2013 GERMAN GP: LEWIS HAMILTON AGAIN ON POLE, ROSBERG 11 ON GRID

Lewis Hamilton made it back-to-back pole positions with another impressive lap to beat Sebastian Vettel at the Nurburgring.

The majority of teams opted to complete their Q1 laps on the soft tyres, with the mediums being saved for the race and only Red Bull and Mercedes bucking the trend. It was a poor session for Williams as the team marked 600 grands prix by seeing both of its drivers drop out in the first part of qualifying, Valtteri Bottas beating team-mate Pastor Maldonado and failing to make it through by 0.012.

It was a close session in Q2 as half a second covered the top 11 drivers, but Mercedes was caught out as it pitted both its cars following their first runs and Rosberg was eventually pushed out. 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 P2 the German was eliminated. 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. Good laps from Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Button also hurt Rosberg, who will start on the sixth row alongside Paul di Resta.

Hamilton saved face for Mercedes, however, in Q3 setting the pace with a lap of 1m 29.540s which held Vettel to second on 1m 29.622s. On their second runs the German shaved his time down to 1m 29.501s, but the Briton’s response was an emphatic 1m 29.398s to settle the issue. Behind them, Mark Webber took third.

Kimi Raikkonen showed the improved Lotus pace with fourth, while Romain Grosjean starts just behind his team-mate in fifth place. It was another very impressive performance from Daniel Ricciardo as he took sixth ahead of the two Ferraris, although Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Ferrari opted out of the pole fight. Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso ran medium tyres in Q3 rather than the faster softs and ended up on row four. Jenson Button followed the same tactic in ninth and did not do a Q3 flying lap. Hulkenberg reached Q3 for Sauber and followed suit.

 P.     Driver               Team          Time      Gap  
 1.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes AMG   1:29.398
 2.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull       1:29.501  + 0.103
 3.  Mark Webber          Red Bull       1:29.608  + 0.210
 4.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus          1:29.892  + 0.494
 5.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus          1:29.959  + 0.561
 6.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso     1:30.528  + 1.130
 7.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari        1:31.126  + 1.728
 8.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari        1:31.209  + 1.811
 9.  Jenson Button        McLaren        No time set
10.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber         No time set
   Q2 Fastest time: Felipe Massa 1:29.825                 
11.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes AMG   1:30.326  + 0.501
12.  Paul di Resta        Force India    1:30.697  + 0.872
13.  Sergio Perez         McLaren        1:30.933  + 1.108
14.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber         1:31.010  + 1.185
15.  Adrian Sutil         Force India    1:31.010  + 1.185
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso     1:31.104  + 1.279
   Q1 Fastest time: Felipe Massa 1:30.547                 
17.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams       1:31.693  + 1.146
18.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams       1:31.707  + 1.160
19.  Charles Pic          Caterham       1:32.937  + 2.390
20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia       1:33.063  + 2.516
21.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham       1:33.734  + 3.187
22.  Max Chilton          Marussia       1:34.098  + 3.551
107% time: 1:36.885