Fourth Place in “Rollercoaster” German GP “Incredibly Satisfying” – Otmar Szafnauer

by Craig Venn

From losing one car in a crash on the second lap to leading the race and finishing fourth with the other car, Racing Point F1 Team‘s CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer has labelled the 2019 German Grand Prix a “rollercoaster ride from start to finish.”

In the chaotic wet conditions seen on Sunday in Hockenheim, Sergio Pérez was first to fall foul when he lost control of his car exiting turn ten on the second lap, slamming into the inside wall and ending his race prematurely.  

It was the first of many offs, crashes and spins as conditions remained treacherous for the entire race. As the track surface began to dry in the latter stages of the race however, it was Racing Point who made the call to swap their one remaining car of Lance Stroll to slick tyres first.

In turned out to be a masterstroke as Stroll emerged from the ensuing flurry of pit-stops up and down the field in the lead of the race. It was short lived as eventual race-winner Max Verstappen breezed by following his swap to slicks.

Stroll then lost out to Daniil Kvyat but appeared to be able to hold off Valtteri Bottas‘s challenge for third when the Finn crashed out late in the race. At the final safety car restart Stroll was powerless to resist the charging Sebastian Vettel who demoted the Canadian to fourth.

Nonetheless, Szafnauer has hailed the result as a “tremendous effort” and “incredibly satisfying.”

“What a race!” exclaimed Szafnauer. “It was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, but to come away with fourth place for Lance and 12 points is a tremendous effort by the entire team.

“We rolled the dice a few times with Lance’s strategy, but we timed the final switch to dry tyres perfectly and Lance emerged in the lead of the race for a short while.

“We gave it everything to try and bring home the podium and we were looking comfortable holding off Bottas. Without the late safety car, we might have pulled it off, but the fourth place feels incredibly satisfying. It was a fantastic drive by Lance in very tricky conditions.

“It was a shame Sergio couldn’t have been there too but these wet races are often a lottery. All the cars were struggling for grip in the early laps and Sergio lost it on the exit of turn ten. Overall, though, it’s been a brilliant day for the team and a result we will celebrate.”

The twelve points gained by Stroll see Racing Point seventh in the constructors’ championship, now just eight points behind the Renault F1 Team.

Stroll himself has leapt into twelfth in the drivers’ standings on eighteen point, now four places and five points ahead of team-mate Pérez.

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