Vettel on Pole as Hamilton breaks down in Germany

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel takes his 55th career pole position with pole position ahead of Mercedes Valterri Bottas and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen as Mercedes Lewis Hamilton breaks down in the first part of Qualifying.

21/07/18

As did Lewis Hamilton did on home soil two weeks ago, Sebastian Vettel did the same by putting his Ferrari on pole. It was a superb lap by the German to start his 55th career pole position and his 5th pole of the season. Vettel, was happy to be on pole and felt that pole was there for the taking as he came into Qualifying. It was another good showing from Kimi Raikkonen but the Finn will be kicking himself of a small mistake into turn 12 as the front-row of the grid was possible.

Valterri Bottas was the sole Mercedes flying the flag in Q2 and Q3 after Lewis Hamilton lost hydraulic pressure. Bottas topped Q2 and was on provisional pole position for a few seconds after his 2nd run before Vettel bettered his time. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was surprised to see Bottas so close to Vettel after the Finn managed to pull back time in the final sector. It was an odd Saturday for Hamilton. The Brit came into the paddock looking a bit sheepish and did not seem 100%. Hamilton and Mercedes confirm that he was alright and a fight-back is once again on as the Brit looks to start in 14th.

After his first run in Q3, Max Verstappen was nearly 8 tenths behind Vettel’s time. The Dutchman managed to reduce the gap to just over 6 tenths to go 4th. Red Bull look particularly strong in the 1st and 3rd sectors but it’s the 2nd sector where there is 2 long straights which hamper the Austrian team. Coming into the weekend, Daniel Ricciardo knew that he would be starting at the back of the grid due to the team opting to fit a new MGU-K, control electronics and energy store to his Red Bull. The Australian ran in Q1 and decided not to in Q2.

Haas are once again “best of the rest” and have been all weekend. With the absence of Ricciardo and Hamilton, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean managed to qualify in 5th and 6th. Hopefully a clean race by both drivers will allow the American team to close down the 19 point gap to Renault.

It was a good day for Renault with both Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr in the top 10. Although behind Haas, both drivers are optimistic for the race tomorrow. Hulkenberg ran a new spec front wing which seemed to give the German a helping hand.

It was another impressive performance by Charles Leclerc to get into Q3 once again and out-qualify team-mate Marcus Ericsson. Points are on the cards for the race tomorrow. Sauber finished 1st and 2nd in FP3 with Leclerc topping the wet practice session. Ericsson, however had a little moment when the Swede lost the rear of the car going into turn 13. He spun into the gravel but was able to continue. The Red Flag was brought out allowing the marshals to clear the track of gravel.

It was a mixed day for Force India with Sergio Perez getting into Q3 and managing to qualify in 10th. Esteban Ocon was knocked out in Q1 for the first time since Monaco last year. Force India’s long-run pace seems to be good so points are on offer tomorrow.

Believe it or not but 11th place for Fernando Alonso is McLaren’s best qualifying result since Monaco. Stoffel Vandoorne struggled once again with the Belgian saying on Friday night that FP1 and FP2 was his worst for a long time.

Today was a breakthrough for Williams. Sergey Sirotkin was able to get through to Q2 and qualify in 13th ahead of tomorrow’s race. Lance Stroll struggled once again qualified in 19th place. Little to celebrate on Claire Williams’s birthday.

It was a difficult day for Toro Rosso with Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley knocked-out in Q1. Gasly admitting that their was little to do to improve. Points will be a tough ask tomorrow.

Qualifying Result

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:11:212
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:11:416
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:11:547
  4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:11:822
  5. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1:12:200
  6. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:12:544
  7. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:12:560
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, 1:12:692
  9. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, 1:12:717
  10. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:12:774
  11. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:13:657
  12. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1:13:702
  13. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:13:736
  14. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, no time
  15. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, no time
  16. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:13:720
  17. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1:13:749
  18. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:14:045
  19. Lance Stroll, Williams, 1:14:206
  20. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:14:401

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