“Pretty pleased until the last run”
Kimi admits he ‘had to push a bit over the limit’
“Today we got more or less what we could from our car. Obviously it’s a bit disappointing given where we finished, but this is a tricky place. The fifth position is not ideal, but I was pretty pleased with my first lap in Q3 and the car was handling well. In the last run I knew I had to push a bit over the limit, trying to improve, but it didn’t pay out. I made some mistakes, I went wide in turn 1 and got sideways. There’s no issue with the car, we are just lacking overall grip and in Singapore that makes a big difference. Tomorrow we have to make a good start and then go from there, there will be different ways of using the tires between the teams. The race is going to be very long, and usually there’s a lot happening, so we have to get the timings right and try to go forward.”
Nico Rosberg claims Singapore GP pole ahead of Daniel Ricciardo
Nico Rosberg claimed a comfortable pole position for the Singapore Grand Prix, while his Mercedes team-mate and Formula 1 title rival Lewis Hamilton could only qualify third.
Hopes of a tight, multi-team battle for pole position were obliterated in Q2, as Red Bull and Ferrari – down to one car already after early problems for Sebastian Vettel – struggled to get within a second of Rosberg’s benchmark.
Rosberg was the only driver to make it below 1m43s around the Marina Bay F1 circuit in Q3, and his first run proved enough to get the job done as he lapped in 1m42.584s to claim top spot by over half a second.
Hamilton lost track time to a hydraulic valve problem on Friday and has struggled under braking all weekend so far, and he endured a difficult time again in qualifying.
He trailed Rosberg by more than seven tenths of a second after his first run in Q3 and failed to improve on his second run.
That allowed Daniel Ricciardo to steal a front row start for Red Bull, as he leapt to second with a superb 1m43.115s effort at the end.
His team-mate Max Verstappen was fourth fastest, just 0.040s down on Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen qualified his Ferrari fifth fastest, over six tenths down on Verstappen, while team-mate Sebastian Vettel dropped out in Q1 after his Ferrari appeared to suffer a suspension failure.
Vettel initially tried to press on and drag a time out of the car anyway, before pitting for repairs Ferrari had no time to complete.
Carlos Sainz Jr claimed a superb sixth for Toro Rosso, ahead of team-mate Daniil Kvyat (who only made one run in Q3) and Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Fernando Alonso qualified his McLaren-Honda ninth fastest, fractionally ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez.
Perez may yet face sanction for overtaking Esteban Gutierrez under yellow flags in Q2.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were 11th and 12th, Bottas missing the Q3 cut by just 0.003s, and both affected badly by those yellow flags after Romain Grosjean crashed his Haas at the Turn 10 left-hander.
Jenson Button damaged his McLaren-Honda’s left-rear wheel against the wall at Turn 14 on his final flying lap, so failed to improve and ended up 13th fastest.
Esteban Gutierrez was 14th, just ahead of Haas team-mate Grosjean, whose crash also hindered Hulkenberg and Gutierrez at the end of Q2.
Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber rounded out the top 16, electing to save tyres knowing he could do no better after Vettel’s misfortune allowed him passage to Q2.
Ericsson made it through to Q2 with what he described as a "nice lap" at the end of Q1.
That put him almost four tenths clear of the Q1 dropouts, headed by Kevin Magnussen’s Renault, Ericsson’s Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr, and the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer, these three all covered by just 0.135s.
Pascal Wehrlein was 20th fastest for Manor, over six tenths up on team-mate Esteban Ocon, while Vettel’s broken Ferrari trailed the entire field, almost a second further back.
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.115s||0.531s|
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.328s||0.744s|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m44.197s||1.613s|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m44.469s||1.885s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m44.479s||1.895s|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m44.582s||–|
Singapore GP F1 practice: Rosberg fastest as Hamilton struggles
Nico Rosberg edged out Max Verstappen in final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, while Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton failed to complete a qualifying simulation.
