Eifel Grand Prix – Race


Quick clarification to my note yesterday about the name of this race: Hockenheim couldn’t be added to this year’s revised calendar because the COVID restrictions in the Baden-Württemberg region prevent fans attending, whereas the Nurburgring (in Rhineland-Palatinate) is allowed to have a limited number of people (20,000) in the stands.

Despite the weather meaning FP1 and FP2 were cancelled, hugely reducing the drivers & teams chance to collect data & build experience, there weren’t many surprises in Qualifying. The biggest one was STR not running in FP3 because he was ill (his COVID tests are negative but he has an upset stomach); HUL has replaced him for quali and the race.

Provisional grid: BOT, HAM, VER, LEC, ALB, RIC, OCO, NOR, PER, SAI, VET, GAS, KVY, GIO, MAG, GRO, RUS, LAT, RAI, HUL

McLaren reported “We detected an issue with Lando’s power unit yesterday after qualifying, which Renault is investigating. As a consequence, we had to change his PU this morning (new elements: ICE, MGUH, MGUK and TC).” Norris will not receive a penalty for taking the new engine as this is the third use of each component and therefore within the allocation. [FIA]

On the way to the dummy grid, HAM asked if the team had fixed his steering wheel issue but was told Mercedes did not get permission to make any changes to it last night – it was determined to be a “comfort” issue rather than safety related.

On the dummy grid, Racing Point have removed PER’s seat – presumably that’s so the mechanics can access something underneath it but it’s not clear what problem they’re tackling.

RAI is set to make a record-breaking 323rd grand prix start – it’s interesting to hear that he’s actually started more but some didn’t count due to first lap retirements. (RAI starts P19)
It’s BOT’s 150th F1 start today too

VER “There are a lot of unknowns, temperature, what it will do to the tyres. I’m very looking forward to today, to doing the race here.”
The forecast says 40% chance of rain in the second half of the race
Air temperature 9°C; track 17°C

The top 10 all start on the soft tyres they used in Q2
VET, GAS, KVY and GRO are starting on mediums; everyone else on softs

BOT leads everyone away on the formation lap
The track is looking pretty green – not much rubber on the track
Smoke from HAM’s front-left brake

01/60: HAM leads into Turn 1 but BOT reclaims P1
PER attacking NOR
HUL gaining places at the back of the field

02: BOT, HAM, VER, LEC, RIC, ALB, NOR, PER, OCO, SAI, GIO, VET, GAS, MAG, KVY, RUS, HUL, LAT, RAI, GRO
MAG takes P13 from GAS

03: HAM fastest lap … but his time’s deleted for exceeding track limits
Replay shows VET moved well before the start but was stationary when the lights changed

04: BOT f/lap 1:32.211

05/60: BOT, HAM, VER, LEC, RIC, ALB, NOR, PER, OCO, SAI, GIO, VET, MAG, GAS, KVY, RUS, HUL, LAT, RAI, GRO
Radio from GRO complaining that RAI kicked up gravel and some hit his hand

06: BOT f/lap 1:32.063

07: HAM f/lap 1:31.951
GAS passes MAG but MAG reclaims P13

08: VER f/lap 1:31.938
ALB pits – an early stop; switches to medium tyres; rejoins P20

09: HAM f/lap 1:31.622
RIC dives inside LEC for P4
NOR now closes on LEC

10/60: BOT, HAM, VER, RIC, LEC, NOR, PER, OCO, SAI, GIO, VET, MAG, GAS, KVY, RUS, HUL, LAT, RAI, GRO, ALB

11: LEC pits from P5; rejoins P20
VET slides off at Turn 1
RAI pits

12: VET and RUS pit
VET takes on hard tyres – that’s the first time anyone’s used them all weekend

13: BOT locks up into Turn 1; HAM catches him, takes P1
RAI locks up, side-swipes RUS
RUS has a rear-left puncture

14: BOT pits; mediums go on; rejoins P4

15/60: HAM, VER, RIC, BOT, NOR, PER, OCO, SAI, GAS, GIO
RUS parks the broken Williams
BOT closing on RIC

16: BOT takes P3 from RIC
Virtual Safety Car deployed so the marshals can remove RUS’ car

17[VSC]: HAM pits; mediums
VER pits; RIC pits
VSC ends
KVY locks up, cuts a corner; ALB passes KVY but then hits ALB’s front wing

18: Radio from BOT, “No power, no power!”
PER passes BOT for P4

19: HAM f/lap 1:30.795
BOT pits; retires; mechanics are putting on their rubber gloves which suggests a battery issue

20/60: HAM, VER, NOR, PER, OCO, SAI, RIC, GAG, ALB, HUL, LEC, GRO, GIO, VET, RAI, MAG, LAT, KVY; out: BOT, RUS
HAM f/lap 1:30.454
10sec penalty for RAI for the incident with RUS

21: LEC takes P10 from HUL
VER f/lap 1:30.439

22: Radio from ALB whining that GAS is “racing him hard” – awww, poor boy

23: OCO takes to the escape road; radio: “I’ve lost braking”; heads for the pits, retires

24: 5sec penalty for ALB for causing a collision with KVY
ALB pits; serves his penalty … no, they’re retiring him

25/60: HAM, VER, NOR, PER, SAI, RIC, GAS, LEC, HUL, GRO, GIO, VET, RAI, MAG, LAT, KVY; out: ALB, OCO, BOT, RUS

26: Radio from NOR reporting a lack of power; told they see the problem, keep going
(NOR was given a whole new power unit for this race)

27: PER closing on NOR

29: NOR still complaining of power loss

30/60: HAM, VER, NOR, RIC, LEC, GAS, PER, HUL, SAI, GIO, VET, RAI, MAG, LAT, GRO, KVY
NOR pits from P3; mediums; rejoins P5

31: PER swoops past NOR for P5
GAS pits; rejoins P12

33: PER all over the rear of LEC

34: RIC is 55sec behind VER, so it won’t be long before HAM laps P3
PER takes P4 but LEC now how DRS to fight back and reclaim P4
SAI passes teammate NOR for P

35/60: HAM, VER, RIC, LEC, PER, SAI, NOR, GIO, VET, RAI
Black and white flag for GRO for repeatedly exceeding track limits

36: Replay of RAI’s front-left wing upright flying off – that’s presumably damage from his collision with RUS

37: LEC pits from P4; rejoins P10

38: GIO pits from P7; rejoins P13

39: HAM laps NOR (P6)

40/60: HAM, VER, RIC, PER, SAI, NOR, LEC, VET, GAS
(The official FIA app shows HAM P1 and P2 – what a heap!)

41: GAS takes P9 from VET

42: HUL closing on VET
VET complaining about his front tyres
HUL storms past to take P9 from the Ferrari

43: VET pits from P10; softs go on; slow stop; rejoins P15

44: Radio for PER telling him he’s catching RIC at 0.7sec/lap
NOR pulls off, parks the McLaren

45/60: HAM, VER, RIC, PER, SAI, LEC, GAS, HUL, RAI, GRO, GIO, MAG, LAT, VET, KVY; out: NOR, ALB, OCO, BOT, RUS
Safety Car deployed
RIC pits but PER stays out which puts PER in P3

46[SC]: HAM pits; softs go on
VER pits; softs too
PER now pits, so he’s back behind RIC

47[SC]: Radio from HAM asking for the SC to speed up
HAM, “It’s not safe for him to go this slow” because their tyres are getting cold
VER makes the same complaint
Race control: lapped cars can pass the SC
What a mess – why didn’t they use the VSC?

48[SC]: NOR’s car was removed a while ago – why is the SC still out?

49[SC]: SC ending – at last!
Order for the restart: HAM, VER, RIC, PER, SAI, LEC, GRO, GAS, HUL, GIO, MAG, LAT, VET, RAI, KVY
HAM starts to fall back from the SC but VER is desperate to get going
SC heads for the pit lane
HAM boots it out of the final turn

50/60: VER locks up but RIC can’t make a pass
PER all over the rear of RIC
HUL takes P8 from GRO

51: GAS up to P6 – he’s passed GRO and LEC since the restart
HUL closing on LEC

52: HAM f/lap 1:28.487
DRS enabled

53: HAM f/lap 1:28.335
RIC’s last lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits
VET takes P12 from LAT

54: HAM f/lap 1:28.257

55/60: HAM, VER, RIC, PER, SAI, GAS, LEC, HUL, GRO, GIO, MAG, VET, RAI, LAT, KVY
VET inside MAG to take P11
RAI takes P12 from MAG

57: LAT and KVY seem locked in battle over P14

58: Looks like HUL will win FIA’s Driver of the Day

59: HAM f/lap 1:28.145

60 = final lap: VER has dropped to 5sec behind HAM – is he topping up his battery for a final attempt at fastest lap?

HAM takes the chequered flag; his 91st victory, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record
VER f/lap 1:28.139
RIC P3, so Cyril Abiteboul will finally be getting a tattoo 🙂

Interviews:
HAM: “I managed to look after my tyres, I could see [BOT] was graining his so I knew I could push and he did lock up. The Red Bulls were quick though, we’ve got a serious fight on our hands. I’m knackered!”
VER: “I think the pace was good, we tried to do out own race as Mercedes were too fast. We just managed to get that fastest lap and one extra point so happy with that.”
RIC: “It’s been awhile, it feels like the first podium all over again. It’s been two and half years or something. So happy. [The tattoo] is real, it’s going to happen.”

Mick Schumacher, son of Michael, presents Lewis Hamilton with one of the helmets from Michael’s career.

Provisional result: HAM, VER, RIC, PER, SAI, GAS, LEC, HUL, GRO, GIO; VET, RAI, MAG, LAT, KVY
DNF: NOR, ALB, OCO, BOT, RUS

[2020 calendar] [2020 line-up]