With the end of the German GP came Williams F1’s first points of the 2019 Formula 1 season. For this reason alone it will be memorable, and some reward for the hard work done by everyone at the factory and at the track, all of whom are working tirelessly to get Williams back towards their rightful place at the front of the grid.
It was equally as significant for Williams’ Robert Kubica who scored his first point for over eight years, and the first since his comeback following an almost fatal rallying accident.
But it was a momentous Grand Prix for a number of other drivers and teams too. Let’s take a look at how the outcome of the German GP might affect Williams’ competition.
Haas: Magnussen and Grosjean collide again
The Haas team have their hands full both on and off track with a spat with sponsors Rich Energy (who are in the midst of spats with pretty much everyone – Whyte Bikes, Red Bull and even their own CEO William Storey) exacerbating their struggles to get the most from this year’s Pirelli rubber leaving them at the wrong end of the grid.
The last thing they need is for their drivers to be hell bent on self destruction, and bashing into each other every other race. But that’s exactly what they’ve been landed with.
For the second time in as many races, and for the umpteenth time this season loose cannons Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen collided in the race, though fortunately for Haas, escaping without damage.
They have been warned on multiple occasions that this is strictly forbidden and yet they continue to delight in contact. It has to end, and the only way it would seem that this is going to happen is if one of them is given the boot. And Grosjean would seem like the most likely recipient of said boot.
Pierre Gasly is in a blessed position. He sits in one of the six current Grand Prix cars that are capable of winning a Grand Prix. But, unlike his team-mate who has won two thirds of the last three races, he looks anything like capable of standing atop the podium any time soon.
He’s been smashed to pieces by the pace of Verstappen this year, and he’s now starting to feel the heat from his two step-team mates Alexander Albon and Daniil Kvyat who finished sixth and third respectively at Hockenheim.
Red Bull have a history of mid-season changes when they feel a driver is underperforming. Young Pierre could soon feel Helmut Markko’s clammy hand on his shoulder inviting into his office for a chat that Daniil Kvyat & many others have all had.
Prior to the German Grand Prix, Mercedes Team Boss Toto Wolff said that he was hoping for two strong Grand Prix from Valtteri Bottas (Germany and Hungary), after which the team would make a decision on his future.
Bottas put it into the wall in the closing stages of Sunday’s race having tried and failed to pass Lance Stroll in the Racing Point out of position thanks to a strategic masterstroke in switching to slick tyres ahead of everyone else.
Post race, when asked about Bottas’ crash, all Wolff would say was that it was a ‘sh*t weekend’ for the Finn, who had the opportunity to halve his championship deficit to team-mate Hamilton on an off weekend for the Brit who doesn’t have very many off weekends.
Will Mercedes now be looking at one of their other driver options?
As an indirect consequence of Valtteri Bottas’ ‘sh*t’ weekend, Williams’ George Russell could have found himself a step closer to a seat at Mercedes.
He kept it out of the wall in treacherous conditions for his eleventh consecutive finish in his eleven race Grand Prix career.
I think Mercedes could do a lot worse!
It is beginning to look like Nico Hulkenberg will never experience a Grand Prix podium. Running strongly in fourth place (that would have become third with Bottas’ DNF) he crashed at the Sudkurve, the scene of a number of incidents thanks to the non-draining drag strip that sits alongside the GP track there, planting his Renault firmly into the wall.
Renault are notorious for their keenness to sit French drivers in their cars, and there just happens to be a very good French driver sitting on the sidelines, who just happens to be (if reports are to be believed) about to end his contract with Mercedes Benz, just as Hulkenberg’s Renault contract expires.
Is Hulkenberg about to lose his seat to Ocon?
It was beginning to look like the Monegasque was Ferrari’s safe pair of hands with the inexplicable demise of Sebastian Vettel’s world championship form of late.
It’s crunch time for Ferrari with regards to next season, and in whom the Scuderia – famed for favouring one driver at the expense of the other – invest all their resources.
It seemed up until now that Leclerc would be their man for the future and Vettel would be edged out, as Prost, Kimi and, almost unbelievably, Schumacher were before him.
However, Leclerc’s crash here when Ferrari had only just engineered him into a potential race winning position, and Vettel’s stunning drive from plum last to second place might just have instilled in him some self-confidence and more still from Maranello.