Nico Rosberg secures pole position for the German Grand Prix.
Behind to Hamilton in Q1 and Q2, Rosberg went into the pole position shoot-out on the back foot and began with an electronic error cutting his engine. Nico, though, responded with the fastest lap to put the pressure on Lewis and secure pole for his home Grand Prix.
Hamilton went into qualifying with Rosberg carrying a clean sweep of practice times. But in the first two stages of the day, it was Lewis laying down the benchmark to his team-mate.
But after a lock up on his final flying lap to throw away two-tenths of a second, it was Rosberg who topped qualifying for pole position at the German Grand Prix.
As qualifying went green, Wehrlein was first out of the pits for his first qualifying session at his home Grand Prix. Pascal did, however, return to the pits before setting a time – leaving Haryanto with the honour of posting the first time.
Rio’s 1:17.701 was easily beaten by Wehrlein and the Haas duo when they put their names on the board.
After a brief lull in the action, Button put in his first time of the day to promote the McLaren driver into P1 ahead of the early runners. But like Haryanto, Button’s time was quickly pushed down the order by his team-mate and the Williams pairing.
So far all drivers to put a timed lap in had run on the supersoft tyres. But in contrast to the field, and a show of their dominance, Mercedes hit the track for their first outing with the soft compound on.
Despite being the harder compound, Mercedes rocketed to the top with Hamilton edging Rosberg by two-tenths of a second. Smashing the previous benchmark set by Bottas by seven-tenths of a second.
And when the field returned to the pits, the Silver Arrows remained one-two with Ricciardo slotting in behind, three-tenths down on the option tyres.
After a strong first run, Wehrlein found himself sitting in 13th place – ahead of Jenson Button. With the Hockenheimring one of the few tracks Pascal has experience at having raced around the circuit in DTM.
Pascal, though, was pushed down the order when second runs resulted in drivers finding a lot of time.
The Haas drivers particularly vaulted up the order, with Grosjean going from 19th to 10th before Gutierrez moved up to 8th. Grosjean does, however, have a five-place grid penalty for tomorrow’s Grand Prix having had to change his gearbox following FP3.
Like the Haas drivers, others found time to promote themselves out of the drop zone – with Magnussen then Palmer taking 14th place.
With the Renault’s gaining on their latest run, Button found himself down in the drop zone. But the McLaren driver edged into 10th.
After his strong first run, Wehrlein now found himself in the drop zone. And after a lap just one-thousandth of a second down on Magnussen, he remained in 17th.
Even if Wehrlein had lapped two-thousandths of a second faster, however, he would still have been eliminated in Q1 after Sainz moved into 12th at Magnussen’s expense.
Carlos’ team-mate, meanwhile, was out as well – with Kvyat eliminated in 19th place.
Having run the softs in Q1, Mercedes opted not to retain that strategy for Q2 and hit the track with the supersoft tyres.
With the expected gains between compounds and their dominant pace in Q1, Mercedes retained the top spots as Hamilton posted a 1:14.748 to edge Rosberg by a tenth of a second.
The times set by the Mercedes duo represented gains of half a second between compounds. Enough to stay ahead of Verstappen as the Red Bull posted a 1:15.124 to end his lap three-tenths down.
Ricciardo ended his lap a further half a second down the order to the Mercedes duo than his team-mate was capable of. But for Daniel, his Q2 run was on a set of used supersoft tyres – meaning he will start the race on an older set of tyres than his rivals having not set a second Q2 time.
In the second stage of Q2, other drivers were able to find gains to mix up the order. But for the leading pack, who remained in the pits settled in their positions.
Out of the drivers to run again, Button was able to promote himself from 15th to 9th as he bettered the drop zone cut off by a tenth of a second.
Unfortunately for Button, other drivers finding gains meant no McLaren would proceed into Q3 – with Alonso unable to move higher than 13th on his final flying lap. Alonso, though, did feel Vettel impeded him during his flying lap.
Once the final car had crossed the line, Alonso would go on to lose another place in the standings. With Hulkenberg, Massa, Perez and Bottas all finding gains late on to eliminate Gutierrez from the top-10.
For the provisional run in the pole position shoot-out, Vettel hit the leaderboard first with a 1:15.619. But the German’s time was no match for the Mercedes duo who were already up on the Ferrari through the first two sectors.
Before being able to post a time, however, Rosberg was forced to back out and pit with an electronic error cutting his engine out. Leaving Hamilton to smash Sebastian’s benchmark with a 1:14.486.
Having been ahead on track to Lewis, Rosberg hit the sector timers first and was up on Vettel’s benchmark before pitting. Although Lewis did match Nico’s sector times.
With Rosberg in the pits, Verstappen then Ricciardo put their Red Bull in second place on the leaderboard.
Verstappen had crossed the line six-tenths down on Hamilton before Ricciardo came around the final corner – crossing the line just two-tenths back on the Brit.
Second runs solidified the Red Bull’s place ahead of both Ferrari’s, with Verstappen ending qualifying three-tenths ahead of Raikkonen for fourth.
In the battle for pole, meanwhile, Rosberg was posting his first lap of the session. Edging Hamilton for provisional pole by one-tenth of a second after being up through each sector.
Hamilton though was still pushing for pole and in the short first sector, was already one-tenth up on Nico.
A lock up at the turn six hairpin, however, cost Hamilton two-tenths of a second and was a tenth down on Rosberg at the split. Time he could not recover through the final sector.
Without his reply being better than his team-mate, Hamilton will start the German Grand Prix from second on the grid in a Mercedes one-two.
Rosberg, on the other hand, will start his and the team’s home race from pole position.
|13||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1’15.989||1.626|