Marchionne steps down at Ferrari due to poor health

Sergio Marchionne has stepped down from his role as the Chairman and CEO of Ferrari, after his health deteriorated following surgery.

The news was confirmed on Saturday, with Ferrari naming John Elkann as the successor to the chairman role.

It has been put forward to the shareholders that Louis Camilleri, the former Philip Morris chairman, should take over as the Ferrari CEO.

“The Board of Directors of Ferrari NV learned with deep sadness during its meeting today that Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne will be unable to return to work,” a Ferrari statement read.

“The Board’s thoughts are with Sergio Marchionne and his family and it is grateful for the extraordinary contribution he has made in recent years at the helm of Ferrari.

“The Board has named John Elkann as Chairman and will propose to Shareholders, at a meeting to be called in the coming days, that Louis C. Camilleri be named as CEO. The Board has also given Louis C. Camilleri the necessary powers to ensure continuity of the company’s operation.”

Marchionne had been running the Ferrari team since taking over from Luca di Montezemolo in 2014, and was a key player in their return towards the top in recent years.

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Bottas: ‘Ferrari were just quicker’ in qualifying

Valtteri Bottas qualified in P2 for the German Grand Prix but admitted that the Ferraris had the pace on Saturday afternoon.

For a brief moment, the Finn had pole position, but Vettel came storming through to take top spot by two-tenths of a second at the Hockenheimring.

“It was a tough battle for pole but I think, in the end, Ferrari were just quicker today, especially Sebastian,” Bottas said.

“As for my last lap, if I did the lap again there were hundred of a second here and there, maximum 0.1s, but they were just a bit too quick.”

With team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffering a hydraulics issue during qualifying, Bottas is the only Mercedes at the front.

“It is an important race for us as a team, it is one of our home races, for Mercedes and Daimler. It is a big one, but this is where we will start from, we need to make the most out of it,” the Finn said.

“At least I am starting second, it’s going to be a long race tomorrow and I’m sure Lewis can still come back to the first positions. We’ve seen many things happening, so we won’t give up and I’m still sure we can have a good result tomorrow.”

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Haas secure best-ever qualifying for German GP

The Haas team have recorded their best qualifying session to date with a third-row lockout at the Hockenheimring on Saturday.

Kevin Magnussen will start Sunday’s race from P5, with Romain Grosjean alongside him in P6.

The pair have maintained the Haas team’s status as ‘best of the rest’, but were helped by the big name absentees.

Daniel Ricciardo did not run in Q2 due to grid penalties for new engine components, while Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes suffered a hydraulics issue at the end of Q1.

Kevin Magnussen looked back on the session with pride, admitting that there was nothing left out on track.

“That was a nice lap at the end. There was no beating the Red Bulls – they’re still too far ahead for us to play with them, but we’re best of the rest again, and that’s our target,” Magnussen said after qualifying.

“Now we just need to get it tomorrow as well, which is the bigger challenge.

“For tomorrow, you just hope the guys ahead get a good start so we can get some free air and do our own thing. We’re lucky that it’s looking like the temperatures will be a little bit cooler,” he added.

“With the problems we had on Friday with the overheating of the tyres, maybe it’ll be a bit better. Hopefully, the car will behave well, as it did today, and we can score some good points.”

His team-mate at Haas, Romain Grosjean, was also pleased, but was a little disappointed that he was unable to get a clean run in Q3.

“It was a pretty good session. We just need to see what happened on my last run. I went wide on turn one, so we just have analyse that. We couldn’t do the second push lap in Q3, unfortunately, but all in all, it was a good session,” the Frenchman said.

“I’m really happy for the team. On a track were we were not sure we’d be competitive, we’ve been good. We’re right up there, so that’s very encouraging. I think we’re in a good place for tomorrow.”

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Rosberg ‘worried’ about Hamilton’s body language

Nico Rosberg has described Lewis Hamilton’s body language as something he has “never seen” after the Brit had more issues on Saturday.

Hamilton’s W09 broke down at the end of Q1 at the Hockenheimring, leading to the four-time World Champion breaking down alongside it.

“This is something I am a bit worried about. I have never seen that body language from him before,” Rosberg said on Sky Sports.

“We saw it for the first time at Silverstone and now again for a very long time there – disbelief or something.

“Of course it is tough, but this is a new body language, I have never seen that from Lewis.”

With the Brit falling out of qualifying, it left a path clear for Sebastian Vettel to take pole position at his home grand prix.

However, he faced stiff competition from Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen, who fell just sort of the former Red Bull man.

With his title rival taking top spot in qualifying, Hamilton has suffered another major setback, says Rosberg.

“This is such a huge setback because Vettel is out there, the car is flying, he is odds-on favourite to win the race, and Lewis again has to start from somewhere back,” the 2016 World Champion said.

“So that is going to be a very difficult day tomorrow for him.”

The German believes that his former team-mate suffered the hydraulics issue after running wide at the start of the lap.

“To me, it looked like he made a mistake at Turn 1, went really wide, and he had some big big hits because he was off the track there, and right after that the problem started,” Rosberg added.

