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F1: Hamilton wins German GP pole as Vettel fails to advance from Q1

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Lewis Hamilton may have won the pole position for the German Grand Prix Saturday afternoon, but the big story of the day involves the driver who will start Sunday’s race from last place.

Local favorite Sebastian Vettel, who has already experienced plenty of misfortunes this season, failed to advance from Q1 for the first time since Malaysia in 2017. The German driver reported to his crew that his Ferrari had lost power early on in the session, sending the four-time World Champion into the garage. He would not complete another lap in qualifying.

“”I don’t know what happened – something was broken with the turbo,” Vettel said. “It’s bitter for us. The car feels great and we have missed a big opportunity here.”

Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc would experience issues of his own, claiming to have suffered a fuel system issue. Leclerc qualified 10th after being the slowest in Q3.

Ferrari’s losses would be Lewis Hamilton’s gain, as the current World Championship points leader would set a lap of 1 minute, 11.767 seconds around the 2.842-mile, 17-turn Hockenheimring circuit early on in Q3 to collect his fourth pole position of the 2019 season.

“I don’t know really how we did it today – I’m not quite sure what happened to the Ferraris,” Hamilton said. “It’s so important to us, at our second home Grand Prix.

“I think if Leclerc had done a lap at the end, it would have been close between us.”

Max Verstappen qualified second with an elapsed time of 1 minute, 12.113 seconds in his Red Bull entry, while Valterri Bottas (1 minute, 12.129 seconds) qualified third.

Pierre Gasly qualified fourth for Red Bull, while Kimi Räikkönen will start Sunday’s race from P5.

Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez qualified sixth through eighth, respectfully, while Nico Hulkenberg – the only other German competitor in the race – qualified ninth. 

Full qualifying results and times are below:

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An IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Talladega? Drivers have discussed it

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If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is interested in an IndyCar iRacing event on an oval, he might like the latest idea being kicked around by NTT Series drivers.

“I personally would want to run at Talladega, but I don’t think that’s an option,” Arrow McLaren SP driver rookie Oliver Askew told NBCSports.com in a Friday interview about his simulation work for the second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “IndyCar drivers have a group chat with iRacing, and someone had the idea of running at Talladega, and I thought it was brilliant.”

It actually would be a throwback of sorts as a USAC-sanctioned race with Indy cars at Talladega nearly happened 40 years ago.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).

Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).

ENTRY LIST: Who will be racing at Barber

SPOTTER GUIDE: All 29 of this weekend’s paint schemes

IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.

A multicar crash at Talladega last October. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.

“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”

The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).

Will Power would like to see more of that.

“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”