Rosberg clocked a 1m44.352s on ultra-soft Pirelli tyres to finish just 0.059s clear of Red Bull driver Verstappen, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen third.
Hamilton was two-tenths up on Rosberg’s fastest time in the first sector on his first flying lap on ultra-softs, but locked up the left-front wheel and had to release the brakes and take to the escape road.
This was the second time in the session that Hamilton had locked up at Turn 7 and followed a scruffy second practice session, during which he failed to complete a clean low-fuel run.
The reigning world champion, who ended the session eighth based on his earlier lap on super-soft Pirellis, also complained about heat coming through the right-hand side of the seat and around the right elbow.
Rosberg led the way early in the session with a 1m45.544s on the super-softs, 0.25s ahead of Hamilton on the same rubber, and improved by 1.2s when he swapped to the ultra-softs.
Verstappen, who was amused to see a giant lizard waiting next to the track as he passed before it crossed the road early in the session, set the fastest middle sector as he slotted into second.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was fourth fastest, half a second slower than his team-mate, with Sebastian Vettel having a difficult session in fifth and complaining of a lack of rear-end grip.
Force India continued its good form this weekend with Nico Hulkenberg sixth, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Hamilton, whose best lap was on the super-softs.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10.
Pascal Wehrlein brought out the red flag early in the session when he lost the rear in the Turn 11 right-hander and backed into the barrier.
The German damaged the rear wing and dropped debris on the track as he returned to the pits, causing a five-minute stoppage.
He spent much of the session in the garage but after a rear wing and floor change, Manor got him back out for the final few minutes and he was able to post 21st fastest time ahead of team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Esteban Gutierrez outperformed his Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean, finishing more than a second quicker in 13th.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES
|1||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||1m44.352s||–||15|
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.411s||0.059s||15|
|3||Kimi Raikkonen||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||1m44.860s||0.508s||15|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing||Red Bull/Renault||1m44.903s||0.551s||12|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari||Ferrari||1m45.104s||0.752s||13|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.316s||0.964s||13|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m45.503s||1.151s||19|
|8||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team||Mercedes||1m45.806s||1.454s||9|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Scuderia Toro Rosso||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m45.879s||1.527s||17|
|10||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Martini Racing||Williams/Mercedes||1m45.947s||1.595s||16|
|11||Sergio Perez||Sahara Force India F1 Team||Force India/Mercedes||1m46.112s||1.760s||15|
|12||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda||McLaren/Honda||1m46.164s||1.812s||13|
|13||Esteban Gutierrez||Haas F1 Team||Haas/Ferrari||1m46.316s||1.964s||16|
|14||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing||Williams/Mercedes||1m46.529s||2.177s||17|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||Renault Sport F1 Team||Renault||1m47.116s||2.764s||11|
|16||Jenson Button||McLaren Honda||McLaren/Honda||1m47.277s||2.925s||16|
|17||Felipe Nasr||Sauber F1 Team||Sauber/Ferrari||1m47.293s||2.941s||18|
|18||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team||Haas/Ferrari||1m47.411s||3.059s||20|
|19||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team||Sauber/Ferrari||1m47.956s||3.604s||20|
|20||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team||Renault||1m48.689s||4.337s||13|
|21||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor Racing MRT||Manor/Mercedes||1m49.201s||4.849s||10|
|22||Esteban Ocon||Manor Racing MRT||Manor/Mercedes||1m49.|
Raikkonen believes Mercedes’ performance this weekend is more representative of its advantage than qualifying was at Spa, where Rosberg took pole by less than two tenths around a much longer lap.
"They probably had some issues [at Spa] compared to here," said the Finn, who will join Vettel on the second row of the grid.
"I expected them to be strong here. I expected them to be stronger at Spa, but people were struggling with the tyres there.
"Maybe we did a better job there. Here, the gap was bigger.
