HOCKENHEIM • Red Bull's Max Verstappen won a wet and crazily chaotic German Grand Prix littered with crashes and safety car periods yesterday, with Mercedes' Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton failing to score.
In an extraordinary race of constantly changing fortunes, multiple pit stops, four safety car periods and endless drama, Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel started from last on the grid before finishing second in front of his home crowd.
Russian Daniil Kvyat, who became a father on Saturday when his partner Kelly gave birth to his daughter, was an astonishing third to hand Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso only their second podium finish this season.
"It was an amazing race to win in the end, it was really tricky out there to make the right calls, and we really had to be focused," said Verstappen, who took the chequered flag 7.333 seconds ahead of Vettel, despite making five pit stops on his way to his second win of the season and also spinning 360 degrees in the middle of the race.
"To make the right calls, you had to be focused. We put on the slick tyres and we had a 360! But it was all right."
The race was shortened by three laps after the safety car had led the field away before a standing start.
It was about trying not to make mistakes. It feels amazing to win. You learn over the years. I was very happy with the whole performance.
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Red Bull driver, on winning the German Grand Prix.
TEST OF CONCENTRATION
It was a long race. At some stage it felt never-ending. It was very tough with the conditions. I am just happy.
SEBASTIAN VETTEL, Ferrari driver, who finished second despite starting from last place
Five-time world champion Hamilton's closest rival and teammate Valtteri Bottas, who had also led briefly, crashed out with six laps remaining to leave the gap between the two unchanged at 39 points after 11 of 21 races.
Mercedes, empty-handed in their 200th start and in what looks likely to be the last German Grand Prix for some time given the race's uncertain future, had won nine of the previous 10 races, with Verstappen's win in Austria last month the only spoiler.
"It was a long race, at some stages it felt like it would never end and it was very tough with the conditions and I'm just happy. It was a lot of fun," said Vettel.
Kvyat added: "It was amazing! Amazing to be back on the podium and incredible for Toro Rosso, after so many years, it's great to get a podium."
Hamilton, who had started on pole position with Dutchman Verstappen alongside on the front row, was lucky to end up 11th of 14 finishers after spinning into the barriers and smashing his front wing, although Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff appeared unperturbed by the carnage, deadpanning to the BBC that it was "a day to learn".
The Briton, who caught the Silver Arrows by surprise when he pitted, also had to serve a five-second time penalty, while Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was less fortunate, crashing on lap 29 while in second place and looking likely to take the lead.
Canadian Lance Stroll was fourth for Racing Point with Spain's Carlos Sainz fifth for McLaren.
Thai driver Alexander Albon gave Toro Rosso more points in sixth place, with Kimi Raikkonen seventh and Alfa Romeo teammate Antonio Giovinazzi eighth.
The two Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen completed the scoring places.
The celebrations at Red Bull will, however, be long and loud, while the debrief at Mercedes likely a painful affair, having not failed to score a point for over a year since last year's Austrian Grand Prix in 2018.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN
GERMAN GRAND PRIX
1 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1hr 44min 31.275sec
2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari +7.333sec
3 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Toro Rosso +8.305
4 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point +8.966
5 Carlos Sainz (Esp) McLaren +9.583
6 Alexander Albon (Tha) Toro Rosso +10.052
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo +12.214
8 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo +13.849
9 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas +16.838
10 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas +18.765
11 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes +19.667
DNF Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes; Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari.
STANDINGS - DRIVERS
1 Hamilton 223pts 2 Bottas 184
3 Verstappen 162 4 Vettel 141
5 Leclerc 120
1 Mercedes 407 2 Ferrari 243
3 Red Bull 191 4 McLaren 60
5 Renault 39 .