AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
MERCEDES’ Valterri Bottas starts today’s Eifel Grand Prix on pole after pipping teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton by the narrowest of margins.
Bottas pole and Hamilton’s 2nd spot means that Mercedes have continued with their dominance on the circuit, achieving 100% pole positioning record for the 2020 season.
Bottas was 0.256s ahead of Hamilton with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen slotting into the third spot.
Bottas was elated with his achievement. “It feels great to be on pole position here and I really enjoyed that session. It’s such a nice feeling when you get it with your last chance in Q3. That final lap was spot on. I was struggling a little in the first sector beforehand, but I managed to get it right in the end. Obviously, it was pretty tricky with just one practice session and the cold conditions, so getting the tyres in the sweet spot on the outlap was really important and I managed to get them in the window. It’s a new day tomorrow and is going to be an interesting race, especially with the lack of running we’ve had here and the temperatures. I’ve only got one goal for tomorrow, so hopefully I can have a good start and we’ll see what happens from there,” he said.
Hamilton congratulated Bottas and said yesterday wasn’t his day. He however looks forward to a positive race day. “I think there will be lots of opportunities, we’ll need to see what happens with the weather and what the temperatures are like. How the tyres behave will be crucial, as will the start and if there are any Safety Cars. It’s still all to play for, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said.
The other two big talking points during the qualifying at the Nurburgring was the radically improved performance of Ferrari and the mad dash by Nico Hulkenberg to the circuit to replace Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, who fell ill. Hulkenberg had 18 minutes to get used to the car and the track and will start the race at the end of the grid.
Ferrari introduced much-need performance-related upgrades to the floor and bargeboards and they paid off handsomely for Charles Leclerc, who will start the race in fourth position. His teammate Sebastian Vettel continued to struggle and could only manage 11th position.
Red Bull of Alex Albon will start the race in 5th position, followed by Renault’s pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.
McLarens of Lando Norris managed the 8th spot, ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez. His teammate Carlos Sainz completed the top 10 places.