Saturday, July 30, 2016

2016 GERMAN GP: NICO ON POLE FOR HOME RACE

Nico Rosberg bounced back from an early Q3 electronics problem to claim pole position for his home race, the German Grand Prix, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo.

After breezing through the first two sessions (the Mercedes drivers were the only drivers to qualify from Q1 having used only soft tyres), Rosberg set off on his first run in Q3 only to have to abandon the run at the end of his first lap when his Mercedes suffered an electronics issue.

"It just suddenly lost the throttle. It just cut completely the engine, just at the end of the lap. That was disappointing but I’m sure we’ll fix it for tomorrow. It’s never happened before, so I’m sure it will be OK."

Rosberg dived towards the pit lane for repairs and out on track team-mate Lewis Hamilton set the early Q3 pace with a lap of 1:14.486 with Ricciardo slotting in P2 with a time of 1:14.724 to sit 0.240 off Hamilton. As the rest of the field returned to the pit lane to plot their final runs, Rosberg headed out again and with an almost clear track he posted a superb lap of 1:14.363 to take provisional pole. And as Hamilton made a small mistake in Sector 2 and went slower in Sector 3, Rosberg took his 27th career pole position and his fifth of the season.

Ricciardo took P3 behind Hamilton and admitted that though he had got close, he did not feel he had to pace to compete for pole. Ricciardo will be joined on row two of the grid by team-mate Max Verstappen, while row three will be filled by Ferrari’s fifth-placed Kimi Raikkonen and P6 man Sebastian Vettel.

Behind them, Nico Hulkenberg will line-up in seventh place alongside Williams Valtteri Bottas, with Sergio Perez ninth in the second Force India ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa. The earlier sessions had progressed largely as expected. Q1’s only somewhat unforeseen elimination was that of Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.

The Russian driver qualified in P19 behind 17th-placed Renault driver Kevin Magnussen and Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein and ahead of Manor’s Rio Haryanto and the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson. P19 was all the more frustrating for Kvyat after he was informed that team-mate Carlos Sainz had made it through to Q2 in P12.

That was as far as Saing got however and in Q2 the Spaniard took P13, though he was also placed under investigation for allegedly impeding Massa during the session. Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez almost made it through to Q3 for the first time since the Korean Grand Prix of 2013.

The Mexican was in P9 after his final run of Q2 but Massa eventually beat him to the final Q3 slot by 0.184s. Behind Gutierrez, Jenson Button was 12th for McLaren ahead of Sainz, Fernando Alonso in the second McLaren, Romain Grosjean in the second Haas and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer. Grosjean is set to take a five-place penalty for tomorrow’s race after he had to switch gearboxes following problems in FP3.

2016 German Grand Prix – Qualifying
 P.   DRIVER            TEAM         TIME     GAP  
 1. Nico Rosberg      Mercedes AMG 1:14.363
 2. Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes AMG 1:14.470 + 0.107
 3. Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull     1:14.726 + 0.363
 4. Max Verstappen    Red Bull     1:14.834 + 0.471
 5. Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari      1:15.142 + 0.779
 6. Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari      1:15.315 + 0.952
 7. Nico Hulkenberg*  Force India  1:15.510 + 1.147
 8. Valtteri Bottas   Williams     1:15.530 + 1.167
 9. Sergio Perez      Force India  1:15.537 + 1.174
10. Felipe Massa      Williams     1:15.615 + 1.252
   * grid penalty 1 place
  Q2 Fastest time: Lewis Hamilton 1:14.748         
11. Esteban Gutierrez Haas         1:15.883 + 1.135
12. Jenson Button     McLaren      1:15.909 + 1.161
13. Carlos Sainz JR.  Toro Rosso** 1:15.989 + 1.241
14. Fernando Alonso   McLaren      1:16.041 + 1.293
15. Romain Grosjean*  Haas         1:16.086 + 1.338
16. Jolyon Palmer     Renault      1:16.665 + 1.917
    * grid penalty 5 places
    ** grid penalty 3 places
  Q1 Fastest time: Lewis Hamilton 1:15.243         
17. Kevin Magnussen   Renault      1:16.953 + 1.473
18. Pascal Wehrlein   Manor        1:17.123 + 1.474
19. Daniil Kvyat      Toro Rosso   1:17.200 + 1.633
20. Rio Haryanto      Manor        1:17.238 + 1.734
21. Felipe Nasr       Sauber       1:17.355 + 1.880
22. Marcus Ericsson   Sauber       1:17.442 + 1.995
    107% time: 1:20.510