An emotional Lewis Hamilton last night said that his prayers had been answered after capturing one of the most remarkable victories of his Formula One career.
Hamilton started only 14th in Germany following a mechanical failure in qualifying, but he scythed his way back through the field, and then took advantage of a dramatic rain-hit conclusion which involved his championship rival Sebastian Vettel crashing out from the lead as he sealed a famous win.
Hamilton leapt from his Mercedes machinery before jumping into his army of mechanics to celebrate a victory, described by his race engineer Pete Bonnington as a "miracle", which has moved him 17 points clear of Vettel.
On an extraordinary day, Hamilton's victory then hung in the balance for close to 90 minutes after the race as he was hauled in front of the stewards for aborting a late pit-stop, cutting across the grass, and re-joining the track.
The question was whether Hamilton had done so in an unsafe manner. But, after explaining his version of events to the race officials, alongside Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows, the Briton avoided a timed penalty, and was handed only a reprimand to ensure the 66th win of his career would not be chalked off.
It capped a whirlwind 24 hours for Hamilton, who was booed by the partisan German fans before the race, and his qualifying car failure. The heavens dramatically opened as he stood on top of the podium. Hamilton looked to the sky and spread his arms out wide.
"It has been the most emotional day," he said. " I have never had a race like this. I woke up this morning and you always have to have the belief that it is possible.
"I prayed as I always do before the race, and my prayers were really answered. It has freaked me out a little bit more than normal, particularly with the biblical storm afterwards.
"In England I didn't remember hearing the fans booing the drivers, but here there was a lot of booing for me. I kept seeing a couple of different British flags among a sea of Ferrari red.
"That was so positive for me, and that is why I said that love conquers all. The rain came down and washed away the negativity. It is just unbelievable."
Indeed, what a difference a day makes. On Saturday, Hamilton was slumped over his car after he broke down in qualifying. But yesterday, he didn't put a foot wrong in a victory that will rank among the best of his career.
From 14th, Hamilton was in the points after just four laps. On lap 14, he passed the Haas car of Kevin Magnussen for fifth, and then began his pursuit of catching the leading pack. By this time, Vettel was already 25 seconds up the road.
While his rivals stopped for fresh rubber, Hamilton remained on track in hope that the forecast rain would arrive. But on lap 42, Hamilton's tyres were in tatters, and he had no option but to come in. A little less than two laps later, a light sprinkling of the wet stuff arrived. It seemed as though he may have missed his chance.
Undeterred, Hamilton was reveling in the slippery conditions and, at one stage, was three seconds faster than anyone else. Then, with just 15 laps to run, and the rain getting heavier, Vettel was in the wall. The Ferrari driver had spectacularly crashed out of his home race.
As the safety car was deployed, Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen stopped for new tyres, but Mercedes were unsure what to do with Hamilton. They told him to stop, but at the last minute, Hamilton veered left from the pit entry.
As such, he assumed the lead, and, despite a slap on the wrists from the stewards, it proved the right call.
When the race resumed, Mercedes held their breath as Hamilton and Bottas went wheel-to-wheel for the lead before the team called off the fight.
"The pit call was so confusing," Hamilton added. "I questioned it and it turned out to be the right thing. It was so intense. They were all panicking on the pit wall, and I was probably the only relaxed one."
Hamilton's victory comes only days after concluding a deal which will earn him up £80million over the next two years. Hamilton hoisted Mercedes' group chairman Dry Dieter Zetsche up into the air. "Unbelievable win," Zetsche said.
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, added: "Lewis has given me the feel-good feeling since 2013.
"The difference between the best and the very good is that in the very difficult days they are able to make the difference. He is one of them."
Bottas crossed the line 4.5 seconds adrift of Hamilton with Raikkonen in third. Max Verstappen finished fourth, but his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo retired for the fourth time this season following an engine problem.
Drivers championship after 11 rounds:
- Lewis Hamilton - 188
- Sebastian Vettel - 171
- Kimi Räikkönen - 131
- Valtteri Bottas - 122
- Daniel Ricciardo - 106
- Max Verstappen - 105
- Nico Hulkenberg - 52
- Fernando Alonso - 40
- Kevin Magnussen - 39
- Sergio Perez - 30
That's it from me today. What a breathless finish to the German Grand Prix
But stay tuned for our post-race report and analysis. The 2018 F1 season delivers again. Mercedes made some - for once! - excellent strategy calls that kept Hamilton in the hunt for victory. Of course, the rain and the safety car played into his hands but Hamilton drove a faultless first stint and then had excellent pace.
