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Max qualifies in P3 for Eifel GP: 'A decent qualifying'

Published on 10 October 2020 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen qualified third for the Eifel Grand Prix. At the Nürburgring Max was able to keep up well with the pace of the Mercedes in qualifying. In his first run in Q3 Max even set the fastest time, but in their last flying laps both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were quicker than the Dutchman, so that Verstappen finished third.

After qualifying Max says: “It was an interesting qualifying after missing the whole of yesterday for everyone. It was very busy today, but overall a decent qualifying. In Q3, where it really mattered, I had a bit too much understeer. The new parts on the car felt good, but we were not able to reduce the understeer. When it is this cold, it eats the rubber. It is not possible to keep the speed through the corners as normally, which just cost some lap time.”

Max continues: “We are getting closer towards Mercedes, which is very positive. But I am a little bit disappointed, as I was expecting a bit more, but it is what it is. Overall Mercedes is still quicker than us, but I think we did well and I am happy with that.”

While the sessions were cancelled on Friday, Max did not miss it: “For me it was better as nobody was able to collect data or watch the onboard images, so everything had to be done in one day. You need to have a little bit of luck to get the setup right straight away. If that goes wrong it is hard to get it sorted before qualifying, but it worked out quite well for us.”

Asked if he can compete with the Mercedes tomorrow, Max answers: “I hope so. A podium is the goal. It will be even colder tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how the tyres behave. Moreover, nobody has data on how the long runs will go. It is a fun circuit to drive, so I am looking forward to see what we can achieve.”

Prior to qualifying it was announced that Nico Hulkenberg will replace Lance Stroll at Racing Point this weekend, because he if feeling unwell. The German replace earlier this year Sergio Perez, Stroll’s teammate, during both races at the Silverstone circuit. The fact that Hulkenberg has not driven in the Racing Point after that, will not make his task any easier.

Under dry but cold circumstances qualifying starts. On a set of soft tyres Max sets a 1:26.319 in his first flying lap, taking first position straight away. Verstappen returns to the pits and decides not to come out again in the remainder of Q1. Nobody sets a faster time, so Verstappen finishes the first qualifying session as fastest. The following drivers drop out of qualifying after Q1: Romain Grosjean (P16), George Russell (P17), Nicholas Latifi (18), Kimi Raikkonen (P19) and Nico Hulkenberg.

Both Mercedes enter the track in Q2 on the medium tyres, while Max has a set of the soft tyre. Verstappen straight away set the fastest time (1:25.720). Not much later both Mercedes change to the soft tyre, and as they improved their times, they will have to start the race on this compound.

In the last minutes of Q2 Max comes out again. He can improve his time (1:24.467) and finished second, right behind Hamilton, which is more than enough to continue to Q3. The drop outs of the second qualifying session are: Sebastian Vettel (P11), both AlphaTauri’s of Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat in P12 and P13, Antonio Giovinazzi (P14) and Kevin Magnussen (P15).

In Q3 Max sets the fastest time in his first run (1:25.744), just ahead of both Mercedes. A second run follows, and Max can improve his time (1:25.562), but both Mercedes go a little bit faster. Bottas takes pole, while Hamilton being narrowly faster than Verstappen, finishes second. Max qualifies third, behind him Charles Leclerc and Alexander Albon. The Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon finish sixth and seventh. While Lando Norris, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz complete the top ten.

The start of the Eifel Grand Prix is tomorrow at 14.10 Dutch time.

Eifel GP contest: Win a Red Bull Racing Teamline 2020 T-Shirt!

Results qualifying Germany:

1Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:26.5731:25.9711:25.269
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:26.6201:25.3901:25.525
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:26.3191:25.4671:25.562
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:26.8571:26.2401:26.035
5Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda1:27.1261:26.2851:26.047
6Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:26.8361:26.0961:26.223
7Esteban OconOCORenault1:27.0861:26.3641:26.242
8Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:26.8291:26.3161:26.458
9Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:27.1201:26.3301:26.704
10Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:27.3781:26.3611:26.709
11Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:27.1071:26.738
12Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:27.0721:26.776
13Daniil KvyatKVYAlphaTauri Honda1:27.2851:26.848
14Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:27.5321:26.936
15Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:27.2311:27.125
16Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:27.552
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:27.564
18Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:27.812
19Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:27.817
20Nico HulkenbergHULRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:28.021