Heading into Germany, Carlos Reutemann continued to hold a comfortable lead in the driver's championship. None of his main rivals had finished the previous race at Silverstone, but Reutemann took second, furthering his points tally to a total of 43. 17 points behind was Nelson Piquet, who was going through a lean spell in the season. Apart from a third in France, Piquet had received a string of retirements after his two wins early on in the season. In third place was the reigning champion Alan Jones who had likewise had little luck in the recent races. Jones sat two points behind Piquet. The outside contenders were Gilles Villeneuve and Jacques Laffite, both at 21 points. Villeneuve had taken two wins earlier on in the season and was leading a resurgence in form for Ferrari. Laffite meanwhile had been the most consistent driver in recent races, out of the past five races, Laffite had been on the podium four times for Ligier and while slowly creeping higher in the standings, a win still remained elusive.
The field remained the same as it did in Silverstone, Lotus had finally abandoned its Lotus 88 project after repeatedly seeing the car banned by the FISA. The team reverting back to the Lotus 87. The fast flowing straights of Hockenheim was expected to see a duel between the powerful turbo charged cars of Renault and Ferrari. Both teams had recently been very quick and were considered the fastest cars on the grid, albeit not the most reliable.
Tyrrell were debuting their new car the Tyrrell 011, the successor to the Tyrrell 010 chassis. The new chassis designed by Maurice Phillipe and newly signed designer Brian Lisles was in reality an updated a modified version of the 010 due to the Tyrrell team's lack of cash. Only Eddie Cheever would be racing the new car, second driver Michele Alboreto would have to wait until the Dutch Grand Prix to receive his 011 chassis.
As was expected Renault continued to demonstrate their speed as they had done in the previous two races. Alain Prost and René Arnoux dominated qualifying with Prost taking his first pole position in Formula One. Arnoux was right behind him on the grid in second. Williams appeared to be the Renault's nearest competitor with championship leader Carlos Reutemann in third and reigning champion Alan Jones in fourth. Didier Pironi was fifth for Ferrari ahead of Nelson Piquet, Jacques Laffite, Gilles Villeneuve and the two McLaren's of John Watson and Andrea de Cesaris.
Those that failed to qualify for the race were the two Fittipaldi cars of Keke Rosberg and Chico Serra, the two Toleman's of Brian Henton and Derek Warwick as well as Beppe Gabbiani's Osella and Michele Alboreto's Tyrrell.
|2||16||René Arnoux||Renault||1:47.96||+ 0.46|
|3||2||Carlos Reutemann||Williams-Ford||1:48.43||+ 0.93|
|4||1||Alan Jones||Williams-Ford||1:48.49||+ 0.99|
|5||28||Didier Pironi||Ferrari||1:49.00||+ 1.50|
|6||5||Nelson Piquet||Brabham-Ford||1:49.03||+ 1.53|
|7||26||Jacques Laffite||Ligier-Matra||1:49.28||+ 1.78|
|8||27||Gilles Villeneuve||Ferrari||1:49.44||+ 1.94|
|9||7||John Watson||McLaren-Ford||1:49.52||+ 2.02|
|10||8||Andrea de Cesaris||McLaren-Ford||1:49.58||+ 2.08|
|11||25||Patrick Tambay||Ligier-Matra||1:50.00||+ 2.50|
|12||22||Mario Andretti||Alfa Romeo||1:50.64||+ 3.14|
|13||29||Riccardo Patrese||Arrows-Ford||1:50.65||+ 3.15|
|14||11||Elio de Angelis||Lotus-Ford||1:50.74||+ 3.24|
|15||12||Nigel Mansell||Lotus-Ford||1:50.86||+ 3.36|
|16||6||Héctor Rebaque||Brabham-Ford||1:51.17||+ 3.67|
|17||32||Jean-Pierre Jarier||Osella-Ford||1:52.19||+ 4.69|
|18||3||Eddie Cheever||Tyrrell-Ford||1:52.19||+ 4.69|
|19||23||Bruno Giacomelli||Alfa Romeo||1:52.19||+ 4.69|
|20||9||Slim Borgudd||ATS-Ford||1:52.54||+ 5.04|
|21||17||Derek Daly||March-Ford||1:52.65||+ 5.15|
|22||33||Marc Surer||Theodore-Ford||1:52.85||+ 5.35|
|23||14||Eliseo Salazar||Ensign-Ford||1:53.16||+ 5.66|
|24||30||Siegfried Stohr||Arrows-Ford||1:53.19||+ 5.69|
|DNQ||20||Keke Rosberg||Fittipaldi-Ford||1:53.28||+ 5.78|
|DNQ||35||Brian Henton||Toleman-Hart||1:53.31||+ 5.81|
|DNQ||31||Beppe Gabbiani||Osella-Ford||1:53.39||+ 5.89|
|DNQ||36||Derek Warwick||Toleman-Hart||1:53.58||+ 6.08|
|DNQ||4||Michele Alboreto||Tyrrell-Ford||1:53.69||+ 6.19|
|DNQ||21||Chico Serra||Fittipaldi-Ford||1:54.89||+ 7.39|
Alain Prost maintained his lead at the start, however teammate Arnoux quickly fell behind Carlos Reutemann and Didier Pironi. At the Ostkurve Nelson Piquet attempted to overtake Arnoux, however the two cars collided. Piquet lost a position to Alan Jones's Williams whilst Arnoux suffered a punctured left rear tyre and struggled round back to the pits for a replacement. On lap two, Pironi's Ferrari engine blew forcing his retirement leaving the leading order Prost, Reutemann, Jones, Piquet, Laffite, Villeneuve and Tambay.
Jones was the man on the move, he first disposed of Williams teammate Reutemann and immediately came upon the rear of race leader Prost. The turbo charged Renault of Prost had a clear power advantage on the long straights, however the Frenchman seemed unable to shake Jones's Williams who was all over Prost's rear in the corners. The two engaged in a thrilling dice for the lead for the spectators as Jones tried everything he could to get ahead of Prost. Meanwhile behind the pair, Piquet had overtaken Reutemann and had soon caught up to the leading pair of Prost and Jones, thereafter adding his Brabham to the three way battle for the lead. Piquet however would drop back with tyre troubles and soon lost third to Reutemann.
The duel between Prost and Jones came to an end on lap 21 when Prost came to lap his Renault teammate Arnoux at the Sachs-Kurve. Arnoux slowed on the inside to allow his teammate through, Prost moved to the outside to overtake but Jones's Williams snuck in between the pair of them and took the lead heading into the corner. Seven laps later, championship leader Reutemann retired with engine failure.
At about 2/3's distance, rain begin to afflict the circuit. Prost's Renault handled poorly in the wet conditions and soon dropped behind Piquet's Brabham. Jones who was enjoying a comfortable lead out front, then began to suffer from a misfiring engine. The reigning champion dropped behind Piquet and Prost before heading to the pits, ruining his chance for a good result. The order would remain the same until the finish, Piquet took a comfortable third win of the season ahead of Prost. Jacques Laffite continued to enjoy his consistent podium run by gaining third whilst Héctor Rebaque put in a strong showing to finish fourth ahead of Eddie Cheever and John Watson in the minor points places.
Standings after race
|V T E||German Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Nürburgring (1951–1954, 1956–1958, 1960–1969, 1971–1976, 1985, 2007–2013*), AVUS (1959), Hockenheimring (1970, 1977–1984, 1986–2006, 2007–2014*, 2016, 2018–2019)|
|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019 • 2020 •|
|* Nürburgring and Hockenheimring alternated between each other during these years.|
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