Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen to pole position at the as ’s challenge faltered because of technical problems.

driver Charles Leclerc had looked favourite for pole position but was unable to take part in the top-10 shootout.

And team-mate will start last after a turbo problem in the first part of qualifying meant he failed to set a time and will start last on the grid for Sunday’s race.

Hamilton took pole by 0.346 seconds, with only 0.022secs separating Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas and .

Mercedes

Can anything stop Hamilton?

It was a superb performance by Hamilton, who has been ill this weekend at Hockenheim.

“Lewis, you never fail to amaze us,” team boss Toto Wolff said to him over the radio after the session.

Hamilton said: “The car has been feeling good, but the s have been on another level. If Leclerc had been there, it would definitely have been close between us.”

Even without the s in contention, the front row of Hamilton and Verstappen promises a close battle in the race, especially as wet weather threatens.

Mick Schumacher son of former F1 champion, steers his fathers championship winning Ferrari F2004 during a demonstration ahead of the German Grand Prix

Can anything stop ’s unreliability?

But in many ways the story of the session was ’s failure yet again to capitalise on what appeared to be an advantage.

said Leclerc’s problem was with his fuel system, and it looked to have deprived him of what could have been his third pole position of his first season at .

It was the latest in a series of issues for , whether with reliability or operational or driver errors, that have blighted a season in which they could have had at least two wins so far, and possibly more.

Sebastian Vettel back in the garage during Q1

Vettel’s problem was different from Leclerc’s – his car had a problem with airflow to the turbo. It was the second reliability problem for the German four-time world champion in three races.

’s problems mean the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen will start fifth, ahead of , ’s Carlos Sainz, ’s Nico Hulkenberg and Leclerc.

Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris was 16th, just 0.2secs down in first qualifying, but small margins made a big difference on a relatively short track – for example, just 0.03secs separated Hulkenberg in eighth place from team-mate in 13th in second qualifying as the drivers battled for places in the top 10 shoot-out.

Williams’ George Russell starts 18th, ahead of team-mate for the 11th race in a row, but this time just 0.118secs faster than the Pole.

Mercedes team dressed in 1950s costumes
Toto Wolff
Louis Camilleri
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