He then saw off Bottas at the safety car restart with some brave and bold defensive driving.
Ferrari, on the other hand, made a few bad decisions even before Sebastian Vettel shoved it into the barriers at the Sachs curve. They should have let Vettel past Raikkonen long before they did. What a change from two weeks ago where Vettel made a point about winning on Hamilton's home turf. Here Hamilton did it at Vettel's. And he now has a 17-point championship lead.
I'll be back next week for the Hungarian Grand Prix - the final race before the summer break. It was where Hamilton took his first victory for Mercedes, in 2013. It has a lot to live up to...
Marcus Ericsson gets his third points finish of the season
Well done to him. He has struggled to match the pace of Charles Leclerc but he is driving quite well this season.
�� POINTS! ��— Sauber F1 Team (@SauberF1Team) July 22, 2018
Wow. Who could've predicted that race??
�� Big congratulations to @Ericsson_Marcus on a superb drive & valuable 2 points ��
A tough race for @Charles_Leclerc given the conditions, now we look on to Budapest!#GermanGP#F1#ME9#CL16#alfaromeosauberf1teampic.twitter.com/m9wPop26sp
Updated constructor standings
- Mercedes - 310
- Ferrari - 302
- Red Bull - 211
- Renault - 80
- Force India - 59
- Haas - 59
- McLaren - 48
- Toro Rosso - 20
- Sauber - 18
- Williams - 4
Mercedes retake the lead, Force India move above Haas by virtue of their double points finish and on countback.
The moment Sebastian Vettel dramatically crashed out of the German Grand Prix
A podium in the dark...
If this amount of rain had arrived ten minutes earlier the race would have been red flagged for sure. Valtteri Bottas did not seem too happy about the decision to stop him racing Hamilton for the lead, but there you go. He did have a very good chance after the safety car restart but Hamilton held him off.
Sebastian Vettel speaks to Sky Sports F1
I was in the barrier and I realised I don't get out from there. I don't think it was a huge mistake - it was a huge impact on the race. It's not like tonight I will [not] fall asleep. We have a strong car so I think we can be as confident, more than anybody else. It was a positive weekend. It was one of those moments and my mistake. One mistake, a big disappointment.
If he can fall asleep not thinking about that crash tonight then he has done very well indeed.
Updated championship standings
- Lewis Hamilton - 188
- Sebastian Vettel - 171
- Kimi Räikkönen - 131
- Valtteri Bottas - 122
- Daniel Ricciardo - 106
- Max Verstappen - 105
- Nico Hulkenberg - 52
- Fernando Alonso - 40
- Kevin Magnussen - 39
- Sergio Perez - 30
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff reacts to Hamilton's winm
All the bad luck that we had came back to us with tremendous good luck. First of all, we didn't have the quickest car here and we need to progress for the next races. The fight was so intense. It was all to lose with the bad luck we had in the last few races.
What a turnaround for his team.
There are some excellent photos following Vettel's crash
An update from race control...
It is now absolutely rodding it down at Hockenheim
But we got enough rain to provide a deluge of drama towards the final third of the race.
Kimi Raikkonen reacts
We have certain rules but it wasn't clear enough. It didn't really change an awful lot in the end. I had a small moment with one of the lappers, a Sauber, on the braking and then Valtteri got past me. Happy to finish but a bit disappointed.
Valtteri Bottas reacts
Yeah, you know, as a driver the win is what you are looking after. When Seb went off I thought now was a good chance but for Lewis the Safety Car was at a better time. Perfect result for us [as a team]. We had a bit of a battle lap one after safety car with Lewis and I didn't get past then and they told to minimise the risk.
Lewis Hamilton reacts
I did [believe I could win]. It's obviously very difficult front hat position but you have always go to believe. We did the parade lap, I could see how much support I had. I wanted to stay collected and stay calm. Honestly, I am so grateful. I just kept pushing and believing and it happened. Big, big thanks to God. It was so tough out there, conditions were perfect for business time. When it rained I knew I would have a good position. For those who don't know me. Now you do
A delirious Hamilton clambers out of his car...
