HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — Lewis Hamilton regained the championship lead in unexpected and dramatic fashion on Sunday, winning the German Grand Prix after Sebastian Vettel crashed while leading near the end.
Heavy rain played havoc late on at the Hockenheimring as Vettel misjudged a basic entry into a turn and slid over the gravel into the barriers with 15 laps to go.
The four-time Formula One champion started from pole position and seemed in control. He was livid with himself, kicking the gravel in frustration as he stepped out his car.
His mishap opened the door wide open for Hamilton.
The British driver was fourth at the time of the crash, having started from 14th on the grid because of a hydraulic problem in qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas started and finished second on a great day for Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen taking third on a bad one for Ferrari.
Vettel’s incident led to a safety car coming out for several laps.
When the race resumed, with about 10 laps left, Bottas almost overtook Hamilton.
That did not go down well at a nervy Mercedes.
Shortly after, Bottas was firmly told on team radio to “hold position” and not challenge Hamilton, who secured his fourth win of the season and 66th overall.