Nico Rosberg secured pole position for the German Grand Prix, beating Valtteri Bottas to the top spot. A lap time of 1:16:540 was good enough to make sure Rosberg will start tomorrow’s race from the front row. Across all three practice sessions, Mercedes had secured a one-two finish so it was no surprise that a Mercedes secured pole position. But qualifying was a disaster for Lewis Hamilton in the other Mercedes.
The high temperatures remained at the Hockenheimring for the start of qualifying with the track hitting 55 degrees Celsius, whilst the ambient air temperature reached 32.
The initial lap times for Q1 were between 1:19 and the low 1:20’s for most of the field but for Hamilton’s first timed lap he set a 1:18:683 whilst on the soft compound tyres. This time would have been around a second slower than Rosberg’s fastest in FP3. Not so soon after Hamilton set his time, Valtteri Bottas smashed his way to the top spot by 4 tenths of a second.
Whilst some drivers started to head to the pits for the mid Q1 break, Rosberg continued to pound around the track but without setting a competitive time after multiple mistakes. Luckily for Nico, these mistakes were not pushing as he was able to continue on his way. But for Lewis, his qualifying was brought to an abrupt end mid way through Q1, bringing out the red flags.
As Lewis approached turn 13, a very high-speed corner, his front left brake locked up and unsettled the rear of the car. After the rear became unsettled, his car span around in a full 360 whilst still moving at a high-speed. This spin sent Lewis crashing into the barrier and ending his session. The impact with the barrier ripped the nose from the car. Soon after the incident the team were on the radio to Lewis as they checked he was ok. Hamilton also used this chance to tell the team that as he braked for the corner his brakes failed. The team later confirmed that it was a right-front brake disc failure that caused the crash.
Now with Q1 back underway, Hamilton’s earlier lap time was soon tumbling down the order as the drivers headed out on the supersoft tyres. One of the drivers needing a fast lap quick was Lewis’ team-mate Nico Rosberg and after setting the fastest first sector and a personal best in the middle, Rosberg stormed to the top spot.
Just after the chequered flag began to wave, Grosjean was able to move up to P13 and knock Sutil out of qualifying. Sutil was joined by Bianchi, Maldonado, Kobayashi and Chilton as the drivers knocked out of qualifying. Along with Ericsson who was unable to run in Q1 after his issue from FP3. Hamilton ended Q1 in 12th place after his time on the soft tyres but for Bottas, he was the star of Q1 as he was able to finish the session in 4th place despite his best run being on the soft compound tyres.
Now onto Q2, there was a quiet start to the session with Massa and Hulkenberg eventually first to take to the track. As the times started to be set on the board there were no surprises to speak of at the top of the time sheets, with Rosberg piping ahead of Bottas, followed by Vettel. Vettel was able to take the third spot after going purple in the final sector, yet still ended up being half a second down on Rosberg.
Into the final two minuets of Q2, all but Perez and Hamilton had set a time. Hamilton of course was out of qualifying because of his crash but Perez stayed in the pits till the last chance. Luckily for the Mexican he was able to put his Force India into the top 10 at the expense of Jenson Button with his one timed lap. Button was unable to improve on his final timed lap and saw Perez push him out of the top 10 by just 3 hundredths of a second.
Another driver aiming to beat to Q2 drop was Kimi Raikkonen. Unfortunately for the Finn he was unable to beat the drop and ended the session in 12th place after a scrappy and slow final flying lap. Jenson and Kimi were joined in the Q2 drop zone by Vergne, Gutierrez, Grosjean and Hamilton.
Esteban Gutierrez will find himself starting back in 17th place if there are no more penalties handed out. This is a result of the three-place grid penalty he was awarded for the incident between himself and Maldonado back at Silverstone.
Now moving ahead to the top 10 shoot out, Sergio Perez was the first to hit the track. A complete contrast to Q2. Being the first man out on track, Perez set the early pace in Q3 with a 1:19:395. A lap of that time is rather uncompetitive with the lap times set in Q1 and Q2. But for Perez’s team-mate he was only able to get ahead of Sergio by just 6 thousandths of a second.
So Q3 didn’t start that well for Force India. But it was a completely different story for Rosberg in his Mercedes as he set the provisional pole pace with a 1:16:540. The first 1:16 of qualifying. The closest challenger to Rosberg during the initial flying laps was once again Valtteri Bottas as he set a 1:17:057.
Come the second stint of times in Q3, Perez once again was the first man to head back out but chose to pit before setting another time. Meanwhile both Williams were doing their best to challenge for pole but neither were able to gain any positions. Bottas was able to go purple in the middle sector but ended the session two and a half tenths behind Rosberg.
Meaning Nico Rosberg secured pole position for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix. He will lead the pack away from the grid at his home race followed by both Williams who performed tremendously to be the best of the rest. Kevin Magnussen in his McLaren was able to qualify seven places higher up the grid than his experienced team-mate as the F1 rookie secured fourth position ahead of both Red Bull’s and Fernando Alonso.
The qualifying results:
|5||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:18.117||1:17.855||1:17.273|
|6||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:18.194||1:17.646||1:17.577|
|9||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:18.927||1:18.017||1:18.014|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:18.916||1:18.161||1:18.035|
|Q1 107% Time||1:23.065|