The German Grand Prix got off to a rocky start for the Mercedes AMG team, with defending champion Lewis Hamilton only managing to qualify in 14th position on the grid for Sunday’s race. Fortunately for the German outfit, Lewis’ teammate Valtteri Bottas managed to qualify on the first row just behind pole sitter and new championship leader, Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari).
After the lights went green, Vettel led the race for the vast majority, while Hamilton steadily picked his way through traffic and was within striking distance of a podium finish. The race seemed to be in the bag for Vettel and Ferrari until a light shower in the final third made things a bit tricky in some places on the 4,6 km circuit and teams started scrambling their pit stop calculations.
Under no legitimate pressure, Vettel understeered into the barriers on the outside of the turn 13 left-hander on lap 52 while out on his soft compound slicks. The ensuing safety car period led to a last minute decision for Hamilton to stay out onto the circuit, and take the lead behind their satry after his teammate and the lone Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen made their second stops. The confusion between driver and crew led to the Brit re-joining the circuit after already turning off it to enter the pit lane.
Bottas was considerably faster than Hamilton with nine laps to go, and challenged his teammate for a couple of turns, but team orders prevailed to allow the Brit a well-deserved fourth win of the season and a safe 1-2 finish for Mercedes. After the race, Hamilton was called in by the race stewards and reprimanded for the pit entry incident, but was allowed to keep the victory.