Red Bull: A strong qualifying for both our drivers

Max Verstappen will start from the front-row for the seventh time in his career at Hockenheim on Sunday and Pierre Gasly will start the German Grand Prix from a career-best grid slot of fourth after the Red Bulls took the fight to Mercedes at Hockenheim.

Ferrari meanwhile suffered twin mechanical issues that will see Charles Leclerc line up in 10th place and Sebastian Vettel start from the back of the grid.

The opening segment of qualifying saw Max and Pierre take to the track early in the session and with his first lap Max jumped to the top of the order with a time of 1:12.593. That was beaten, however, by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who edged ahead of the Red Bull with a time of 1:12.229.

There were problems, however, for the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. The home favourite backed out of his first run after his warm-up lap and returned to the pits. The engine covers quickly came off, but soon after Vettel climbed out of the car and exited the session, a turbo problem at the root of the German’s failure.

Pierre, meanwhile, had slotted into P6 with his first lap and needed an improvement. He went out for another run late in the segment and promptly jumped to P4 with a time of 1:12.991. He went through behind Leclerc, Max and Hamilton.

With Vettel exiting the session with a mechanical problem, there were four spaces left in the drop zone and when the final laps came through Lando Norris was the first to lose out, the McLaren driver dropped to P16 as Alfa’s Antonio Giovinazzi jumped out of danger to P10.

Also eliminated behind Norris were Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon, who complained of being blocked by Norris, and the Williams cars of George Russell and Robert Kubica.

In the second session there was more technical drama, though worryingly this time it affected Max. The Dutchman went out for his opening run on medium tyres, but like Vettel he abandoned the run at the end of his warm-up, as he reported a small power delivery issue.

German Grand Prix – Qualifying stats:

  • 7 – P2 today sets Max up for the seventh front-row start of his career. His last came in Austria this year, though on that occasion Max qualified third but inherited P2 due to penalties for Lewis Hamilton.
  • 2 – P2 is Max’s best ever grid spot in Germany. On his other two Hockenheim outings, in 2016 and last year, he started from P4.
  • 4 – Fourth place is the best qualifying result of Pierre’s career so far.

Max Verstappen

  • Position: 2nd
  • Practice 3 – P2 1:12.548

“The front row of the grid is a good achievement for us and Honda on this track. It’s been a good day and we definitely found a bit more performance overnight. This morning I was quite happy with the car and also in Q1.

“I had a little issue in Q2 with a mode setting and it was a shame not to qualify on the medium tyre but once we changed a setting in the pits everything was fine. Of course, we have to take into account that Ferrari had a problem with both cars and they would also have been fighting for pole, but you have to be there when it counts and we maximized everything to be on the front row.

“I’m on a different race strategy to Mercedes which is not exactly what we planned but we are in the fight and we will see how much difference the softer tyre makes at the start.

“We’re close and we have a good shot tomorrow as we have a good race car. At the moment we cannot judge how the weather will be but we will give it everything and a bit of rain could spice things up.”

Pierre Gasly

  • Position: 4th
  • Practice 3 – P8 1:13.324

“It was a good qualifying and I managed to do some decent laps so I’m happy with P4. The mechanics had a really long night and it’s never nice to see them working flat out to repair the car, so it’s great to qualify on the second row and thank them in this way.

“Yesterday, I was pushing and just went over the limit. These things happen but it was good to recover today and tomorrow should be exciting with the chance of rain. There are still some areas for me to improve and things I could have done better, but things are coming together and I’m happy.

“Now we need to focus on tomorrow and the race where my aim is to move forwards. The weather forecast looks very unpredictable but I’m from the North of France where it rains a lot so I’m used to this. Looking at Max’s race pace, we should be pretty good tomorrow but anything can happen as we saw with last year’s race.

“Clearly, the Team is pushing massively, we have had good development and it was a big boost with Max’s race win in Austria. I think in terms of development, things are going really well, we’re still a bit behind, but we’re closing in on those in front.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal: “That was a strong qualifying for both our drivers and to line up on the front row with Max in P2 and Pierre in P4 marks Honda’s best starting position since San Marino in 2006.

“In Q2, we had a slight issue with Max which was quickly rectified, but it meant he needed to change tyres so both drivers will start tomorrow’s race on the softer compound.

“It was good to see Pierre make a strong recovery after yesterday’s incident and fourth is his best Formula One qualifying result to date. With unpredictable weather on the way it is shaping up to be another really exciting race tomorrow.”

Hockenheim Qualifying: Hamilton rises as Ferrari falter big time