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The four-times Formula One world champion had never before won a Grand Prix from lower than sixth on the starting grid but at a wet Hockenheim, he steered his silver Mercedes from 14th to first.

"It's been emotional, the most emotional day, up and down", he said.

Perhaps because it's his home Grand Prix.

"I think, Sebastian passed a great circle".

Valtteri Bottas had been leading teammate Lewis Hamilton up to that point, but when a Safety Car was deployed to clear Vettel's car Bottas made a pit stop and dropped behind his teammate.

You would think that Lewis Hamilton couldn't be much happier right now. Bottas had been able to get the jump on him when the pair were navigating through back markers.

Budapest has been a good venue for Ferrari in the past, and Raikkonen is hoping it will give the team a boost heading into the summer break.

It came down to strategy calls with teams unsure exactly how heavy the rain would fall and when it would as Mercedes held their nerve on tyres.

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Hamilton tried in vain to get his auto back to the pits but it proved too much and he was forced out before Q2, meaning he will start Sunday's race in 14th.

Fellow German Rosberg believes the pressure got to Vettel and he should have been more cautious like his rivals, rather than pushing to open up the gap to the chasing pack.

"We will try every weekend and every race and we're not far from it but obviously so far it's not been happening", he acknowledged. I would have done the same thing the other way around. And it was just so positive for me.

"It was a small mistake but big disappointment".

"It was a huge mistake and it had a huge impact on the race because we retired", Vettel said. And I really feel that the rain's come down and just washed away any negativity. Having taken to the pit entry, Hamilton then cut across the grass to stay out on track, inheriting the lead when Raikkonen pit a lap later.

Hamilton is now locked in a title battle with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and his title defence suffered a blow at Hockenheim as he was forced to pull over with a loss of hydraulic pressure at the end of the first qualifying segment.

"We all have dreams and they just seem so impossible to reach but I have done it time and time again", Hamilton said.

The achievement, helped by chaos around him and Ferrari title rival Sebastian Vettel crashing out from the lead, left the new championship leader struggling to contain his emotion.