In a wet qualifying session at the Hockenheimring, it was Marco Wittmann who came out on top. Audi and Aston Martin not far behind as all three manufacturers are represented in the top 3.
First, a short recap about the two free practice sessions we had yesterday.
FP1 started off with BMW’s Joel Eriksson in the gravel because he understeered in his out-lap. As a result, we had a slow-zone. After he was pulled out by a tractor, the session could continue. A clean 40 minutes followed. The fastest driver was Nico Müller, with a 1.30,476.
FP2 was a wet session. This meant the drivers really had to be careful and couldn’t collect all the data they wanted. Philip Eng, who stopped on track at the end of FP1, only went out after 15 minutes. Not even one lap later, he parked his car beside the track. He didn’t manage to get a time in. It wasn’t until the final minutes that we saw the times being improved. We saw newcomers Aston Martin right in the mix with the others. Though Bruno Spengler finished fastest, with a 1.43,780, the gap to Jake Dennis’ Vantage in P2 was only 0.014 seconds. BMW’s Marco Wittmann completed the top three.
Now let’s see what happened in qualifying.
Just like yesterday, we had a wet and slippery session as it had rained on the 4.574 km long track. Philipp Eng, who already had problems yesterday, seems unlucky today again. He drove out of his box and stopped at the end of pit exit. He couldn’t continue which resulted in a short red flag period. After three minutes the session continued. Not long after the session resumed, WRT’s Jonathan Aberdein spun coming out of the final corner. He briefly touched the wall but could continue.
With 10 minutes to go, it was Team Phoenix’ Mike Rockenfeller on P1 with a 1.53,855. But not for long. He and Wittmann constantly changed positions as the two former champions were both very strong in the challenging conditions. Towards the end of the session, it was still these two drivers who were fighting for pole position. They were in a class of their own. Although it seemed 2017 champion Rene Rast had a chance as well. Due to bad track position, he didn’t manage to put a good enough time in.
Wittmann finished on top with Rockenfeller only 0.066 seconds behind in P2. One of the last drivers to cross the finish line in the first qualifying session of the season, was Paul di Resta. He put his Aston Martin in P3 with a best time of 1.49,191. So we have all three manufacturers in the mix. Rene Rast and Robin Frijns completed the top five. The second best Aston Martin was Jake Dennis in P6 – a good debut for the Brit. Fellow rookie Sheldon van der Linde performed well too and put his BMW in 7th position. Timo Glock, Joel Eriksson and Nico Mueller will be starting from eighth, ninth, and tenth. Aberdein, who spun earlier in the session, could only manage a time good enough for P16. Eng could not set a time and will have to start from the very back of the grid.
The first race of this season starts this afternoon at 13.30 local time (12.30 UK time).