MUNICH – The horror show at Hockenheim left Lewis Hamilton feeling hungover. "I'm going home to try and sleep this off, come back stronger next weekend," the reigning Formula One champion tweeted.
The Briton didn't have long in his own bed in Monaco, though, with duty calling as Mercedes look to smooth their dented egos this weekend at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"Sometimes you have to get a slap in the face and learn from it," Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff said. "Those are the days that make us better. We have to think about what went wrong. Everyone is really damaged."
Mercedes' sponsorship helped bring the German Grand Prix into being. The team's 200th Formula One race at Hockenheim was supposed to be a celebration of its position as the sport's market leader. The cars wore special livery and the crew nostalgic 1950s-style outfits to celebrate Mercedes' 125 years in motorsport.
Yet everything went wrong. "Armageddon," Wolff called it. "I believe in karma," he said. "Sometimes when you want to do something particularly well, things can go wrong."
That may be a new definition of karma but it got Wolff's point across. The debacle in Germany cast his mind back to 2018 and the Austrian Grand Prix, where a tactical foul-up caused Hamilton to concede a healthy lead before retiring.
Hamilton - usually superb in the wet - started well in the deluge at Hockenheim but made a mistake to skid off the track while leading.
Then his team made a series of bad calls before he made another error. Mercedes' woeful weekend was rounded off when Hamilton's team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, failed to finish.
Hamilton, who felt the race had been going well until he was hamstrung by what he called a "domino effect" as error piled on error, said it had been "a terrible, disastrous day" but remained philosophical, saying it was "only a race."
He could afford to be phlegmatic given that, despite the chaos, he somehow extended his lead at the top of the drivers' standings. The Briton sits on 225 points, 41 ahead of second-placed Bottas.
Hamilton nearly missed the German Grand Prix through illness, with reserve driver Esteban Ocon having been put on standby before Hamilton secured pole position on Saturday.
"I've got to get healthy again, that's the biggest thing," Hamilton said, adding that Hockenheim had been "one of the hardest" weekends he'd known.
One thing was made clear in Hockenheim - Mercedes are no supermen. "The illness brought me back to being a human," Hamilton said, reflecting on his uncharacteristic mistakes.
This weekend, the five-time champion should be fighting fit - and ready to consign Hockenheim history to the history books.dpa