Hamilton scores pole at Hockenheim as the Ferrari challenges went broke

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored pole position for the German Grand Prix after the Ferrari challenge went broke following technical issues for Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

With Vettel eliminated in Q1 having completed a single lap thanks to a problem with the airflow to the turbo, Leclerc was the favourite for pole in Q3 having looked quickest up to that point.

But Leclerc was unable to take to the track during Q3, climbing out of his Ferrari and commiserating with the Scuderia and leaving the way clear for Hamilton to set the pace.

Hamilton then dominated Q3, with the lap of one minute, 11.767 seconds he set on his first run which was enough for pole after he failed to improve on his second lap thanks to time lost in the middle sector.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes drivers, lapping 0.346 seconds slower than Hamilton and just 0.016 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas.

Pierre Gasly was fourth, lapping four-tenths slower than his teammate.

With the two Ferraris out of the way, Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen took fifth position with an advantage of 0.316 seconds over an otherwise congested midfield.

Romain Grosjean, driving a Haas running to the same specification used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was sixth and just ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Racing Point’s significant upgrade paid off for Sergio Perez, who qualified eighth ahead of the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

That left Leclerc classified P10 despite not running, as he had at least run without problem during the previous two segments of qualifying.

The Mercedes drivers and Leclerc will both start on the medium-compound Pirellis having used them to set their best times in Q2 – something Verstappen also attempted before aborting his first run after reporting a loss of power.

Antonio Giovinazzi was relegated to P11 and eliminated during a frenetic climax to Q2, lapping just 0.012 seconds slower than Perez.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, driving the latest-spec Haas, was always up against it after a lockup into the first corner on his final lap and failed to improve on his first-run time as a result – ending up P12.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo’s late effort was only good enough for P13, leading him to apologise to the team over the radio, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat just over three-tenths behind.

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll escaped Q1 for the first time in 2019, completing three runs to do so and only having one fresh set of softs for Q2.

He was in contention to get into the top ten, but the rear-end stepped out in the penultimate corner and was unable to improve.

Lando Norris was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 just 0.055 seconds slower than Kvyat after being bumped into the drop zone by Giovinazzi’s late improvement.

But behind him was the furious Alex Albon, who was held up at the hairpin on his final Q1 lap by Norris and unable to improve on his first-run time as a result.

George Russell won the Williams team battle for the eleventh time this season, lapping just over a tenth quicker than Robert Kubica – the duo taking P18 and P19 thanks to Vettel’s failure to post a time.

So congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton with this pole position. An important grid slot at the team’s home race. As for Ferrari, this was a terrible qualifying session as both drivers had the pace to grab P1 following an impressive practice sessions. Sunday’s German Grand Prix is going to be fascinating.

Qualifying positions, German Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.767s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m12.113s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m12.129s
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m12.522s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.538s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.851s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m12.897s
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.065s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m13.126s
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari –
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.786s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.789s
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m12.799s
14 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.135s
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.450s
16 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m13.333s
17 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.461s
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m14.721s
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m14.839s
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari –

5 thoughts to “Hamilton scores pole at Hockenheim as the Ferrari challenges went broke”

  1. German Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    Ferrari looked to have a car capable of not only taking pole position but also locking out the front row of the grid for the German Grand Prix – but in dramatic circumstances first home hero Sebastian Vettel and then Charles Leclerc suffered reliability problems, opening the door for Lewis Hamilton to take an unlikely pole position on Mercedes’ anniversary weekend.

    The Silver Arrows lacked the pace to compete with Ferrari in Friday practice, and even when the temperatures dropped by 10 degrees Celsius for Saturday, they were no match for the Prancing Horse. But home fans’ hearts were broken when Vettel failed to set a laptime in Q1, the German facing a back of the grid start after the team detected a problem with the airflow to the turbo while the four-time champion was on his out-lap.

    His team mate Leclerc looked like he would at least give his team something to smile about, easing through Q1 and setting the second fastest time in Q2. But then the gremlins struck on his side of the garage with a fuel system problem forcing him to clamber out of his cockpit without a time in Q3.

