Sports F1: Bottas beats Hamilton to pole for Eifel Grand Prix
F1: Bottas and Mercedes fastest in practice for Russian GP
SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas was fastest in both practice sessions for the Russian Grand Prix on Friday as Mercedes once again looked to have untouchable pace. Bottas set the fastest time of the day with 1 minute, 33.519 seconds in the second session, .267 ahead of his teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton. The next fastest was Daniel Ricciardo for Renault, more than a second off the pace. Hamilton will chase his 91st Formula One win in Sunday's race, which would equal the record held by Michael Schumacher.
NÜRBURG, Germany — Valtteri Bottas ended Lewis Hamilton's run of five consecutive Formula One pole positions by claiming first place on the grid at the Eifel Grand Prix on Saturday.
Hamilton briefly sat atop the time charts after toppling Max Verstappen in the third session, but his teammate Bottas sped through seconds later with an unbeatable time, fastest in all three sectors of the Nürburgring track.
Hamilton claims Russian GP pole after near Q2 elimination
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Russian Grand Prix after nearly missing Q3 following a messy session in Q2, which included a red flag after Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel crashed. Hamilton will be joined on the front row by Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Hamilton's track-record lap during Q3 secured him his fifth consecutive pole position, eighth of the season, and the 96th of his F1 career. However, he remains under investigation for a Q1 track-limits infringement.Hamilton will attempt to win his 91st race Sunday, which would equal Michael Schumacher for the all-time F1 record.Copyright © 2020 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved.
“It’s such a nice feeling when you get it done the last lap,” the Finnish driver said, adding his final run was “spot on.”
Bottas' time beat Hamilton by .256 seconds and Verstappen by .293. Ferrari recovered a little ground after a miserable run of races, with Charles Leclerc qualifying fourth and Sebastian Vettel 11th.
Teams went into qualifying with much less information about the track conditions than usual after bad weather wiped out both Friday practices, leaving only one hour on Saturday to perfect the setups. It was especially hard for teams to get the most grip from their tires in chilly conditions in western Germany.
Sunday's race could be held in temperatures of just 8 degrees Celsius (47 F), making it easily one of the coldest races in recent years.
Bottas wins in Russia as Hamilton misses F1 win record
SOCHI, Russia — Valtteri Bottas won the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday after his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton's race was ruined by penalties, in front of the largest crowd of the pandemic-hit season. Hamilton had been looking to match Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins in Formula One but had to settle for third behind Bottas and Max Verstappen. Bottas built a sizeable lead over Verstappen with ease and cruised to his first win since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. Hamilton was already under investigation by the stewards when he started the race from pole position.
“If it’s any colder than this, I’m going to have to race with my scarf on," Hamilton joked after qualifying.
The cold makes it hard to get heat into the tires, which can cause understeer. Driving slowly behind the safety car if there's an accident will cause the tires to cool down even more. However, the weather could also allow drivers to use the same set of tires for longer.
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“We’re all in the same boat. I don’t really know how far the tires will go, but when it gets a bit cooler, generally they can go a bit further,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton will have to overtake his teammate on Sunday if he's to match Michael Schumacher's record of 91 wins in F1. Bottas is hoping he can stage a comeback in the title race after cutting Hamilton's lead to 44 points with a win two weeks ago in Russia. Mercedes drivers have taken pole for every race this season, with eight for Hamilton and three for Bottas.
Another virus case at Mercedes ahead of Eifel Grand Prix
NÜRBURG, Germany — The Mercedes team found a second coronavirus case among its staff at the Eifel Grand Prix and flew in emergency replacements Friday ahead of this weekend's Formula One race. Following a positive test on Thursday, Mercedes said the entire team at the Nürburgring was retested. That produced one positive result and another described as “inconclusive," which requires another test. Those people and other staff who had contact with them are in quarantine, and six replacements have flown in from the team's base in Britain, team principal Toto Wolff said.
Nico Hülkenberg woke up on Saturday expecting to be a pundit on German TV for qualifying. He ended up driving for Racing Point after Lance Stroll felt unwell.
He was in the nearby city of Cologne and joked it was like “a heart attack” when he got a call from the team. Hülkenberg missed practice and had just four laps in qualifying as he placed 20th and last.
“It was going to be super difficult to get a really good result out of this," he said. “I had to kind of find my feet again, find my rhythm, which is obviously in that short amount of time is very hard. So I'm happy with those four laps, even though it's last.”
The German previously stood in for Racing Point’s other driver, Sergio Perez, in August when Perez tested positive for the coronavirus.
Sunday will see the first F1 race since 2013 at the Nürburgring and is named the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range.
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Lewis Hamilton: "I've never been as close to my father as I am today" .
© LAT Lewis Hamilton with father Anthony Lewis Hamilton received many congratulations after his 91st victory in Formula 1, but there was one special person among the well-wishers to find: Anthony Hamilton. The relationship between father and son has improved significantly in recent years after the hard break. "We have never been so close," reveals the Mercedes driver. "It was pretty unbelievable, to be honest. As always, we watched the race, we were nervous from start to finish.