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Can Verstappen take the title fight to Hamilton?

A thrilling German Grand Prix saw Red Bull take their second win of the season, Ferrari finish second with the fastest car and Toro Rosso make a surprise trip to the podium. From Mercedes' fancy dress to Max Verstappen's victory, ESPN's F1 writers Kate Walker and Maurice Hamilton join editors Laurence Edmondson and Nate Saunders to discuss the key talking points from Hockenheim.

Can Verstappen turn 2019 into a genuine championship fight?

NS: Max might be very, very good, but I don't think he's good enough to defy simple mathematics. His two wins have come on off days for Merc, suggesting the package isn't there for Red Bull-Honda yet, so even if the gap was smaller, I would say no.

KW: Probably not, given the lead Mercedes have, but he's better placed than anyone else to make the second half of the season interesting. A charging Max is fun to watch, and Red Bull have shown they're the best at capitalising on the mistakes of others

MH: Sadly, it's a bit late for that. Only if Mercedes have more meltdowns, which is unlikely. But that won't stop Verstappen or Red Bull from going for more wins, given half a chance.

LE: This is classic Red Bull: Start the season with a car it doesn't understand, take advantage of others' mistakes to win the odd race and then finish the season with one of the fastest cars on the grid. But with Mercedes bound to bounce back and grid penalties hanging over Honda for later in the year, I don't see any way Verstappen can truly fight for the title.

Was the German Grand Prix the best race of the 2010s?

NS: It has to be in the conversation. The only other two which rival it, in my opinion, are Canada 2011 and Brazil 2012. The former had Jenson Button's last-lap overtake, the latter had the added bonus of being a title decider. Take your pick -- you'd watch any of them in full again any day of the week.

KW: Can I wait until the end of the decade before answering? It was a great race, but I'm sure we can do better...

MH: One of the best, certainly. Any race that has a wet track and changeable conditions is almost guaranteed to be good, because of curved balls going all over the place. Button's win in Canada 2011 has to be up there.

LE: I'm not sure it was even the best of 2019. The last two races in Austria and Great Britain were both great to watch and there's something about wheel-to-wheel racing on a dry track that is more entertaining than in the wet. To answer the question, I'll go with Brazil 2012. Yes, it was wet but there was a whole championship at stake at the final round -- true sporting drama.

Was Germany the race which secured Esteban Ocon a seat at Mercedes for 2019?

NS: It definitely was the one that proved Valtteri Bottas won't be a world champion. I still think the pragmatic Toto Wolff will do everything he can to play the market by getting Ocon a seat elsewhere.

KW: It was almost certainly the weekend in which Valtteri lost his... By the process of elimination, then yes. Ocon certainly deserves his shot, but Valtteri should have a seat, too. When is Nico Hulkenberg out of contract?

MH: Bottas did himself no favours by throwing away a golden opportunity to score big points on a day that Hamilton was in deep trouble. Valtteri is not a championship contender, but he's a known quantity, doesn't make waves and is usually capable of bringing home points. Whether Ocon would be better, taking all this into consideration, is something only Mercedes can decide despite the tide of popular opinion having written off Bottas.

LE: Such decisions aren't made on single races. However, if this sends Bottas into a downwards spiral performance-wise and he finishes behind Verstappen in the championship, then the argument of replacing him with Ocon becomes a lot more convincing.

If you were Ferrari boss, would you be celebrating a podium or ruing a lost victory?

NS: Both! But given how that weekend was shaping up and the narrative around their season so far, Sebastian Vettel's podium surely had to feel like a big win.

KW: Both. You have to take your wins where you can get them and -- given the year Ferrari are having -- a recovery drive like Seb's is exactly the sort of performance you can use to boost morale. They turned around a terrible weekend and finished better than their championship rivals. Still sucks to be Charles Leclerc though.

MH: Mattia Binotto's face said it all. Yes, it was very good to see Vettel regain his composure with such a great drive. But you could tell Binotto was uncomfortable with the fact that the blue-eyed boy Charles Leclerc had made another mistake on a day when, for once, Ferrari's strategy was on point and a much needed win was on the cards.

LE: This was a lost victory. From the reliability issues in qualifying, to Leclerc's mistake in the race, to the failure to seize a Lance Stroll or Daniil Kvyat-style strategy with Vettel at the end of the race, it was a massive missed opportunity. Ferrari had the fastest car in Hockenheim and only have 18 points to show for it.

Was Sunday enough to convince you that Kvyat can go back to Red Bull this year?

NS: Absolutely, as Pierre Gasly looks like he's driving a Toro Rosso painted the wrong colour. I'd love to see the new and improved Kvyat in the same car as the guy who took his seat in 2016.

KW: No. I like Dany K, but before Sunday his performances had been largely forgettable all season. Nothing about him from 2019 sticks out, except his obnoxiously sexist comments about his future daughter not being the right gender to become a racing driver. One good weekend does not a season make.

MH: Sunday was enough to convince me that Gasly has had his chance, as he failed to build on the momentum we thought was coming after Silverstone. Kvyat, on the other hand, has really got his head together, put the past behind him and set a great example for never giving up. If he doesn't do anything worthwhile in Hungary, Gasly will spend an edgy summer break waiting for the call from Helmut Marko.

LE: Not this year. I think the amount of disruption a mid-season driver change creates is often underestimated. Kvyat has been good but he is not at Max's level from 2016 and he could struggle with a change like that. Better to allow him to nail this season with Toro Rosso and then offer him promotion for a full season in 2020.

Was Wolff right in saying that Mercedes' decision to dress up and celebrate its history was tempting fate?

NS: Not a big believer in fate, but it's hard to ignore that the team ended up looking quite silly because of it.

KW: No doubt about it. Every time I can remember a team or driver celebrating a milestone race, I remember retirements, mechanical failures, flying robot attacks... Perhaps not 100 percent, but I've been left with a feeling that milestones should be celebrated privately, not publicly. The universe has a sick sense of humour.

MH: Not at all. Saying something like that leads to worrying about wearing lucky underpants and touching wood every time you talk about a forthcoming race. Like everyone else on the pit wall and in the garages, those guys and girls are so focused, it doesn't matter what they're wearing.

LE: It doesn't make any difference: the same rain falls on your head whether you're wearing 1950s clothing or a Gore-Tex rain jacket. I think 125 years in motorsport is something to be proud of and the celebrations were a nice change in a sport that takes itself too seriously.