His 44th win in car number 44.
The top 10
"Love conquers all"
Is Hamilton's response on the radio. "Miracles do happen," his race engineer says.
He has won from 14th on the grid. What a contrast to yesterday. What a contrast from Silverstone. How will Vettel be feeling right now? Sick. Sick. Very sick.
LEWIS HAMILTON WINS THE 2018 GERMAN GRAND PRIX
What. A. Comeback. What. A. Result. He crosses the line over dark grey skies to retake the championship lead! Bottas makes it a Mercedes 1-2. Raikkonen gets another podium for Ferrari.
Wow. What a race that was. Another one. We are getting used to them.
This is a barely believable situation but this sort of thing has happened a lot in 2018. Hamilton is flying. Absolutely flying. Bottas in second. Alonso retires...
Can Hamilton avoid a late downpour to take a sensational victory? Things have stabilised at the front.
3 laps to go...
Sebastian Vettel apologises to his team on the pit wall. How has Hamilton managed to pull this one off? A little bit of luck and a lot of superb driving.
The rain is due to be heavier in turn two and turn six, it seems. Toto Wolff does not need this with his team leading 1-2. Expect a downpour just after the chequered flag, right? It's VERY DARK at the hairpin.
Lap 64 of 67 - Raikkonen within DRS range of Bottas
What can he do with it? Bottas ran wide on exit of the Sachs curve.
Romain Grosjean on a big charge here. Up into P8.
Lap 62 of 67 - Hamilton leads by 2.5s
Sainz has been given a 10s time penalty for overtaking over the safety car. Bottas has found half a second or so on Bottas. If it stays as it is, as seems likely, Hamilton will lead the championship by 18 points.
Hartley now out of the points. Grosjean up into P9.
Lap 61 of 67
Hartley and Ericsson up into the points. Sainz says it's raining again! Raikkonen is almost within a second of Bottas.
Lap 60 of 67 - Hamilton leads...
More rain on the way? Bottas has been told to hold position by James Vowles. Copy, he says. That's a shame, then. He had a chance but didn't take it.
So close into the hairpin!
Lap 59 of 67 - Hamilton leads by 1.5 from Bottas
Raikkonen is now closing up onto the back of Bottas. Has Hamilton got this one in the bag? Hamilton has warmer tyres now. DRS enabled on the next lap.
Bottas is right up on Hamilton's rear from the off! He has fresher rubber but does he have the pace?!
Surely! He's all over the back of him. No DRS just yet.
Bottas tries to go around the outside of Hamilton at the hairpin and around the outside! Hamilton keeps him there. Brilliant defending. Bottas has to go now! Bottas has fallen back into the clutches of Raikkonen! Hamilton leads by 1.5 seconds!
Lap 57 of 67 - Hamilton wants the SC to speed up!
It's in this lap! What will happen now? More drama, please.
The moment Hamilton decided not to come into the pits
He did the hokey cokey there. In and out. In and out.
Raikkonen and Bottas are on fresh rubber. It will come down to pace in the last ten laps here. Would Hamilton resist a move from Bottas?
Lap 54 of 67 - SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED
The lapped cars may now overtake. This helps Bottas and Raikkonen. Anyway. Here is the top 10 under the SC.
Good moves for Force India.
Lap 53 of 67 - Sirotkin is out
Raikkonen pits for ultrasofts and Hamilton then inherits the lead! What a change this has been. Bottas is in second but lost time there due to a slow stop. Well, not so much time but the fact that the lapped runners got between him and Hamilton.
I think the rain has now stopped. Can Hamilton win this? Of course he can. A very emotional Sebastian Vettel swears on the team radio. He knows what he's done. That is painful to watch.
SEBASTIAN VETTEL IS OUT OF THE RACE!
He's into the barriers! He thumps the steering wheel in anger. THAT. IS. MASSIVE.
The fans (Mercedes fans?!) cheer with joy! How odd.
SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED. Bottas pits but it's very, very, very slow. Oh no. Will everyone else come in? Hamilton tries to come in but then decides against it.
Is it time for inters?
