Max qualifies fourth fastest in Hockenheim: 'The best we could do'

Published on 21 July 2018 by Mike Motilall

Max came in fourth fastest during qualifying for the German Grand Prix. With a 1:11.822, Verstappen was just six tenths away from pole sitter Sebastian Vettel. Valtteri Bottas will be next to Vettel on the front row and behind of them is his fellow countryman Kimi Raikkonen in third. Lewis Hamilton took the kerbs a bit too aggressively in Q3 forcing him to a standstill. The Brit will now start the race in fourteenth.

After qualifying, Max had the following to say: “I am reasonably happy. This was the best we could do. You try to make the best of it but you need to be realistic. In qualifying mode we are missing a lot in sector two. Apart from that, I had some issues with the balance in Q1 and in Q2 with the soft tyres strapped on, the problem hadn’t been entirely solved. I think that I could have made it to Q3 if I had done one more run on those softs, but that would have been a close call and you don’t want to finish eleventh. That’s why we decided to go for the ultra-softs.”

A fourth place and the pace the car showed in the free practices offer some perspective for tomorrow’s race, according to Max: “We first need to see how far we can go on the ultra-softs. And we’ll take it from there. Hopefully we will be able to slot in during the race, but I am quite sure of that. The car is quick and we are starting fourth, so there is still a lot more possible. The temperatures will also be different than it was on Friday, so that’s another uncertainty for everyone.”

Despite it being Vettel’s home race, once again there are a lot of Dutch fans on the grand stands of the Hockenheimrig. A nice view, Max says: “There is a lot of orange and red between each other, that is nice to see.”

After a washed out third free practice, the Hockenheimring has almost completely dried up at the start of qualifying. So everyone heads out on slicks. In the openings stages Stoffel Vandoorne is cruising the track as he complains about an issue with shifting gears.

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing gentlemen are, as customary in Q1, the last ones out on track. Max Verstappen opens with a 1:13.179 on the ultra-softs and is fifth fastest. Despite the fact that some drivers better his time, being eight fastest is good enough for Verstappen to move on to Q2.

Team mate Daniel Ricciardo has also progressed to the second part of qualifying, but will not take part in it. The Ozzie will change a considerable amount of parts on his drive shaft and therefore will start the race at the back of the grid.

At the end of Q1, Lewis Hamilton is taking his time on track, after having taken the kerbs at Turn one too aggressively. “I can’t shift”, the Brit reports on the radio and is forced to park his Mercedes trackside. This leaves him unable to partake in Q2. He eventually finishes fourteenth.

Vandoorne (P20), Lance Stroll (P19), Brendon Hartley (P18), Pierre Gasly (P17) and Esteban Ocon (P16) are the dropouts in Q1.

Verstappen takes a strategic gamble in the second part of qualifying by doing a fast lap on the soft tyres. His 1:13.440 earns him P7 while Marcus Ericsson spins at the Sachs Kurve into the gravel trap and is only able to get out with the greatest of efforts.

Just when Max is busy bettering his time, the red flag drops for the mess Ericsson made when he slipped off track. The track is cleared again after a brief cleaning up of all the gravel that was on it.

Verstappen heads back out on a set of the ultra-softs strapped on to his car. the Dutchman clocks a 1:12.188 and is second fastest. This means that Max will need to start the race on the ultra-softs. Apart from Ricciardo and Hamilton, Ericsson (P13), Segey Sirotkin (P12) and Fernando Alonso (P11) fall short in Q2.

In Q3, Max does his first flying lap with a 1:12.332 and goes fourth fastest. Vettel is by then topping the board. In his second run, Bottas betters Vettel’s time but the latter is able to reply and with a 1:11.212 grabs pole in front of his home crowd. Verstappen manages to improve to a 1:11.882 and eventually comes in fourth fastest. The Dutchman will start next to Kimi Raikkonen on the second row. Kevin Magnussen (fifth) and Romain Grosjean (sixth) take up the all Haas third row. Behind them both Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz are seventh and eighth. Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez round up the top ten.

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Results qualifying Germany:

1Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:12.5381:12.5051:11.212
2Valteri BottasBOTMercedes1:12.9621:12.1521:11.416
3Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari1:12.5051:12.3361:11.547
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:13.1271:12.1881:11.822
5Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:13.1051:12.5231:12.200
6Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:12.9861:12.7221:12.544
7Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:13.4791:12.9461:12.560
8Carlos SainzSAIRenault1:13.3241:13.0321:12.692
9Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari1:13.0771:12.9951:12.717
10Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes1:13.4271:13.0721:12.774
11Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault1:13.6141:13.657
12Sergey SirotkinSIRWilliams Mercedes1:13.7081:13.702
13Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari1:13.5621:13.736
14Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:13.012
15Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:13.318
16Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes1:13.720
17Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:13.749
18Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:14.045
19Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes1:14.206
20Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault1:14.401