkable win, Hamilton grabbed Mercedes chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche and hoisted him into the air. “Absolutely brilliant,” Zetsche said to the Briton when his feet landed back on the floor. “Unbelievable!” Indeed, it was hard to disagree with the German. Hamilton had delivered a display which could be replicated by few others, and proves why Zetsche signed off the deal to pay him £40million-a-year for his services. Hamilton started 14th following a hydraulics failure in qualifying, but made speedy progress through the field (10 places in just 14 laps), and then made his tyres last 42 laps. When the rain arrived, Hamilton delivered, lapping three seconds quicker than his rivals, before Vettel stuck it in the wall. He then rightly challenged Mercedes’ call to stop him for fresh tyres under the ensuing safety car which assumed him the lead. “I didn’t put a foot wrong,” Hamilton rightly said.
Vettel mistake leaves title hopes in tatters
Another race, another costly mistake. Vettel hit the steering wheel seven times after he crashed out. It was his seventh high-profile error in a little over a calendar year. During the same period, Hamilton has barely made one, and it is proving the difference. There are few better than Vettel in leading from the front, but he cannot be considered in the top bracket when the pressure is on. Vettel was already beginning to show signs of anxiety with Kimi Raikkonen holding him up, but even when Ferrari ordered his team-mate out the way, he managed to do the unthinkable by crashing out of the lead, and sending 17-point lead in Hamilton’s direction. “The difference between the best and the very good is that on the very difficult days they are able to make the difference,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said afterwards.
Should the stewards have been speedier?
It wasn’t until 7.36pm local time, close to three hours after the chequered flag had fallen, when we were finally presented with an official race result. The hold-up had been the stewards determining whether Hamilton had infringed the rules when he aborted his pit stop. The alleged infringement occurred with 14 laps still to run, the equivalent to around 20 minutes, but an official investigation was not launched until 6pm, roughly one hour and 15 minutes after the final whistle. “We wanted to wait until after the race to take a look at it,” race director Charlie Whiting explained. “Then there was the post-race thunderstorm and the rain. By the time everything had calmed down we needed to have a good look.” The delay, however, should have been resolved sooner with fans leaving the track not knowing who had won.
Number twos at play
Mercedes held their breath as Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas diced for the lead. But after just one lap, the team, fearing the worst on home soil, called off the fight. Bottas obliged without hesitation. Earlier in the race, and following a series of complaints from Vettel, Ferrari ushered Raikkonen out of the German’s way, too. Both teams insist the Finns aren’t number two drivers, but the evidence here on Sunday points to the contrary.
Rough luck for Ricciardo
As far as weekends go, Daniel Ricciardo is unlikely to remember the German Grand Prix with much fondness. He started at the back following a series of grid penalties for using too many engine parts and then retired in the race – his fourth DNF this season – with a loss of power. Mercedes decision to keep Bottas for 2019 also ended any slim hope the Australian may have had of partnering Hamilton at Mercedes, too. It never rains.