"Our car is behaving as well as it was at Spa but for whatever reason, it looks quite a lot different."
Italian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton dominates Monza qualifying
Lewis Hamilton comfortably claimed pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, after getting the best of a private battle for top spot with Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Mercedes suffered no repeat of the super-soft tyre woes that hampered the team in qualifying at Spa last time out, and the updated Ferrari was not fast enough to challenge at its home track, so the Mercedes drivers were free to engage in a personal duel for pole at Monza.
Hamilton was nearly three tenths quicker than Rosberg after their first runs in Q3, and extended that gap to almost half a second with a mighty 1m21.135s effort on his second run.
Sebastian Vettel dragged his Ferrari below 1m22s on his final run, but that still left him more than three tenths of a second adrift of Rosberg in third.
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was quicker than Vettel after their first runs in Q3, but failed to improve on his second set of tyres so slipped to fourth.
Valtteri Bottas was in fine form for Williams and pipped Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull to fifth by just 0.001s.
Max Verstappen rounded out the top seven in the second Red Bull, ahead of Force India pairing Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
Esteban Gutierrez impressively got Haas into the top 10 in qualifying for the first time, but then endured a scrappy Q3 session.
He ran off track at the Lesmos on his first Q3 run and failed to better his Q2 time on his second, which left him 10th.
Felipe Massa failed to improve on his final run in Q2, so was bumped out of the top 10 by a fine lap from Gutierrez, plus marginally better times by both Force India drivers, and the Red Bulls abandoning plans to progress on the soft tyre and then turning in quicker super-soft laps at the death.
Massa wound up 11th fastest in a car fast enough for the top six, while the second Haas of Romain Grosjean found nearly half a second on its second Q2 run but this was only good enough for 12th.
He will drop a further five places on the grid thanks to a penalty for changing his gearbox after the final practice session.
Pascal Wehrlein impressively split McLaren-Honda’s past world champions with the 14th fastest time, just 0.042s slower than Fernando Alonso and 0.044s quicker than Jenson Button.
Carlos Sainz Jr managed to drag a sub-1m23.5s lap out of his underpowered Toro Rosso, but this was only good enough to make him the slowest driver in Q2, just under a tenth back from Button.
Daniil Kvyat joined the Saubers, Renaults and Esteban Ocon’s Manor in failing to escape Q1.
Kvyat swore furiously over team radio after missing the cut by just 0.042s, as Toro Rosso team-mate Sainz, both McLarens and Wehrlein’s Manor all made it through with last-gasp improvements.
Felipe Nasr was 18th fastest in the best of the Saubers, complaining an engine misfire cost him a shot at finding the two tenths he needed to make it through to Q2.
Team-mate Marcus Ericsson was just over a tenth slower in 19th, ahead of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen, who survived a big moment exiting the Ascari chicane on his final run.
Ocon’s car broke down on track for the second time this weekend, before he could set a time.
PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m22.389s||1.254s|
|7||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m22.411s||1.276s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m22.814s||1.679s|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m22.836s||1.701s|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m23.496s||–|
|16||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m23.825s||–|
Italian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton tops final F1 practice at Monza
Lewis Hamilton took control during the final Formula 1 practice session for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Saturday morning.
Reigning champion Hamilton topped the timesheet in his Mercedes with a 1m22.008s, beating team-mate Nico Rosberg into second place by almost four tenths of a second.
Sebastian Vettel was Mercedes’ nearest rival, but 0.938s adrift, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was 1.141s off the pace with Ferrari’s upgraded engine for this weekend.
Come the end of FP3 Red Bull found itself fourth in the pecking order behind both Williams cars as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished fifth and sixth quickest respectively, 1.492s and 1.639s down, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in close attendance.
A quiet start to the session was disrupted when Romain Grosjean slid off into the gravel at Ascari, from which he was unable to escape.
