Published: Sun, July 28, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

F1: 'Unwell' Hamilton takes German GP pole

F1: 'Unwell' Hamilton takes German GP pole

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was third in both sessions for Mercedes.

"Lewis, you never fail to amaze us", team boss Toto Wolff said to him over the radio after the session.

A year ago at Hockenheim, Vettel started on pole position only to crash out while leading on a track made slippery by rain.

Vettel enjoyed his return to home soil and topped the morning session to the delight of German fans and his father Norbert who was supporting from the Ferrari pits.

That, the four times Formula One world champion recognized on Thursday, is because he has always been his own harshest critic.

"On my side, it was a fuel system problem".

"It's a hard day for the team, I hope it will be a very positive day tomorrow", the 21-year-old Monegasque Leclerc told reporters.

"I was just reminiscing about my McLaren days and I think the most I had in a year was five wins", said Hamilton.

Hamilton, who revealed a sore throat had left him uncertain about even taking part in qualifying, was glad to pick up the pieces.

"That is pure, pure heartbreak for Vettel", said Sky F1's David Croft.

"But 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".

Wolff continued to express his happiness with Hamilton's Qualifying 3 effort and explained that Bottas lacked conviction in his performance due to feeling uncomfortable with the auto - something that the Finn narrowed down to a lack of faith under heavy braking. I think there's quite a bit of margin to go faster.

Ferrari's afternoon continued to unravel later in the session - at the start of Q3, the team's mechanics scrambled around Leclerc's vehicle in a similar fashion.

"A disappointing qualifying, I couldn't find the grip I found in FP3", said Bottas.

Raikkonen came 0.01s away from a place on the second row of the grid.

Last year's victor in Germany was Hamilton, driving for Mercedes.

"So I can't wait to get started again".

Behind the top three, Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who crashed heavily in Friday's practice, was fourth for Red Bull.

Max Verstappen, fourth in the morning, ended the day fifth-fastest ahead of Haas's Romain Grosjean, whose auto had the same specification used for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Sainz's team-mate Lando Norris was 16th, just 0.2secs down in first qualifying, but small margins made a big difference on a relatively short track - for example, just 0.03secs separated Hulkenberg in eighth place from team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in 13th in second qualifying as the drivers battled for places in the top-10 shootout.

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