Max Verstappen made five pitstops, spun and still won a crazy German Grand Prix littered with crashes and safety car periods on Sunday while Mercedes’ Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton failed to score.
In a rain-hit race of changing fortunes and endless drama, Ferrari’s home crowd favorite Sebastian Vettel charged through the chaos from last on the starting grid to second place.
Russian Daniil Kvyat, who became a father overnight, was an even more astonishing third to hand Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso their second-ever podium and engine partners Honda a day to savor.
“It was an amazing race to win in the end, it was really tricky out there to make the right calls, and we really had to be focused,” said Verstappen, who took the chequered flag 7.333 seconds ahead of Vettel.
The 21-year-old Dutch driver also took an extra point for the fastest lap of the race.
Vettel, who had failed to set a time in qualifying due to a turbocharger issue, could barely have expected such an outcome on Saturday.
“It was a long race, at some stages it felt like it would never end and it was very tough with the conditions and I’m just happy. It was a lot of fun,” said the four-times world champion.
While Verstappen kept his head, and his car on the road, five times world champion Hamilton endured an afternoon to forget.
The Briton started on pole position but smashed his front wing, served a five-second time penalty and survived a wild spin to cross the line 11th of 14 classified finishers.
Despite his lowest finish since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton was still the only Mercedes driver to cross the line in the team’s 200th start after closest rival Valtteri Bottas crashed out in the dying laps.
Motor racing: Verstappen wins crazy German GP, nightmare for Hamilton