Lewis Hamilton has secured pole for the German Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel, Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo had a frustrating day at Hockenheim.
Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position for the German Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel’s miserable form continued for Ferrari as he was unable to even set a time and will start from the back.
Things got even worse for Ferrari as Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc was unable to start the last part of qualifying on Saturday and is set to begin from 10th place on the grid on Sunday.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, a winner of seven F1 races, was also eliminated early in qualifying and will start from 18th, continuing his frustrating first season with Renault.
“I don’t know really how we did it today. I’m not quite sure what happened to the Ferraris,” Hamilton said.
“I think if Leclerc had done a lap at the end, it would have been close between us.”
Ferrari are winless in 10 races this season and that terrible run looks to continue, while Hamilton is aiming for a sixth win in seven.
It was a record-extending 87th pole for the five-time world champion, who is 11 wins shy of Michael Schumacher’s record of 91.
Hamilton starts on the front row alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who pushed Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas into third place. Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly goes from fourth.
Vettel, who crashed at last year’s German GP despite leading from pole, looked visibly upset as he climbed out of his car in the team garage.
Ferrari said the problem was with airflow to the turbo, even more surprising given Ferrari had topped all three practice sessions heading into qualifying.
“Lost out on a big chance,” Vettel said, reflecting on his home race.
“It’s very painful here, obviously. I was looking forward to having fun.”
Worried faces in the Ferrari garage turned to sheer horror as mechanics then detected a problem on Leclerc’s car, ruling him out of the top-10 shootout in final qualifying.
Vettel has not won since last year’s Belgian GP, a run which now looks likely to reach 19 races. Two weeks ago at the British GP, he crashed into the back of Verstappen after misjudging a routine overtaking move – the latest in a growing list of errors by the German.
Australia’s Ricciardo, who is in an even worse rut than Vettel, said he took responsibility for missing the third qualifying round (Q3).
“It’s frustrating to be the wrong side in Q2, but it was incredibly tight out there. We were the last ones in the 12.7secs and less than half a tenth would have put me eighth and through,” he said in a statement provided by Team Renault.
“On my side, I have to take accountability for that as I know I could have done a little bit more. We made a good improvement from the morning so it was pleasing to be so close to the top ten.
“Tomorrow could be nice if it rains. Even if it’s dry, we’ll be alright. It’s a mixed field ahead of us, but for now, we’ll take it on the chin and figure it out.”