It's certainly wet at the hairpin and around it, the worst possible place for it. Vettel still leads. Hamilton is closing up on Raikkonen for third...
"It's raining a lot now"
Says Hamilton. Mercedes expect it to last a very precise three minutes and no more. Charles Leclerc runs wide in sector one. It is quite damp down there now! Bottas tries a move on the inside of Raikkonen at the hairpin but doesn't make it stick!
It's very slippery down there! Bottas now up into second in the stadium section! He's eight seconds behind Vettel now!
Lap 48 of 67 - Vettel leads from Raikkonen by six seconds
Verstappen has changed back to dry tyres. Sensible move. But not very sensible to change in the first place. Charles Leclerc does a 360 through turn one and keeps it going. Impressive. The rain is now spreading to the pit lane...
Vettel loses a piece of his front wing end-plate into the final turn...
After he ran onto the kerbs. That will cost him a little bit of downforce but shouldn't be critical. The rain has not spread to other parts of the circuit yet...
Leclerc switches back to the dry tyres from the inters. Gasly stopped for full wets! Why. On. Earth?! He's back and has stopped again for dry tyres...
Lap 45 of 67 - Verstappen pits for inters!
This does not seem to be the wise choice but they are gambling. It's bone dry on most of the track, really. Hamilton still the fastest man out there. This could be working out nicely for Hamilton.
Lap 43 of 67 -Vettel leads by 3.3 ahead of Raikkonen
Bottas a further two seconds behind. The rain is at the hairpin. It's not massively heavy at the moment and it seems to be isolated to that part of the track. It's slippy down there. Verstappen runs wide, struggling for traction. Hamilton has a small moment but keeps it going forwards.
It's getting heavier down there...
Hamilton comes out in P5...
...and right behind a Toro Rosso. He has a gaggle of lapped cars to overtake. His team tell him even if it does rain - light rain - then these tyres give him the best grip. This is the overhead view of the circuit, currently.
And it is raining! Big rain! At the hairpin!
A lot of nervous drivers out there now... 22 laps to go! Intermediates out for Sauber. Wise? Or silly?
The old Ferrari switcheroo in action
And now it's time for Mercedes to perform one of their own? Maybe? Bottas keeps locking up behind Hamilton but on fresher tyres. Hamilton comes into the pits...for ultrasofts! They're banking on it now raining any time soon.
Rain in eight minutes...
...according to Bottas's engineers. We will see. I am doubtful. The sun is now out. Bottas, meanwhile, is closing up on Hamilton, who has now been on these tyres for 40 laps. He's lapping very well considering. Bottas seven seconds from the leader.
Lap 39 of 67 - Vettel takes the lead from Raikkonen
Raikkonen lets him through at the hairpin. He doesn't sound too happy about it but he agrees in the end. At the same track where Fernando Alonso was allowed to pass Felipe Massa several years ago. Coudl that have happened sooner, though?
Time for Vettel to punch in some quick times.
The top 10 on lap 36
Just after half distance. Vandoorne has a problem. A big one, it seems. He's backing off. And he is told to pull into the garage. No sign of the rain, yet.
No choice but to stop for Alonso...
...he was eking out his tyres with the hope of rain, it seemed.
Lap 34 of 67 - Alonso closing up on Vettel...but a lap down
Vettel not happy about his race situation: losing time and grip behind Raikkonen.
"This is silly. I am just losing time and destroying my tyres."
Time for the old Ferrari switcheroo? Bottas and Verstappen lapping around half a second to a second quicker than the leaders.
Lap 33 of 67 - Vettel: "My rears are getting quite hot"
"Rain predicted in 10-15 minutes," is the answer. Is this all going to hand Lewis Hamilton a golden opportunity? Vettel is still a second or so behind Raikkonen and in dirty air. This doesn't seem to be such a good period for Ferrari.
Will Ricciardo be signing a new contract with his team this week?
Hulkenberg takes Alonso for P7. He's 2s or so behind Magnussen.
Right, so where do we stand after those pit stops?
Raikkonen leads from Vettel and Hamilton, who has yet to stop. Bottas is flying in P4 and then Verstappen. Alonso in sixth who hasn't stopped. Vettel within 1.2s of Raikkonen's lead though Vettel had a bigish lock-up a few laps ago...
