Lewis Hamilton has described his eleventh place finish in the 2019 German Grand Prix as “very painful” and says he’s “glad it’s over” after a series of uncharacteristic mistakes saw him lose the lead and end a twenty-two race points scoring streak.
Hamilton dominated the early stages of the race in the season’s first wet racing laps, heading his team-mate Valtteri Bottas as fellow front-row starter and eventual race-winner Max Verstappen faltered at the start.
With rain continuing to fall Hamilton’s first mistake came at turn sixteen on lap thirty when his slick tyres saw him slip wide, narrowly missing the stricken car of Charles Leclerc. The championship leader glanced the barrier and tore off the front wing of his Mercedes before scrabbling into the pit-lane, illegally, for repairs.
An uncharacteristically shambolic Mercedes-AMG Motorsport weren’t prepared for Hamilton’s arrival and the repairs took a whopping fifty-five seconds, dropping Hamilton to fifth.
A five-second penalty for entering the pit-lane the wrong side of the safety bollard and a dramatic spin on lap fifty-four, combined with six pit-stops saw Hamilton slip from the top ten, finishing eleventh.
“What a crazy race,” said Hamitlon. “This has been one of the most difficult races we’ve had as a team for a long time. I thought I had the race under control, but we took a risk going out on slicks and the race fell apart from there.
“I went wide at Turn 16 and it was like ice out there, then hit the wall and damaged my wing. I made a mistake and paid the price. I was in the lead and then finished P11. I’m not even sure how, but that’s very painful and I’m just glad it’s over.
Hamilton’s participation in the German Grand Prix weekend was initially in doubt when the five-time world champion informed to team he was unwell on Friday night. The championship leader says he’ll “live and learn” from his disastrous race and be fit and well for next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“It’s hard to perform when you’re not at 100 per cent. I need to make sure I’m fit and healthy again in time for the next race. You live and you learn from days like this. It’s important now that we regroup for Hungary.”
It wasn’t just a bad day for Mercedes on Hamilton’s side of the garage, with Bottas crashing out late in the race. Although the demise of both Mercedes cars afforded opportunities for others to get in on the front-running action with Sebastian Vettel recovering from last on the grid to claim second and Daniil Kvyat claiming a sensational third.
“I’m happy for Seb [Vettel], who fought his way back to P2 from the back, and how good to see Daniil [Kvyat] and Toro Rosso on the podium too – good for them,” finished Hamilton.