HOCKENHEIM • Germany will be the unlikely scene of Sebastian Vettel finally ending his race drought at his home Grand Prix, after the Ferrari driver yesterday suffered turbo problems in qualifying to end up at the back of the grid.
The German, who has not won since last August's Belgian Grand Prix, reported a loss of power on the radio shortly after he left the pits for his first run during the opening phase of qualifying, and later told Sky Sports he "did not know what happened".
The four-time world champion, who is fourth overall in the championship on 123 points, 100 adrift of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, said: "Something broke with the turbo and it was game over from there. Obviously I'm very bitter, the car is great and we've lost out on a big chance but hopefully, we'll have a big one coming again tomorrow.
"I'm looking forward to the race, but obviously, it would have been nicer to start at the front than the very back, we'll see what happens."
It was almost as bad for teammate Charles Leclerc, who will line up 10th on the grid today after being sidelined in the final phase, and their engine woes were in stark contrast to Britain's Hamilton, who put his team on pole position for their 200th race today.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands will share the front row alongside the five-time world champion, with Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas in third.
Pole-sitter Hamilton said: "I don't really know how we did it, I'm not sure what happened to the Ferraris. It's a second home race and, with our 125th anniversary, incredible to celebrate in this way.
GERMAN GP GRID
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes
2 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull
3 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes
4 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Red Bull
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo
6 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas
7 Carlos Sainz Jr (Esp) McLaren
8 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point
9 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault
10 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari
13 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault
"The Ferraris have been really fast all weekend, our cars have been feeling good, but the Ferraris were on another level.
"But the times were good at the end. Every time we come here, it's just getting faster and it's a real challenge. My first lap was spot on."
Verstappen was equally delighted with his position and the large turnout of supporters from his country, adding: "I started quite conservative in Q1, and in Q3, was losing a bit of grip, but great to see so many Dutch fans here.
"Good to be on the front row and we will see what happens tomorrow... it was a good result."
F1 GERMAN GP
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