Vettel on pole in Germany, Hamilton only 14th

Vettel on pole in Germany, Hamilton only 14th

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel will start on pole for the German Grand Prix. While his title rival Lewis Hamilton will start 14th.

Vettel led the early stages of Q3 with a 1:11.539, which was 0.170 seconds quicker than his closest challenger Valtteri Bottas who, on his second lap, lowered the benchmark by 0.123 seconds.

But Vettel was purple in the first two sectors and put in the eventual pole time of 1:11.212 despite not improving in the final sector.

Hamilton will start 14th at Hockenheim after suffering a loss in hydraulic pressure at the end of Q1. The Mercedes driver went wide onto the exit kerb at Turn 1 and had lost drive by the time he rejoined the track.

He was told to switch the car off and park up so as not to do damage to the power unit. That meant he did not set a time in Q2, nor did Daniel Ricciardo who will start at the back of the grid after taking on a new MGU-K, energy store and control electronics.

Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest, 0.335 seconds away from his Ferrari team-mate.

FP2 pacesetter Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull, having looked like a pole contender all weekend until the first laps in Q3 and ending the session 0.6 seconds off Vettel.

Verstappen attempted to get through Q2 on the soft tyre so as to start the race on them, whereas the two Ferraris and Bottas went straight onto the ultrasofts. A red flag during his second lap for Marcus Ericsson spinning into the gravel as the Turn 13 Sachskurve prompted a switch to the ultrasofts for his second run.

Kevin Magnussen led his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean for fifth, out-qualifying him by 0.3 seconds, ahead of the two Renaults of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Charles Leclerc put his Sauber into Q3 and was ninth fastest ahead of Sergio Perez’s Force India.

Hamilton and Ricciardo’s absence from Q2 meant Fernando Alonso was up in 11th but 0.5 seconds away from a place in the top ten, with Sergey Sirotkin 12th for Williams. Marcus Ericsson was 13th.

Esteban Ocon was knocked out ironically by his team-mate Perez in Q1. He was 16th ahead of both Toro Rosso, with Pierre Gasly out-qualifying Brendon Hartley.

Lance Stroll and Stoffel Vandoorne could not improve on their final laps in Q1, with Vandoorne having to push through a gearbox issue in the opening laps of the session, and share the back row.