Rosberg Eases To Pole As Hamilton Crashes

Nico Rosberg took an unchallenged pole position at his home Grand Prix today following a brakes failure on the other Mercedes car which sent his only realistic competitor into the barriers at turn 13. With no one within range of the superior Mercedes, the Williams men slotted in to second and third ahead of McLaren’s Magnussen and the Red Bull duo.

Rosberg had made a series of mistakes on his opening laps in Q1 and was pushing hard to make sure he’d progress to the next session when a Mercedes was seen hitting the barriers at turn 13. Due to the dust thrown up by the accident it was hard to identify the driver and it looked to have been Rosberg crashing out of his home Qualifying session. But as the dust settled it became apparent that it was his team-mate who had hit the barriers. Mercedes soon confirmed that Hamilton’s crash had been caused by a brake disc failure. His front brake disc broke, locking his front right tyre and causing his car to spin. The momentum carried him across the gravel and he hit the barrier violently.

The session was red flagged as the debris was cleared up and Hamilton was whisked away by the medical car, while the other cars returned to the pits. While Rosberg still hadn’t a clear lap set, he would only need to get a relatively fast lap done when the session restarted in order to progress. It was a different story in the Caterham garage though, where Marcus Ericsson’s car was still on stilts and undergoing surgery. By the time the session was restarted and the clock resumed ticking down, Caterham were no nearer getting the car ready and Ericsson resigned himself to the back of the grid.

The usual suspects moved safely through to Q2, although many of them had to burn a set of the quicker super-soft tyres to make sure they got through. Adrian Sutil, despite his seemingly improved performance this season, amid rumours of his imminent replacement, qualified down the order in a disappointing seventeenth for Sauber. Jules Bianchi out-qualified Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus by half-a-second, while Max Chilton and Kamui Kobayashi took twentieth and twenty-first – leaving twenty-second for Ericsson who failed to set a time.

Hamilton moved through to Q2 but obviously couldn’t set a lap, and so sixteenth on the grid was reserved for him. Q2 was a far more straightforward affair and resulted in Button, Raikkonen, Vergne, Gutierrez and Grosjean being knocked out, in that order. Button was quick on the radio to express his anger at a Lotus which, he said, had held him up, but replays showed that the Lotus was several seconds ahead of Button, and so the stewards ignored the complaint. Gutierrez qualified fourteenth, but his grid penalty for his clash with Maldonado in Silverstone will be carried forward, and so he will start seventeenth – promoting Hamilton to fifteenth.

While pole position for Rosberg was almost guaranteed, the grid between second and tenth was still to be decided. The Force India duo came out early but neither lap was impressive and put Hulkenberg and Perez down the bottom of the order.Bottas and Massa crossed the line next for Williams, and secured provisional second and third respectively. Kevin Magnussen pushed ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, whose team-mate then slotted ahead of the McLaren. Alonso was surprisingly off the pace and could only manage sixth for the Scuderia, while Kvyat took eighth on his first effort. For their second laps, Magnussen improved to fourth and Ricciardo to fifth, while Alonso was bumped down to ninth. Excluding Bottas’ lap, which moved him to two-tenths shy of Rosberg, no one else improved, and no one could challenge Rosberg at the front.

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Valtteri Bottas
  3. Felipe Massa
  4. Kevin Magnussen
  5. Daniel Ricciardo
  6. Sebastian Vettel
  7. Fernando Alonso
  8. Daniil Kvyat
  9. Nico Hulkenberg
  10. Sergio Perez
  11. Jenson Button
  12. Kimi Raikkonen
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne
  14. Romain Grosjean
  15. Lewis Hamilton
  16. Adrian Sutil
  17. Esteban Gutierrez*
  18. Jules Bianchi
  19. Pastor Maldonado
  20. Max Chilton
  21. Kamui Kobayashi
  22. Marcus Ericsson (no time)

*including a three place grid penalty

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team. 

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