Hamilton takes Hockenheim pole as Ferrari implodes

27/07/2019
NEWS STORY

As if the uncertainty over the weather wasn't enough, what with the rollercoaster temperatures and the threats of storms of Biblical proportions, this morning the drivers found themselves facing a new threat... track limits, and the exceeding of such.

Yesterday, drivers had pretty much had Carte Blanche to do as they wished, but this morning that all changed, as a number of drivers, including Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, found to their cost.

"Any part of the car" which runs over the blue and white kerbs on the outside of the first and final corners will result in the time being deleted... and so it came to be.

Charles Leclerc continued from where he left off yesterday, the youngster absolutely blitzing the field.

For much of the session it looked likely to be a Ferrari 1-2, but then Max Verstappen split the Maranello pair with a banzai lap.

That said, Sebastian Vettel clearly doesn't have the same confidence in his car that his teammate, or is that the impetuosity and daring of youth.

Poor Lewis Hamilton had a miserable time, be it the retro gloves that didn't fit, having his best time deleted for abusing the track limits or generally struggling to keep pace with the red cars.

Star of the show was Kevin Magnussen, who was thrilled that his car felt "completely different" to yesterday, even though the team had made no changes whatsoever.

With 4th (Bottas) to 18th (Ricciardo) covered by a second, it really is a case of 'anything could happen', and add in the uncertainty over the weather, those track limits and whatever Lady Luck might have in store, and we could be in for an unusual grid line-up, and an even more unusual race.

That said, ahead of qualifying the air temperature is 28.1 degrees C, and the track temperature 44.9 degrees, as the sun beats down on Hockenheim, but a little less intensity than yesterday's Lawrence of Arabia conditions.

Suddenly however, some dark clouds appear in the distance, at which point Race Control claims a 60% possibility of rain.

In the moments before the start of Q1, work is ongoing in the McLaren garage, particularly Sainz' car.

The lights go green and Kubica leads the way, followed by his teammate, both running the much anticipated updates.

Kubica crosses the line at 16.125 to get proceedings underway, but moments later his teammate posts a 15.682.

Things get a little more sensible when Stroll posts 13.393, watched on by driver coach Pastor Maldonado.

Norris goes second (13.773), but is demoted when teammate Sainz posts 13.221, and then Raikkonen goes top with a 13.066.

No sooner has Vettel headed out than he reports a problem, having lost power. He is told to pit.

Verstappen goes quickest with a 12.593, despite only being quickest in the final sector.

Moments later however, Leclerc crosses the line at 12.229.

Hamilton begins his first flying lap and in S1 he is already 0.4s off the pace. The Briton subsequently posts a 13.842 to go 13th, which means he's going to need to run again.

Ricciardo goes fourth, ahead of Grosjean and Magnussen, as Bottas heads out.

Bottas goes fourth with a 13.075, but is 0.846s off Leclerc's pace and behind Raikkonen.

Disaster for Vettel, clearly the issue cannot be resolved and he climbs from his car.

PBs in all three sectors see Hamilton improve to third with a 12.852.

Grosjean complains that his seat belt is loose.

With 3 minutes remaining, Albon, Norris and the Williams pair are in the danger zone with Vettel, with Giovinazzi, Perez and Gasly hovering.

Sainz improves to ninth, as the final assault begins.

Giovinazzi improves to eighth, while Magnussen goes sixth. Gasly improves to fourth and Hulkenberg 11th.

All eyes on Norris and Albon. The Thai fails to improve and misses the cut, as does the McLaren driver. Indeed, the Toro Rosso driver claims he was impeded by the McLaren driver.

Quickest is Leclerc, ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton, Gasly, Raikkonen, Bottas, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Grosjean and Giovinazzi.

We lose Norris, Albon, Russell, Kubica and, of course, Vettel, who seemingly suffered a turbo-related issue.

Hamilton is first out for Q2, the Briton sporting mediums. He is subsequently joined by Bottas and Leclerc, who similarly are running with the yellow-banded rubber.

As Hamilton posts 12.149 and Bottas 12.487, Leclerc aborts his lap.

Verstappen heads out on mediums, as Sainz goes third (12.632) and Stroll fourth (13.450).

Ah, it appears Leclerc had exceeded the limits at T1 which is why he aborted the lap. On his next run he posts 12.344 to go second.

"No power, I lost power on the straight," reports Verstappen. He is told to pit.

Raikkonen goes fifth with a 12.803, but is demoted when Magnussen goes fifth (12.789).

A 12.385 sees Gasly go third, albeit on the soft tyre.

Grosjean goes sixth with a 12.769, exactly 0.020s quicker than his teammate.

"Are my gears synced," asks Gasly. He is told that they are.

Verstappen heads out again, his issue hopefully solved. He is now on softs.

His out lap is very, very slow as he seemingly conserves his softs for that one flyer. Just as it appears that he might in fact have a problem, and the crowd rises, he presses the pedal to the metal.

Crossing the line at 12.427, it's good enough for fourth.

Perez, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Ricciardo and Stroll comprise the drop zone.

A big, big lock-up for Magnussen in T2.

Stroll gives 100% but fails to make the cut, while Kvyat also fails to improve.

Raikkonen goes quickest in S2, finally crossing the line at 12.519 to go sixth.

A late improvement is bad news for Magnussen, while Hulkenberg then demotes Giovinazzi.

Quickest is Hamilton, ahead of Leclerc, Gasly, Bottas, Verstappen, Raikkonen, Sainz, Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Perez.

We lose Giovinazzi, Magnussen, Ricciardo, Kvyat and Stroll. Eighth (Hulkenberg) to 13th (Ricciardo), were covered by just 0.033.

The Mercedes pair are first to head out for Q3, Bottas leading the way.

Meanwhile, there is lots of activity in both the Ferrari and Alfa garages, involving Leclerc and Raikkonen's cars respectively.

Body language in the Ferrari garage doesn't look good.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

Bottas posts 12.222, but Hamilton, who is quickest in all three sectors, crosses the line at 11.767.

More misery for Ferrari, as Leclerc climbs from his car, with what is thought to be a fuel system issue.

Verstappen splits the Silver Arrows with a 12.113, as Grosjean goes fourth, ahead of Sainz.

A 12.522 sees Gasly go fourth.

Perez heads out, the Mexican having the track to himself. Raikkonen and Hulkenberg clearly looking at doing just one late run.

Perez crosses the line at 13.065 to go sixth.

The big guns head out for the final assault, along with Hulkenberg and Raikkonen.

A weakfish S1 for Hamilton, while Verstappen and Bottas posts PBs.

S2 is also poor for the world champion, and despite going quickest in S3 he fails to improve his overall time.

Verstappen holds on to second, ahead of Bottas, while Gasly, who had improves, has his time deleted and remains fourth.

Raikkonen takes a very impressive fifth, courtesy of Ferrari's woes, ahead of Grosjean, Sainz, Perez and Hulkenberg.

So, contrary to what we thought an hour ago, Hamilton starts from pole, ahead of Verstappen, Bottas, Gasly, Raikkonen, Grosjean, Sainz, Perez, Hulkenberg and Leclerc.

Giovinazzi will start eleventh, ahead of Magnussen, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Stroll, Norris, Albon, Russell, Kubica and Vettel.

With rain still predicted for tomorrow, not to mention those track limits, both Ferraris starting well out of position and a midfield looking more hotly contested than ever, tomorrow could prove to be a third successive thriller.

Hmm... was Mike Lawrence's legendary Formula One Script Unit (FOSU), headed by the legendary Turk Thrust, ever actually disbanded?

Check out our Saturday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 27/07/2019
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