Championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored pole position for the German Grand Prix after the Ferrari challenge went broke following technical issues for Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.
With Vettel eliminated in Q1 having completed a single lap thanks to a problem with the airflow to the turbo, Leclerc was the favourite for pole in Q3 having looked quickest up to that point.
But Leclerc was unable to take to the track during Q3, climbing out of his Ferrari and commiserating with the Scuderia and leaving the way clear for Hamilton to set the pace.
Hamilton then dominated Q3, with the lap of one minute, 11.767 seconds he set on his first run which was enough for pole after he failed to improve on his second lap thanks to time lost in the middle sector.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen split the two Mercedes drivers, lapping 0.346 seconds slower than Hamilton and just 0.016 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas.
Pierre Gasly was fourth, lapping four-tenths slower than his teammate.
With the two Ferraris out of the way, Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen took fifth position with an advantage of 0.316 seconds over an otherwise congested midfield.
Romain Grosjean, driving a Haas running to the same specification used in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, was sixth and just ahead of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
Racing Point’s significant upgrade paid off for Sergio Perez, who qualified eighth ahead of the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.
That left Leclerc classified P10 despite not running, as he had at least run without problem during the previous two segments of qualifying.
The Mercedes drivers and Leclerc will both start on the medium-compound Pirellis having used them to set their best times in Q2 – something Verstappen also attempted before aborting his first run after reporting a loss of power.
Antonio Giovinazzi was relegated to P11 and eliminated during a frenetic climax to Q2, lapping just 0.012 seconds slower than Perez.
Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, driving the latest-spec Haas, was always up against it after a lockup into the first corner on his final lap and failed to improve on his first-run time as a result – ending up P12.
Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo’s late effort was only good enough for P13, leading him to apologise to the team over the radio, with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat just over three-tenths behind.
Racing Point driver Lance Stroll escaped Q1 for the first time in 2019, completing three runs to do so and only having one fresh set of softs for Q2.
He was in contention to get into the top ten, but the rear-end stepped out in the penultimate corner and was unable to improve.
Lando Norris was fastest of those eliminated in Q1 in P16 just 0.055 seconds slower than Kvyat after being bumped into the drop zone by Giovinazzi’s late improvement.
But behind him was the furious Alex Albon, who was held up at the hairpin on his final Q1 lap by Norris and unable to improve on his first-run time as a result.
George Russell won the Williams team battle for the eleventh time this season, lapping just over a tenth quicker than Robert Kubica – the duo taking P18 and P19 thanks to Vettel’s failure to post a time.
So congratulations to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton with this pole position. An important grid slot at the team’s home race. As for Ferrari, this was a terrible qualifying session as both drivers had the pace to grab P1 following an impressive practice sessions. Sunday’s German Grand Prix is going to be fascinating.
Qualifying positions, German Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m11.767s
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m12.113s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m12.129s
4 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m12.522s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.538s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m12.851s
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m12.897s
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.065s
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m13.126s
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari –
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m12.786s
12 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m12.789s
13 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m12.799s
14 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.135s
15 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m13.450s
16 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m13.333s
17 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m13.461s
18 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m14.721s
19 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m14.839s
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari –