Valtteri Bottas secured his fourteenth pole position of his career on Saturday, with the Finn getting the best of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the fight at the front of the field at the Nürburgring.
Bottas could only manage third fastest in Q2 with several mistakes hampering his runs, but he was able to pull a lap out of the bag when it mattered in Q3, his lap record breaking time of 1:25.269 more than a quarter of a second clear of Hamilton.
The Finn, the winner of the most recent Formula 1 race in Russia two weeks ago, said was a nice feeling to be starting from the pole position in the first Formula 1 race at the Nürburgring since 2013 despite what has been a tricky weekend so far after Friday’s running was lost to the weather.
“It feels great to be on pole position here and I really enjoyed that session,” said Bottas. “It’s such a nice feeling when you get it with your last chance in Q3. That final lap was spot on.
“I was struggling a little in the first sector beforehand, but I managed to get it right in the end. Obviously, it was pretty tricky with just one practice session and the cold conditions, so getting the tyres in the sweet spot on the outlap was really important and I managed to get them in the window.
“It’s a new day tomorrow and is going to be an interesting race, especially with the lack of running we’ve had here and the temperatures. I’ve only got one goal for tomorrow, so hopefully I can have a good start and we’ll see what happens from there.”
“It just wasn’t my day today” – Lewis Hamilton
Seven years after his last race at the circuit, team-mate Hamilton was delighted to be running again at the Nürburgring, but he was disappointed to lose out on the pole position to Bottas.
Despite starting from the second position on the grid, Hamilton believes there will be plenty of opportunities to move forward and secure what would be a record-equalling ninety-first career victory on Sunday, and he will be working hard overnight to ensure he is in the best possible place to make it happen.
“This is an amazing circuit and it’s great to be back here, but it just wasn’t my day today,” admitted Hamilton. “The car felt good in Q2 but in Q3, I lost a little bit of pace so we’ll look through the data to see where I could find more time.
“Valtteri did a great job out there so congratulations to him. I think there will be lots of opportunities in tomorrow’s race, we’ll need to see what happens with the weather and what the temperatures are like.
“How the tyres behave will be crucial, as will the start and if there are any Safety Cars. It’s still all to play for, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I’ll get my head down tonight to make sure we’re in the best shape possible.”