2008 German GP qualifying: Hamilton beats Massa to Hockenheim pole

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Lewis Hamilton claimed pole for the German Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton carried the momentum of his home Grand Prix win into the German Grand Prix weekend to claim pole positon for tomorrow’s race ahead of Felipe Massa.

Hamilton’s team mate Kovalainen will line up third after a mistake on his first lap. But championship rival Kimi Raikkonen starts a poor sixth.

Part one

The McLarens were quickest to begin with in the first part of qualifying with Lewis Hamilton topping the times despite going very wide at the hairpin.

The Ferraris took over the top of the time sheets later but it came towards the end of the first part as the track got quicker.

The battle to get through the first part of qualifying was especially close. A late lap by Fernando Alonso put him up to fifth after he had been 16th, and Sebastien Bourdais resorted to soft tyres to get out of the bottom five.

It left the two Force Indias at the back of the field as usual (with Giancarlo Fisichella seemingly blocking Robert Kubica at one point), with Rubens Barrichello 18th although team mate Jenson Button managed to get into Q2.

Nelson Piquet Jnr failed to get beyond Q3 for the fourth time this year – although he gap between him and Alonso was just 0.2s. Kazuki Nakajima was 16th and was also 0.2s slower than his team mate.

Drivers eliminated in part one

16. Kazuki Nakajima 1’16.083
17. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’16.189
18. Rubens Barrichello 1’16.246
19. Adrian Sutil 1’16.657
20. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’16.963

Part two

Sebastien Bourdais locked up and ran wide at the Spitzkerve, ruining his qualifying lap

Hamilton led the way in the second part of qualifying but team mate Kovalainen chose to do a second lap after being 0.4s slower than Hamilton on his first lap.

Kovalainen improved to third on his second attempt, behind Massa. A late lap by Alonso put the Renault driver an excellent fourth and well clear of the bottom five.

Sebastien Bourdais condemned himself to eimination with a mistake at the hairpin on his second attempt. He ended up 15th behind Jenson Button. Nico Rosberg also failed to prceed and Nick Heidfeld was knocked out once again. BMW were notably down on the McLarens and Ferrari but Heidfeld was 0.4s off Robert Kubica’s pace.

Timo Glock was the last driver to be eliminated having failed to beat tenth-placed Mark Webber by 0.027s.

Drivers eliminated in part two

11. Timo Glock 1’15.508
12. Nick Heidfeld 1’15.581
13. Nico Rosberg 1’15.633
14. Jenson Button 1’15.701
15. Sebastien Bourdais 1’15.858

Part three

Felipe Massa held provisional pole position but was pipped by Lewis Hamilton in the dying moments of the session

The McLarens, Ferraris and Red Bulls made it through to the final part of qualifying along with Alonso, Jarno Trulli, Kubica and the only home driver left, Sebastian Vettel.

Massa was instantly quick and went to the top of the times with Raikkonen second, but a huge 0.8s adrift.

The McLarens were circulating line astern and very quickly but when Kovalainen went off at the entrance to the stadium he ruined his lap and compromised Hamilton’s. Hamilton slotted in second, 0.4s down on Massa.

But then Alonso came tearing through on an excellent first lap to knock Hamilton down to third.

McLaren struck back, however. Kovalainen’s second lap was an improvement and split the Ferraris. Then Hamilton, after an indifferent first sector, set the fastest final sector time of all to clinch pole position.

Raikkonen could only manage a 1’16.389, 0.7s off Hamilton’s time, and fell down the order as first Trulli and then Alonso demoted him.

Kubica slotted in seventh on a poor day for BMW ahead of a Red Bull trio, with Vettel’s Toro Rosso between Webber (eighth) and Coulthard (tenth).

