The Eifel Grand Prix at Nurburgring has continued to follow the script with another front row lockout for Mercedes with Valtteri Bottas starting from the pole.
It continues a strong run of form for Bottas, who won the last start at the Russian Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton in second and Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen in third.
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Aussie Daniel Ricciardo was consistent in his performance with his final flying lap pushing him to fourth before he was pushed back down to sixth, the same position he was the last time the F1 raced at Nurburgring in 2013.
He is one of eight drivers who have raced at the track before with Hamilton, Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, and Racing Point substitute Nico Hulkenberg also bringing previous experience.
However he‘ll be hoping for a better result than last time, where he finished 12th while driving for Toro Rosso.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Ricciardo said he was just reminded of his last performance at the track.
“I was just told that, the irony is I do remember my last sector and it was really good back then,” he said.
“That was actually my worst sector today. So getting slower with age but that‘s alright, I’ll figure it out tomorrow.”
Ricciardo has said he felt he had a chance to claim the elusive podium at Nurburgring with the cold conditions different to what the F1 is usually used to in October.
It was hardly the most important hunt for pole with the pole sitter winning just three races at the track in the 18 Grands Prix since 1984.
But Ricciardo was a picture of consistency, fifth after Q1 behind Max Verstappen, the Mercedes‘ and McLaren’s Lando Norris in fourth before switching from medium tyres to soft tyres and going fourth fastest in Q2 behind Verstappen and the Mercedes’.
In Q3, Ricciardo had a horrible first lap and was sitting back in tenth after drifting wide on the track, costing him valuable time and more the two seconds behind Max Verstappen in provisional pole.
His flying lap redeemed him however, finishing sixth and will line up next to Red Bull‘s Alexander Albon.
Ricciardo said he had trouble holding on to the front end early in qualifying.
“Q2 I got the balance right and Q3 I just broke too early and thought I‘d get a good exit, but I just lost too much,” he said.
“Probably a little cautious but looking at the times, we didn‘t have two tenths in it for P4 or 5, so I don’t think it changed the pecking order but personally I left a little bit on the table there.”
Ricciardo once again out performed teammate Esteban Ocon by just 0.019 seconds.
But it‘s the 10th time in 11 qualifying sessions this season the Aussie has claimed the wood on the 24-year-old Frenchman.
Ocon said the team was “pretty pleased” with the qualifying result and was asked if he feels like he can close the gap to Ricciardo.
“He‘s a very good benchmark, I feel that sometimes we didn’t put everything together, but today it was more on my side,” he said.
“I feel like there was a bit left on the table, but it‘s good that we are close together this race. It’s been quite a couple of events that this has been the case so I’m pretty pleased.”
It was a difficult day for Racing Point with Lance Stroll unwell and unable to make the event with former Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg again returning behind the wheel.
He drove in the place of Sergio Perez earlier in the season when the Mexican was sidelined for two weeks with COVID-19.
Unfortunately he will start in 20th, having had to jump in and qualify, after he was unable to attend practice three, even though there has only been an hour of practice across the weekend so far for the Eifel Grand Prix following wet and wild weather.
However, Alfa Romeo‘s Antonio Giovinazzi was able to get out of Q1 for the first time this season and he will start from 14th on the grid.
EIFEL GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING RESULTS
Row 1: Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Row 2: Max Verstappen, Red Bull – Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
Row 3: Alexander Albon, Red Bull – Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
Row 4: Esteban Ocon, Renault – Lando Norris, McLaren
Row 5: Sergio Perez, Racing Point – Carlos Sainz, McLaren
Row 6: Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari – Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
Row 7: Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri – Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
Row 8: Kevin Magnussen, Haas – Romain Grosjean, Haas
Row 9: George Russell, Williams – Nicholas Latifi, Williams
Row 10: Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo – Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point