Hamilton on pole in Germany as Ferrari woes continue

Lewis Hamilton will start the German Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after Ferrari again struggled with technical issues.

With Mercedes celebrating 125 years of motorsport in Germany this weekend, Hamilton posted a mark of 1m11.767s to finish ahead of Verstappen, teammate Valtteri Bottas and the impressive Pierre Gasly, who recovered from his big accident on Friday to line up ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

But the big talking point of the day was again the failure of Ferrari to put pressure on their greatest rivals, and it unravelled quickly on Saturday after first Sebastian Vettel was unable to post a time due to an intercooler problem, before Charles Leclerc suffered a fuel pump failure that meant he was unable to participate in Q3.

For Hamilton, however, it was another supreme effort. The reigning champion has been a class apart this season and his latest pole was achieved with the Englishman struggling with illness from the start of the weekend.

“I’m super happy to be on pole, it’s such a special race for all of us,” said Hamilton afterward. “The whole team is dressed up this weekend to celebrate 125 years of motorsport and our 200th race which is really cool. We’ve got Ola, our new CEO here from Daimler, so I hope that I can deliver on a weekend where everyone is here. It’s not just unfortunate what happened to Ferrari today, but unfortunate for the sport too because it was building up to be a really exciting qualifying session.

“I don’t know how close it would have been in the end, but they were quick all weekend. I was really happy with my first lap in Q3; I just lost a little bit of time in Turn 8. Position on the grid is really important here, so I’m grateful to be starting from pole and hopefully I can try to stay out in front tomorrow.”

Many home fans will surely be happy for Mercedes and Hamilton, but there will also be just as many dismayed with home favourite Vettel’s misfortune, Toto Wolff also sympathetic to his rivals bad luck.

“It’s a real shame for Ferrari and a shame for Sebastian at his home Grand Prix,” said Wolff. “We really need him here for the crowd, and you can see that it’s a bit subdued at the moment. We need Ferrari for a strong Championship too. I’m happy because the session started poorly for us, we didn’t quite know why we were lacking pace. Over the course of the session it just slowly came towards us. Lewis put in an incredible lap in Q3 and deserves to be on pole. Valtteri was not feeling comfortable in the car, he was struggling a bit more, but he is starting third on the grid and has every chance in the race tomorrow.”

Acronis partner team SportPesa Racing Point had an encouraging qualifying session, Sergio Perez starting the race from 8th on the grid.

“I’m happy with the result today,” said Perez afterward. “We’ve taken a step forward this weekend and the new parts have made a difference. Tomorrow we have a good opportunity to race well and score points. Reaching Q3 again is a big boost for everyone in the team after a few difficult races. All the way from Q1 to Q3 I gave it everything and the margins in the middle of the grid were so small. Today a tenth here and there made a big difference. We have a strong race car as well and I’m confident we can fight with the cars ahead of us. I want to come away with some points tomorrow.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.