It resulted in a four-minute deployment of the virtual safety car while the Haas was removed, with Grosjean’s one-and-only timed run of 1m24.463s still good enough for 14th.
Ricciardo set the first notable timed lap of 1m23.709s on the super-softs that was swiftly usurped by Hamilton with a lap 0.853s quicker on soft tyres.
In between those two laps Rosberg found himself badly baulked by Verstappen in his Red Bull through the second chicane.
After Verstappen’s earlier skirmish, the 18-year-old then complained over the radio himself about being "blocked" by Renault’s Kevin Magnussen out of the exit of Ascari.
With 20 minutes remaining, and on a set of super-softs for the first time in the session, Rosberg posted the fastest time of 1m22.401s, but Hamilton again responded with a lap 0.393s faster.
The Force India pair of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who both complained about the balance of their cars on Friday, finished ninth and 11th – around two seconds down – sandwiching the second Haas of Esteban Gutierrez.
The McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso could do no better than 12th and 17th respectively, the latter 2.650s adrift.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1.701s||23|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1.732s||21|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.909s||20|
|11||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||2.033s||21|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||2.232s||17|
|20||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||2.837s||17|
Kimi Raikkonen feels Belgian Grand Prix F1 pole position was possible
Kimi Raikkonen believes pole position for Sunday’s Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix was possible had he not lost time because of understeer in the final chicane.
The Ferrari driver made a mistake on his first run when he ran through the gravel at Stavelot, but he regrouped to finish third quickest with his final attempt, just 0.166s adrift of pole-sitter Nico Rosberg.
"The second run was pretty good but comparing to my Q2 lap, I lost two tenths in the last chicane," said Raikkonen.
"I got understeer. Obviously pole position was there. We had a good chance.
"It would have been more easy not going off on the first run and have a decent lap but that is how it is.
"It’s disappointing because we were close and it would have been nice to get it.
"Compared to the previous few races, we can be satisfied with where we are with qualifying.
"But we are not in front so we cannot be too happy."
Ferrari went aggressive with its tyre strategy, choosing seven super-softs, five softs and just one medium set for this weekend.
But despite the super-soft expected to only last a handful of laps in the unusually hot conditions at Spa, Raikkonen – who will start on the soft – remained confident in Ferrari’s strategy.
"We should be just fine," he said. "It has been probably more tricky than anyone expected because the conditions are not exactly normal Spa conditions.
"What we have, it’s enough for what we want to do so it should be fine."
Nico Rosberg beats Max Verstappen to Belgian Grand Prix pole
Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix, but was pushed hard by Red Bull Formula 1 rival Max Verstappen.
With Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton choosing not to try for pole, on account of a 55-place grid penalty for multiple F1 engine changes so far at Spa, Rosberg looked set to face a relatively unchallenged run to pole.
He was fastest in Q2 on the soft tyre with a 1m46.999s lap, which was quicker than Verstappen could manage on the super-soft.
Rosberg bolted on the super-softs for Q3, but couldn’t find much more time on them.
He improved to a 1m46.744s best on his first run in Q3, which was enough to beat Verstappen to pole by 0.249 seconds when neither driver managed to go faster on their final runs.
Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest for Ferrari, almost two tenths clear of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who lost time to a big oversteer moment at the Bus Stop chicane on his final flying lap. Raikkonen also dropped time at the end of his lap, and felt that cost him a shot at pole.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth fastest in the second Red Bull, just over three tenths down on Verstappen.
Ricciardo endured a poor first run in Q3, but improved enough on his second to make the top six.
Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg took sixth and seventh places respectively for Force India, while fellow Mercedes customer team Williams suffered software problems with both cars in Q3.
This meant it couldn’t run full qualifying mode on the engines, restricting Valtteri Bottas to eighth and Felipe Massa to 10th.
Massa also locked his brakes heavily at La Source on his single Q3 run, and Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda was able to squeak ahead of him into ninth place.