Can't see Raikkonen providing much resistance to Vettel but Raikkonen is the quickest man on the track...
Daniel Ricciardo is out! He has stopped by the side of the track without power. Oh dear.
That was a new power unit as well. Verstappen pits from second!
The top 10 on lap 27
Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Alonso yet to stop. Ericsson too.
Here's the Stroll/Grosjean/Hartley and Sainz incident from earlier (14:43)
Where would Bottas come out now? Are Mercedes going to keep him out much longer? His pace is a second or so off Raikkonen's....
He comes in after locking up. Bottas inherits the lead...
Vettel comes out well behind his team-mate and just, just, ahead of Lewis Hamilton! Raikkonen's pace has worked out very well for him but surely he cannot go until the end on these tyres?
A traffic jam at the hairpin
Stroll, Grosjean, Sainz and Hartley all going for a similar piece of tarmac...no collision but it all looked a bit odd and a shunt wasn't far away...
A slow stop for Sergio Perez. He came out in P15...
Lap 21 of 67 - Kevin Magnussen pits and comes out just ahead of Ericsson and behind Ocon
No problem for K-Mag as he gets past Ocon and into P10 with great ease, going into the hairpin. That's where most of the overtaking has happened today. Much of it has been before the actual corner, which suggests the DRS is too powerful and the zone too big.
Vettel leads by 4.5 from Bottas.
After you, sir...
Lap 20 of 67 - Raikkonen concerned about his left rear
He is putting in some good laps. If Bottas stopped now he would be jumped by Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo update: he is now in 10th, ahead of Leclerc.
Lap 18 of 67 - Vettel leads by 4.7 from Bottas
Raikkonen lapping quicker than anyone. He is 21s behind Vettel. He hasn't disrupted Hamilton at all as he's quicker than him by a fair bit - he's four seconds ahead. It looks dark over the back of the circuit but does not seem to be getting much darker at the circuit itself.
HAM team radio
"How have we done to this point. Okay?" he says.
"This is all looking good so far," replies his race engineer.
Ricciardo is now past Alonso after a move at the hairpin. Alonso fights back...a bit. But for nothing.
The top 12 on Lap 15
Bottas is not coming in. Lapping quicker than Vettel by a tenth or so.
Lap 14 of 67 - Raikkonen pits from third
Undercutting Bottas? It was a little slow at the rear. Will Mercedes react? Raikkonen, handily, comes out directly ahead of Hamilton and in fourth...interesting...
What happens now?
Vettel controlling the race currently
Lewis Hamilton gets DRS and eases past Kevin Magnussen in the Haas. Fifth for the no. 44 car. Ricciardo only up into P13 but not too far behind Alonso.
Ferrari mechanics are out in the pit...
Lap 11 of 67 - Vettel leads by 3.8s from Bottas
Hamilton now into P6 as he moves past Hulkenberg. Magnussen next...Hamilton is making good progress but is lapping well behind the leaders - which was unlike Silverstone when he was up with the leaders. But he is now in clean air and will be in even cleaner air if - or when - he gets past Magnussen. He will run longer than the frontrunners, too.
It's looking dark at the back of the track
Hulkenberg is suffering from blistering at the moment.
Lap 9 of 67 - Vettel leads by 3.8s from Bottas
Hamilton gets past Perez for P7. He's 23s behind Vettel now and about 16 behind Verstappen in P4. Hulkenberg is the next target for Hamilton.
Lap 8 of 67 - Hamilton adds to Grosjean's woes...
...and puts himself up into P8. Grosjean complains about Perez's move a lap or two back.
The top 10 as it stands:
Lap 7 of 67 - Perez gets past Grosjean into the hairpin
A scruffy bit of driving from the Haas driver who has slipped back to P8 from starting in sixth.
HAM takes LEC into the hairpin
Lap 6 of 67 - Hamilton closing in on Carlos Sainz
...another DRS assisted move at the hairpin from the Briton. P9 now for HAM. He is 19s away from the leader Vettel. Ricciardo is now up into P15.
Lap 5 of 67 - Vettel leads by 2.3 ahead of Bottas
The Ferrari driver lapping similarly to Bottas. A 1.18.169 for the German last time around.
