Verstappen reigns supreme in dramatic German GP

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen took his second victory of the 2019 Formula 1 season in a chaotic and rain-affected German Grand Prix in which the championship-leading Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both failed to score.

In one of the most incident-filled races in living memory, the Dutchman spun his car 360 degrees and made five pitstops on his way to victory, as teams and drivers up and down the grid struggled to adapt to the changeable weather conditions all race long.

"It was amazing to win in the end," the Dutchman said afterwards. "It was really tricky to make the right calls. To come out on top was all about not making mistakes. It's amazing to win here."

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel salvaged second place after a brilliant drive from last on the grid following a technical issue in qualifying, while Dany Kvyat took advantage of the conditions to finish a superb third and give Toro Rosso their first podium finish in 11 years.

It was a day to forget for Mercedes at their home race, however. Championship leader Hamilton finished a distant 11th after an error-strewn afternoon in which he damaged his nosecone and spent several laps running last, while teammate Bottas crashed out of third place seven laps before the end to the visible ire of team boss Toto Wolff.

Other drivers to fall foul of the slippery track included Vettel's teammate Charles Leclerc, who had been looking good for a strong result until he understeered into the barriers at the final corner. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg also slid off at the same treacherous section of track after having run as high as second, and Verstappen's teammate Pierre Gasly failed to finish after late contact with the Toro Rosso of Alex Albon.

Behind the top three, the topsy-turvy nature of proceedings vaulted several drivers from smaller teams higher up the order. Lance Stroll benefitted from a well-timed switch to slick tyres to finish a strong fourth and give Racing Point their best result of the season, while Carlos Sainz's fifth place was also McLaren's highest finish of 2019.

Albon survived his incident with Gasly to take sixth, while Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi ensured a bumper points finish for Alfa Romeo in seventh and eighth respectively. And despite their second mid-race collision in as many races, the Haas duo of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen nevertheless managed to finish ninth and tenth.

Despite their difficult afternoon, Mercedes remain firmly in control of both championships, with Hamilton and Bottas still in first and second places on 223 and 184 points respectively, though Verstappen's win sees him close the gap with 162 points. In the constructors' championship, Mercedes stay top with 407 points, with Ferrari in second on 261 and Red Bull now with 217 points in third.

The next round of the 2019 Formula 1 season is the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest on August 4. Enditem

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