Nico Rosberg claimed pole position in a dramatic qualifying session in Germany ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and both Red Bull’s.
Fighting electronic issues in Q3, Rosberg had to abort his initial flying lap and return to the pits. With time remaining for just one fast lap – while carrying a larger fuel load than Hamilton – the German-born Rosberg did enough to take pole.
Hamilton had a scrappy Q3 making several errors on his last lap to end 0.107 seconds behind.
The Red Bull’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will start on the second row while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel took out the third row.
Qualifying Battle Falls to Rosberg
Rosberg had been looking strong in the early practise sessions and continued his fine form into qualifying.
In a straight shoot-out with the reigning world champion, and restricted to just one hot lap in Q3, Rosberg took a convincing pole leading into a critical race before the summer break.
Now trailing Hamilton by 6 points, Rosberg was pleased to edge out his rival and take the pole.
“It was a great feeling. Just a great lap.”
“Not only was it just one lap that I had but I also had extra fuel to make sure that I would have an extra shot if a mistake or something happens.”
“For sure it is very important to me to win tomorrow’s race, and I will be attacking with everything. It will be a big battle as always.”
Red Bull and Ferrari to Fight For the Podium
A tight arm-wrestle is now forming with Red Bull’s surge in form coinciding with Ferrari’s apparent on and off track issues.
Ferrari would ordinarily have been optimistic of challenging at the Hockenheimring. But with team changes off the track overshadowing qualifying the resurgent Raikkonen – on the back of a great race in Hungary – could only manage 5th while Vettel was out of sorts again and will start from 6th.
This comes as Red Bull are looking to leap-frog Ferrari on the constructor table and could well do so this weekend.
Ricciardo continued his qualifying dominance to take third ahead of Verstappen by 0.108 seconds. Labelling his lap a “beauty”, the Australian has a formidable qualifying record having already out-qualified his team-mates eleven times this season. And finishing only 0.256 seconds behind Mercedes, Ricciardo is optimistic ahead of the race.
“I think we got pretty close to be honest.”
“My first lap in Q3 was really good. We’re close enough.”
“Obviously tomorrow, you never know what can happen, and racetracks change day to day with the temperature and whatever but yeah, obviously we’re looking pretty good.”
Sad Decline of Kyvat
Daniil Kyvat has suffered through a difficult year having been dropped from Red Bull to Torro Rosso mid-season and then being comprehensively out-performed by new team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Fighting for his position next season amid rumours that Pierre Gasly will take his seat, Kyvat could only qualify in 19th place.
Afterwards, it was awkward to watch a clearly emotional Kyvat in the media pen.
“I should be better than this.”
“I know it’s not my real self driving my car and it’s very painful. Some people are happy to see this for sure.”
In brighter news, driver penalties have pushed Renault’s Jolyon Palmer up the grid to start from 14th. And with a strong power unit, no-one will rule out Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez – starting from 7th and 9th – from challenging for a podium position.
The race will start at 14:00 local time and will run over 67 laps.