Bottas takes pole over Hamilton for Eifel GP

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2020 Eifel Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images

It’s been a while since Formula 1 raced at the Nurburgring but this isn’t the German Grand Prix. The Eifel Grand Prix will see the return of Nico Hulkenberg who scrambled in from Cologne Germany at the last minute due to an ill Lance Stroll at Racing Point. This means that Nico will have subbed for both Racing Point drivers this season.

With no running on Friday due to fog, the weekend actually began Saturday morning during FP3. With limited running for the teams, it was a case of arrive and drive but no one was facing that situation more than Nico Hulkenberg. His very first laps would be in Q1.

Would the scene of Honda’s debut in F1 back in 1964 become an opportunity for a pole position with Red Bull on the week they announced their departure from the series?

Q1

The cars were immediately out due to limited running on Friday. Hulkenberg was using the first part fo the session to get a few laps in and get comfortable with the car and track conditions.

With 12 minutes left in the session, Mercedes led the time sheets with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in first and second respectively. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen jumped up to first and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc managed to go third quickest.

With 2 minutes left Hulkenberg was still languishing in 19th with Racing Points Sergio Perez just ahead of him in 16th. Both pink cars needed to make a serious recovery to get to Q2 as there is only a few points between them and McLaren in the Constructor’s championship.

Perez jumped to P9 but Hulk was left to make a desperate bid for Q2 with no time remaining but unfortunately remained out of Q2. Verstappen topped the time sheet.

Out in Q1- Hulkenberg, Russell, Latifi, Raikkonen, Grosjean

Q2

Both Mercedes were out first on the Medium tires as were both Ferraris. Red Bull’s Alex Albon was out on Soft compounds.

Hamilton jumped to the top with Bottas behind him and Vettel in 3rd. Leclerc dislodged Vettel for P3 and it suggested that Ferrari, while not as fast as Mercedes, may be quicker this weekend than they’ve been in the last several races.

Verstappen jumped to the top on Soft compound tires as did Albon and McLaren’s Lando Norris. Still, Mercedes were just four tenths off the pace of the Red Bull on a Soft compound so that bode well for Silver Arrows. What wasn’t working for Mercedes was Valtteri Bottas being down in 8th with his Medium Compound tire run which prompted both he and Lewis to come back out on the Soft compounds.

Lewis jumped to the top, three tenths over Verstappen, while Bottas jumped to third and was half a second off of Hamilton’s pace.

With two minutes to go, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo was near elimination and was joined by Vettel in their final runs to stay out of the elimination zone. Dan jumped to 4th. Leclerc jumped to 5th and knocked his teammate, Vettel, out of Q2.

Out in Q2- Vettel, Gasly, Kvyat, Giovinazzi, Magnussen

Q3

McLaren were first out in Q3 on used Soft tires. Bottas and Hamilton on new Soft tires. Everyone except Sergio Perez was immediately out. Norris beat Sainz while Hamilton jumped to the top but Bottas reversed his half second deficit to Lewis in Q2 to take top spot on provisional pole. It was Verstappen who dislodged both Mercedes for provisional pole.

Alex Albon slotted 4th at .541s off Verstappen with Charles Leclerc just behind him.

With 3;30s left in the session, the cars all came out for final runs. Mercedes has had pole on every race so far in 2020 but could Max change that?

Hamilton jumped to provisional pole but got eclipsed by Bottas leaving Verstappen in 3rd and Albon in 5th with Leclerc’s Ferrari in 4th. The Renault’s of Ricciardo and Ocon were 5th and 6th respectively. Bottas managed to find the half second he had been down on Hamilton and Verstappen during the session. It is his 3rd pole of the year and 14th in his career.

POSDRIVERTEAMGAP
1Valtteri BottasMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m25.269s
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team0.256s
3Max VerstappenAston Martin Red Bull Racing0.293s
4Charles LeclercScuderia Ferrari0.766s
5Alexander AlbonAston Martin Red Bull Racing0.778s
6Daniel RicciardoRenault DP World F1 Team0.954s
7Esteban OconRenault DP World F1 Team0.973s
8Lando NorrisMcLaren F1 Team1.189s
9Sergio PerezBWT Racing Point F1 Team1.435s
10Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren F1 Team1.440s
11Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1.469s
12Pierre GaslyScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1.507s
13Daniil KvyatScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1.579s
14Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1.667s
15Kevin MagnussenHaas F1 Team1.856s
16Romain GrosjeanHaas F1 Team2.283s
17George RussellWilliams Racing2.295s
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams Racing2.543s
19Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN2.548s
20Nico HulkenbergBWT Racing Point F1 Team2.752s
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