Hamilton denies Vettel to take Nürburgring pole

Lewis Hamilton German Grand Prix qualifying 2013

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

9 thoughts to “Hamilton denies Vettel to take Nürburgring pole”

  1. After scoring his third position of the 2013 season with Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton has admitted he was feeling overwhelmed especially his mood leading up to qualifying. Autosport.com has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton says he is overwhelmed to have taken pole position for the German Grand Prix given his unhappy build-up to qualifying.

    The Brit secured his second pole of the season for Mercedes despite difficulties in finding an optimum set-up during practice, when he complained of oversteering.

    He expressed his astonishment in emerging quickest and praised his team for making necessary changes.

    “It is overwhelming because I have been struggling since the first practice session,” he said.

    “It got even worse this morning and we were about eight-tenths off.

    “But we worked hard to analyse everything, made lots of changes and hoped it worked. Fortunately the car was beneath me and I could put in the times I did.”

    Hamilton also expressed his surprise at team-mate Nico Rosberg failing to make it through to Q3 after Mercedes miscalculated his last timed run in the session.

    “It was a big surprise for all of us as Nico has been extremely quick all weekend, so we anticipated he would outqualify me today.

    “He was only two-tenths off my pace, and obviously the track did ramp up so that was a surprise and caught us out a little bit.”

  2. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel says temperature change at the track was the key to costing him the chance to take pole position. Autosport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel believes the change in temperature conditions for German Grand Prix qualifying cost him the advantage he had held over the field in final practice.

    The Red Bull driver was favourite for pole after beating his rivals by 0.6 seconds on Saturday morning.

    But qualifying, on a hotter track and with a change of wind direction, proved much closer.

    Ultimately Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes beat Vettel to pole by a tenth of a second.

    “I was very happy in FP3 this morning, happy with the car, we didn’t change much, but this afternoon I was struggling to bring it together, especially in the first part of the track,” Vettel said.

    “It was quite windy, we had wind from the back and the track was a bit warmer.

    “The car wasn’t bad, it wasn’t awful through first sector, but the time didn’t come.

    “I tried to do the best I could in the next two sectors but it was not enough to get Lewis today.”

    Vettel still believes Red Bull has made big gains on Mercedes’ qualifying pace.

    “We were much closer than we were in Silverstone,” he said. “We made some progress and we have confidence for tomorrow.”

    Mark Webber put the second Red Bull third on the grid and agreed with Vettel’s assessment.

    “It is very, very sensitive out there,” he said. “We might have lost a bit in the first sector. It was tricky to find the rhythm we had in FP3, there was a shift in track temperature and it pulled us together a bit.

    “On the long runs we are in good shape and in a good place to put pressure on [Mercedes] tomorrow.”

  3. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has denied the tactics used in qualifying in a bid to challenge Red Bull and Mercedes. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Fernando Alonso denied Ferrari’s qualifying tactics for the German Grand Prix were an admission that it has to gamble to challenge Red Bull and Mercedes.

    Both Ferraris ran the slower medium Pirellis in Q3, leaving Felipe Massa and Alonso back on row four of the grid.

    But Alonso said Ferrari’s qualifying pace deficit was now small and it had simply tried to choose the best race strategy.

    “I think we did a step forward in this race,” he said. “We are more competitive than we were at Silverstone, where we were 1.5 seconds off the pace, in practice and Q1 and Q2. That was not the case today.

    “So definitely the team did a step forward and we’ve come back to a more level of competitiveness. We need to improve, yes. No questions about that.

    “We were not the quickest before, especially on Saturdays, we are not the quickest now obviously but we are more confident and optimistic for tomorrow because the car is performing more in a normal way.”

    He conceded that Ferrari did feel the times in the pole battle were out of reach.

    “When they pushed in Q3, we saw 1m29.3s, which is for us a little bit too fast,” Alonso said.

    “So more or less as expected, we knew with the soft maybe we could qualify fifth or sixth, with the medium seventh or eighth.

    “And in terms of strategies, it is not clear which will be best. Tomorrow we’ll find out.

    “Whatever tyre you have, if you are fast you will be on the podium or win the race, if you are not fast, with whatever the tyre, you will not be in the points. So it is about the pace tomorrow – not the tyres or the strategy.”

  4. Sergio Perez believes he would have been more competitive in qualifying for the German Grand Prix had McLaren not reverted to a previous car set-up.

    The Mexican experienced issues to the rear of his McLaren during final practice and the team elected to make several changes to the MP4-28 in compensation.

