Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Lewis Hamilton on pole in German Grand Prix as disaster strikes Ferrari

Mercedes driver clocked quickest time of one minute and 11.767 secs as Leclerc and Vettel hit by mechanical problems

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has been vegan since 2017. AFP
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has been vegan since 2017. AFP

Lewis Hamilton secured a record-extending 87th pole position on Saturday when he made the most of a double disaster for Ferrari in qualifying at the German Grand Prix.

The defending five-time world champion, who had struggled for pace and consistency in his Mercedes in practice, improved to clock a best lap in one minute and 11.767 seconds and outpaced Max Verstappen of Red Bull by 0.346 seconds.

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third ahead of Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull while Charles Leclerc, who had been fastest for Ferrari in final practice, failed to run in the Q3 top-10 shoot-out due to a technical problem with his car.

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The Moneqasque will start 10th, 10 places ahead of his luckless Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel who was unable to take part in qualifying due to a turbo problem and will start at the back of the grid for his home race.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Alfa Romeo ahead of Romain Grosjean of Haas, Carlos Sainz of McLaren, Sergio Perez of Racing Point and Nico Hulkenberg of Renault.

"Congratulations Lewis - you never stop amazing us," said Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff as the Briton drove his slow-down lap.

"Thanks, Toto," he replied. "A great job guys - I don't know how we did that."

Hamilton, winner of seven of the 10 races so far, leads Bottas by 39 points in the overall standings.

"I'm not really sure how we did it today, and I'm not really sure what happened to the Ferraris," said Hamilton.

"It's such an important race for us, our second home grand prix, and 125 years of motor racing, so it's incredible to celebrate in this way."

Leclerc had been fastest in practice on Friday and Saturday and had looked a good bet for pole, with Mercedes struggling in the opening phase, before the gremlins struck.

"It's a difficult day for the team, I hope it will be a very positive day tomorrow," he said.

"I felt great in the car and the car felt great today and all weekend so it's a shame it ends up like this."

Updated: July 27, 2019 07:23 PM

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