Lewis Hamilton achieved his 29th career pole position in Formula 1 by beating championship leader Sebastian Vettel in an exciting qualifying battle at the Nürburgring.
As for his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who had been the main Silver Arrows driver to start from pole position, the British Grand Prix winner did not even make into Q3 following a strategically error by the team.
In a close contest at the end of the top ten shootout, Hamilton produced a lap time of one minute, 29.398 seconds to beat Vettel’s Red Bull to pole by 0.103 seconds.
Hamilton had held the provisional top spot with a time of one minute, 29.540 seconds after the first qualifying and yet the triple champion was able to lap 0.039 seconds quicker before the 2008 world champion responded with an ever-fastest lap.
It was a shocked to see Nico Rosberg knocked out in Q2 to what appears to be a simple miscalculation by Mercedes. The team believed his early run was sufficient enough for second when it was set.
And yet in the final moments of Q2, his rivals were able to record quicker lap times. Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg were the players that squeezed into the top ten, while Rosberg was pushed out.
The Monaco and British Grands Prix winner will start his ‘home’ race in eleventh position.
Mark Webber qualified his Red Bull in third, ahead of the Lotus pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
As for Daniel Ricciardo, the Toro Rosso driver continued his impressive qualifying form with sixth. Team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne was only P16.
Ferrari opted out of the pole fight with Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso running the medium set of tyres in Q3 rather than the quicker softs. The Scuderia will line up on row four.
Both Button and Hulkenberg elated the same tactic by not setting a lap time in Q3. The McLaren driver will start in ninth ahead of his Sauber rival.
Neither Force India reached Q2, with Paul di Resta in P12 and Adrian Sutil a very disappointing P15 at his home race.
Sergio Perez looked in danger of getting knocked out in Q1 at one point, so his eventual P13 was not as bad as it might have been. The Mexican will share row seven with compatriot Esteban Gutierrez.
As for Williams, to have both drivers lining up on row nine is not the ideal result to celebrate their 600th Grand Prix. Williams joined Caterham and Marussia in the bottom six qualifiers.
So a great result for Lewis Hamilton but without that mistake from Mercedes, Nico Rosberg should have been on the front row alongside his team-mate. It’s going to be a fascinating race to see if the Silverstone winner can come through the field to win in front of the German fans.
Qualifying times from the Nürbrugring:
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.398s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m29.501s
3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m29.608s
4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m29.892s
5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m29.959s
6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.528s
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.126s
8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.209s
9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes No time set
10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari No time set
11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m30.326s
12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m30.697s
13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.933s
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.010s
15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m31.010s
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m31.104s
17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m31.693s
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m31.707s
19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m32.937s
20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m33.063s
21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m33.734s
22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.098s
107 per cent time: 1m36.885s