Valtteri Bottas might have fancied his chances of winning the German Grand Prix as he survived the early mayhem and was charging in fourth place when it all went wrong for the Mercedes driver as he crashed out of the race on a tricky incident-packed afternoon at Hockenheim.
It was Mercedes 200th race and they even had a 125th anniversary of motorsport livery, as well as pit and paddock in retro theme for their milestone race. But with new Daimler chairman Ola Källenius watching alongside team chief Toto Wolff the actual race was a disaster for the World Champions.
Bottas, who spent most of the race in second, found himself in fourth place with good pace at the sharp end of the race. The #77 car was on a charge but that soon changed with third in his sights, into Turn 1 the Mercedes lost traction and skidded over the wet into the barriers prompting the fourth safety car period during the 64 laps incident-filled race.
The Finn avoided the press pen when he returned to the pits for an early shower but reported afterwards, “That was a really tough race and I’m very disappointed. It was tricky out there: the track was very slippery and the conditions changed all the time.
“It was very easy to make a mistake and unfortunately I made a mistake in the end which lost us a lot of points. It’s a shame because today was a good opportunity for me to make up some points to Lewis and it was my own fault that I ended up not getting any points at all in the end.
“I had a good shot to get a podium and I was pushing hard to get past Stroll. I was quite close to the limit in Turn 1, then I suddenly lost the rear and just went off; I don’t think there was any time to catch the car.”
“It’s very disappointing for the entire team, but we’ll give it everything to come back stronger in Hungary,” added the Mercedes driver on a forgettable afternoon for the Silver Arrows in Germany.
His teammate Lewis Hamilton also had a torrid afternoon despite starting from pole and leading a chunk of the race, but he too had a big moment in Turn 1 which Bottas replicated later with less luck. But Hamilton also was in the wars.
The World Champion spun and damaged his wing near the pit entrance which he dived into to get to his pit box as quickly as possible, his crew were not ready for him and there was a panic over what tyres to bolt-on.
It was all pretty chaotic for the normally ice-cool operators and taking home a mere two points from their landmark-packed home race must hurt.