Nico Rosberg secured his first German Grand Prix pole position today, after title rival and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out.
Rosberg set his best lap during his first Q3 run, having been unable to improve as the clock ticked down.
It wasn’t necessary for the championship leader, who had also registered the ninth pole position of his career.
Showing complete control of his car and the conditions, Rosberg emerged from the qualifying melee with a best of 1:18.540, heading Williams front row partner Valtteri Bottas by two-tenths of a second.
While the Finnish Bottas showed some metal, it was very unlikely that the Williams racer would ever have taken the top spot from Rosberg; such was the command of the session.
As such, it was not the most stellar of qualifying sessions. With one potential challenger removed early doors, the pole shot – realistically – came down to just Rosberg and he nailed it with consummate ease.
Felipe Massa (Williams) and Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) were the quickest of those in the 1’17s, shoring up the second row with two late efforts. They headed an all Red Bull third row, led by Daniel Ricciardo (5th).
Fernando Alonso ended a disappointing day for Ferrari with 7th. The Italian machine looked somewhat unstable for much of the day, with apparent imbalance issues robbing the Spaniard of confidence and time.
Daniil Kvyat performed excellently again to secure 8th for Toro Rosso, leading an all Force India row five, with Nico Hulkenberg taking 9th ahead of his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez.
A mix of a slide and Perez’ final Q2 lap kept Jenson Button out of the final session. The Englishman wrecked his final tour when the rear of his McLaren slid through the final corner. Moments later, Perez lodged a 1:18.161 – just three-hundredth quicker – to end Button’s day early.
Kimi Raikkonen was also a Q2 casualty. Like Button, the Finn could not improve in his final run, leaving Raikkonen to fight from the outside of the sixth row. Jean-Eric Vergne could do no better than 13th with his final lap, although the Frenchman fell just thousandths shy of Raikkonen. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber, 14th) was half-a-second off of Vergne, while Grosjean (Lotus, 15th) was another two-tenths lower even than that.
Championship challenger Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the first qualifying session when his right front brake failed entering the Sachskurve, leaving the former World Champion down in 16th place. The sudden grip in his left-front pitched Hamilton off track and into a spin, where his Mercedes collected the barrier hard, bringing out the red flag for just under ten minutes. The Briton emerged from the wreck fine, but looking generally winded.
Adrian Sutil was the fastest of the drivers knocked out of Q1. The German missed the cut-off by two tenths in his Sauber, although he remained well clear of the chasing pack, which included both Marussia’s (Jules Bianchi, 18th; Max Chilton, 21st) and both Caterham’s (Kamui Kobayashi, 20th; Marcus Ericsson, 22nd).
Lotus’ Paster Maldonado was the sixth member of the group to fall at the first hurdle. The Venezuelan could do no better than a 1:20.195, leaving him over 1.2s off the Q1 cut-off time.
Ericsson could not set a time due to a mechanical issue, but having run in practice, there should be no problems for the Swede securing permission to start.