Sebastian Vettel has beaten Mercedes Valtteri Bottas to take pole position for this weekends German Grand Prix. Vettel put in a late lap to edge out the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas by two tenths with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen third.
Vettel’s chances of extending his lead over his championship rival Lewis Hamilton have been boosted after the Mercedes driver dropped out after failing to set a time in Q2. Hamilton’s Mercedes ground to a halt during Q1 with a hydraulic issue.
The German has been in good form at Hockenheim ahead of his home race, putting in a good final run to retake pole from Bottas. The Finn had briefly gone faster than Vettel, but the Ferrari responded by going two tenths faster.
Raikkonen also appeared to have the pace to challenge Vettel, but as a regular occurrence has been this season he failed to beat his teammate in the final moments to challenge for pole
Hamilton will start the race fourteenth, unless Mercedes find further damage to his car. Any further damage could see the Englishman start on the back row, alongside Daniel Ricciardo.
A Mercedes spokesman told Channel 4, that the data from the car suggested the kerb strike caused the failure, and the subsequent loss of power steering led to Hamilton further bumping the car over the uneven surface of the run-off area.
Also the team added Hamilton also suffered a hydraulics fault, adding they do not expect any further issues with the gearbox and power unit.
Vettel said “Thanks to the fans. It was amazing to see so many Ferrari and German flags. It just kept getting better and I knew for the last lap I had a little bit more in more. I’m full of adrenaline but so happy.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen edged out Ricciardo for fourth, with the team appearing as they are not able to match the Ferrari’s and Mercedes. Problems for two top teams has allowed Haas to lock out the third row, with Kevin Magnussen ahead of Romain Grosjean.
Haas’s car appears favourable to Hockenheim as they have proved strong midfield leaders this season, the duo were .01 of a second faster than the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. It was another Q3 appearance from Charles Leclerc in ninth with Force India’s Sergio Perez rounding out the top ten.
Earlier in Q1, Perez almost knocked his teammate Esteban Ocon Out when he improved on his final run, but the Mexican improved on his last run.
Leclerc’s teammate Marcus Ericson was the slowest car in Q2, the Swede lost grip on his final run and suspected that he had damaged the Sauber.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso missed out on Q2 by six tenths, he will start ahead of Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian getting the Williams team into Q2 for the first time since Baku, aided by a new front wing which is aimed at resolving the team’s aerodynamic inconsistency.
Stoffel Vandoorne’s miserable weekend continued as he was the slowest car, he starts twentieth after an unspecified problem with his McLaren.