Russian nabs top spot in closing minutes
Sergey Sirotkin grabbed pole in the closing minutes of this afternoon’s Qualifying session at the Hockenheimring with a mature, controlled and quick lap after his rivals had returned to the pits to grab the top spot by just 0.016s from a surprised Pierre Gasly and Raffaele Marciello.

The Renault tester stopped the clocks at 1:23.193 with just 4 minutes remaining in the session, with Gasly already out of the car and watching events unfold on the monitors: with so little time remaining the Red Bull tester was unable to get back on track in time for another shot, losing pole despite setting the pace for much of the session.

Heavy clouds hung like bricks over the circuit as the green lights went out, and the drivers were straight out on track led by Oliver Rowland, with Antonio Giovinazzi trying and failing to find a way past the Briton before their hot laps begun: Rowland set the pace but the Italian was straight past on the timesheets, with PREMA Racing teammate Gasly usurping both men as he crossed the line behind the pair.

Sirotkin, Giovinazzi and Marciello all took turns at the top of the times, with the latter holding on as most of the field returned to the pits for fresh rubber: on his first hot lap on new tyres Marciello just missed going faster again, but then Gasly grabbed the top spot on his first lap, went quicker next time through, and looked to have pole in the bag as he headed back to the pitlane.

But Sirotkin ruined all his work with a great lap just one minute later: the Russian didn’t set the top time for any sector, but his lap was smooth enough to set his personal best time for each sector and eased him into P1 by the slimmest of margins. He returned to the pits to the cheers of his team as the clock wound down to zero, determined to show that his return to form last week in Hungary is the new normal.

Behind the top three Giovinazzi and Rowland lead Alex Lynn, Norman Nato, Nicholas Latifi, Jordan King and Marvin Kirchhöfer who were all within 0.6s of pole, with the top 14 all within a second of the top spot: it suggests an exciting race awaits in tomorrow’s Feature Race in Hockenheim.

Hockenheim, Germany – Qualifying session
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Sergey Sirotkin
ART Grand Prix
1:22.193
12
2.
Pierre Gasly
PREMA Racing
1:22.209
12
3.
Raffaele Marciello
RUSSIAN TIME
1:22.369
11
4.
Antonio Giovinazzi
PREMA Racing
1:22.384
14
5.
Oliver Rowland
MP Motorsport
1:22.413
11
6.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:22.422
12
7.
Norman Nato
Racing Engineering
1:22.489
12
8.
Nicholas Latifi
DAMS
1:22.524
12
9.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:22.548
12
10.
Marvin Kirchhöfer
Carlin
1:22.796
11
11.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:22.805
11
12.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:22.812
11
13.
Gustav Malja
Rapax
1:23.065
15
14.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
1:23.066
11
15.
Mitch Evans
Pertamina Campos Racing
1:23.398
12
16.
Daniël de Jong
MP Motorsport
1:23.400
12
17.
Rene Binder
Carlin
1:23.465
13
18.
Arthur Pic
Rapax
1:23.469
12
19
Nabil Jeffri
Arden International
1:23.497
14
20.
Jimmy Eriksson
Arden International
1:23.535
12
21.
Sean Gelael
Pertamina Campos Racing
1:23.784
13
22.
Philo Paz Armand
Trident
1:24.399
12