Top ten in part three

1. Lewis Hamilton 1’15.666
2. Felipe Massa 1’15.859
3. Heikki Kovalainen 1’16.143
4. Jarno Trulli 1’16.191
5. Fernando Alonso 1’16.385
6. Kimi Raikkonen 1’16.389
7. Robert Kubica 1’16.521
8. Mark Webber 1’17.014
9. Sebastian Vettel 1’17.244
10. David Coulthard 1’17.503

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “2008 German GP qualifying: Hamilton beats Massa to Hockenheim pole”

  1. I bet F1Fan can’t wait for Kimi to set another fastest lap of the race while coming in 4th. :)

  2. Little confused about Kimi’s last qualifying lap. To me, it looked like he crossed the line in time for one last run and that he would be the last one to make a flying lap. Even the commentators made it sound like he would get last crack at pole. What really happened?

  3. @Internet, the greatest thing in anything…may it work, sport or life is RESPECT. You might not be a Kimi fan but he surely is a great driver. So yea, respect the sport and its champions !! may it be Hamilton, Raikkonen, Massa or Alonso !!

    – Taimur

  4. What’s wrong with BMW’s? L.Hamilton – great job, J.Trulli on 4th – also great. Tommorow will be very interesting day.

  5. @Taimur: He’s a good driver, but not a great driver. At the moment there are no great drivers on the grid. The only one that comes close is Alonso.

  6. I think Raikkonen has got more fuel than Mass and Hamilton. Maybe about 3-5 laps longer

  7. Internet – Are u kidding!!! There are no great drivers!!
    I say there are more gr8 drivers on track now than anyother seasons! Ham, Kimi, Kubi, Alonso all are superb!!

  8. Massa will be in front of Hamilton after the first curve

  9. Pedro Andrade
    19th July 2008, 16:19

    I didn’t get to see qualifying this time around, but given the times I think this time around Piquet is perfectly excused to miss Q3 if his gap to Alonso of 0.2 seconds ammounts to 12 grid places!

  10. @Internet . I appreciate your comment like Alonso is close to the Greatest driver title ..hehe ..how come u say that !!!

    Let me give some facts abt kimi…

    1 . In 2005 Räikkönen equaled the record of wins in a single season without winning the World Title (7), shared with four time World Champion Alain Prost,also with Michael Schumacher, in 2006

    2. In the 2005 season, he also equaled Schumacher’s record of 10 fastest race laps in a season.He currently holds the third highest record for total fastest laps at 31, thus making him the highest ranked driver still active.

    3 .In 2008, Silverstone marked his sixth fastest race lap in a row (Spain, Turkey, Monaco, Canada, France, Britain), passing Michael Schumacher with 5 and 1 behind record holder Alberto Ascari with 7.

    many more :)

    still you think he is an average driver :) and again i read ur definition of fastest laps in one of the previous threads , that is incredibly disgusting and untrue

    Again i believe alonso is known well for more controversies than his successes :)

    ps: thanks to wikipedia for facts

  11. Apparently Piquet was blocked by Vettel during his last run. He was asking the team to file a protest on the radio.

  12. I wonder if the McLaren duo will start with a team defensive into the first corner…certainly with the only world champions on the grid behind you you’d want to keep them there.

    Hopefully Kimi, Massa, and Alonso can make up places at the start. Kimi made some good starts in the second half of last season, but with his track record here and his poor show earlier this afternoon I wouldn’t place a bet on it.

    On another note, my race prediction was true for the first 3 on the startup grid . . . we shall see what changes tomorrow. :D

  13. @kimster46: I never said he was an average driver. He’s a good driver, but not a great one like many make him out to be.

    As for his stats, the 2005 was in a class of its own when it didn’t fall apart.

    And for 2008, we come to this fastest laps argument again. Like I said, will his weekend be any better if he finishes outside the podium while setting the fastest lap in one of the fastest cars on the grid?

    A great driver wouldn’t have so many setup problems like Kimi does. It seems every 2 or 3 races Kimi is off the pace completely. He might be fuelled heavier than Massa but qualifying 6th in that car is an insult to Ferrari.

  14. As for why I claim Alonso is the only one that is close to being a great driver? Because he is a 2xWDC who had to beat MS while he was still racing to get them.

