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Why pole position is not crucial at the Nürburgring?

Why pole position is not crucial at the Nürburgring?



Why pole position is not crucial at the Nürburgring?

Why pole position is not crucial at the Nürburgring?

Valtteri Bottas was in blistering form at the Nürburgring as he claimed a magnificent pole position for the Eifel Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas overturned a considerable deficit of half-a-second from Q2 to eventually outpace Hamilton by two-tenths.

It may not count for much, however, because from the 18 previous races at the German circuit, only three drivers have won from pole.

Michael Schumacher completed the feat twice, in 2001 and 2004, with Mark Webber the only other driver to do so in 2009 for his first win in the sport.

So why is it so difficult to convert a qualifying advantage into maximum points on a Sunday at the Nürburgring?

A difficult, old-school track

This track can bite even the greatest of drivers. Everyone who is anyone has found the gravel and barriers around the Nürburgring at some point in their careers.

The layout really eggs drivers on to deliver over the limit, with corners enticing faster speeds than are realistically possible. Most of the turns are medium-to-high speed, cambered and undulating. Bumps await in braking zones and the apexes tighten on exit, with grass and gravel waiting to punish even the smallest of mistakes.

As difficult as the circuit is, it is a real drivers' track that is universally loved.

Overtaking aplenty

What helps people who qualify slower than the pole man is the amount of overtaking opportunities. Turn one, with DRS to help, will provide chances, so too will turn seven which is a long banked hairpin.

The blast up the hill into the turn 13-14 chicane is another opportunity to make a move, which means you don't have to put all of your eggs in one basket as the hunter.

With the flowing, sweeping nature of the circuit, an undercut will certainly be effective with the advantage of fresher, grip-yielding tyres.

Changeable weather

Most famously, but not uniquely, the changing weather conditions wreaked havoc on the 1999 race at the venue, when Johnny Herbert took victory for Stewart.

Safety cars played their part, but the rain couldn't decide whether to be light, heavy or non-existent meaning tyre choices were critical throughout the race.

With the location of the circuit in the Eifel mountains, much like Spa in Belgium, the weather is not necessarily set to remain the same for the duration of the race, nor be picked up on the incredible radar technology used in the paddock.

This point is certainly apt as rain may yet play a part in the race.

Before you go...

Stroll "couldn't get off the toilet" to drive for Racing Point

Hamilton's medium tyre call would have been "a big gamble" - Wolff


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