    “It was not the best day for me as we had some problems with the rear of the floor in FP3,” said Perez, who qualified only 13th. “We went back to the set-up we ran yesterday and it didn’t help.

    “It made the car very understeery and I struggled to get the tyres up to temperature.”

    Perez narrowly made it through to Q2 by one-hundredth of a second before taking 13th, while team-mate Jenson Button lines up ninth.

    “I have struggled to match him all weekend,” said Perez. “But I hope we can get a better result tomorrow.”

    Button elected not to set a time in Q3 and has the option of choosing which tyre compound to start the race on.

    “We chose not to run and played a bit of cat-and-mouse with Nico Hulkenberg,” said Button. “It’s not too bad – we’re on the clean side.

    “I don’t know what is going to happen in the race, but I think we have put ourselves in the best position for tomorrow.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  5. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen believes the higher track temperatures was the key issue that helped the team to perform a good qualifying session. Autosport.com has the details.

    Kimi Raikkonen believes the relatively high track temperatures in Germany helped Lotus to produce its best Formula 1 qualifying performance since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.

    Raikkonen qualified fourth at the Nurburgring, 0.494 seconds off Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time, and suspects that he could have ended up third but for losing time in the first sector thanks to a lack of tyre temperature.

    “It has been good,” said Raikkonen when asked about Lotus’s form. “It helped that it was a bit more hot.

    “I think we had the chance to be in third place but I had some traffic on the out-lap and didn’t really get their [the tyres] performance to work as we wanted to.”

    Even though the 2007 world champion is happy with the performance of the car, he stressed that there are no guarantees this strong form will continue on Sunday.

    But he did concede that Lotus is traditionally stronger in the race than in qualifying.

    “It is better than the last couple of races, but it’s not so easy that now we should be more close to the others [in the race] than before because we are further up,” said Raikkonen.

    “That [performing stronger in the race] is what normally happens, but it can be a different story.”

    Team-mate Romain Grosjean, who qualified fifth just 0.067s behind Raikkonen, believes getting the Pirelli rubber into the right operating window is key to the team’s form.

    He suspects that the change to Kevlar-belted rear rubber for this weekend has helped Lotus.

    “I think it’s a question of tyres, it’s always about that,” said Grosjean when asked to explain Lotus’s improved form.

    “If you get them in the right window, everything seems to be easy.

    “The first good point here is that we don’t have only one lap to get the time, you have a few laps to get an idea of the car balance which is helping quite a lot to set up the car.

    “The first time we tested the new rear tyres in Canada, I liked them, they are more race tyres than the previous ones.

    “The fronts are always a bit tricky so hopefully when we go back to last year’s construction it will help.”

  6. Mercedes has admitted that the tyre-saving plan cost the chance for Nico Rosberg to take part in the all-important top ten shootout. Autosport.com has the news story.

    Mercedes boss Ross Brawn said the desire to save tyres for German Grand Prix Q3 led to Nico Rosberg’s accidental Q2 eliminination.

    Rosberg had been one of the favourites for Nurburgring pole position, but his Saturday afternoon was wrecked when he was dumped out of Q2 as a number of his rivals found time on the rapidly improving track while he was sat in the pits.

    Brawn did not hide from the fact that it was a mistake to not send Rosberg out again, but said the team was focused at the time on maximising its chances for the final shootout.

    “We were very keen to keep two sets of options for final qualifying, Q3, so we only wanted to use one set in Q2,” explained Brawn.

    “To be honest we thought the time was good enough, because you saw it was right at the end and we got caught out by the fact that the track got a lot quicker at the end of Q2.

    “The wind dropped and the track seemed to pick up grip, so the cars were going quite a lot quicker. By then, we had no time to react.

    “So we were just biting our nails and were one place out. In the end it was a misjudgement but with the objective of keeping two fresh sets for Q3.”

    Speaking about his own experience, Rosberg said: “It is tough. It is those days in sport that are really horrible.

    “It is really, really difficult to digest that one. But in a way that is also where my experience helps a little bit, and maturing knowing it takes less time to recover from such tough days in the office.

    “I am getting there slowly but surely – and from tomorrow ready to attack again.”

    Although starting 11th means that Rosberg has a free choice of tyres for the race, Brawn said that it was not automatic that the team would start on the medium – which is the better race tyre.

    “I think we have got tonight to look at it all,” he said. “There are pros and cons; you have got to run the [soft] option at some stage, but whether it is better to run the option at the beginning of the race or the end of the race, we will see what develops tomorrow.

    “It will be a race where you won’t know how the cards are going to fall until the last five laps.”

