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GP Week : Issue 206
QUALIFYING Valterri shaded team-mate Massa by three-tenths for the other front row spot, and admitted that he’d strung together a good one: “The last lap I had was almost perfect so I can't fault the session. The Mercedes are still a bit quicker than us, but we are going to work hard tomorrow to get in front but it will be difficult. The aim tomorrow is to keep ahead of the Ferraris and Red Bulls and hopefully the cooler temperatures predicted will play into our hands.” Behind this top three, the pleasant surprise was Kevin Magnussen, fourth, the McLaren responding to a revised rear wing well, ahead of both Red Bulls ... completing a Merc-powered 1-2 -3 -4: “I think we got everything out of the car in terms of set-up, and our strategy throughout qualifying was perfect. It was a great achievement to be able to hold off the Red Bulls, and I feel that we’re not too far away from some of the really strong guys. “There’s no secret to our improvement: a lot of hard work has made the difference. We still don’t have the best car, but it’s well- balanced and raceable, and I think we’re able to get the best out of it on a regular basis. The car behaves quite differently with the new rear wing – again, thanks to all at the factory who did such a fantastic job to get it to the track so quickly.” On this occasion, the best non-Mercedes-powered cars, the Red Bulls, would manage fifth and sixth – Daniel Ricciardo adding to his significant qualifying duel wins: “It wasn’t too bad today. We would like to be further for ward than fifth, but the lap I did was pretty good. I made quite an improvement in Q3 from Q2 so I can’t really argue with the lap I did, butasateamwearestillabitoff.We know the Mercedes is strong, but the Williams was also continually showing their pace today and the McLaren with Kevin was good, so we have to keep working but we did what we could.” Fernando ran Vettel close for sixth, but fell a tenth short: “We can’t be happy with seventh, but it reflects the fact this weekend has been one of ups and downs. With such high temperatures, the rear tyres slide a lot and it will be really important to choose the right number of stops to make. The forecast is unclear as to whether the rain will arrive during or after the race and so we have to be clever at being ready to anticipate it if we want to be in the game. “Here, as in Austria, Mercedes and Williams seem out of reach, but wewilldoallwecantobeatthe front of the following group. I hope to see a bunched up race, with a lot of overtaking, even though I’m not expecting too many surprises because the absence of FRIC hasn’t produced any significant changes, nor closed the gaps much.” The tail end of the top ten had a familiar ring about it – Danii Kvyat again excelling in the Toro Rosso, and the Force Indias nine and 10. The significance, if you like, appeared to be the efforts of Magnussen and Alonso’s team-mates: Button 11th (albeit only two to three- tenths away from Kevin mostly) and Raikkonen 12th. It’s all about a tenth or two either way, but the trend is significant ... On this occasion, the post-qualifying press conference had one of its lighter moments when Finnish journalist Heikki Kulta, In an oblique reference to Rosberg’s recent nationality fun-poking by Hamilton, asked of Rosberg “I would love to say that this is the first time in F1 history that there is an all-Finnish front row. Do you agree?” Nico did – on pole, and with Lewis somewhere near the back, why wouldn’t you! 2014 FORMULA 1TM GROSSER PREIS SANTANDER VON DEUTSCHLAND 67 LAPS ROUND 10/19 << Last Race – Britain Two Weeks Ago 1 Next Race – Hungary >> Next Weekend 2014 FORMULA 1TM GROSSER PREIS SANTANDER VON DEUTSCHLAND QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – In a week where he got married, his country won the World Cup and he signed a contract extention, Nico Rosberg now has more poles this season (5) than Lewis Hamilton (4). His 5th pole of 2014 comes on a circuit on which he had never previously started in the top-8. 2 – Williams are on the front row of the grid at Hockenheim for the first time since 2004 courtesy of Valtteri Bottas, as the Finn attempts to be the first Williams driver to take a hat-trick of podium finishes since Juan-Pablo Montoya at the 2003 German, Hungarian and Italian GPs. If either he or Felipe Massa are on the podium it will be the 300th for the Williams team. This is the 4th time in the last 5 visits to Hockenheim that Felipe Massa has qualified in the top-3, and he’s been on the podium on all the other occasions. Unusually, the top-3 on the grid are also the top-3 in the trap, and in the same order. 3 – Kevin Magnussen matches his career-best performance of 4th from the Australian GP, when he took his only podium finish of the year on his debut, while Daniel Ricciardo has outqualified Sebastian Vettel 7-3 this season. Vettel’s 6th on the grid is his lowest on this circuit since 2008 while Fernando Alonso starts 7th for the 3rd time in 2014 – on both previous occasions (Spain, Canada) he finished 6th in the race. Daniil Kvyat gives Toro Rosso their best ever starting position on this circuit, while Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Perez only just avoided elimination in Q1, yet both made the top-10. For Perez, this is a first ever top-10 start at Hockenheim. 4 – Mclaren’s Jenson Button maintained his curious run of alternately reaching Q3 or being knocked out in Q2 at the last 8 races, while Kimi Räikkönen failed to reach Q3 for the 2nd straight race. Lewis Hamilton had only failed to reach Q3 once in the last 41⁄2 years (Italy 2013), but it’s the 3rd consecutive Hockenheim race in which at least 1 Mercedes has started outside the top-10. He only has 1 podium finish when starting outside the top-10 (3rd from 17th on the grid at Brazil 2009). 5 – Adrian Sutil was knocked out in Q1 for the 6th time this year, but moves ahead of teammate Esteban Gutierrez on the grid thanks to the Mexican’s penalty for colliding with Maldonado at Silverstone. Maldonado himself is 19th, but he was 0.519s slower than the Marussia of Jules Bianchi (arguably a better performance than his 12th on the grid at Silverstone in the wet). 31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> HOCKENHAIM PARTNERS: