Lewis Hamilton soon put the demons of qualifying behind him as he made the most of a mid-race rain shower to claim an unlikely victory at the German GP from 14th on the grid.
Despite concerns overtaking would be too difficult, the world champion made his way through the field upto fifth in the first 12 laps and then, as two short rain showers intervened, long-time race leader Sebastian Vettel would find himself in the barrier at the Sachskurve, leaving the Mercedes driver ahead to claim a fourth win of the season.
The race began under cloudy but dry conditions with Vettel in complete control as he held the lead into Turn 1 from Valtteri Bottas and would go on to build a gap of around four seconds in a repeat of the first stint at Silverstone.
The main battle on the opening lap was between Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen for third, as the Dutchman got a tremendous slipstream on the run to Turn 6, however, the Finn defended well and the Red Bull was unable to get past.
On a subdued opening lap, with no incidents of note, even Hamilton didn't make any progress until he pulled off two moves on Sergey Sirotkin and Esteban Ocon through the Stadium section.
By Lap 12 though, all the midfield runners had put up little resistance to the Briton's charge and he was up to P5, with Ferrari deciding to react by pitting Raikkonen early to ensure he stayed ahead of the recovering Mercedes.
Also making his way through was Daniel Ricciardo from 19th, having opted to start on the Medium tyres to ensure the longest possible stint with the threat of rain.
The Red Bull driver would get back upto sixth at one stage, once the final midfield runners had pitted, but he would never get far enough to see any benefit of his strategy as a loss of power saw him pull over just before the Stadium section and become the first retirement.
Out front, Raikkonen's pace on the Soft tyre after his early stop put him in the lead ahead of Vettel when the German, sticking to a one-stop strategy, pitted for new tyres some 11 laps later.
Sebastian would close up but would end up sat behind his teammate for several laps, growing increasingly frustrated with lock-ups into the hairpin and radio messages asking to be moved ahead.
Eventually, that order would come but the time lost proved crucial as the weather was about to intervene.
Hamilton would be the last to pit for new Ultrasoft tyres, having started on the Soft, but two laps later the first downpour would arrive at the hairpin causing some drivers, including Verstappen, to scamper onto the intermediates.
Confined to just one corner though, the circuit would never be wet enough all around for the wet compound and instead, the fresh Ultrasoft was giving Hamilton a two-second pace advantage over the field.
A second rain shower would damp the Hockenheim surface just enough to cause drivers to start struggling for grip and it was then that Vettel locked his rears approaching the Sachskurve and would slide helplessly into the gravel and the barrier much to his annoyance.
A Safety Car would be called to clear the stricken Ferrari with Raikkonen and Bottas opting to pit for a second time while Hamilton stayed out after a moment of confusion over the radio.
As a result, he would move into the lead but would have his teammate and the sole Ferrari right behind on new rubber.
When the race resumed, unsurprisingly it was Bottas who had better instant grip and he looked to challenge the Briton into the hairpin and through to Turn 8, soon after chief strategist James Vowles came over the radio to inform the Finn to stay in second, which he would do.
Raikkonen could not get close enough in third with Verstappen also just too far back to challenge in fourth.
The chaos with the weather and Safety Car allowed Nico Hulkenberg upto fifth for Renault as Haas slipped down the field.
Romain Grosjean would recover some places late on to secure sixth for the American team with the two Force India's seventh and eighth, as Sergio Perez led Esteban Ocon.
Marcus Ericsson benefitted from staying on slicks to claim ninth for Sauber with Brendon Hartley taking 10th after Carlos Sainz was given a 10-second penalty for passing behind the Safety Car.
Outside the points, Kevin Magnussen was unable to make the late progress of his Haas partner and was P11 with Sainz dropping to P12 after his penalty.
Stoffel Vandoorne would be 13th as Pierre Gasly bizarrely switched to full wets as the first shower arrived and ruined his race in 14th.
Charles Leclerc would be one of the first to switch to inters and would then struggle back on slicks, spinning at Turn 1 with a perfect 360 before continuing to P15.
Finally, Fernando Alonso would pull into the pits from last in the closing laps as the two Williams joined Ricciardo and Vettel in the retirements section with mechanical problems.
