Eifel Grand Prix – Qualifying


The first thing to tackle is the name of this race: like 4 others on this year’s calendar (Styrian GP, Tuscan GP, Emilia Romagna GP, and Sakhir GP), it’s named for the region – the Eifel mountains stretch across Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg. The 2019 German GP was held at Hockenheim but it wasn’t on the original 2020 calendar – presumably there’s some legal/financial reason why this weekend’s race couldn’t have been called the German GP.

News since the Russian GP:

  • After the race there were updates on penalties: “Alexander Albon and Daniel Ricciardo both received five-second time penalties for cutting the corner at turn two without driving through the designated route back onto the circuit. The pair were also given a single penalty point each on their licences for the infringement. Ricciardo is now on three penalty points, while Albon is on five.”
    “The stewards have cancelled the two penalty points Lewis Hamilton was given for his practice start violations in the Russian Grand Prix. They have instead issued a €25,000 fine to Mercedes over the error.” “Hamilton is therefore now on a total of eight penalty points instead of 10. He will receive an automatic one-race ban if he reaches 12.”

  • “Honda to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2021” [FIA]
    “Red Bull and AlphaTauri are on the search for a new power unit supplier after the shock announcement that Honda will withdraw from Formula 1 at the end of 2021.”
    “The decision will leave Formula 1 with three power unit suppliers – Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. Under the current rules, Renault would be obliged to supply Red Bull and AlphaTauri with engines as they currently have the fewest customers, unless the teams can convince Mercedes or Ferrari to provide a supply.”

  • “Second Mercedes team member tests positive for Covid-19” [BBC]
    “In total, six staff members have had to go into isolation under Formula 1’s Covid-19 protocols because of the positive tests. Mercedes have flown in six replacement team members from the UK to Germany.”

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: session was delayed and then cancelled [FIA]
    “The medical helicopter was unable to fly at the Nurburgring as a result of the conditions, which meant the cars could not run on safety grounds. F1 rules dictate that the road journey to a suitable hospital must be no longer than 20 minutes, and the nearest medical facilities are 54km away.” [BBC]
  2. FP2: session was delayed and then cancelled [FIA]
    “[For the rest of the weekend] the forecast looks better,” Masi added, “but we are also working on some backup plans should we have a similar situation to be able to work around. We are working on those as we speak. We’ll work on the backup plans and advise everyone accordingly at the time.”
    Update: “The FIA have created a landing area about 3km from the circuit allowing a circuit ambulance and a helicopter to meet outside of the stratus zone (essentially at a lower altitude where the thick fog/clouds generally don’t form). The helicopter would then be able to transfer a patient to the hospital within the required time.”
  3. FP3: BOT (1:26.225), HAM, LEC, VER, VET
    Racing Point tweet that STR “is not feeling 100% this morning and will therefore not participate in FP3. His condition will be assessed after the session to evaluate whether he is fit to drive, at which point the team will confirm plans for Quali” (Will they call on Nico Hulkenberg or Stoffel Vandoorne to stand in?)
    The damp track resulted in a few excursions
    VER had his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
    VET spins, recovers
    NOR asks his team “Can you get some hand warmers or something? My hands are freezing!”
    LAT spins, almost beaches the Williams; struggles to rejoin the track, which causes a few drivers to abandon their laps
    LEC and NOR get into bit of a battle for position; LEC asks “Was that Carlos or Lando?”

Racing Point have confirmed HUL will replace STR for the rest of this weekend [FIA]
Otmar Szafnauer, Racing Point Team Principal: “We’re going to send him out to work the track, he knows the car and try to get him out of Q1 at least”

Qualifying Session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 9°CC; track 17°C; 40% chance of a shower during Quali
Green lights; HUL is first out of the pits
AlphaTauri send GAS out but stop him almost immediately – looks like a tyre blanket wrapped around his front-left
MAG’s lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
NOR 1:27.462
HAM 1:26.703
GRO’s lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
VER 1:26.319
(BOT P2)
Radio from ALB reporting “Big misfire out of Turn 7”
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are GRO, MAG, RAI, GIO, HUL
HUL is still getting used to the circuit, but teammate PER is only P15
MAG P6, PER P16
GRO P5, RUS P16 but will GRO’s lap be deleted? Yes, so GRO back to P17
HUL P19
2mins left; bottom 5 are PER, GRO, RAI, HUL, GIO
(NOR P4)
Chequered flag
GRO P12, RUS P16
RUS P14, LAT P16
RAI P16
GIO P14, RUS P16
PER P9, GRO P16
HUL P20
Back of the grid: GRO, RUS, LAT, RAI, HUL

Qualifying Session 2
HAM and BOT leave the pits together, both on medium tyres
VET and LEC on mediums too; VER and ALB on softs
HAM 1:26.183
VER 1:25.720
BOT’s second run is on softs; HAM does the same
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are VET, GIO, MAG, KVY, GAS
BOT runs a bit wide and kicks up some dust, but it’s still tidier than his previous run; goes P2
HAM 1:25.390
VET sitting under KVY’s rear wing on their out lap
(RIC P4)
MAG P11
GAS P10, LEC P11
Chequered flag
KVY P11
VET P10, GAS P11
LEC P5, VET P11
GIO P14
Middle of the grid: VET, GAS, KVY, GIO, MAG

Top 10 shootout is between HAM, VER, BOT, RIC, LEC, ALB, NOR, PER, SAI and OCO
They’ll all start the race on the Q2 soft tyres

Qualifying Session 3
SAI and NOR wait at the pit exit – both on used softs
PER the only one still in the pits
SAI 1:27.573
NOR 1:27.325
HAM 1:25.825
BOT 1:25.812
RIC P5
OCO P3
LEC P3
VER 1:25.744
ALB P4
Order after first run: VER, BOT, HAM, ALB, LEC, OCO, NOR, SAI, RIC, PER
Everyone heading out for a final run
PER P6
NOR P6
SAI P8
RIC P4
OCO P5
HAM 1:25.525
BOT 1:25.269
VER P3
ALB P4
Chequered flag
LEC P4
Front of the grid: BOT, HAM, VER, LEC, ALB, RIC, OCO, NOR, PER, SAI
Radio from VER, “I just didn’t have the grip”

Interviews:
BOT: “The lap was really nice, really enjoyed it. Of course I can take the win, that’s what I’m here for.”
HAM: “[BOT] did a great job, congrats to him. It’s an amazing track, but the graining, the conditions being so cool, how long the tyres will go, whether or not there’ll be Safety Cars – there’s a lot to play for tomorrow so I need to keep my head down.”
VER: “It was an interesting qualifying, overall decent but in Q3 when it really mattered I started understeering and graining the front tyres which cost me the lap time. We are getting closer to Mercedes, which is positive.”

Provisional grid: BOT, HAM, VER, LEC, ALB, RIC, OCO, NOR, PER, SAI, VET, GAS, KVY, GIO, MAG, GRO, RUS, LAT, RAI, HUL

[2020 calendar] [2020 line-up]