2019 German Grand Prix: The Rookie Report​

by Ed Spencer
Alex Albon - Scuderia Toro Rosso

In what may be the last race from Hockenheim for sometime, Germany didn’t disappoint with plenty of thrills spills and an unpredictable podium which even Nostradamus would have struggled to predict.

It was a mixed bag for F1’s rookies with Alexander Albon getting his best result in the championship as well as some good points for Toro Rosso but for Lando Norris and George Russell, Hockenheim was a missed opportunity in what tough races for them whilst Antonio Giovinazzi got points on the road only to lose them in the stewards office.


ALEXANDER ALBON | SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO

QUALIFIED: SEVENTEENTH (STARTED SIXTEENTH) | FINISHED: SIXITH


Credit: Red Bull content pool & Dan Mullen

Alexander Albon produced a storming drive to get his best finish in Formula 1 to date with sixth at Hockenheim.

Things were not looking good in qualifying after he was held up by Norris, leaving him seventeenth in qualifying which was upped to sixteenth after Norris’s penalty.

Raceday started off slowly but Albon started to climb through the order, taking on the changing conditions, managing to keep his Scuderia Toro Rosso STR14 out of the wall.

As the safety car came out to retrieve Charles Leclerc’s beached Scuderia Ferrari, Albon was moved up in fourth spot behind Valtteri Bottas and ahead of Lewis Hamilton as the track started to dry.

Albon was still fourth after another safety car period, to retrieve Nico Hülkenberg’s wrecked Renault, but quickly fell back to eighth after he was passed going into the hairpin, first losing his duel with Hamilton before Carlos Sainz Jr. sneaked through along with Pierre Gasly, to make matters worse for Albon he went wide into turn 10 letting Kimi Räikkönen and Vettel through as well.

Albon regained the places through the weather playing another curveball and with cars in front dropping out, Albon hung on for sixth despite Gasly running into the pack of him.

The result breaks Albon’s pointless streak and gives him his best result in F1 which will turn cause the Red Bull Racing bosses to look for the Thai driver to replace the much-maligned Gasly.


GEORGE RUSSELL | WILLIAMS RACING

QUALIFIED: EIGHTEENTH (STARTED SEVENTEENTH) | FINISHED: THIRTEENTH (CLASSIFIED ELEVENTH AFTER PENALTIES)


Credit: Williams Media

It was another tough weekend for last year’s Formula 2 champion, George Russell, who leaves Hockenheim with the burden of being the only driver this season not to have scored a point.

Russell’s qualifying was successful with him once again out-qualifying team-mate Kubica, in what was Williams’s best qualifying of the season with Russell getting an extra boost through Norris’s penalty.

The Brit’s race was a mixed bag with the Williams at times running in the points courtesy of a strategy to stay out longer on rain tyres whilst most pitted for intermediates tyres.

As cars crashed around him Russell retained his calm and finished thirteenth on the road to give him his best result in F1 to date, however he finished behind teammate Kubica and was later promoted to eleventh, with his teammate snatching Williams’ their first point of the season as the series heads to Hungary.


ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI ALFA ROMEO

QUALIFIED: ELEVENTH | FINISHED: EIGHTH (THIRTEENTH AFTER PENALTIES)


Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI

For a few hours Antonio Giovinazzi thought he had put the pain of Silverstone behind him after a solid drive to get his best finish in F1.

However it wasn’t to be, as it was taken away from him in the stewards room, courtesy of a breach of the rules under the safety car.

Qualifying was a disappointment for the Italian who was just +0.010 seconds away from getting into Q3 but missed out to Sergio Pérez.

At the start Giovinazzi went wide into Turn 2 and lost ground to both Racing Point F1 Team cars, but picked up ground through clean driving and pit stops.

The Italian lost time as he pitted under racing conditions before the safety car was brought out two laps after the Italian had pitted.

In the latter stages of the race he came under attack from Romain Grosjean as the switch to slick tyres started to take place, and Giovinazzi staying out when most of the field pitted.

But Giovinazzi was setting a blinding pace once he switched to slick tyres, which saw him briefly as the fastest man on the circuit, before getting into the points once again courtesy of Valterri Bottas and Gasly crashing out.

The Italian finished ninth on the road before he and his teammate Räikkönen would be handed a thirty second time penalty for a safety car infringement.


LANDO NORRIS | MCLAREN F1 TEAM

QUALIFIED: SIXTEENTH (STARTED NINETEENTH) | RACE: DID NOT FINISH


Lando Norris - McLaren
Credit: McLaren F1 Team Media

A weekend to forget for McLaren F1 Team‘s Norris, who endured a torrid time at Hockenheim.

Qualifying saw the Brit only manage sixteenth and elimination in Q1 for the first time in his F1 career, which also included a blocking of his friend Alexander Albon.

Come race day Norris was on the back row with Sebastian Vettel after a penalty for a new MGU-K ES and CE.

At the race start, Norris made an unremarkable start which saw him coming out of Turn 2 only ahead of the Williams Racing FW42 of Robert Kubica.

By lap 8 Norris was behind Kubica and was going nowhere fast, with hopes being slightly raised as the Brit slightly moved up the order courtesy of drivers pitting, and with McLaren putting him out on inters for the long haul.

But Norris’s day ended on lap 27 with a technical failure causing his third retirement of the season and extending his pointless streak to two races and drops him to tenth in the driver’s championship as the series moves to Hungary.


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