A full finishing order can be seen below:
Ericsson says Leclerc not only responsib
Alonso: F1 no longer the show that made
Mercedes warn Liberty of tough fight ove
Stroll: I've 'improved well as a driver'
Ricciardo: Abu Dhabi podium would be 'fi
Hamilton expects to raise game against V
Prost: Reaching F1 without financial sup
Hamilton sees greater Mercedes satisfact
Perez: Alonso's plight with McLaren 'sho
Toro Rosso target Albon named on Formula
F1 weekends could be shortened & 'unattr
Mercedes: Baku loss cost Bottas champion
Raikkonen draws Lotus comparison ahead o
Hamilton forced to clarify 'poor' India
Ferrari expecting 2018 loss to motivate
Ricciardo expecting his bad luck 'to dis
Hamilton could face Abu Dhabi engine pen
Sainz rejects idea Verstappen blocked 20
Haas concede defeat to Renault in race f
Honda hopes to 'accelerate' engine gains
Hamilton praises Formula E project but r
Sauber team up with Charouz to launch yo
Brawn: Simulations producing 'tangible'
Alonso hints at more 2019 announcements
Hamilton would add races in historic F1
Hamilton hoping for more battles with Ve
F1 CEO Carey does see path for new manuf
Red Bull don't 'condone violence' but 'd
Kubica & Ocon set to confirm Williams ro
Hartley frustrated by Gasly ignoring tea
FIA rule out changes to weighbridge rule
Bottas: Regularity of defending from riv
Verstappen 'still not able to manage his
Whiting: Hamilton/Sirotkin incident 'an
Whiting: Ocon 'wrong' to fight Verstappe
Raikkonen believes P3 the best he could
Ricciardo: 'Every time we start out of p
McLaren 'confident' Indy 500 plans won't
Red Bull call for Ocon race ban as Verst
Mercedes reveal Hamilton had 'failure im
Vettel gives Brazil race 'one out of ten
Hamilton tells Verstappen: 'You had more
Hamilton 'proud' of Mercedes as double c
Ocon claims Verstappen 'wanted to punch
Brazil GP: Hamilton inherits victory as
Ricciardo jokes 0.002s loss to Max 'more
Alonso & McLaren confirm Indy 500 return
Hamilton blasts 'disrespectful' Sirotkin
Vettel slams FIA weighbridge process aft
Brazil GP: Hamilton beats Vettel to pole
Brazil GP: Vettel sets new lap record in
Ferrari's Clear to have key Leclerc role
Hamilton says 25-race calendar would dri
'Realistic' Verstappen insists Red Bull
Red Bull reveal a Mexico marshal caused
Vettel expects Ferrari progress in Brazi
Williams offer Kubica 2019 seat but Ferr
Red Bull see race potential even if Braz
Brazil GP: Bottas pips Hamilton by 0.003
Brazil GP: Verstappen leads Vettel & Ham
Tyres and two-tier F1 to dominate driver
Verstappen: Mexico anger post-qualifying
Hamilton doubts Bottas would want F1 win
Alonso: McLaren optimistic 2019 car will
Ocon rejecting non-F1 offers to 'stay cl
Massa: Vettel 'more guilty' for 2018 tit
Hamilton to Leclerc & Gasly: 'No substit
Red Bull: 2019 front wings a costly 'sho
Sainz claims Schumacher name alone won't
Bottas: Hamilton's adaptability is his b
Force India: Signs point to Stroll being
Liberty want to 'preserve' classic F1 ra
Williams still getting over 'enormous sh
Hamilton doubts he would have recovered
Brazil step up security ahead of F1 race
Vietnam confirmed for 2020 F1 calendar
Studious Schumacher 'not as crazy' as Ve
Arrivabene: Ferrari still lack winning '
Ferrari CEO admits F1 budget cap 'makes
Mercedes target tyre woes and Constructo
Force India see catching F1's big three
Sainz has no issue with Renault over sig
Ferrari slam 'fake' Binotto rumours aime
Smedley confirms Williams departure afte
Sauber: Don't compare Leclerc to Hamilto
Two prospective manufacturers rule out F
Magnussen claims current cars leave F1 d
Red Bull: Immediate Gasly comparisons to
Vettel: 2018 Ferrari 'strong' but never
Webber fears Renault a threat to Ricciar
Hamilton: Bottas relationship as teammat
Magnussen: Haas should be 'proud' to be
Tombazis: FIA had to 'intervene' with 20
Zandvoort reportedly offered 2020 Dutch
Vettel wants himself & Leclerc to 'work
Mercedes: 'This is the best Lewis Hamilt
Ricciardo confirms participation in fina
Haas fail in bid to overturn Grosjean's
F1 bosses warn of 'step backwards' with
Hamilton believes Alonso made one crucia