THE MOTORSPORT LAP
Vettel’s Hockenheim slip hands win to Hamilton
The 2018 Formula One German Grand Prix was full of incidents and surprises
The German Grand Prix at Hockenheim was something to behold with the slightly inclement weather putting a spanner in the works. Ferrari looks to be on pace now with Sebastian Vettel having qualified on pole ahead of Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-AMG) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari).
Qualifying did not go well for Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG). He drove over a series of kerbs, piercing one of the hydraulic pressure lines, forcing him to retire from qualifying and placing him 14th on the grid.
On race day, both Ferraris managed a great start, with Bottas separating the two scarlet cars, while a charging Max Verstappen (Aston Martin Red Bull Racing) kept his fourth position into the first corner. Vettel quickly put some air between himself and Bottas to gain a comfortable lead, while Raikkonen was being hounded by a pressing Verstappen.
Hamilton immediately began making his way through the field to eventually win the race. Of course, this was also helped by the team’s choice of letting him stay out on his soft tyres for a little while longer than the rest of the field, giving him some track time advantage before coming in for a set of super-soft tyres, which was the perfect strategy as the rest of the pack came in to put on intermediate tyres as it was raining on some sections of the track. It did not last long and many had to come back in for slick tyres as the intermediates were quickly losing grip on a drying-up track.
Vettel misjudged a braking point into one of the corners, which sent him into the kitty litter and into a barrier that put paid to his exploits. Hamilton went on to win ahead of Bottas and then Raikkonen.
Hamilton leads the championship with 188 points followed by Vettel on 177 and Raikkonen on 131 going into the Hungarian race this weekend before the break until the Belgian Grand Prix on August 26.
In Formula E news, DS Automobiles, the luxury arm of Citroen, has been active in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship since the series opened to manufacturers and will run its new car — the DS E-Tense FE 19 — in association with Techeetah from 2018-19.
This partnership brings the first chapter of the brand’s involvement in the electric street racing series alongside Virgin Racing to an end, a partnership that has harvested five race wins, 16 podium finishes, six pole positions and three fastest race laps. In the last three seasons, DS Virgin Racing has finished inside the top three of the teams’ classification twice.
Xavier Mestelan Pinon, director of DS Performance thanked Virgin Racing "for the three wonderful seasons we spent together".
"Our involvement in FormulaE is an integral part of DS Automobiles’ commitment to the electrification of its model lineup. The DS E-Tense FE 19’s development began several months ago with the objective of being in a position to challenge for the top step of the podium from the opening race of the 2018-19 campaign. Our association with Techeetah, who recently celebrated winning the 2017-18 drivers’ title in addition to coming second in the teams standings, is geared towards this target. We are fully aware of the qualities of the men and women who work at Techeetah and I am convinced that our two entities will dovetail perfectly."
The new team will officially be presented on October 1, ahead of the start of the fifth season in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 15.
Coinciding with the new season, the duration of Formula E races will be 45 minutes plus one lap, with no mid-race car swaps. The new vehicles will feature significantly revised styling and aerodynamics and will be powered by new, manufacturer-developed 250kW electric motors.