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GP Week : Issue 206
QUALIFYING With the Williams duo looking closer than ever, there looked to be some interest in whether either could upset what nevertheless loomed as a likely Mercedes 1-2 – the interest being which of the Silver Arrows would take pole. That all changed in Q3 as the cameras zoomed in on a silver car rotating wildly into the tyres in the Stadium section of the track. No, it wasn’t a McLaren, it was one of the Mercs. Lewis. He radioed something about a brake failure before clambering out with what was some minor leg bruising. The effect of this was significant. Firstly, despite having done a time to get to Q2, it would confine Lewis to a grid 16, or thereabouts – pressure off Nico, both in qualifying and race terms in reality. Although there was one small matter – as a result of two simple errors, due apparently to a change of brake system brand overnight, Nico hadn’t actually set a Q3 time when the reds came out. In the end, that was easily resolved, and Rosberg went top in Q3, and everything that followed, without too much stress. Indeed, that possibly explains just how close Valtteri Bottas got – ultimately just over two-tenths shy of Rosberg in grabbing the spare front row spot. Nico said the right things about “preferring to have a close fight with Lewis” (sure ...) but in reality, under normal circumstances, the German Grand Prix had been decided. His week just kept on getting better. The significant difference between the Soft and SuperSoft tyre option would play its part too – even Nico had to sacrifice a set of SuperSofts under the Q3 circumstances, just to be sure ... For sure, they’d be required in Q2 and thus, the top 10 would undoubtedly start the race on them. But Nico was relaxed as he summed up his day: “That was a quite challenging session. The option tyre lasts only for one quick lap and without FRIC we had a lot do adjust the set-up. I had a difficult start because I didn't really feel comfortable with the balance in the braking zones but that gradually improved through the sessions. “The quickest lap at the end was really a good one. So I'm really happy to start from the top position here at our home Grand Prix. But I can't be too pleased about today because of the accident Lewis suffered, I'm glad he is fine. I would have preferred to have the normal fight for the pole with him. But I'm sure he will fly through the field as our car is still the quickest out there ...” It's all about Lewis ... FORMULA 1 Round 10 GERMAN GP – Qualifying Pos # DrIver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 LaPs 1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:17.631 1:17.109 1:16.540 17 2 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:18.215 1:17.353 1:16.759 15 3 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:18.381 1:17.370 1:17.078 21 4 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.260 1:17.788 1:17.214 17 5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:18.117 1:17.855 1:17.273 19 6 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:18.194 1:17.646 1:17.577 16 7 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:18.389 1:17.866 1:17.649 19 8 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:18.530 1:18.103 1:17.965 22 9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:18.927 1:18.017 1:18.014 21 10 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:18.916 1:18.161 1:18.035 21 11 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.425 1:18.193 15 12 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:18.534 1:18.273 13 13 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:18.496 1:18.285 14 14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:18.739 1:18.787 14 15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:18.894 1:18.983 14 16 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18.683 5 17 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:19.142 8 18 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:19.676 8 19 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:20.195 7 20 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:20.408 7 21 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:20.489 9 NS 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault Gutierrez P14, dropped 3 for collision at last round; Hamilton P16, dropped 5 for gearbox change; With seven minutes of Q1 to go, and with some brake issues, Rosberg hadn't put in a time on Softs – though a set of SuperSofts would soon put that right 30 GPWEEK.com // 30 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> HOCKENHAIM PARTNERS: