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


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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Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”