Max Verstappen will start the Eifel Grand Prix on the second row of the grid thanks to an impressive showing in qualifying at the Nürburgring. The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver was on provisional pole with five minutes of qualifying remaining, but was narrowly edged out by the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
Team-mate Alex Albon comfortably progressed through the opening two qualifying sessions and will start from fifth position thanks to an impressive final flying lap in Q3.
Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly will start in 12th, while teammate Daniil Kyvat is just one place behind in 13th, proving just how closely matched the duo are.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
MAX VERSTAPPEN: P3, 1:25.562
“Today has been a good day and we can be happy to be on the second row of the grid. It was an interesting qualifying and after missing both practice sessions yesterday, it was busy for everyone today but overall I think it was positive. The car has been handling well and everything is a bit more stable. I felt quite comfortable but of course there are always a few balance areas you want to improve. In Q3 when it really mattered, I just started to understeer a bit too much and when it’s so cold, you grain the front tyres and just eat up the rubber so that cost me a bit of lap time. I think we are closing in on Mercedes which is positive and what we’re working towards. We are usually closer to them on Sundays and tomorrow it will be even colder so it will be interesting to see what the tyres do and how they’re going to behave. It’s a fun track to drive and tomorrow is a bit of a question mark for everyone but hopefully it is going to be exciting.”
ALEX ALBON: P5, 1:26.047
“I’m quite happy with my qualifying lap but there are still areas to improve. Even though we haven’t had much time to practice, straight away the car was feeling hooked up. I’ve been enjoying this two-day format, it feels like F2 and F3. Obviously it would have been nice to have been in front of Charles, he did a good lap, but we got pipped right at the end. P5 is not a bad place to start and we can fight from there. We obviously have the two Renaults behind us so it won’t be easy, we’ll have to get our elbows out for Turn One! The real challenge will be when we start the long runs as we haven’t had much practice for that. We’ll see how it goes with the weather and there are plenty of opportunities to score some good points.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER: Team Principal
“Lining up third and fifth with Max and Alex for tomorrow’s Eifel Grand Prix is a solid result which provides us with opportunities for the race. After losing all three hours of track action yesterday due to the poor weather, it was important to hit the ground running today, especially in these cold and tricky conditions, but Max and Alex were right there come qualifying. It is obviously encouraging to see our gap to Mercedes decreasing on Saturdays and the factory have been working hard to provide us with updates to bring to the track each weekend. Alex displayed another solid Saturday as he continues to better understand the car and it looked like a second row lockout had Leclerc not just pipped him at the very end of the session. It’s game on for tomorrow as both drivers aim to take the fight to Mercedes in what look like challenging weather conditions.”
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
PIERRE GASLY: 12, 1:26.776
“It’s a bit disappointing to be only P12 today, but we knew it was going to be a difficult weekend and after FP3, I didn’t feel like we managed to get the car in the right window. We tried to make some small changes in Quali and it improved, but ultimately not enough to really fight with our rivals, who were just faster today. We need to review what we could have done better, but on the positive side we have free tyre choice tomorrow, so I’m quite confident we can have a strong race. Starting from P12 we’ll try to do something different with our strategy which can hopefully play in our favour, so I’m excited about tomorrow’s race.”
DANIIL KYVAT: P13, 1:26.848
“It was quite cold out there! We had to analyse everything very fast after FP3 to try and understand the best setup in these conditions – also the driving lines. I liked the challenge, it was quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, we didn’t have excellent pace today, it was just OK. Having said this, I’m pretty happy with my lap as there wasn’t much more on the table today, and the gap to Q3 was a bit bigger than normal. As for tomorrow, there is always a chance for points because we usually perform better in the race than in Qualifying, so hopefully it will be a good one here at the Nürburgring.”
JONATHAN EDDOLLS: Chief Race Engineer
“Yesterday’s lack of running made FP3 very busy, but it was good preparation for Imola in a few weeks. We needed to try and learn more about the tyres and complete our Qualifying preparation, as well as the other work to get the car in the optimum window, like brake cooling and getting the PU temperatures in the correct working range. This was all made more difficult by the fact we haven’t been to this track since 2013, so it was a busy yet exciting session. We started off by going straight into the long runs, we split the tyres across the two cars with Dany on the Option and Pierre on the Prime, just to understand the performance of the two in these very cold temperatures.
“Heading into Qualifying, we felt we could have potentially got a car into Q3, but unfortunately, even if both drivers did a good job given the circumstances, we didn’t quite have the pace. However, we were very close to P11 in the end, and starting just outside the top 10 with a free tyre choice gives us some potential advantages for the race tomorrow.”
By: Red Bull Pool