Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas upped his pace to beat Lewis Hamilton to take F1 Eifel GP pole as Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen ended up third.
The first part of F1 Eifel GP qualifying at a sunny Nurburgring had Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen head the pack from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton as Nico Hulkenberg got his first taste of the Racing Point car of Lance Stroll.
He had his Bumblebee helmet on from last season. It was a tall ask already as he ended up 20th with the best of 1m28.021, missing Q2 spot by four tenths eventually. Strangely, his teammate Sergio Perez used the medium compound along with Williams’ George Russell.
They changed to soft tyres, though, as Russell ended up 17th with a 1m27.564s behind Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m27.552s) and ahead of Nicholas Latifi (1m27.812s), with Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m27.817s) slotting in 19th.
The second part of F1 Eifel GP qualifying had the strategy game out with Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo starting the session on the medium tyres. Among them, only Hamilton looked safe while Bottas made a mistake to switch eventually.
However, they all changed to soft tyres with Hamilton going fastest from Verstappen and Bottas. It was close at the back for a Top 10 spot as Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel just missed by four tenths after setting a 1m26.738s as he has a free tyre choice for Sunday.
The two AlphaTauri drivers were 12th and 13th with Pierre Gasly (1m26.776s) ahead of Daniil Kvyat (1m26.848s) as Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi (1m26.936s) was 14th – his first time in Q2 in 2020 – ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m27.125s).
The third part in F1 Eifel GP qualifying got tasty with only 0.081s separating the Top 3 as Verstappen with a 1m25.744s led the way from Bottas (1m25.812s) and Hamilton (1m25.825s), with the fourth car of Alexander Albon being half a second behind.
It was another good showing from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in fifth after the first run and he delivered in the final run as well to be fourth with a 1m26.035s, which was enough to demote Albon to fifth, who set a good 1m26.047s himsellf.
At the front, though, it was Mercedes 1-2 with Bottas upping his pace to take F1 Eifel GP pole with a 1m25.269s as he beat Hamilton (1m25.525s) by 0.256s as Verstappen (1m25.562s) was just tiny bit of slow than the Brit to be the third fastest.
The Renault duo were sixth and seventh with Ricciardo (1m26.233s) ahead of Esteban Ocon (1m26.242s), while McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m26.458s) slotted in eighth from Racing Point’s Perez (1m26.70s) and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m26.709s) in the Top 10.