    Like the champion he is, Hamilton pounced on the surprise opportunity that presented itself to take his fourth pole position of the season and eighth for Mercedes in 11 races. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen slotted into second, around three tenths of a second off the pace, with Valtteri Bottas taking third in the other Silver Arrow.

    Pierre Gasly bounced back from a crash in Friday practice with the fourth quickest time, the Frenchman having his final lap deleted for exceeding track limits, with Kimi Raikkonen a brilliant fifth for Alfa Romeo and Romain Grosjean sixth in the Melbourne-spec Haas. Racing Point’s heavily updated car impressed with Sergio Perez putting it eighth on the grid, a tenth behind McLaren’s Carlos Sainz and a tenth clear of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, who is the leading German on the grid.

    Leclerc was classified as 10th but it remains unclear as to whether he, or indeed team mate Vettel, will require engine component changes after their respective failures.

    Q1 – Vettel makes shock early exit

    There was a strong turnout for home favourites Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg at Hockenheim and they were rewarded with conditions that were around 10 degrees Celsius cooler than on a sizzling Friday.

    But qualifying was only a few moments old when it became clear there were problems for Vettel, who reported a loss of power on exiting the pit lane for the first time. He returned to the pits, and while they removed the engine cover in a bid to try and get him out again, they ultimately realised they wouldn’t have enough time to rectify what they diagnosed as a problem with the airflow to the turbo.

    There was better news for team mate Leclerc, who has looked impressive throughout Friday practice. He comfortably topped the times, requiring just one run, with Verstappen second four tenths adrift. Mercedes continued to struggle on home soil, with Lewis Hamilton’s best effort six tenths slower.

    Behind them, there was a tense tussle to escape Q1 with fourth down to 16th separated by just three tenths of a second as the session reached its climax. There was joy for Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who hauled himself into Q2 for the first time since Japan 2018, ending a miserable run of 14 consecutive Q1 exits.

    McLaren, meanwhile, struggled for the first time in several races, with Carlos Sainz 13th and Lando Norris exiting in 16th, having appeared to baulk Alexander Albon as they completed their final flying laps. Albon and the Williams duo of George Russell and Robert Kubica joined Norris and Vettel in an early bath.

    Knocked out: Norris, Albon, Russell, Kubica, Vettel

    Q2 – Ricciardo knocked out as Hamilton leads the way

    Both Mercedes plus Leclerc and Verstappen opted to head out on the mediums while the rest of the field stuck with soft tyres as the second part of qualifying got under way.

    It was pretty straightforward for Hamilton and Bottas, the duo completing laps that would comfortably see them through but Leclerc ran wide at Turn 1, and as a result his time was deleted.

    That forced him to go again, and put another lap on the tyres he will be starting the race on, but he comfortably slotted into second to ensure his progress. Verstappen reported a loss of power and retreated to the pits.

    Fortunately, they got him back out – but the team opted to swap to the soft tyre as he headed out for the final four minutes of the session. Despite missing the apex at the hairpin, the rest of the lap was super committed and he comfortably went fourth to ensure his place in the pole position shoot-out.

    It was a mega final lap for Kimi Raikkonen, the Alfa Romeo driver setting the fastest middle sector of all, to go sixth, a tenth ahead of Sainz who found some pace after a sluggish opening session.

    The battle for the final few places in the top 10 was agonisingly close. Nico Hulkenberg got through in eighth, but Renault team mate Daniel Ricciardo – who was 0.033s slower – ended up 13th. Alfa’s Antonio Giovinazzi was unlucky to miss out in 11th – pipped at the death by Sergio Perez – and was eliminated along with Kevin Magnussen – in the new spec Haas – Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll.

    Knocked out: Giovinazzi, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Stroll.

    Q3 – Mercedes deliver home pole as Leclerc suffers disaster

    This looked like Leclerc’s pole to lose, but we never got the chance to see if he had what he took, as the Monegasque climbed out of his Ferrari without even setting a lap time after the team detected a fuel system issue.

    There were no such worries for Mercedes, with Hamilton setting the pace in the opening runs, four tenths quicker than Verstappen, with Bottas a tenth further back . The trio retreated to the pits for a second stab, but not one of them could improve.

