Lewis Hamilton on German GP pole as both Ferraris break down

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Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen to pole position at the German Grand Prix as the Ferraris hit technical problems.

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

And team-mate Sebastian Vettel will start last after an intercooler problem meant he failed to set a time for Sunday's race at Hockenheim.

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

Mercedes are celebrating 125 years in motorsport and their 200th Formula 1 start with a special white livery

Hamilton overcomes illness to set pace

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

"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 Ferraris have been on another level. If Leclerc had been there, it would definitely have been close between us."

Even without the Ferraris in contention, the front row of Hamilton and Red Bull's 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
There was a treat for fans at Hockenheim as Mick Schumacher took his father Michael's championship-winning Ferrari F2004 around the circuit for a spin

Can anything stop Ferrari's unreliability?

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

Ferrari said Leclerc's problem was with his fuel-pump drive, and it looked to have deprived him of what could have been his third pole position of his first season at Ferrari.

It was the latest in a series of issues for Ferrari, 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
After his disappointment in qualifying Vettel said: "Very bitter. I think the car is great. Lost out on a big chance but hopefully we'll have a big one coming again tomorrow. It's very painful here obviously. I was looking forward to having fun. Now we start last, it would have been nice to start first. I think the car has it."

Vettel's failure was the second reliability problem for the German four-time world champion in three races.

Ferrari's problems mean the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen will start fifth, ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean, McLaren's Carlos Sainz, Renault'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 Daniel Ricciardo in 13th in second qualifying as the drivers battled for places in the top-10 shootout.

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

Mercedes team dressed in 1950s costumes
Mercedes team dressed in 1950s costumes to celebrate the German marque's milestone
Toto Wolff
"Hey, good lookin'" Mercedes boss Toto Wolff didn't disappointment in the costume department
Louis Camilleri
"How we getting on?" Meanwhile, as Mercedes enjoyed a fancy dress party, Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri arrived in the paddock to find his team in disarray
Pierre Gasly crashed out in the Red Bull during second practice on Friday

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