Lewis Hamilton takes pole as Ferrari suffers disaster
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for Formula 1’s German Grand Prix as Ferrari suffered a disastrous qualifying session.
Hamilton set a time of 1:11.767 during the early stages of Q3 at a warm and sunny Hockenheim to grab his fourth pole position of the campaign.
Max Verstappen bounced back from a turbo issue in Q2 to split the Mercedes drivers, with Valtteri Bottas third on the grid.
But the fight for pole position took place in a Q3 session that did not feature either Ferrari driver on track.
Both Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were struck by reliability issues during the session, leaving Vettel at the back and Leclerc only 10th.
Ferrari had entered qualifying off the back of strong practice pace, with Vettel on top in FP1, before Leclerc seized control through the next two sessions.
But the team’s weekend unravelled just minutes into qualifying.
On Vettel’s out lap in Q1 he reported a loss of power and returned to the pit lane for Ferrari to undertake a diagnosis.
Vettel remained in the car while mechanics addressed the left-hand-side of the car, but with four minutes left in the session, he climbed out of the SF90 signalling that the problem could not be repaired.
Ferrari confirmed that a problem related to the airflow to the turbo was to blame for Vettel’s non-participation.
Leclerc displayed front-running pace in Q1 and Q2 but as the team prepared for Q3 a problem was detected on his Ferrari, much to the dismay of the mechanics, one of who slammed the side of the garage in frustration.
Leclerc climbed out of his SF90, signalling that he would take no further part, and he is set to start from 10th on the grid.
Ferrari confirmed that a suspected fuel systems issue was to blame for Leclerc's setback.
Pierre Gasly took fourth on the grid, narrowly ahead of the impressive Kimi Raikkonen, as his best time – which was still fourth-best – was deleted for exceeding track limits.
Romain Grosjean took sixth spot in the Melbourne-spec Haas VF-19, in front of Carlos Sainz Jr., while Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg were the slowest of the nine Q3 runners.
In an exceptionally close Q2 session just 0.033s split eighth place from 13th, with Antonio Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo falling on the wrong side of the cut-off time.
Magnussen’s effort was compromised by a mistake through Turn 2 as his strong FP3 pace, where he placed fifth, went to waste.
Daniil Kvyat was further adrift in 14th spot while Lance Stroll ended his run of Q1 exits but went no further, finishing firmly at the rear of the 15-car Q2 session after a couple of errors.
None of this year’s three rookies made it out of Q1 as Lando Norris suffered his first exit at the first hurdle of qualifying, compounding a difficult weekend for the youngster.
Alexander Albon was only 17th and was frustrated at getting placed behind Norris on his final hot lap; Norris ultimately aborted his lap but still unintentionally impeded the Toro Rosso driver.
Williams was again mired at the back of the field.
George Russell maintained his one-lap dominance over team-mate Robert Kubica, ensuring he will end 2019 on top, having made it 11-0 in the head-to-head battle.
Russell was just over a tenth clear of the Pole, though the pair lagged 1.3s behind nearest opponent Albon.
Sunday’s 67-lap German Grand Prix is scheduled for 15:10 local time.
Germany - Qualifying Result
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:12.113||0.346|
|4||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:12.522||0.755|
|5||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||1:12.538||0.771|
|8||Sergio Perez||Racing Point||1:13.065||1.298|
|11||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:12.786|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:13.135|
|15||Lance Stroll||Racing Point||1:13.450|
|17||Alexander Albon||Red Bull||1:13.461|