In what turned out to be one of the most memorable weekends of the season, title-favorites Mercedes could not even finish the race as both of their drivers crashed out in the German Grand Prix. On what was supposed to be a grand weekend celebrating 125 years of Mercedes Motorsports, a series of poor mistakes wrecked both Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas ‘s chances, thus causing team boss Toto Wolff to label the weekend as an “Armageddon”.
What went wrong for Mercedes?
The race started extremely well for the Silver Arrows, with Hamilton at the first spot and Bottas snatching second place from Max Verstappen. However, pole-sitter Hamilton soon lost control at the penultimate corner, as his car skid off the track and he found himself in a situation similar to what Ferrari racer Charles Leclerc found himself moments earlier.
The Britisher did manage to continue unlike Leclerc, who had to retire. He did, however, has a broken front wing which caused him to enter the pit stop before the legal entry point, thus picking up a five-second penalty and catching his team off-guard. The penalty cost him to drop from first to fifth and when he made his next pitstop, the field was bunched and a Safety Car was deployed which meant he found himself dead-last. A wrong call to switch to slick tyres caused him to go on a merry-go-round spin after that, and he finally finished the race at P11 but was subsequently promoted to P9 when Alfa Romeo was penalized for a start offense.
Mercedes crashes at German Grand Prix 2019
Bottas, was faring better than Hamilton. He was well on-course for a podium finish when he pushed too hard to overtake the Lance Stroll in the final rounds of the race. He crashed and could not complete the race, thus making Hockenheimreig the first pointless race of the season for the home team.
What did Wolff and the racers say?
When quizzed about how embarrassing the result was for Mercedes, given the anniversary celebrations and allowing Netflix to film them for the first time, Wolff clarified, “You're using the word 'embarrassing' - no, it's not embarrassing, it's motor racing. And sometimes you've got to take a slap on the nose, on the chin as you say, and just learn. These are the days that make us better. We've got to think about what went wrong. And then if things come together, like with Valtteri crashing out at the end, which was not great... this ends in an Armageddon weekend for us.”
"And whether we are celebrating 125 years, have the board here or the Netflix guys, plays no role at all, probably we've given them more content than on any other normal weekend."
Bottas, however, admitted his mistake. The Finnish racer said,” I made a mistake myself. The team also told me to push harder, I was pushing as hard as I could to get to the podium, so obviously I pushed a bit too much in that corner and lost the rear end.
"It was my mistake, maybe I should’ve tried to stay calmer and taken my time but if I didn’t try that hard I could’ve never maybe reached the podium. At least I could’ve got some points, which would’ve been important."