Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole position for Mercedes in their home German grand prix as he knocked Sebastian Vettel off of top spot with the final lap of qualifying at the Nurburgring. Hamilton secured his third pole position of the season by 0.103 seconds with Vettel followed by his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. Lotus pair Kimi Raikkonen and Roman Grosejan will start in fourth and fifth place, respectively, with Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo a spot further back. Felipe Massa qualified a spot ahead of his teammate Fernando Alonso, in seventh, as Ferrari elected to use the slower “medium” tire, as they hope to gain an advantage for the race.
The celebrations for Mercedes were marred by Nico Rosberg failing to make it into the top-10 showdown with the team failing to send him out for a final run as he was pushed out in the dying embers of Q2. But, after struggling in the second and third practice sessions, Hamilton said he was delighted by the transformation. Although, he still expects a tough battle with Red Bull on Sunday.
“I'm a little bit overwhelmed, to be honest, because I have been struggling since first practice this weekend,” he said, according to the Formula One website. “We were so far off this morning that we took the set-up back to where we started, tried to analyze everything and just worked really hard to improve it. But we don't get any points for today and the real hard work comes tomorrow.”
There were no problems with the new Pirelli tires that have been brought in following a rash of punctures last week at Silverstone. The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has said that they would consider withdrawing if similar problems emerged this weekend. Red Bull look to have adapted well to the new tires and Vettel believes he is in good shape for the race.
We had a good run yesterday looking at the race, so I think we have done our homework,” he explained. “We have put the car on the first row; it wasn’t quite enough for pole position, but we should have a good race from there tomorrow.”
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Disappointment abounded for Rosberg, though, with the German believing the miscalculation cost him dear as he looks for a third win in four races.
“I could have been on the front row today and that's why I'm so disappointed,” he said. “It's been a tough day but sometimes that's how racing is. I will be doing my best to climb up through the field tomorrow but it won't be easy.”
Where to watch: The Formula One German Grand Prix will get underway at 8 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by CNBC, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.