Sebastian Vettel secured a fifty-fifth career pole position with a new lap record around the Hockenheimring on Saturday, a day made better by seeing his main championship rival fall by the wayside with a mechanical issue.
Vettel stormed to pole position with a lap of 1:11.212s, just over two-tenths of a second clear of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport’s Valtteri Bottas, but the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton will start at best in fourteenth place after grinding to a halt with a hydraulics issue at the end of the first phase of Qualifying.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver felt pole position was possible early on in Qualifying, and he hopes to convert that into his first victory of his Formula 1 career at the Hockenheimring, with the SF71H continuing to show itself as a strong and competitive car, which he wants to maximise the potential of on Sunday.
“You always try to do your best every day,” said Vettel. “Today has been one of those days, the car was fantastic. I could feel it in Q1 already and then in Q3 I knew I could get a good lap.
“Racing here in Germany means a lot to me and hopefully we can get first place tomorrow. We built a strong car and we know there’s still potential. Also, we know we can still improve race by race, because there’s still some weaknesses, but overall we are competitive and strong.
“So, it’s up to us to make good use of this potential everywhere we go.”