Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the German Grand Prix as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out in Saturday’s qualifying session and will start 15th on the grid.
Rosberg completed the fastest lap on the Hockenheimring in 1 minute, 16.540 seconds in the third part of the session for what was also the weekend’s fastest time.
“Home race, to be on pole is fantastic,” the German said. “Of course I would have preferred it was an open fight with Lewis. I was a little less happy as a result (of Hamilton’s crash) because Lewis didn’t have a shot at it in the end but all in all, yeah, a fantastic day up to now.”
Hamilton crashed in the first part of the session, leading to a seven-minute delay after the British driver spectacularly spun off the track and crashed into barriers at Turn 13.
Hamilton told his team that his brakes failed coming into the very sharp corner and Mercedes confirmed that a right-front brake disc failure was to blame.
Hamilton was checked out at the medical center and seemed relatively unscathed.
“I’ve got a little bit of pain but that’s what usually happens when you have a crash like that. Even if something’s broken, I’ll still be driving tomorrow,” the 2008 champion said.
Rosberg said he wasn’t worried about having the same issue with his brakes as both drivers’ cars are fitted with different systems.
“Well done to everyone but Mercedes is still ahead,” Bottas said. “I really felt I got everything out of the car today.”
Kevin Magnussen claimed a commendable fourth place for McLaren, and the Dane was followed by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in fifth and sixth.
“I think other people were able to get more and more out of the track whereas we seemed to stabilize around a certain lap time,” said defending four-time champion Vettel. “It’s a long race, anything can happen.”
Vettel’s optimism isn’t supported by recent history. Nobody has won from outside the top three starters at Hockenheim since the track was re-profiled in 2001.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso, and Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez completed the top 10 on an afternoon when track temperatures climbed to 56 degrees C (133 F).
McLaren’s Jenson Button, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean of Lotus were all eliminated with Hamilton in qualifying’s second cut.
Gutierrez was carrying a three-place penalty into the session for causing a collision with Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado at the British Grand Prix so his 14th was knocked back to 17th, meaning Hamilton will start Sunday in 15th rather than 16th.
Rosberg, who was also fastest in the morning’s final practice session, holds a four-point lead over his British teammate and is ideally placed to extend it after his fourth pole from five races.
“There are no points for today. Important is tomorrow. There’s a long way to go, but it’s a good start,” Rosberg said after claiming his ninth pole overall.
Speaking in German, Rosberg expressed his relief that “we’re still the fastest” despite the removal from all cars of the front and rear interconnected suspension systems which were deemed to be possibly illegal by the FIA.Felipe Massa, Formula 1, German GP, Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas