Tears pour after F1 heartbreak

A SHATTERING error from Sebastian Vettel has squashed the German's perfect shot at a maiden home Grand Prix win after the four-time champion crashed into the barrier late in the race.

Lewis Hamilton, who started at 14th on the grid, charged through the pack early and found himself in first place as the Safety Car deployed to clean up Vettel's disastrous mistake.

The win saw the Englishman unexpectedly regain the lead in the championship battle with Vettel, who had an eight-point buffer over his rival beforehand.

Valtteri Bottas finished second, making it the first one-two podium for the Silver Arrows in Germany. Kimi Raikkonen finished third for Ferrari, but Vettel's departure meant Mercedes were able to claim first place on the Constructors championship standings.

Aussie Daniel Ricciardo's German nightmare finished as it started, with mechanical issues forcing a loss of power midway through the race, sending the Red Bull ace back to the sheds.


Ferrari in shock over Vettel fail

Sebastian Vettel was in the box seat to claim his first home Grand Prix with a nine-second lead over Valtteri Bottas, but a huge error on the hairpin sent the German careering into the barrier and spiralling out of the race in the 53rd lap.

"F***'s sake, f***'s sake, sorry guys," a teary Vettel told his team after hitting the wall.

Vettel was kicking the dust in fury after exiting his car as Mercedes raced to pit Bottas with fresh tyres during the Safety Car period.

Lewis Hamilton, who started in 14th place, took the lead after the brief period of chaos.


Disaster strikes Dan again

Daniel Ricciardo's car just hasn't been working for him in Germany.

A horror qualifying weekend saw him sent to the back of the pack after his Red Bull needed replacement parts. A strong performance saw the Aussie scrape into the top 10, but a complete lack of power in the 30th lap saw him forced out of the race.

The Red Bull gun admitted he had championship hopes before the race but a DNF (Did Not Finish) in Germany all but skittles his slim chance of wearing 2018's crown.

The German had the fastest lap recorded midway through the race and gained a serious lead of almost nine seconds on Valtteri Bottas before rain began pelting down on the track.


Hamilton makes a move, Ferrari's ace pit stop

Lewis Hamilton miraculously raced his way into 6th position by the 12th lap after starting 14th on the grid, passing rival drivers with relative ease as the front of the pack prepared for the incoming rain.

Race leader Sebastian Vettel built his lead over Valtteri Bottas to over 3.5 seconds, while Aussie Daniel Ricciardo soared from the back of the grid into 13th.

Meanwhile, a sneaky play from Ferrari paid dividends after the Scuderia pitted Kimi Raikkonen early. The cheeky stop gave the Iceman a handy spike in pace while also keeping his spot in fourth ahead of the rampaging Hamilton.


Vettel in perfect start

Sebastian Vettel shot out of the gates at his home Grand Prix to fend off Valtteri Bottas in second and snag a solid lead of just under two seconds by the third lap.

Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo, both sent down the grid after horror qualifying weekends, couldn't capitalise on the first lap fireworks but eventually worked themselves to 11th (Hamilton) and 18th (Ricciardo) by the fifth lap.


Rampaging Ferrari leaves everyone in awe

Ferrari's power surge has stumped their F1 rivals with the Scuderia's engine upgrade worth around a third of a second - reckoned to be the equivalent of two years of development work.

After qualifying for the German GP, in which Sebastian Vettel secured pole position over Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas, Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff revealed the team calculated they had lost half a second along Hockenheim's straights to the Ferrari.

"If we want to stay in this championship, we have had a severe warning today," said Wolff. "They have a great power unit. We were looking good in all types of corners but we are not able to match their straight-line performance."

Wolff added: "We need to find out how we can improve our power output.

"It is a worry. If others are capable of achieving that we ought to be able to achieve that."

For the first time in F1 hybrid's era, Ferrari rather than Mercedes possess F1's strongest engine - an upgrade which has powered the Scuderia to the top of both championships and propelled customers Sauber and Haas up the field.

"There is a lot of head scratching going on. Ferrari have found something awesome," 2016 F1 world champion Nico Rosberg told Sky F1 during coverage of qualifying for the German GP.

Ferrari's unique twin-battery system was investigated around the Monaco GP weekend before cleared by the FIA, the sport's governing body.

But it's the size and speed which Ferrari has powered up since Monte Carlo, culminating in their first win at Silverstone in a decade, which has wrong-footed their rivals.

"People are telling me that this is the equivalent of two years development on the power unit, they've found something magical," Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle revealed. "And now I'm hearing it's not actually part of the battery or electrical system at all, it's something else they've found.

"Other teams don't know what it's about, therefore they can't replicate it, but all the Ferrari power units seem to be going very well. Ferrari have stolen the march somewhere in the amount of power they deliver at the racetrack.

"It's worth around a third of a second a lap, which in a Formula 1 car goes an awful long way."

Speaking before qualifying, Wolff also admitted the world champions had been caught by surprise by Ferrari's surge.

"They brought a step up after Monaco," said Wolff. "From Canada onwards it's been a tremendous increase in power for qualifying and the start of the race. Credit to them because it's a big game changer.

"If we knew we would do the same. Our brains are spinning to try to understand.

"The largest power we see is acceleration out of corners. It's not at the end of the straights but particularly in mid-speed corners. This is where they have done a good job."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner added: "They are doing a great job. Their engine is now the benchmark."

- with Sky Sports