  15. @Internet…I feel Kimi is a disciplined driver , quite different from others , i just not agree with you in the point that he had many setup problems. Regarding off the pace , i think you talking about the last few races , where lot of unforeseen events happened , most of the problems are not owned by himself ( Ferrari’s strategical blunder at sylverstone , exhaust broke at France , Hamiltons stupidity at montrial), if you look at those races , he was in a commanding position to beat anybody in the track

    I agreed Alonso succeeded getting two WDC’s, Thats great !! Do you think without a faster car Alonso can become a WDC again ?? I hope you keenly watching double world champions performance this year , i am sure at least once this season , he is outperformed by his team mate , many instances in last year too..

    I am sure kimi will fight back tomorrow in a better position than everbody expecting !!

  16. Kimi’s inconsistency is ridiculing the stupendous amount he is being paid to driver the best car on the grid. Its apparent Kimi still does have problems in setting up a car, which indicates he must be a driver who relies too much on natural ability and easily gets bored with the finer details. I also fear that, should Ferrari, allow each driver to rely on his own settings, as they compete for the drivers championships, then Kimi will have it tough coping with circuits that are very technical in nature, and where good lap times are not rewarded by pure pace alone.

    @Internet. I totally agree, Kimi may be fast and enigmatic, however, his on and off nature, does not lend him to be described as one of the greats. Those who bring up race fastest laps as an indication of greatness, have to look at the circumstances under which Kimi sets his fastests laps. More often than not, his fastest laps have been set when it was totally unnecessary, like maybe near the end of a race, or when he has a completely clear track ahead of him. Very rarely has he set a fastest lap time when in chase of another car.
    Unfortunately, the statistics would appear to be in his favour, but that would be only to those who never follow the races, but just read data and use that as an insight into a drivers greatness.

  17. @Oliver , Nobody wants kimi to be described as one of the greats , but facts are facts , why schumi is considered as one of the greatest drivers …According to the official Formula One website, he is “statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen” . what the heck it means

    so statistics are facts ..real things :) everybody should respect it , why only few people are making such good things …..

  18. @kimster46: winning most races without winning championship or setting fastest laps without winning races doesn’t make one a great driver.

    It looks like by the end of tomorrows race, either Massa or Hamilton will have twice the number of wins compared to Kimi.

  19. let wait and see .. at the EOD it is racing …anything can happen …there is no hard and fast rule like only pole sitters get into podium …if a guy can win from 17 from grid , so simply u just cant ignore him :)

  20. I still think Kimi is a decent driver, but who really cares about fastest laps?

    If he comes fifth for example, and gets fastest lap, will anybody including Ferrari be impressed?

    You don’t get any points for fastest lap, so its quite irrelevant.

  21. Kimi has said after gualifying that when they put more gasoline to car in Q3, grip and driveability(is that a word even) was gone. So He is not heavier than others I think. Also Massa said in pressconference that Mclaren and Ferrari will be very close when it comes to strategies. Kimi will not win tommorow, but for sure He has possibility to climb at the podium.
    …..there is TRULLI TRAIN also and Fernando is not easier person to pass…

  22. Internet, i’m shocked that you have your own opinion of Kimi, I shall have to quote lots of statistics in order for you to see the error of your ways.

    Still i’m with you, I think Kimi is a fantastic driver, but he doesn’t want to bother setting up his car for optimum potential…. same with Heikki, if he’d bothered to stay in one team and one type of championship for more than 6 months he’d have a lot more titles on his belt.

    I think its amazing that in quali Hamilton’s last stint quite regularly results in him hamming up the first sector yet destroying final sector times.

    on a side note, I think Ayrton was rubbish at racing, fast…. but not good at racing.

  23. Its interesting that Alonso and Kimi are the point of disscussion here… But not Lewis Hamilton… I believe this guy is really a natural talent dude… (I am NOT a fan of him, am a ferrari fanatic :D)
    But seriously at da end of the day, u have to admit it.

  24. Internet,

    unlike you, I look at the facts. The fact is that Kimi doesn’t have the car to challenge for either a win tomorrow or even fastest lap. All weekend he’s been lacking pace even to Massa. It is clear-cut this weekend that McLaren have made a few big steps forward on development. It took Hamilton only 13 laps to get pole through the 3 phases of Q. Everyone else needed at least 16-17 to even make it to the top 2 rows. If Kimi pulls another fastest lap tomorrow I will be really impressed, but I seriously doubt it.

