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Mercedes on pole for Germany

2013-07-06 15:41

POLE IN GERMANY: Mercedes Lewis Hamilton took pole at the Nurburgring for the 2013 German F1 GP. Image: AFP

MARK MEADOWS

NURBURGRING, Germany - Briton Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole position for the 2013 German Formula 1 GP on a mixed Saturday for Mercedes.

The team’s misjudgement left the previous week's Silverstone winner Nico Rosberg 11th on the grid for their home race.

Hamilton, who won the previous race at the Nurburgring in 2011 for McLaren, delighted his new bosses by putting his Silver Arrows on the front of the grid at one of the homes of German motorsport.

FIRST HOME WIN?

"It's really overwhelming. P2 and P3 (second and third practice sessions) were just disasters and it got worse this morning. We were miles off," the 2008 World champion told a news conference. "We made lots and lots of changes and just hoped that it would work. I'm grateful for the work the guys put in for me.

It is his 29th career pole.

Red Bull's triple World champion Sebastian Vettel, who leads the 2013 standings, had to be content with second on the grid as he bids to win his home race and a July GP for the first time.

He said: "It was quite close. I tried everything I had. It looks like we are much closer to them (Mercedes) here than we were at Silverstone. I think we did our homework.”

Team mate Mark Webber - the 2009 winner here - will start third in his final German GP before switching to endurance racing at the end of the season.

Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen, a likely replacement for the Australian Webber at Red Bull for 2014, was fourth-fastest on a sunny afternoon in the wooded Eifel region.

BOYCOTT THREAT

Temperatures were much higher than Friday practice and Hamilton basked in the glory of pole after being one of the drivers hit by the tyre explosions in Britain last weekend that threw the sport into crisis.

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association announced on Thursday that it would withdraw from Sunday's race if the blow-outs happened again but all three practice sessions and qualifying in Germany were incident-free.

After the intervention of the governing International Automobile Federation, Pirelli brought upgraded rear tyres to the Nurburgring with an inner belt made of the synthetic fibre Kevlar instead of steel.

Practice appeared to prove that the cooler tyres would aid Red Bull and Mercedes but Rosberg failed to make it into the final session after his team thought he had set a good enough time and kept him in the garage to save tyres.
Others then went faster, knocking him out of the top 10.

SUPERB SIXTH FOR RICCIARDO

"It was quite a shock really," Rosberg told reporters. "I didn't see it coming. The team didn't expect the track to ramp up that much. It really is a big disappointment. Unbelievable. I can't believe I'm standing here. We just didn't judge it correctly."

Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo, also fighting to replace the retiring Mark Webber at parent team Red Bull for 2014, did his hopes no harm by bagging a superb sixth on the grid.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, second in the standings and 21 points behind Vettel, finished only eighth in qualifying with team mate Felipe Massa outpacing him in seventh after Ferrari made a strategic decision to start on the medium tyres and not fight for pole.

"We took a decision thinking only to the race" said team principal Stefano Domenicali.

Spanish double champion Alonso has not managed the front row since Germany in 2012 but has won twice this season.

'HOTTER TODAY'

Jenson Button showed a mild improvement for McLaren by taking ninth having been 10th on the grid at Silverstone but team mate Sergio Perez was down in 13th as the once mighty British outfit continues to struggle. He said:

"It definitely got hotter today, which changed the balance of the car, so it's been a tough afternoon for me.”

Nine-times champion team Williams, without a point in its worst start to a season, had another miserable day with Pastor Maldonado's kers giving off smoke in the garage early in the morning and prompting fire marshals to come to the rescue.

The Venezuelan took part in the third practice session after frantic work by the struggling British team but he and Finnish rookie team mate Valtteri Bottas will start 18th and 17th respectively on Sunday's grid.

The race will be Williams' 600th GP.

Here’s how the cars will start:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min29.398
2 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min29.501
3 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min29.608
4 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min29.892
5 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min29.959
6 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min30.528
7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min31.126
8 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min31.209
9 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren
10 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari
 
11 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min30.326
12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min30.697
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min30.933
14 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min31.010
15 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 1min31.010
16 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min31.104

17 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min31.693
18 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min31.707
19 Charles Pic (France) Caterham 1min32.937
20 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 1min33.063
21 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) 1min33.734
22 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 1min34.098

Qualifying session 2 from the Formula One German Grand Prix at Nurburgring on Saturday
1 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min29.825
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min29.852
3 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min29.962
4 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull 1min29.992
5 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min30.005
6 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min30.152
7 Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull 1min30.217
8 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min30.223
9 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Sauber 1min30.231
10 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min30.269
11 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min30.326
12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min30.697
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min30.933
14 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min31.010
15 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 1min31.010
16 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min31.104

Qualifying session 1 from the Formula One German Grand Prix at Nurburgring on Saturday
1 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min30.547
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min30.676
3 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min30.709
4 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min31.081
5 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min31.131
6 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Sauber 1min31.132
7 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min31.181
8 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min31.242
9 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min31.269
10 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 1min31.320
11 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min31.322
12 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min31.322
13 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min31.428
14 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min31.498
15 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min31.629
16 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min31.681
17 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min31.693
18 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min31.707
19 Charles Pic (France) Caterham 1min32.937
20 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 1min33.063
21 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham 1min33.734
22 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 1min34.098


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