Valtteri Bottas has spoiled his teammate’s party late in Q3 to nab pole position for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.
Unable to match the pace of six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen through the opening two segments of qualifying, a monstrous final lap effort by the Finn placed him nearly three-tenths clear of the field.
He shuffled Hamilton down to second while Verstappen could only manage the third quickest time, three-hundredths adrift of the Brit.
However, talk of the day was of Nico Hulkenberg who replaces the unwell Lance Stroll this weekend.
Stroll skipped final practice after reporting he didn’t feel 100%. He was then evaluated after the session before being deemed unfit to participate in the rest of the weekend.
Drafted into the team just an hour before qualifying, Hulkenberg put in a blind performance to qualify a thankless 20th position.
It was Hulkenberg’s first time back in the car since the British Grand Prix where he substituted for an ill Sergio Perez. With zero practice time under his belt, the German set four unaspiring laps to end up one second behind his teammate, but an appreciative performance on such short notice.
Going straight into qualifying having not been in the car since he stood in for Sergio Perez at Silverstone two months ago, Hulkenberg was slowest in Q1.
Charles Leclerc will start fourth in tomorrow’s race at the consequence of his stablemate Sebastian Vettel.
Vettel is the last winner at the Nürburgring and needed a big run on his final Q2 lap to solidify a spot in the shootout. The four-time world champion briefly put himself tenth before Leclerc crossed the line to go fifth quickest, demoting Vettel in the process.
Alex Albon was four-tenths slower than Verstappen in the sister Red Bull and will start fifth. Behind, Daniel Ricciardo fronted a Renault 6-7.
Both McLarens made it through to Q3 with Lando Norris ahead of Carlos Sainz. Perez in the Racing Point sandwiched them.
Both AlphaTauri’s will start behind Vettel outside the top-10. At the same time, Antonio Giovinazzi put in his most complete performance of the season to break out of Q1 for the first time all year. He went on to post the 14th best time.
It was a more disappointing affair for teammate Kimi Raikkonen, however. On the eve of becoming the most experienced Grand Prix driver in history, Raikkonen could only manage the second slowest time and start from the final row alongside Hulkenberg.
|Carlos Sainz Jr.