    That gave Hamilton pole – his first at Hockenheim since 2008 – from Verstappen, with Bottas – who has struggled to match the pace of team mate Hamilton all weekend – third. Gasly did improve his lap time, moving within a tenth of Verstappen – but his time was deleted for exceeding track limits.

    Nonetheless, he retained fourth, ahead of Raikkonen, giving Alfa Romeo their best start since the 1985 Monaco Grand Prix. Grosjean, who was running in Q3 for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix six race ago, was sixth as Sainz gave McLaren their fifth consecutive top-eight start with seventh.

    Racing Point made their first Q3 appearance since Baku with Perez seventh while Hulkenberg maintained his 100% record of reaching Q3 every time he has competed at Hockenheim with ninth for Renault.

    Leclerc, with no time, was 10th. History is not on their side if their hoping for a stunning comeback. The Prancing Horse have won just one race from 10th or lower in the last 19 years. That was when Fernando Alonso finished 11th at Valencia in 2012.

    However, Rubens Barrichello did win from 18th in a wet and wild race for Ferrari at Hockenheim in 2000, and the rain that stayed away in qualifying may yet arrive on Sunday. And let’s not forget last year, when Hamilton won from P14. In short, it’s not over yet…

  2. A Ferrari Turbo problem puts Sebastian Vettel out in Q1 in Germany. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Sebastian Vettel will start his home German Grand Prix from the back of the grid after being scuppered by a turbo related problem in qualifying.

    The Ferrari driver had headed in to shootout for grid positions with a good chance of fighting for pole position, on the back of a strong run of form that had seen his team top all the sessions so far this weekend.

    But it all went wrong on his out lap in Q1 when he encountered an engine issue shortly after he left the pits.

    Speaking to the team over the radio as he returned to the pits, he explained he hit trouble as soon as he shifted up to fourth gear.

    Despite hasty investigations by his mechanics as he returned to the pits, the problem could not be sorted in time and he ended the Q1 session as the only driver not to set a time.

    Ferrari later confirmed that the problem was related to the turbo on his car.

    “Obviously very bitter,” said Vettel afterwards. “The car was great and we lost out on a big chance and hopefully we have another one tomorrow. I am loking forward to the race but it would have been nicer to start at the very front than the very back.”

    Vettel’s German Grand Prix woe was his first Q1 exit since the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix, when he was also forced out with power unit issues.

  3. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen laments impact of Q2 power loss scare. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Max Verstappen says it was a “shame” he had to change his tyre strategy in qualifying at Hockenheim due to an issue with a “different mode” on his Red Bull Formula 1 car.

    Verstappen had a scare during the second German Grand Prix qualifying segment when he reported a power loss on his opening run.

    The Dutchman had gone out on the medium tyre, aiming to lock it in as his starting compound in case of a dry race on Sunday, but was forced to abort the run and rejoin the track on softs.

    He would go on to progress to Q3 and qualify second between the two Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, which will both start the race on mediums.

    “I tried a different mode for that run, but as soon as I crossed the start-finish line, somehow it just cut out, lost a bit of power, and then you know your lap is ruined, so I backed off,” Verstappen explained about his Q2 mishap.

    “I went into the boxes, just to check everything, and we went out again, of course I had to use the other tyres, which was a little bit of a shame because I wanted to try and do the same [starting compound] like the other guys did, but that’s how it is, and we just have to live with that. Second run in Q2 and then Q3, there was no problem.”

    Verstappen also reported a turbo lag-like issue in the opening segment, describing it as similar to the problem that had held him back at Silverstone and that Honda identified as a calibration issue related to faster throttle application.

    “I don’t know if it’s exactly the same but in the car it feels pretty similar,” Verstappen said. “They’re all working hard, of course, to try and get on top of it.

    “I think in Q3 honestly it was fine, and that’s when it matters, of course.”

    Verstappen was some 0.346s off Hamilton’s Q3 effort, and admitted the issues that sidelined the two Ferraris were fortunate for his own qualifying.

    He added: “I think from Q1 to Q3 I felt like I had a bit of loss of grip, because in Q1 you always take your margins, but somehow in Q3 I just never really had the grip like I had in Q1. Of course, it was getting warmer, seemed like it was hurting me maybe even more at the time.

