German GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton to earn home F1 pole
Nico Rosberg claimed his fifth pole position of the 2016 Formula 1 season at the German Grand Prix.
Having been outpaced by Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the first two segments of qualifying, Rosberg was on the back foot after the first runs in Q3 having had to abort his lap because of an "electronic issue".
Hamilton meanwhile went quickest by six tenths of a second among those who completed an early run.
Rosberg headed out early for his second run on super-softs, presumably to give him the option of a second lap if required, and took top spot by just over a tenth of a second.
Hamilton then set off for his final run, but after being just over a tenth of a second faster than Rosberg in the first sector, locked up at the Turn 6 hairpin and fell short.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo beat team-mate Max Verstappen to fourth, 0.363s off Rosberg’s pace.
Ferrari locked out the third row, with Kimi Raikkonen outpacing Sebastian Vettel by almost two tenths to win the intra-team battle.
Force India and Williams had a very close battle for the final four places in the top 10, with the four cars covered by just 0.105s.
Nico Hulkenberg won the battle ahead of Valtteri Bottas, with Sergio Perez ninth ahead of Felipe Massa.
Esteban Gutierrez was the fastest driver in Q2 to be eliminated, ending up 11th on the grid, after briefly breaking into the top 10 with his final run before being eliminated by Massa’s late improvement.
McLaren driver Jenson Button was 12th ahead of Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz Jr, who is under investigation for impeding Massa at Turn 2.
Fernando Alonso was 14th after running wide over a kerb and shedding some small parts of his front wing in the stadium section – although he also complained about being held up by Vettel’s slow Ferrari.
Romain Grosjean, who lost most of Saturday morning practice to a gearbox problem that will lead to a five-place penalty, was 15th ahead of Renault driver Jolyon Palmer, the Briton making his first Q2 appearance since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March.
Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat was the surprise driver to be eliminated in Q1 thanks to late improvements from the Renault drivers and Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein.
Palmer’s final lap put him into Q2, with Kevin Magnussen taking 17th place with a lap less than a tenth slower than his team-mate.
Despite not believing he could have gone any quicker after his second run, Wehrlein used a third set of super-softs to take 18th with what he described as a "great" lap ahead of the baffled Kvyat.
Sauber pairing Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson locked out the back row, with the former just over a tenth faster than his team-mate.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m14.726s||0.363s|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m14.834s||0.471s|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m15.510s||1.147s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m15.537s||1.174s|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m15.989s||–|
|18||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m16.876s||–|
F1 German GP: Mercedes’ Rosberg stays on top in FP3, rivals closer
Nico Rosberg maintained his Formula 1 free practice supremacy ahead of the German Grand Prix by setting the pace on Saturday morning.
But the Mercedes driver’s advantage over team-mate Lewis Hamilton was vastly reduced, with the gap between the pair just 0.057 seconds, setting the stage for a close battle in qualifying.
Both Mercedes drivers set their best times relatively early in the session on their first set of super-soft Pirellis, with first Rosberg going fastest on a 1m16.134s.
Hamilton then posted a 1m16.015s followed by a lap of 1m15.795s only for Rosberg to bang in the fastest lap of the session – a 1m15.738s.
That decided the top two, with neither attempting further quick runs later in the session and focusing on other preparation work.
The only problematic moment for Mercedes was when an investigation was triggered into Hamilton being released into the path of Haas driver Romain Grosjean in the pits.
Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest after not running on the super-softs until late in the session.
He lapped just 99 thousandths slower than Rosberg, setting the fastest time of all in the long middle sector, to secure the position of best of the rest.
The two Ferrari drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, ended up fourth and fifth ahead of Max Verstappen.
At the end of the session, Vettel returned to the pits complaining of possible floor damage most likely as a result of hitting a kerb badly, with the right side of his front wing flapping.
Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa held first and second 15 minutes into the session, but were inevitably shuffled down to seventh and eighth by the end.
This was a big step forward from Friday’s single-lap pace relative to the opposition, although the car had looked good on race pace.
Fernando Alonso was another driver who did not run on the super-softs until the final 10 minutes, posting the ninth fastest time.
At the same time, Nico Hulkenberg also had his first super-soft run to secure 10th place ahead of Carlos Sainz and Haas driver Esteban Gutierrez.
Grosjean had a troubled session, completing only four laps after suffering a gearbox problem moments after spinning onto the grass coming through Turn 3.
Following warnings about track limits being exceeded at Turn 1, only five drivers were noted to have strayed beyond what was allowed – Raikkonen, Verstappen, Vettel, Hamilton and Sergio Perez, with all but Verstappen deemed to have gained no advantage.
Perez did, though, damage the front of his Force India, requiring repairs before he jumped up from 19th to 12th in the closing stages.
THIRD PRACTICE TIMES:
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m15.837s||0.099s||13|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m16.182s||0.444s||23|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m16.972s||1.234s||16|
|11||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m17.028s||1.290s||20|
|12||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m17.066s||1.328s||10|
|14||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m17.227s||1.489s||19|