Valtteri Bottas has taken pole position setting a new track record for the Eifel Grand Prix. The Finn out qualified his teammate Lewis Hamilton by a quarter of a second to top both sessions on Saturday, Bottas set fastest sectors through his final run in Q3.
Bottas looked to be fired up after going fastest in practice and was ahead of Hamilton through out the session, and secured pole once again following limited running at the Nürburgring. It means Mercedes have secured every pole this season.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third fastest, the Dutchman was fastest on the first runs in Q3 before Mercedes responded on the second run. If he remained fastest it would have ended Mercedes dominance of qualifying this season.
Hamilton went fastest before teammate Bottas found just over a quarter of a second and both Verstappen and Hamilton failing to improve on the final runs in Q3. Bottas’ track-record final attempt of 1:25.269 was two tenths faster than both the Dutchman and Hamilton could manage.
Bottas said, “It’s such a nice feeling when you get it on the last lap, with the last chance. The last lap in Q3 was spot on, just what I was needed. It’s been pretty tricky this weekend. The only goal for tomorrow [is to win]. Hopefully I can get a good start.”
Hamilton added, “I’m sure when I look at the data there will be plenty of time [missed], he’s two-tenths ahead. Valtteri did a great job so congrats to him. There’s a lot to play for tomorrow so I need to get my head down.”#
There could be a surprise in the race, limited running this weekend leaves all the teams with no data, Verstappen could be a headache for Mercedes and his teammate Alex Albon was fifth fastest.
Ferrari were expected to struggle at the high speed and downforce Nürburgring there was a surprise following Charles Leclerc’s final lap which put the Monegasque fourth to split the Red Bull’s.
Leclerc improvement at the end of Q2 was enough to knock teammate Sebastian Vettel out, the German starts eleventh. The top three teams will all start the race on softs after setting their fastest times in Q2 on the less durable tyres.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was sixth going almost two hundredths faster than teammate Esteban Ocon. Renault’s battle appears once again to be with McLaren and Racing Point, Lando Norris was eighth fastest going just over a tenth slower than Ocon, with Sergio Perez ninth and Carlos Sainz tenth.
Nico Hulkenberg was back in action at Racing Point, the German replacing Lance Stroll who didn’t take part in practice after feeling unwell. He was at a immediate disadvantage, he could only manage nineteenth after running deep at Ford-Kurve and the NGK Schikane.
Hulkenberg ended Q1 two tenth slower than Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen. He completed a run of several laps on the softs as soon as the opening segment got under way and spent most of the session at the foot of the times, although he was briefly able to move up to P19 ahead of the final runs in Q1.
Vettel was fastest of those knocked out in Q2, the defending race winner just under four hundredths ahead of the Alpha Tauri’s. Pierre Gasly twelfth going seven hundredths faster than teammate Daniil Kvyat.
Both Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen made it through to Q2, ending up fourteenth and fifteenth. Romain Grosjean had his fastest lap deleted for exceeding track limits leaving him sixteenth.
George Russell once again out qualified Williams teammate Nicolas Latifi by just over two hundredths of a second, with Kimi Raikkonen nineteenth.