Home advantage is so often cited as one of the biggest advantages in sport — that’s unless your name is Sebastian Vettel.
The Ferrari driver’s hopes of winning in front of his home fans were crushed after a turbo failure during qualifying for the German Grand Prix condemned him to the back of the grid for Sunday’s race at Hockenheim.
Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc also suffered disappointment, failing to register a lap in the third round of qualifying. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who won last year’s race, will start in pole position.
Vettel, a four-time world champion, failed to clock a time during qualifying with Ferrari confirming a problem with the airflow to the car’s turbo.
The incident was even more galling for Vettel given he had topped the timesheet during Friday’s open practice.
Vettel, who crashed out of last year’s German Grand Prix while leading, cut a glum figure as he spoke with reporters.
“I don’t know what happened,” Vettel told Sky Sports. “Something broke with the turbo and it was game over from there. Obviously I’m very bitter, I think the car is great and we’ve lost out on a big chance but hopefully we’ll have a big one coming again tomorrow.
“I’m looking forward to the race, but obviously it would have been nicer to start at the very front than the very back but we’ll see what happens.”
While Vettel will start at the back, Hamilton will be joined at the front of the grid by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
The five-times world champion posted a fastest lap of 1 minute 11.767 seconds to secure a record 87th career pole and his fourth of the campaign.
“I don’t really know how we did it, I’m not sure what happened to the Ferraris. It’s a second home race and with our 125th anniversary, incredible to celebrate in this way,” Hamilton, who had been nursing a sore throat, told Sky Sports.
“The Ferraris have been really fast all weekend, our cars have been feeling good, but the Ferraris were on another level.
“But the times were good at the end. Every time we come here it’s just getting faster and it’s a real challenge. My first lap was spot on.”