By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
This season’s Formula One World Championship has been underwhelming. That is until Sunday’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring happened.
In an absolute instant classic, Max Verstappen overcame both a terrible standing start and a Lap 26 spin to win his seventh career grand prix victory.
Here’s the kicker, it was far from the only highlight as rain and later drying conditions caused tremendous implications on driver’s future gigs from the moment the lights were out to the checkered flag.
You had Danil Kvyat, a guy that was sacked by Red Bull Racing and replaced by Verstappen four races into the 2016 season, scoring the sister team Toro Rosso’s first podium since the 2008 Italian Grand Prix when Sebastian Vettel scored his first of 52 grand prix triumphs.
The brand new dad had a nice drive in the Honda powered machine and well-played strategy led to an ecstatic Russian. No doubt a feelgood moment seeing him back on the podium.
Speaking of Honda, who would’ve thought we see multiple wins, let alone take two podium spots. I’m sure Fernando Alonso and McLaren are throwing a fit on the inside right now, knowing how all of a sudden Honda have produced positive results.
Kvyat’s third place result showed how much he’s improved and matured since 2016 and making a nice case of earning a second chance at RBR since Pierre Gasly can’t get the job done and crashing further hurts his stock.
Let’s face it, Gasly isn’t a Charles Leclerc nor ready to be in a top team. He’s been an absolute disappointment all season and after 11 rounds, Sunday’s event exposed him quite bad.
This wasn’t what he needed, especially when Kvyat’s teammate Alexander Albon beat him as well. Gasly is among a few drivers I totally see being on the hot seat.
Not only Gasly I fear he’ll be out, it’s time to say this about Sergio Perez. He’s done, Carlos Slim’s money be damned straight to hell.
Perez has been a guy that you can easily judge how he’ll fare based on how he does in practice and where he starts. He’ll never get that grand prix win like I thought years ago. It’s sad seeing a fellow Latin struggling this bad of finding true consistency and at times, be beaten to Lance Stroll.
Sure, he crashed out early but an encouraging fourth by Stroll that almost could’ve been a podium result until Vettel out muscled the Canadian in the closing laps.
Everyone knows Stroll is secured because who’s one of the higher ups at SportPesa Racing Point and so is Perez due to his backing, but the writing on the wall is telling me that Perez’s future isn’t favorable.
Then there’s the final guy who may face pressure due to a late-race crash and that’s the once true threat to Hamilton’s throne, Valtteri Bottas.
As if Mercedes’ 200th grand prix start was already disgusting enough when Hamilton damaged his front wing after controlling a good chunk of the race, Bottas’ crash was the icing on the cake and officially left Toto Wolff furious.
Remember, Bottas isn’t safe and with the pending announcement regarding Mercedes’ 2020 lineup coming soon, he may be out despite sitting second in points. All I’ll say about this drama is that Esteban Ocon will be waiting for that seat becoming vacant and prove his worth.
Then there’s Vettel, who started in last after intercooler problems cost him a qualifying opportunity. It may have taken several safety car periods, but the pay off was enriching after what’s been a bad season by his standards.
The four-time world champion finally capitalized on the misfortunes from Mercedes and put on a helluva drive fans haven’t seen since last year’s race which started the decline.
Perhaps the final surprise was hours after the race when both Alfa Romeo entries of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were issued 30-second penalties, promoting Hamilton and Williams driver Robert Kubica into the top-10.
Therefore, both Williams and Kubica have finally scored a point this season, leaving just teammate George Russell, without a point heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix August 4.
Alfa Romeo will appeal the decision so it could change but for now, something positive for the once glorious squad.
Boy did this race had many incredible thrills and agonizing spills that’ll stand the test of time. It’s too bad the race isn’t on the 2020 calendar at the moment. Hopefully, this race changes their minds because it damn sure delivered a desperately needed buzz which have people talking amazing things about F1.
Now that I’ve digested how the race at Hockenheim unraveled, you see why this race was the one F1 desperately needed where it felt like an organically fun race to watch. I haven’t seen a grand prix this exciting without a flat line or genuine anger in a real long time.
Yeah, we’ve seen a couple thriller finishes this year in both Canadian and Austrian Grand Prixs, but pending on whose side you’re on, you either loved it or loathe it because it impacted a driver’s outcome.
The Vettel penalty in Montreal ruined a good race by modern day F1’s standards and no penalties handed to either Verstappen or Leclerc at Spielberg didn’t help because there’s been inconsistency on certain calls.
Silverstone was 100% ruined into shreds because of a petty safety car call due to Giovinazzi going off in a place that really didn’t warrant bunching up the field. It ruined another duel between F1’s future of Verstappen and Leclerc and turned out to be another Lewis Hamilton charity race and again, another soap opera of what’s wrong with Vettel unfolded.
Leading up to Sunday, it hasn’t been a fun season for fans. Many have either complained about Mercedes, specifically Hamilton, running away with the championship or lacking true competition compared to the last couple of years.
I’m not gonna lie when I say this, but I understand their frustrations and it’s a damn shame that Ferrari have been underperforming and up until now, Red Bull being non-factors.
Look where we’re at right now? Verstappen has stepped up to the plate and hitting his stride when Hamilton isn’t in the race win picture which is a total breath of fresh air. Cocky he may be, but he’s “Mad Max” on the circuit and have finally captured that rainy victory to prove he’s quite a master in the wets.
How will the Hungarian Grand Prix fare this weekend? Will we see more drama or the return of the same show?
As always, time will tell and I’ll just enjoy what happened in Germany because it’s what makes F1 great. It wasn’t just because it rained but those chaotic outcomes made it so fascinating and a race to remember for years to come.