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Ferrari surprises with pole: Vettel and Schumacher go down in rain qualifying

Ferrari surprises with pole
Vettel and Schumacher go down in rain qualifying

Qualifying for the British Grand Prix ended early for Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. While Red Bull, Ferrari and even Mercedes fight for pole position, the German Formula 1 drivers are looking for solutions.

“Not again, not again,” radios Sebastian Vettel, clearly disappointed, while driving his Aston Martin back into the pit lane: “Not again, not again.” Rain characterizes qualifying at Silverstone, and in the almost clichéd English weather, one day before his birthday, the 34-year-old experiences the next major disappointment of what might be his last season in Formula 1. The four-time world champion was eliminated in the first section in 18th place, he suffered the same fate on a wet track two weeks ago in Canada.

Mick Schumacher will even have to find himself one place further back in the starting line-up for the British Grand Prix (Sunday, 4 p.m./live on free TV on RTL and in the ticker on ntv.de). As 19th and thus penultimate, he cannot confirm the promising impressions from Montreal. “We had a problem with the car,” says the Haas pilot on Sky afterwards: “A small mistake that has a big impact.” The steering wheel was crooked, “we have to fix that, otherwise it will be a tough race.”

The former Formula 1 driver and today’s Sky expert Timo Glock derives from Schumacher’s words a “mechanic error” at Haas, “a no-go” even: “That must not happen to the team.” The crooked steering wheel indicates that the car’s track is blocked. Schumacher has been criticized for weeks, mainly because of his serious and costly accidents in Saudi Arabia and Monaco. Glock is now protecting the 23-year-old, meanwhile the “error rate for the team is almost higher than for Mick”. On replays it is clearly seen that the steering wheel is crooked when driving straight ahead.

With Vettel, on the other hand, it is simply a lack of pace, as the 53-time Grand Prix winner then says on the Sky microphone. “Today we were just too slow”, the “little bit of hope in terms of the new parts” on the Aston Martin was not confirmed: “That’s disappointing.” The recent setback should also fuel the rumors that Vettel will end his career after this season. His contract with Aston Martin is expiring, and even though team boss Mike Krack recently expressed his willingness to continue working together – Vettel is not enthusiastic about constantly following behind, as he has already stated several times.

Sainz shocks himself – and everyone else

While the two Germans have been searching for errors in the dry for a long time, the numerous fans along the traditional track are offered an exciting hunt for the best time, also because of the rain, right down to the very last second. In the end, Carlos Sainz is the beaming pole sitter on a wet but increasingly faster track. “I didn’t expect that,” radioed the surprised Ferrari driver into the pits after setting the fastest lap of 1:40.983 minutes and thus starting from pole position for the first time in his career in his 150th Formula 1 race will go.

Next to Sainz in the front row is the reigning world champion and current championship leader Max Verstappen, who is only 0.072 seconds behind. His closest pursuer Charles Leclerc secured third place (+0.315), fourth was Sergio Perez (+0.633) in the second Red Bull. Dry conditions were forecast for Sunday, and everything pointed to an intense duel between the by far strongest racing teams of the season .

Fifth in qualifying is Lewis Hamilton (+1.102), who clearly wins the internal Mercedes duel with George Russell. The up-and-coming 24-year-old, the only driver to have finished in the top five in every race this season so far, has to settle for eighth position (+1.178) this time. On the one hand because Lando Norris in the McLaren is back in the top ten in sixth (+1.101) after a difficult weekend in Canada and on the other hand because the eternal Fernando Alonso steers his Alpine (+1.133) into seventh place.

The first five rows on the grid are surprisingly completed by Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo/+1.736) and Nicholas Latifi, who no longer shows a fast Q3 lap, but with the entry into the decisive section of the qualification he entered the Williams team, which was last in the constructors’ championship sense of achievement.

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