Button’s place in Q3 came at the expense of Romain Grosjean’s Haas, which ended up missing the cut by 0.265s.
Renault delivered its best qualifying performance of the season so far with Kevin Magnussen 12th fastest and team-mate Jolyon Palmer 14th.
They were split by the second Haas of Esteban Gutierrez, which faces a five-place grid penalty for impeding Pascal Wehrlein’s Manor at Raidillon in final practice.
Wehrlein made it through to Q2, but wound up last in that segment, after a disappointing run in which he went slower than he did in Q1.
Carlos Sainz Jr was just ahead of him in the first of the Toro Rossos, also unable to improve on his Q1 best.
Felipe Nasr failed to escape Q1 in the heavily revised Sauber by just 0.048s and wound up 17th overall, a tenth ahead of Manor debutant Esteban Ocon.
Daniil Kvyat endured yet another Q1 exit for Toro Rosso, ending up 19th fastest, fractionally ahead of the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.
Reigning world champion Hamilton set the 20th fastest time in the second Mercedes, completing a leisurely run to simply register on the timesheet knowing he will start at the back of the grid.
Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda broke down before he could complete an out-lap in qualifying, so he failed to set a time.
Honda found what it described as a "data anomaly" with Alonso’s engine after the final practice session, but elected to send him out without making an engine change.
PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m46.893s||0.149s|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m47.216s||0.472s|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.407s||0.663s|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m47.543s||0.799s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m49.038s||–|
|19||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m49.058s||–|
Belgian GP: Kimi Raikkonen fastest for Ferrari in final practice
Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in final Belgian Grand Prix Formula 1 practice as Lewis Hamilton focused on race simulation work given he will serve a 55-place grid penalty.
Raikkonen clocked a 1m47.974s for Ferrari on the super-softs late in the session to finish 0.215 seconds quicker than long-time pacesetter Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel a tenth further back.
After going fastest on Friday, Max Verstappen encountered gearbox problems and sat out most of third practice in the pits, failing to get a lap time on the board.
Mercedes fitted Hamilton’s car with a new engine for each of this weekend’s practice sessions, which has led to substantial penalties but allowed him to build up a pool of systems to use for the rest of 2016.
With the championship leader set to start from the back of the field, or potentially the pitlane, Hamilton chose to work on longer runs on the medium and then the soft for most of the morning.
The Briton then bolted on a set of the super-softs in the closing minutes and though he set the fastest first sector, he locked up into the final chicane and ended up fifth.
That was a tenth quicker than team-mate Nico Rosberg, who finished seventh after he failed to improve on his soft time after taking the super-softs.
Valtteri Bottas was fourth quickest, half a second off the pace, with Nico Hulkenberg sixth and Felipe Massa eighth and Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean completing the top 10.
Stewards are investigating two incidents from the session.
Pascal Wehrlein was furious with Esteban Gutierrez after the Manor driver had to take to the grass at the top of Eau Rouge and Raidillon to avoid the slower Haas.
Kevin Magnussen prompted anger from Vettel when he felt he was hampered by the slower Renault, saying on the radio: "What an idiot. Did you see that? It’s free practice. It’s called free practice, who gives a shit?"
Vettel was outpaced by team-mate Raikkonen through the hour, with the Finn pipping him by 0.096s as they set the early pace before Ricciardo went quicker. Then when they came back out for the final super-soft runs, Vettel did not improve while Raikkonen produced the lap that earned the top spot.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button did very little running, with the former not completing his first timed lap until the second half of the session. They finished 11th and 13th respectively.
Sauber also encountered what it described as "minor problems" with Marcus Ericsson’s car but the team managed to get the Swede out in time to complete a handful of laps.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m48.189s||0.215s||18|
|6||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.739s||0.765s||12|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m48.915s||0.941s||12|
|16||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m50.023s||2.049s||9|
|17||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m50.078s||2.104s||9|
|–||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||–||–||2|
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|