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Formula 1

Bottas prevails in three-way Eifel GP pole battle

by Matt Beer
7 min read

Valtteri Bottas halted Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s run of Formula 1 poles by beating him to the top spot for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Max Verstappen and Hamilton had shared the fastest times through Q1 and Q2, with the Red Bull then fastest on the first Q3 runs. At that point just 0.081s blanketed Verstappen, Bottas and Hamilton.

But Bottas’s excellent final lap of 1m25.269s put him nearly three tenths of a second clear of his rivals, as Verstappen fell to third behind both Mercedes.

The big story of the morning had been Nico Hulkenberg’s last-minute call-up to replace the unwell Lance Stroll at Racing Point.

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.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Eifel Grand Prix Qualifying Day Nurbugring, Germany

His best laps were hampered by small errors and lock-ups, and he lapped nine tenths of a second slower than Perez. Not getting beyond Q1 means he heads into the race with 10 laps of running in the car at this track under his belt.

Perez went on to qualify ninth.

Charles Leclerc built on Ferrari’s practice promise to put himself fourth on the grid, although team-mate Sebastian Vettel failed to join him in the pole shootout.

Both Ferraris needed big runs on their final Q2 laps. Vettel – winner of F1’s last Nurburgring race seven years ago – made it up to 10th, only for Leclerc’s leap to fifth to push him back down to 11th moments later.

Vettel, who was half a second slower than his team-mate, has not been in Q3 since the British GP at the start of August.

Leclerc split the Red Bulls in Q3, with Alex Albon nearly half a second slower than Verstappen in fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo edged out Renault team-mate Esteban Ocon for sixth by 0.019s, having been only ninth after the first Q3 runs, while the McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz Jr sandwiched Perez in eighth and 10th.

Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Nurburgring 2020

On the weekend when Alfa Romeo had planned to run his potential 2021 replacement Mick Schumacher in Friday practice, Antonio Giovinazzi managed to break out of Q1 for the first time this season. He went on to qualify as top Ferrari customer in 14th, just behind the two AlphaTauris of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat and ahead of Haas duo Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

Giovinazzi’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen will make his record-breaking 323rd F1 start from the back row alongside Hulkenberg, behind the Williams of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m26.573s 1m25.971s 1m25.269s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m26.62s 1m25.39s 1m25.525s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m26.319s 1m25.467s 1m25.562s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m26.857s 1m26.24s 1m26.035s
5 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1m27.126s 1m26.285s 1m26.047s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m26.836s 1m26.096s 1m26.223s
7 Esteban Ocon Renault 1m27.086s 1m26.364s 1m26.242s
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m26.829s 1m26.316s 1m26.458s
9 Sergio Pérez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m27.12s 1m26.33s 1m26.704s
10 Carlos Sainz McLaren-Renault 1m27.378s 1m26.361s 1m26.709s
11 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m27.107s 1m26.738s
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1m27.072s 1m26.776s
13 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1m27.285s 1m26.848s
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m27.532s 1m26.936s
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m27.231s 1m27.125s
16 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m27.552s
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m27.564s
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1m27.812s
19 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m27.817s
20 Nico Hülkenberg Racing Point-Mercedes 1m28.021s
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