    Massa may be able to stay close in the beginning, for afew laps, but this is Lewis’s race to lose.

  25. I’m with SUSH and Internet:

    Is time to make some fuss about Kimi’s lack of ability to set-up a car, in the same mood that was made with Lewis in 2007. On this moment, Lewis seems to be away of Kimi on this area and improving at each race. In a close fight like this championship, this could be very worth.

    Why, when we always talk about Kimi’s flaws theres too much indulgence with him? This talk about “fastest lasp” start to annoy me…

    When I see Lewis, Alonso or Kubitza they seems to be in a mission, very, very hunger to win, to prove something. This guys makes me sit and watch Formula 1 as it is, entertainment!

    And Kimi? Man, this guy makes me bored in any way.

    Saint Luca must to be praying for Saint Fred right now…

  26. @Becken:

    “Is time to make some fuss about Kimi’s lack of ability to set-up a car”

    Why? Because of one bad weekend?

  27. @Internet: “As for why I claim Alonso is the only one that is close to being a great driver? Because he is a 2xWDC who had to beat MS while he was still racing to get them.”

    And yet he lost the WDC last year. To a mere “good” driver at that.

  28. William Wilgus
    19th July 2008, 20:10

    Don’t forget that part of the reason FA won those championships over MS was attributable to the brands of tires both were using: Michelin vs. Bridgestone. As always, the only way to have an absolutely fair comparison of drivers is if they’re in exactly identical cars . . . otherwise, it’s pure speculation.

  29. Becken, Kimi can set up a car, he’s actually a top notch engineer…. its just he’s incredibly lazy and shy, he doesn’t hang around the garage like the rest do. he doesn’t want to eek out the maximum out of the set up… which is why he used to destroy his Mclaren.

    F1Fan, to say Kimi doesn’t have a winning car is quite frankly errr.. weird.

  30. Come on guys.. i think we have already had enough debate on Kimi and FLs. And we should move on to some other topics. Anyway being an Alonso fan I am extremely delighted though seeing the quali :D
    Looking for the race tomorrow!

  31. @kimster46
    Regarding comment 16, “i am sure at least once this season , he is outperformed by his team mate ”
    What that “at least” part mean actually?
    Can you find any other occassion than Magny Cours where Picquet pipped Alonso for P7 at last corner of the last lap? Even in qualis Alonso is enjoying 10-0 records over Picquet!

  32. I agree with Nirupam. The ‘Fastest Lap’ debate is well and truly finished. Besides which, the whole debate arose as whether it may be seen as a potential indicator of pace and nothing more: some agreed, some didn’t. Whilst some folk (myself included) used the ‘fastest lap indicator’ to bolster their argument regarding Raikkonen’s ability, I don’t recall anyone using that solely as their argument for his ability.

    Sadly, even though I’m a Raikkonen fan, I have to agree with a few of the previous comments. I’m not sure what’s going on with him. He’s just not ‘delivering’ like a champion of late. I’m hoping it’s just a phase…

  33. Dorian, I don’t think this is anything unusual from Kimi based on the first half of last season’s performance. He really got his act together in the second half, but at the moment he looks much the same Kimi as last year. You’d hope that being a WDC we’d see a change, but I don’t think that’s in Kimi’s nature – to change.

    With the championship tight at the top just now he may not have Massa as his wingman later in the season, so he’s going to have to do what he did last year but perhaps a bit more.

  34. Loki, you’re probably right. I guess I was hoping he was gonna start THE CHARGE sooner rather than later :-)

  35. @F1Fan: From testing and free practice times it looks like McLaren is faster for those few golden laps but then the tires still fade off faster than Ferrari. Massa will have a good chance to win tomorrow. I won’t count Kimi out, but it’s going to be very hard for him to climb through the field, because unlike 2005 where he had the fastest car and ended up at the bottom due to mechanical failure, this time he’s there on his own merit. On the other hand, maybe the car will come to him in the race, so we’ll have to wait and see.

