Thursday, October 15, 2020

Bottas Becomes King of the Hill After Qualifying for Eifel Grand Prix


Photo Credit: FIA Pool/LAT Images/Pirelli

Staging 40 grand prix events between 1951 and 2013, the Nurburgring exists as a popular German locale for automotive speed has assembled races under the banner of the German Grand Prix, European Grand Prix and Luxembourg Grand Prix. For 2020, Formula 1 cars return to the track to participate in the Eifel Grand Prix weekend.

Formula 1's return to the Nurburgring as literally dampened by weather on Friday. The 5.148-kilometer GP-Strecke within the historic German complex was soaked and covered in heavy fog. Though race cars are equipped to run in wet weather, the fog created a safety concern in relations to accessing hospital care in case of a worst case scenario. Fog prevented flight of a medical helicopter while the road travel to the nearest FIA-approved hospital was beyond a travel distance of 20 minutes. The sanctioning body elected to cancel the two practice sessions for Friday leaving team with only the Saturday morning practice to familiarize themselves with a track the series hasn’t raced on for seven years.

Prior to the start of Saturday’s action, Racing Point driver Lance Stroll withdrew from competition citing feeling unwell. In relief of the Canadian, Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg was called back for a third time in 2020 by the Racing Point organization teaming up with Sergio Perez (the driver he substituted for the two Silverstone races in July). 

Posting the fastest time in the one and only practice ahead of Eifel Grand Prix qualifying, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team pilot Valtteri Bottas scored pole at the Nurburgring in a captivating late minute battle with teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. Bottas knocked Hamilton off the top spot for Sunday’s main event with a 1-minute, 25.259-second lap time. The pole for the driver of the #77 Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance race car is his third of the season. Valtteri Bottas is riding high after his impressive win at the last Formula 1 stop in Russia.

Photo Credit: Steve Etherington/Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Beaten by 0.256 seconds, Lewis Hamilton settled for the second place spot on the grid. Losing their full season consecutive run of front row occupation for 2020 after Russian Grand Prix qualifying, the Mercedes-AMG team celebrates the revival of their time trial domination. Racing on home soil, the Mercedes-Benz factory team once more faced a fierce challenge from the Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The Honda-powered race car was only 0.037 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc joined Verstappen on the second row of the Eifel Grand Prix’s starting grid.

Photo Credit: Mark Sutton LAT Images Pirelli

The third row for the race at the Nurburgring is shared by the second Red Bull Racing race car piloted by Alexander Albon and the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo. Registering a lap time just 0.019 seconds slower than his teammate Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon will start in seventh place in the Eifel Grand Prix beside Lando Norris driving for McLaren. Sergio Perez for Racing Point and the second McLaren wheeled by Carlos Sainz Jr. rounds out the top 10 starting position for Sunday’s 60-lap main event.

Called to the track on Saturday morning in reserve for Lance Stroll, Nico Hulkenberg had no time to adjust to the Racing Point machine ahead of qualifying resulting in him posting the slowest track time. Hulkenberg will start in 20th place for the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix.

2020 Formula 1
Eifel Grand Prix
Starting Grid

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