NURBURG, Germany – Nico Rosberg may have had a nightmare qualifying session Saturday at the Nürburgring, but his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying session couldn’t have gone better.
Hamilton secured the pole for Sunday’s German Grand Prix, topping local hero and three-time defending Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel for the top spot.
Hamilton’s late effort on soft tires was enough to just beat the Red Bull driver for the top spot by a tenth of a second, with Mark Webber third in the other Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean fourth and fifth for Lotus.
Q3 had some relatively unfamiliar drivers in it, notably Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, but, very surprisingly, not Rosberg. Mercedes clearly miscalculated how much the track was ramping up and elected to leave him in the pits whilst a flurry of improvements suddenly jeopardised his lap time of 1:30.326.
When time expired Rosberg was still in the top 10, but Raikkonen was on a hot lap and when the Finn bumped himself up to second the German was eliminated.
Hamilton saved face for Mercedes in Q3, setting the pace with a lap of 1:29.540, which held Vettel to second at 1:29.622. On their second runs the German shaved his time down to 1:29.501, but the Briton’s response was an emphatic 1:29.398 to settle the issue.