Mercedes driver Valtteri Botta beat his teammate Lewis Hamilton in the qualifying round of the Eifel Grand Prix which was held at the Nurburgring. Nico Hulkenberg finished 20th after replacing Lance Stroll who is unwell.
Mercedes has been maintaining its win in the qualifying round so far in the 2020 Formula 1 season, but it was facing very stiff competition from Redbull’s Max Verstappen who was top on Q1 but later came in just a fraction of a second later than Lewis Hamilton in Q2. Verstappen had even led the way through the first turns of Q3 but Bottas and Hamilton proved to be unbeatable on their second runs.
Bottas led the middle sector of the final round recording 1m 25.269s which put him 0.265s ahead of Lewis Hamilton who later proved to be the fastest in the final sector of the last lap. Verstappen on the other hand was the quickest in the first sector of the lap but later in the other sectors of the lap was slower than the Mercedes duo coming in 0.293s adrift of Bottas.
Charles Leclerc took the fourth fastest lap time for Ferrari after taking on Alexander Albon in his RB16 who later finished fifth after recording an improvement in the last moments. All the leading cars will be starting tomorrow’s race on soft tyres despite the Mercedes and Ferrari and also Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo who was testing the medium tyres on Q2. Ricciardo was the sixth fastest in Q3 as his teammate Esteban Ocon came in after him on seventh.
Mclaren’s Lando Norris qualified in eighth position ahead of Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz rounding out the top ten. As Leclerc was trying to improve and set his fifth best lap time in Q1, he knocked out his teammate Sebastian Vettel who later set his personal best on the mid section of the final lap but ended up taking the 11th position.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat also did their personal best runs in Q2, but luck was not on their side as they ended up placing p12 and p13, while Antonio Giovinazzi made a faster last lap giving him P14 for Alfa Romeo. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen came in a few seconds later from Giovinazzi taking P15.
Nico Hulkenberg was out early on the track early in the Racing Point’s RP20, although he was due to travel to the Nurburgring on Saturday to work for the German broadcaster, RTL but he received a late call to replace Lance Stroll who was not feeling well ahead of the qualifying round. He made several runs on the soft tyres as the session was underway and found himself being among the slowest of the lap times but was eventually able to move up to P19 ahead of the final runs in Q1.
The German had deep moments in the final run at the first corner and brief lock ups on the right front and left front respectively at Turn 6 – the right-hander that runs down towards the hairpin – and on the approach to the final chicane. He however lost time in the last sectors and finished 0.204s slower than Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Romain Grosjean missed the cut after having his best lap of the session (1m27.118s ) deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 4 in the shadow of the Mercedes grandstand that overlooks the corner and Turn 1. The Haas driver was able to set another time in the closing moments but was shuffled down and out ahead of the Williams pair George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, as they finished P17 and P18.