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?
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
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
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.
|1||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1m25.269s|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||0.256s|
|3||Max Verstappen||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||0.293s|
|4||Charles Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||0.766s|
|5||Alexander Albon||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||0.778s|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault DP World F1 Team||0.954s|
|7||Esteban Ocon||Renault DP World F1 Team||0.973s|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren F1 Team||1.189s|
|9||Sergio Perez||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||1.435s|
|10||Carlos Sainz Jr.||McLaren F1 Team||1.440s|
|11||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||1.469s|
|12||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1.507s|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1.579s|
|14||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1.667s|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team||1.856s|
|16||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||2.283s|
|17||George Russell||Williams Racing||2.295s|
|18||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Racing||2.543s|
|19||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||2.548s|
|20||Nico Hulkenberg||BWT Racing Point F1 Team||2.752s|