It’s an astounding qualifying result from Germany. With seconds to go in the third qualifying session, Valtteri Bottas had pole, provisional pole, and the Mercedes garage erupted. Then local hero Sebastian Vettel pulled something from nothing, and was two tenths quicker than the already brilliant drive from Vettel. That makes fifty five poles for the Ferrari driver.
But what happened before?
Rain. The great equalizer of motorsport. As are regulations. Daniel Ricciardo will start from rear of grid after exceeding the allowable amount of engine component swaps. Lewis Hamilton was nowhere near the top ten after a hydraulics failure crueled his chances. This came from the British driver coming in too hard into a corner and having the suspension tested beyond its limits and failing.
Ferrari has a great chance for points at Hockenheim given Kimi Raikkonen qualified third. Red Bull weren’t without joy with Max Verstappen sliding into fourth. Kevin Magnussen displayed composure and poise to qualify fifth and showed the Scandinavian equanimity in his post qualifying interview.
Sixth goes to Romain Grosjean, with an eyeblink between he and seventh place getter Nico Hulkenburg. It was in the region of just under two one thousandths of a second to have Grosjean ahead. Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, and Sergio Perez shut out the top ten.
But it was Vettel’s 1:11.2 that brought the crowd to their feet. A full two tenths quicker than Bottas and after seemingly out of contention, the Ferrari team was delighted to have a German born driver at the head of the field for the Hockenheim, Germany, Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The race promises, so far, to be a German win in Germany. But with recent news confirming a Hamilton signing with Mercedes until 2020 and possibly beyond, a German win on two levels can’t be discounted.