Lap 4 of 67 - Hamilton takes Leclerc for 10th
A DRS assisted pass but a clean one. A replay of the start shows that Bottas got a good start but Vettel was just quick enough. Verstappen had to back out of turn one to avoid hitting Raikkonen. Sensible driving.
Lap 3 of 67 - Hamilton takes Alonso for P11
He does it into and out of the hairpin. Nicely done. A few drops of rain out there. Alonso gave him some room. Vettel sets another fastest lap to increase his lead to 2.1s ahead of Bottas.
Leclerc is next up for Hamilton for 10th.
Lap 2 of 67 - Vettel leads from Bottas
Daniel Ricciardo has made no progress at all. Well, he had. He is now ahead of the McLaren of Vandoorne. Raikkonen says he has some rain on his visor...
Hulkenberg is up into P6 ahead of Grosjean.
LIGHTS OUT FOR THE 2018 GERMAN GRAND PRIX!
Vettel has a long wait in pole as Gasly takes up the last spot on the grid.
The lights go out! Bottas and Vettel get very good starts but it's the German who leads into turn two.
Raikkonen keeps third...just...ahead of Verstappen. Verstappen tries a move on Raikkonen into the hairpin but it's no good...but he keeps it going into the stadium section! So far, so good for him but he's under pressure...
And what of Hamilton? He goes around the outside of Sirotkin into the Sachs curve and into P13! And he takes Ocon into turn one! P12 for the Briton.
The formation lap gets going...
Everyone away safely and cleanly. Who out there will be hoping for rain? Probably at least half of them. It's getting darker out the back of the track now...
Will we see another Ferrari/Mercedes incident on the first lap?
Just a few minutes until the formation lap now...
...the first corner has been a tasty one in previous years. But the hairpin is also a good bet for overtaking. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a few collisions today there.
Tyre update: Everyone outside the top 10 is on new softs apart from Esteban Ocon, on fresh ultrasofts, and Daniel Ricciardo on fresh mediums.
Some known knowns, unknown knowns and known unknowns going into the race
But what about the unknown unknowns? The things we don't know that we don't know?
It is getting a bit dark over the circuit...
Just under nine minutes to go until the race starts...
The trophies for today's race...
Are they good? Are they bad? Are they weird? Possibly all three.
One says "first place" the other says "constructor". They look heavy.
Risk of rain for the race is 60% according to the official F1 website.
The grid for today's race
Ferrari have been starting quickly in the last few races and it would be perfect for them if Raikkonen jumped Bottas at the start. But let's see.
Vettel in a vintage Ferrari on the driver parade
20 minutes to go until lights out.
Tyre sets and compounds for today's race...
All of the top 10 start on used ultrasofts, for your information.
We'll give you more information about those at the back when we have it. Blistering could be an issue today. What will Hamilton opt for? Is playing it safe and going long in the first stint the best strategy?
Will the German Grand Prix return in 2019?
Telegraph columnist David Coulthard casts his expert eye over the issue at the heart of the matter.
There are legacy races in Formula One, and Germany must be considered one of those. Sunday’s grand prix, however, could be the last staged here, with Hockenheim’s current deal due to expire at the end of the year.
You can take two views: one is evolve or die. Or the opposing school of thought is that there is an existing F1 fanbase in Germany, there is interest from manufacturers and sponsors and, if they can get a sell-out crowd, then it is down to the promoter to cover the financial risk.
Charles Leclerc hoping for rain...
Race start at 15h10 CET today.— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) July 22, 2018
Will we have our first Wet race of the year ? I hope so �� pic.twitter.com/paE6E23XTP
Is the Ferrari power unit now the best on the grid?
Calculations show that they have the edge over Mercedes on the straights at Hockenheim and it was probably the case at Silverstone as well. Estimates put the advantage around a few tenths of a second, which is fairly significant. Where has it come from? Some smart process in their battery apparently.
This has also helped the Ferrari-powered Sauber and Haas cars, too.
Big news coming into this weekend was that Lewis Hamilton signed another two-year contract with Mercedes...
...taking him until the end of 2020. Is that deal enough to help him have a go at Michael Schumacher's seven world titles and 91 race victories?
35 minutes to go until lights out at Hockenheim...