    BTW, when will Ferrari choose the #1 driver? The situation now is completely reversed from last year. McLaren had two drivers in contention taking points away from each other while Ferrari was mostly a one horse race after Monza.

  36. Kimi’s fastest laps…have been on used tires and fuel in the car and in spain he lead the race the whole time, as well in France. Also in Canada he set the fastest time chasing Kubica,…not sure of the others. Ok, fresh set of tires and clear track, he doesn’t get pole…where you get no points. He sets them in the race, under pressure and with used tires and changing track conditions?!?

    Sure, they may not mean much but to discredit them because he doesn’t talk and make you feel warm inside is retarded.

  37. Is it Kimi’s inability to set up a car or Ferrari having reliability issues, i would like to know about? For good initial part of last season Ferrari had issues and this season they had some in pieces!

  38. I actually wonder if Ferrari were right to hastily put Stefano Domenicali in charge as well. As mentioned in commentary at the beginning of the season, he’s young and has been placed with a huge amount of responsibility.

    In all fairness, taking over reigns of a top team at the height of its game makes his job somewhat hard to quantify – a good team that stays good is expected, a good team that dips below par…well, that’s not so good.

    I don’t really know enough about him, but Stefano promoted to replace Todt is one of the biggest team changes in the Ferrari stable since Ross Brawn’s departure. And if Ferrari have slumped in a few areas noticeably, then they have to identify and correct them asap before it’s too late. I’m not trying to implicate Stefano Domenicali, but he should be the one getting the Ferrari act together. Luca shouting doesn’t help anyone.

    It’s probably just a transitional period, he needs to learn like everyone else, but hopefully he can sort the team out and ensure Ferrari get the results they need.

  39. Interesting weekend so far. The Furri’s seem to have switched roles from last weekend, with Massa taking the lead and finding a sweet spot in setup in both practise and qualifying. Possibly not so surprising given high speed drivers circuit that is Silverstone compared to the revised Hockenheimring Tilkedrome, but Kimi really has struggled slightly more than usual against Massa this time. I’m with Juhhi, the Trulli-train might be Kimi’s undoing tomorrow, assuming both Jarno and Alonso are running light.

    The Macca’s do seem to have found an extra 2 tenths over the last three to four races, would be nice to see Heikki confirm this with a podium tomorrow.

    Great job by RBR to pick up the last three spots in the top ten. Hoping that there isn’t a repeat of Silverstone’s first lap for them and some solid points can be won.

    No idea where BMW were this weekend – shocking performance at their home grand prix. Suspect there will be some very tricky corporate moments for them this weekend.

    So Hammi or Massa? All going to come down to the fuel loads on the first stint I suspect. ITV’s pit runner Kravitz has Lewis lighter than Kovi, but he was wrong about that at Silverstone. Either way, will be won or lost on first pitstop. My bets on Lewis.

  40. Internet,

    forget Massa. Lewis is going to walk to the finish line. Temperatures are going to be, at best, in the low 20-Centigrade range, and that is not hot enough for Ferrari. Lewis will have a bit of a tough time in the final stint, on the mediums, but by then he will be so far ahead of Massa that it won’t matter. Kimi can get on the podium assuming an idiot like Webber doesn’t crush into him at the start.

  41. “…but championship rival Kimi Raikkonen starts a poor sixth…”

    Good article Keith. We all have come to expect this out of you now…! However, the championship is real close with 5 of contenders only 10 points away from each other. I think, it would be fair to call Massa a worthy rival, regardless of his shabby performance in the wet. Not every race is run amok by rain.Kubica/Heidfeld are also running close (but a lot is dependent on the car).

    Guess what am trying to say is that with half the races remaining, most bets are off.

  42. massa. hmmm. i was sort of wondering how this weekend was going to go for him-if he’d land on his feet or tank- just going from his rather feisty remarks and his result, he could be a dark horse contender for the championship if not the safer ferrari bet ( and i love kimi). 5 spins at silverstone or not and wet racer or not, you have to admit he came back defiant which could very well be his mood for the rest of the season. this could be very interesting. he was my biggest surprise last season.

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