Nico Rosberg claimed his fourth pole position in five races as the pendulum swung back his way in the inter-team rivalry at Mercedes. Rosberg saw off a spirited Valtteri Bottas for pole while Hamilton suffered a brake failure in Q1 and will have to start on the eighth row, giving the home favourite a golden opportunity to extend his championship lead tomorrow.
The qualifying hour couldn’t have begun in a more disastrous fashion for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton careering into the barriers in the stadium section. The Briton was sitting in second place after an impressive lap on the prime tyre, a time which ultimately saw him through to Q2, but the rear end of his Mercedes stepped out at the Sachs curve and sent him spinning into the tyre barrier. An apparently winded Hamilton speculated that a brake problem caused the accident and his suspicions were later proved correct.
Despite advancing from Q1, his afternoon was over along with the Sauber of Adrian Sutil and Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus while the Marussia and Caterham teammates also fell at the first hurdle. Jules Bianchi impressed though to finish eighteenth, ahead of Maldonado, while Kamui Kobayashi produced a 1:20.408 to pip Max Chilton to twentieth.
Qualifying continued to claim high-profile scalps in the second session with Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen finding themselves the wrong side of the cut-off point. The McLaren driver complained of traffic on his opening lap and after failing to improve on his final run, the loss of time in the stadium proved crucial. Raikkonen’s elimination followed a lock-up at the hairpin on his last effort and the Finn will line up alongside Button in twelfth. Jean-Eric Vergne was thirteenth for Toro Rosso while Esteban Gutierrez edged out Romain Grosjean for fourteenth but with a three-place grid penalty hanging over him, the Mexican will tumble to seventeenth, promoting Hamilton to fifteenth on the grid.
Williams were looking a legitimate threat to Mercedes as Q3 got underway with Valtteri Bottas having made it through the two knockout sessions without using extra sets of tyres but the sole Silver Arrow responded brilliantly. On his first timed lap of Q3, Nico Rosberg clocked a 1:16.540 to pull half a second clear of Bottas with Felipe Massa only quick enough to back up his teammate in third. Valtteri’s final run looked much more promising with the Finn fractionally faster as he entered the stadium but the final sector saw things swing back towards Rosberg who secured pole position despite failing to improve late on.
Massa did find time on his last effort and he needed to in order to fend off the impressive Kevin Magnussen who took fourth for McLaren. Red Bull locked out the third row with Daniel Ricciardo once again outqualifying Sebastian Vettel while Fernando Alonso could only manage seventh for Ferrari, narrowly outpacing Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso and the two Force Indias.
|FORMULA 1 GROSSER PREIS SANTANDER VON DEUTSCHLAND – QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION|
|1||6. NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES||SUPER SOFT||1:16.540||Q3|
|2||77. VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SUPER SOFT||1:16.759||Q3|
|3||19. FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SUPER SOFT||1:17.078||Q3|
|4||20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||SUPER SOFT||1:17.214||Q3|
|5||3. DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||SUPER SOFT||1:17.273||Q3|
|6||1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||SUPER SOFT||1:17.577||Q3|
|7||14. FERNANDO ALONSO||FERRARI||SUPER SOFT||1:17.649||Q3|
|8||26. DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||SUPER SOFT||1:17.965||Q3|
|9||27. NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SUPER SOFT||1:18.014||Q3|
|10||11. SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SUPER SOFT||1:18.035||Q3|
|11||22. JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||SUPER SOFT||1:18.193||Q2|
|12||7. KIMI RAIKKONEN||FERRARI||SUPER SOFT||1:18.273||Q2|
|13||25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||SUPER SOFT||1:18.285||Q2|
|14||21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||SUPER SOFT||1:18.787||Q2|
|15||8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||SUPER SOFT||1:18.983||Q2|
|16||44. LEWIS HAMILTON||MERCEDES||NO TIME||Q2|
|17||99. ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||SUPER SOFT||1:19.142||Q1|
|18||17. JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SUPER SOFT||1:19.676||Q1|
|19||13. PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||SUPER SOFT||1:20.195||Q1|
|20||10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||SUPER SOFT||1:20.408||Q1|
|21||4. MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SUPER SOFT||1:20.489||Q1|
|107% QUALIFYING TIME: 1:23.065|
|22||9. MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||NO TIME||Q1|