...is there any rain in the air? Not sure. If it's in the air it's not on the ground. Yet...don't get your hopes up. It's sunny.
Weather below. The race starts at 3.10pm by the timing below.
Current driver standings
- Sebastian Vettel - 171
- Lewis Hamilton - 163
- Kimi Räikkönen - 116
- Daniel Ricciardo - 106
- Valtteri Bottas - 104
- Max Verstappen - 93
- Nico Hulkenberg - 42
- Fernando Alonso - 40
- Kevin Magnussen - 39
- Carlos Sainz - 28
Right, let's not forget that Sebastian Vettel took a superb pole position yesterday
He needed to find time on his final qualifying run to stop Valtteri Bottas from getting pole. He managed it, and received a rapturous reception from the red-clad German fans.
Hamilton: "You just have to suck it up and move forwards"
Footage of Hamilton's qualifying incident
Hard to really say what happened first, of course. Still, the sight of him trying to push it back to the pits was...quite something, wasn't it?
What, exactly, happened to Hamilton's car yesterday?
On his second flying lap in Q1 he ran wide at turn one, kept it wide over the kerbs and concrete and ended up with damaged hydraulics and as a result no power steering. The debate was whether the problem was caused by Hamilton continuing to run wide or whether he caused the problem himself. We had conflicting messages initially but Toto Wolff has since said that it was not the driver's fault.
Here is what the Austrian had to say after qualifying:
It's always quite difficult to define cause and consequence. What we saw is that in the previous lap, running wide but completely within the boundaries of what we can do saw a small overload.
In the next lap, going over the kerbs, a hydraulic leak caused the power steering failure, and that power steering failure made this spectacular off over the kerbs. We're just taking it apart.
We have seen failures in Austria, not only on our cars but on other cars. But before we've taken it apart, I can't tell you whether the high load was caused... whether it was a certain frequency that we hit, was it an angle onto the kerb. But definitely it was not Lewis' driving.
We always seek to find our own contribution to a problem. And so from his driving, he was of the opinion 'maybe I caused the problem' and we were of the opinion 'maybe we caused the problem'.
Pierre Gasly will start from the back today...
...that at least moves Daniel Ricciardo up a place. Not such good news for the Frenchman, though.
Engine change, so we get a penalty. Will start P20 today. �� pic.twitter.com/2Scjp4ZKUv— Pierre Gasly ���� (@PierreGASLY) July 22, 2018
Hello, welcome and willkommen to our coverage of the 2018 German Grand Prix!
2018 has been a superb season so far and the 11th round at Hockneheim in Germany looks to be no exception, with another tight and dramatic qualifying session yesterday. Sebastian Vettel secured a stunning and vital pole in his home race for Ferrari but the big story was Lewis Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver and championship challenger had a hydraulic failure in the first part of qualifying. which led to him being told to stop the car. He did not want to do that. But once he did, the Briton got out of the car and started to push, even though he was barely even half-way round the circuit.
"I didn't really understand exactly what had happened so in my mind I was thinking, 'Get the car back to the track', but they asked me to turn the car off," Hamilton said. "I jumped out and wanted to push it back but it was so far to go. I saw there was leaking oil and I knew that I had to stop and let the marshals put the car away somewhere. I have the will to not want to give up. I just want to keep pushing."
It was incredible drama on a Saturday afternoon in Germany and one where Hamilton looked like he was going to challenge Vettel for the pole. After a retirement in Austria and a recovery driver at Silverstone it was another bit of bad luck for Mercedes and Hamilton, who trails Vettel by eight points in the championship.
As it is he will start in 14th and, though his Mercedes car has the pace to make it back up into the higher points scoring positions, it could be a tough job and puts him in danger at the start. And also at great risk of conceding more points to Sebastian Vettel in a very tight championship.
Valtteri Bottas starting in second will be Mercedes best chance of stopping Ferrari. The Finn is due some luck this year. Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, has to start from the back after an unscheduled power unit change.
What will happen at Hockenheim this afternoon? There is the chance of thunderstorms throughout but that may well come to nothing. But there may be plenty of action at the Hockenheimring anyway. Despite what Hamilton said it's not a bad track for overtaking. Stay with me for the next few hours for all the build-up, live updates and reaction from the 2018 German Grand Prix!