    “Still, to be second for this race I think is good, happy about that.”

    Teammate Pierre Gasly, who was fourth in Q3 and had been just a tenth slower than Verstappen on his final lap only to see it deleted due to track limits, said his qualifying was a relief after an “annoying” Friday crash.

    Gasly confirmed he too was experiencing turbo lag issues. “It’s costing a bit but not so much. It’s more in the way that you cannot predict what is going to happen and be consistent,” he said.

  4. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas held back by “surprising” brake inconsistency. Motorsport.com provides the details.

    Valtteri Bottas says a “surprising” brake issue hampered him in German Grand Prix qualifying, where he finished third behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

    After Ferrari, which had topped all three practice sessions at Hockenheim, suffered a nightmare first two thirds of qualifying – with a turbo airflow problem stopping Sebastian Vettel running in a Q1 and a fuel system issue putting Charles Leclerc out without a Q3 time – the fight for pole was blown wide open.

    Hamilton eventually prevailed ahead of Verstappen, with Bottas ending up 0.362 seconds behind his teammate and 0.016s off a front row spot.

    He told media at the post-race press conference that a suspected braking issue may have cost him “two or three tenths”.

    “As a team we overall had a good result – Lewis did a really good job in qualifying,” said Bottas. “Also we got a bit lucky with the Ferraris, so we don’t know how quick they could have been in Q3.

    “But myself I did feel OK in practice three, there were no worries and it felt like qualifying should be fine and interesting. But in qualifying I struggled a lot with the brakes, in Turn 2 especially, six, then eight – so all the big brakings.

    “I was locking up many times, going straight, so just confidence under braking and the bite of the brakes was varying from one lap to the other.

    “So that made it difficult. I felt like it was maybe [worth] two or three tenths I could have improved in quali three by getting everything spot on, but it was not more than that. So it was not the easiest qualifying, I’m keen to have a look why.

    “[The issue was a] little bit surprising. I think yesterday was a bit tricky overall, this was down to the temperature, it’s quite sensitive and [I] didn’t get many clean laps.

    “Practice three I felt good, I was really looking forward to the qualifying and knowing that things had improved and should be all good. But I struggled a lot with braking in the qualifying, and just the consistency was not there.

    “I wasn’t always sure when I hit the brake pedal what was going to happen – if I’d lock the front or not.”

    After qualifying, Bottas was hit with a €600 fine for speeding in the pitlane.

  5. Lando Norris says he let himself and his McLaren Formula 1 team down for the “first time this season” during qualifying for the German Grand Prix.

    Norris will start tomorrow’s race from 16th on the grid after he was eliminated from Q1 following a late improvement for Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

    It meant the McLaren driver missed out on a Q2 berth by just 0.055s slower than the 15th-placed Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

    Teammate Carlos Sainz eased into Q2 and qualified seventh after making into Q3, and Norris’s starting position marks his worst qualifying result in his rookie season.

    “I just didn’t put my sectors together when it counted on the sectors and that cost me,” said Norris.

    “There was nothing too much, a quarter of a tenth. Very small mistakes which cost that much and [stopped me from] getting into Q2 today.

    “I’m frustrated but at the same time – it’s the first time this year that I’ve left myself and the team down. The car was there or thereabouts where it needed to [be].

    “But this is the first time I’ve let the team down when there was more potential in the car, and Carlos was in Q3 again. Need to move on and look to tomorrow.”

    Norris, who like Sainz has been retained for 2020 after a strong first season at McLaren, added that there was “small” oversteer on his flying lap, and he noticeably ran with a lower rake on his car in Q1.

    “Nothing was missing, we struggled a little with the car this weekend, so it hasn’t been as easy as the other weekends,” added Norris.

    Norris also appeared to hinder Alexander Albon’s qualifying run in Q1 after the Toro Rosso driver closed in on the McLaren at the first hairpin.

    Albon qualified 17th behind Norris and complained about the McLaren over the team radio.

    Asked if he feared a grid penalty for blocking, Norris said: “No, I was on a push lap. I pushed and he started the lap behind me, I’ve got nothing to be worried about.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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