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Vettel: ‘Shame about Lewis…I mean it’

Sebastian Vettel was sympathetic about Lewis Hamilton’s early exit in qualifying for the German Grand Prix.

The two title rivals were poised for another pole position battle at the Hockenheimring, but that failed to materalise as Hamilton suffered a hydraulics issue and was forced to stop the car in Q1.

Vettel, meanwhile, set the home fans wild with a fifth pole position of the 2018 season and the 55th of his career. His 1:11.212 two tenths quicker than his nearest rival Valtteri Bottas.

“Obviously we saw but I don’t know what exactly happened,” Vettel said about Hamilton’s incident.

“It doesn’t really matter. We will see what happens tomorrow. Obviously you look after yourself. For me it was a good session and everything went smoothly.

“You always try to push the limits. Don’t wish anything bad or technical issues to happen to anyone. It’s a shame to see him go out, and I mean it.

“But you look after yourself. The most important part of the weekend is the race.”

Vettel revealed he had a great feeling about the Ferrari car during qualifying and was confident that he could put pole position in the bag.

He added: “In qualifying the car was a pleasure to drive.

“Some days you can feel already when you go out, and do your first flying lap, that you have something in your hands that you can play with.

“That’s the feeling I had today. And from there it just got better. It was more about tuning myself. In the sessions before sometimes I did get the laps together, sometimes I didn’t – I was trying different things.

“I knew in Q3 I could get quite a bit out of the car and myself, and made it work. Really happy, both laps on the limit.

“Then the adrenaline kicks in. It’s quite a good feeling when you get everything right. Really, really happy with the car and the work we’ve done overnight.”

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Alonso has sympathy for beaten Vandoorne

Fernando Alonso has called for a “deep investigation” into Stoffel Vandoorne’s recent woes after the Belgian was out-qualified once again in Germany.

Alonso currently leads Vandoorne 11-0 in the intra-team qualifying battle, but the two-time World Champion does not think that his team-mate is performing as badly as the stats suggest.

“I think he’s doing what he can,” Alonso said about Vandoorne.

“Definitely the last two races it seems that car has some kind of performance issue, and there are clear signs on the data that there is less downforce on that car.

“We’ve been changing some parts, and we need to go deep into that investigation because with both cars close to the points is always a little bit easier.”

Alonso qualified in P11 for the German Grand Prix, while Vandoorne was slowest of everyone and went out in Q1.

After calling the FP1 and FP2 sessions the worst Friday of his career, Vandoorne conceded that he is going through a tough time.

He said: “I think the situation is the same as Silverstone. Since we hit the ground in Silverstone, we were by far the last car and it turned out the same today.

“I can’t really tell anything more. It’s frustrating. We changed a lot of parts on the car and it still doesn’t work.

“Definitely I didn’t forget how to drive a car. But the cars are in a similar spec, it’s just that we can see an issue on the car.

“We’ve changed over a lot of parts already and at the moment we don’t really have a solution to just make it work normally.

“It’s not linked to the set-up at all. It’s something on the car that doesn’t work.

“We’ve almost changed everything on the car. We see the problem on the data. Right now we don’t have a solution.”

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Sirotkin: P12 in German qualy was ‘very important’

Sergey Sirotkin has hailed his P12 grid slot for the German Grand Prix as a “very important moment” in Williams’ 2018 season.

This will be the furthest forward the Russian has started in his short Formula 1 career.

Williams have been boosted by the upgraded front wing they have brought to the Hockenheimring, and Sirotkin has felt the benefits.

“I think it’s a very important moment because it’s been a tough year. I was always saying that we’ve been working well, we were improving here and there and sometimes you could see the results, sometimes you could not,” Sirotkin explained.

“In those moments where you could not see results obviously it was a lot of extra pressure on the team. There were quite a few negative comments and it was quite difficult to keep working and not paying attention to what the people are saying and just focus on our job.

“Now the big upgrades are coming, the one we have been waiting for quite a while. Finally we could prove that all the hard work is playing now in our favour, so its very important for all the team to see it finally does pay off.”

However, the Russian did admit that it was not all down to the new front wing, and that the style of track played a part in proceedings on Saturday.

“Its both. Let’s be honest. I don’t want to say we are the biggest heroes ever and suddenly we found something which gives us seventh places on the grid,” he continued.

But half of those places is definitely coming from it. For sure the other half is coming from the track conditions and a little bit the track layout too..

Sirotkin added that he still does not believe that he can get the Williams into the points, especially with Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo starting behind him.

“Looking at where we are, I would say for sure we should fight for the points. If we face the conditions like we had yesterday for FP2 I don’t think our long run pace was good enough to make our way through to the points and obviously we have the quick cars passing through,” the Russian said.

“Realistically if we face more normal conditions I don’t think we do really have the pace to gain a few places and stick there yet. For us in this moment I think it is very important, even if we are not able to get to the points we have to make sure that we stay as close as possible behind in case something happens.”

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