The first moments of tomorrow's race are shaping up to be quite interesting.
Nico Rosberg will start the German Grand Prix from pole position, after beating his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at Hockenheim.
Rosberg was forced to abort his first Q3 run due to an “electronic error” that briefly cut the engine.
But his second lap gave him pole which was “a fantastic lap in the circumstances” according to the pitwall, as he ran with enough fuel for two laps instead of one in case he made a mistake on his first attempt.
It was Rosberg’s fifth pole of the season – 30 years on from his father Keke starting from pole here for McLaren – and came after setting the pace in every practice session all weekend.
It had looked like Hamilton would score his seventh pole of the season, but a scrappy second run, which included a huge lockup at the hairpin, cos him dearly. He will start second.
Daniel Ricciardo will start third for Red Bull, bemoaning “losing the rear at Turn 8” on his final attack, ahead of teammate Max Verstappen.
Kimi Raikkonen outqualified Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari, who locked out the third row.
Story of Q3
Hamilton set 1m14.486s on his first flying lap, but Rosberg bailed out of his first flying lap due to his “electronic error” – despite matching Hamilton through the sector splits.
Verstappen was second fastest, six tenths off Hamilton, before teammate Ricciardo slammed in an impressive time of 1m14.726s for P2, just 0.24s off the pace.
Raikkone had the better of Vettel by half a second after the first runs, ahead of the Force Indias.
Rosberg ran early on his final effort, and was 0.297s up at the second split. He lost half of that advantage in the final sector, but his 1m14.363s was still good for P1, 0.123s up on Hamilton.
Hamilton’s response was a tenth up on Rosberg in sector one, but a huge lock-up at Spitzkehre compromised him and he was 0.114s down at sector two. His laptime was 1m14.470, 0.107s down on Rosberg’s pole time.
Ricciardo will start third, 0.363s off the pace, and a tenth clear of Verstappen.
Ferrari was unable to get into the 1m14s bracket, with Raikkonen’s 1m15.142s two tenths clear of teammate Vettel.
Nico Hulkenberg will start seventh for Force India, ahead of Williams’s Valtteri Bottas.
Sergio Perez qualified ninth in the second Force India, ahead of Felipe Massa’s Williams.
Perez wins battle of the Mexicans in Q2
Mercedes went out on supersofts right at the start of the session, with Rosberg crossing the line first on 1m14.839s but Hamilton beat him with 1m14.748s, 0.091s quicker.
The best of the rest was Verstappen, almost four tenths away.
Perez knocked out the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez in the closing moments in an all-Mexican duel for the final spot in Q3. Gutierrez will start 11th, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz. The latter is under investigation, however, for impeding Massa quite blatantly at Turn 2.
Alonso ran wide at Turn 12, the Mobil Kurve, damaging the underside of hisMcLaren on his way to 14th. He complained that “one of the Ferraris” impeded him and was told it was Vettel.
Romain Grosjean qualified 15th, but takes a five-place penalty for a gearbox change, and so will drop to near the back of the grid.
Jolyon Palmer was 16th fastest for Renault.
Disaster for Kvyat in Q1
Hamilton set the pace in the session on the soft-compound tyre on 1m15.243s, 0.242s quicker than Rosberg.
Sainz knocked out Kevin Magnussen with the very last lap of the session, relegating the Renault to 17th. Wehrlein was an impressive 18th for Manor, just a thousandth slower than Magnussen, with Daniil Kvyat a very disappointing 19th for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
When told that Sainz was 12th fastest, Kvyat responded: “Unbelievable, what the [bleep] is going on?”
In what could be his last qualifying in F1 at Manor, Rio Haryanto was 20thfastest, ahead of the Saubers with Felipe Nasr ahead of Marcus Ericsson, who locked up and ran wide at the Mercedes Arena on his final run.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||TAG||1'14.726||0.363|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||TAG||1'14.834||0.471|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||Mercedes||1'15.510||1.147|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India||Mercedes||1'15.537||1.174|
|13||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Toro Rosso||Ferrari||1'15.989||1.626|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||Ferrari||1'16.876||2.513|