Bottas beats Hamilton to Eifel GP pole as Hulkenberg makes surprise qualifying return

www.formula1.com|11-Oct-2020 12:16

Mercedes continued their 100% pole position record for 2020 at the Eifel Grand Prix. But unlike the last five Grands Prix, it was Russian GP winner Valtteri Bottas rather than Lewis Hamilton who took P1 this time, ending up 0.256s ahead of his team mate – while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured his near-traditional P3 slot on the grid, but just 0.037s off Hamilton.

One of the biggest stories coming into qualifying was the news that a sick Lance Stroll would be replaced for the rest of the weekend by Nico Hulkenberg at Racing Point, the German having been in town to do some broadcast work before getting the call up to drive ahead of the session. There’d be no fairy-tale result for Hulkenberg, alas, as he ended up 20th and last, albeit a respectable 1.7s off the pace in Q1.

At the sharp end, meanwhile, the three qualifying sectors saw three different leaders, Verstappen in Q1 and Hamilton in Q2, before a storming final effort from Bottas in Q3 gave him his third pole of the season – and the 14th of his career – the Finn setting three purple sectors to nail P1.

Ferrari brought performance-related upgrades to the floor and bargeboards of their SF1000 this weekend. And it was Charles Leclerc who used them to best effect, taking an excellent P4 on the grid as team mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage P11.

Leclerc was ahead of the second Red Bull of Alex Albon in P5, while Daniel Ricciardo took sixth for Renault, having looked in good form all through Saturday – the first day to see any running at the Nurburgring, after Friday’s slew of session cancellations.

Rounding out the top 10 came the second Renault of Esteban Ocon in P7, with the McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz eighth and 10th, sandwiching Sergio Perez in the second Racing Point – the Mexican taking P9 on his first qualifying session in the updated RP20.