F1: Bottas Tames The Nürburgring Claiming Pole In Germany

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Continuing his form from Russia, Valtteri Bottas scored his fourtheenth career pole in Germany. Image sourced from XBP Images.

Valtteri Bottas Prevails To Take Eifel GP Pole Position.

To Whom It May Concern

Valtteri Bottas put the world on notice as he took pole at the Nürburgring in the heart of Germany’s Rhineland. Heading a Mercedes’ front row lock-out at their home circuit.

Despite trailing Hamilton & Verstappen for the majority of qualifying, Bottas made it happen when it mattered. As the Finn went fastest of anyone in all three sectors on his final lap, claiming a new track record in the process.

“It’s such a nice feeling when you get it done on the last lap, with your last chance.”

A Gordian Knot

On Friday both FP1 & FP2 were cancelled due to the medical helicopter being unable to fly in poor weather.

As a result, the teams and drivers only saw a single practice session the morning before qualifying, Bottas admits it proved a challenging.

“It’s been pretty tricky, obviously, with the short practice and with these cold conditions, getting the tyres into the sweet spot.”

“There are different things you can try and do on the out-lap, whether it’s braking or doing different things. But ultimately I got the tyres there and the last lap was really nice. I really enjoyed it.”

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished qualifying in second place, the Brit finding himself over two tenths down on Mercedes’ team-mate Bottas.

Hamilton: “It’s an amazing circuit. It is definitely great to be back here. There’s a lot to play for tomorrow – I need to get my head down.”

Sparking Bull

Behind came Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Verstappen kept the Black Arrows honest throughout qualifying, even taking provisional pole after the first Q3 runs.

Max Verstappen’s Red Bull sparking during qualifying at the historic Nürburgring circuit. Image sourced from @RedBullRacing via Twitter.

Unfortunately for the Milton Keynes based outfit, a loss of grip in the final sector cost Verstappen over two tenths of a second.

Theoretically costing the Dutchman pole, forcing him to settle for third.

Verstappen: “Overall, we are getting closer to Mercedes which is very positive. In a way I’m a little bit disappointed, but I can still be happy. It’s a fun track to drive. So I am looking forward to seeing what I can do tomorrow.”

The Wonderman

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc pulled out a stunning performance for the Scuderia in Nürburg. The ‘Prancing Horse’ ushered significant upgrades to their SF1000 for this weekend’s grand prix.

Monégasque Leclerc matched his best qualifying position of the season with fourth which he achieved at the British Grand Prix.

Leclerc: “I’m quite surprised, I expected us to struggle in the cold weather.”

“I definitely wasn’t expecting fourth. Very happy about the result today. We took the maximum out of the situation.”

However despite successes on one side of the garage, Sebastian Vettel failed to make it through to Q3 once more.

When Vettel’s race engineer informed him of the “four tenths” gap to progressing.

The German never responded.

Alexander Albon in the sister Red Bull RB16 was fifth place.

Embrassé

Following Albon was both the Renault’s of Daniel Ricciardo & Esteban Ocon respectively.

Renault’s Ocon & Ricciardo were stuck together like glue as they roared through the Rhineland forests. Image sourced from @RenaultF1Team.

With just 0.030’s of a second separating the duo.

Ricciardo: “Sixth place is a good starting point. Everyone was on the track at the same time, so it was pretty fun.”

“The preparation was not ideal, but we know the car quite well. We know it’s going to be a tough race, but I’m looking forward to it and think we can aim for a top six.”

In eight position was McLaren’s Lando Norris, sporting a special self-made helmet alongside Carlos Sainz Jr. in support of world mental health.

Despite their joint off-track efforts the McLaren’s were split on-track as Racing Points’ Sergio Pérez took ninth, ahead of Sainz in tenth.

Wake Up Call

Nico Hulkenberg who was announced to be replacing Lance Stroll in the sister Racing Point struggled to get up the speed.

Regarding his call up, “It was even wilder and crazier than last time, I was in Cologne which is an hour from here. I was due to come here this afternoon to do some TV stuff from RTL tomorrow.”

“I was sat with a friend having a coffee at 11am when I see that Otmar [Szafnauer, Racing Point Team Principal] rings me and says the team needed me.”

The German qualified last, 1.7 seconds off the pace of the front runners.

Qualifying Highlights

 

 

 

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