  7. The reason why Williams were unable to make it through into Q2 was a KERS issue that affected Pastor Maldonado’s car. Autosport.com has the details.

    Williams believes the KERS failure that struck Pastor Maldonado’s car in the Nurburgring garage before final practice a previously-unseen problem.

    The failure struck at 0830 on Saturday morning when the car was first switched on after the KERS battery had been charged overnight.

    The team will conduct a full investigation into the cause, but when asked if Williams had experienced any similar failures, chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar replied: “No. [It happened] when they switched the car on at 0830 in the morning to get ready for the warming up, that’s when it went wrong.

    “We are still investigating what went wrong within the battery pack.”

    The KERS failure did not cause any further damage to the car, with Maldonado able to run in both free practice and qualifying, earning 18th place on the grid.

    “There was no damage because it was in the battery pack,” said Pujolar.

    “You remove that bit and it is fine and the car was OK.”

  8. After taking pole position at the Nürbrugring, Lewis Hamilton believes it will be hard but not impossible to fend off Sebastian Vettel to take victory at the German Grand Prix. Autosport.com has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton thinks it will be hard but not impossible to hold Sebastian Vettel behind him for victory in the German Grand Prix.

    The Mercedes driver bounced back from a troubled final practice session, where he admitted to being lost on set-up, to edge out Vettel for the top spot on the Nurburgring grid on his final flying lap.

    But with uncertainties about the long-run form of the set-up direction he chose, and how new Pirelli rears will fare in the race, Hamilton knows he faces a tough challenge if he is to convert his pole position into his first win of the campaign.

    Mercedes has made good progress in recent races with its tyre form, though, and Hamilton reckons there is still plenty to play for.

    “I think it is going to be very hard,” he said about his race chances. “The Red Bulls have made a step this weekend, and I think a lot of teams have made a step forwards.

    “[Mark] Webber said to me that the tyres seemed to work on his car, so I think perhaps they have potentially gained a bigger advantage than we have with this switch of tyres.

    “His long run was very strong the other day, so I anticipate they will both be strong tomorrow – but of course it would help if we could get into Turn 1 in the lead and hold them behind.

    “We still have degradation issues, so it is not something that we have completely cured, but I don’t think it is impossible.

    “And I have a new set-up, so we don’t know how it will work on a long run. I go in there with my fingers crossed and hope it works well.”

    Mercedes appeared to be behind Red Bull with its long-run pace during Friday afternoon, but team principal Ross Brawn thinks that fluctuating track conditions and temperatures make things much more difficult to predict for the race.

    “We obviously don’t know what fuel they had; although they certainly looked to be in better shape on Friday afternoon than we were,” said Brawn.

    “That is why we made some changes to the cars to try and improve that, but we seemed to go backwards.

    “The track tomorrow is going to be very different to what we saw on Friday afternoon and I think it is going to be pretty challenging tomorrow with the heat and keeping the tyres together.

    “Tomorrow will be tough. Red Bull did look good on Friday afternoon but they have to anticipate the changes they need to make to carry that performance into Sunday – as it will be 10-15 degrees hotter tomorrow than it was on Friday.”

  9. Daniel Ricciardo insists the pressure of being in contention to take over Mark Webber’s Red Bull seat in 2014 is an advantage after starring in qualifying for the second consecutive weekend.

    The Toro Rosso driver is on Red Bull’s current three-man shortlist to take the drive, alongside team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen.

    After earning fifth place on the grid in Britain last weekend, he qualified sixth for the German Grand Prix.

    “I guess I enjoy it,” he said when asked about how the pressure of bidding for a top drive affected him.

    “When you hear things like that, you have to take it as positive information because it is positive for people to talk about me taking a seat like that.

    “For me to view it as negative pressure doesn’t make sense so I use it to my advantage and it seems to be working, so let’s keep it in this direction.”

    Ricciardo admitted that he did not anticipate qualifying so strongly, particularly after struggling with the set-up during practice.

    But major changes ahead of qualifying allowed him to make it to the top 10 qualifying shootout.

    “[I am] surprised with sixth,” he said. “I knew Q3 wasn’t impossible but was probably going to be a bit harder than last week.

    “After practice, we made some changes, they pushed us forward and we put a good lap together in Q2.”

    Ricciardo added that his aspirations of claiming a Red Bull seat do not prey on his mind during qualifying.

    “I put it at the back of my mind,” he said.

    “Since the news [that Webber is leaving Red Bull] I’ve had two good qualifyings but I’m not going to say that’s the reason for it because we are pushing all the time.”

    Source: Autosport.com

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