Vettel was in control of his home race and looked set to take a major championship advantage over Lewis Hamilton, but shunted his Ferrari into the wall on Lap 51 and now trails his race-winning title rival by 17 points in the standings.
Mercedes were summoned by the stewards after the race for an incident involving Hamilton under the safety vehicle, for which he received a reprimand. Then you you heard the radio afterwards and I was like guys, it was the most confusing couple of seconds with them shouting in my ear, "go left, go right".
'To get the one-two, especially after they re-signed us, is just a tremendous day for us. "I will give 100 percent as always".
"It's very reminiscent of how I started out", he explained to reporters at Hockenheim, whose present layout has been likened to a glorified go-kart track by those who miss the bygone blast through the forest.
But, at the team's home race, Mercedes called off the fight: "Valtteri, this is James (Vowles - chief strategist)".
An emotional Lewis Hamilton said his prayers were answered after capturing one of the most remarkable victories of his Formula One career. I kept seeing a couple of different British flags among a sea of Ferrari red.
Mercedes also regained the initiative in the constructors' championship, much to the delight of company chairman Dieter Zetsche who embraced the Englishman in the unbridled euphoria in the rain that followed the race.
"But I didn't get past him and then I was told to minimise the risk.Which I understand".
With Hamilton in the lead after the restart in the wake of Vettel's crash, he was chased down hard by Bottas who nearly passed him but was then ordered to hold station by Mercedes.
"It was a small mistake but a big impact on the race". And I really feel that the rain's come down and just washed away any negativity. As I said, we didn't need the rain.
"Yeah, I definitely felt at one point that "Jesus this is a steep hill for us" but it's ok, keeping believing, keep fighting, things will come good". However, after deliberation the stewards issued Hamilton a reprimand for the incident, his first of the current season, meaning his final race time remained unaltered. "And that makes me happy".
But Hamilton won, with a little help from Vettel's sudden crash on a sodden circuit, and described his performance as possibly his best.
"The difference between the best and the very good is that on the very hard days they are just able to make the difference".