Rosberg clinches pole as Hamilton slips up again

2014 British Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton was on course for pole position at home in Silverstone when he made the costly decision to abandon his final lap. That opened the door for Nico Rosberg to capitalise.

Hamilton slumped to sixth as Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen all beat his time on a rapidly-drying track.

But Hamilton was just one of several drivers to be caught out by rapidly-changing weather as a series of rain showers blew across the track.


Conditions in the 18 minute Q1 session could hardly have been better timed to catch the teams out – with the result that two of the top teams, including the cars which locked out the front row in Austria, were eliminated.

Qualifying began on a damp circuit, but in short order drivers found the rapidly drying track was hurting their intermediates. Dry-weather tyres were clearly the way to go for their final runs, but with time running out the final minutes were clearly going to be closely-fought.

Jenson Button was one driver who entered the dying moments, having had one lap time deleted for running too wide at the final corner. But the McLaren driver improved his team and accompanied his team mate into Q2.

The same could not be said of the Ferrari drivers. Fernando Alonso spun off, missing his only chance to set a time, and with his rivals improving by whole seconds he paid a high price for it.

Adrian Sutil successfully got his Sauber into Q2, but did so partly because he spun off the track, bringing out the yellow flags and preventing several other drivers from improving their times.

A late rain shower caught more drivers out. Among those to suffer were Kimi Raikkonen, who also had a time deleted for running too wide at Club, and both Williams drivers, who had occupied the front row of the grid in Austria.

The big winners were Marussia, who saw both their drivers make a rare venture into the second part of qualifying.

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Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’45.318
18Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’45.695
19Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’45.935
20Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’46.684
21Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’49.421
22Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’49.625


The rain lingered after the end of Q1, so that when Q2 began the moisture level was high enough for drivers to return to using slick tyres. But this time the track dried out more thoroughly, and the lap times tumbled as drivers switched to slicks.

Hamilton led the way, setting a 1’34.870 which was just three-tenths of a second slower than the quickest time seen in practice. With Rosberg three-tenths of a second behind him, and everyone else more than a second slower, it looked like being another all-Mercedes battle for pole position as long as the conditions remained dry.

The track remained treacherous off-line, however, as Esteban Gutierrez found out. He put a wheel onto the kerb at the exit of Brooklands and was still fighting to regain control of his Sauber as he reached Luffield. He spun backwards into the barrier, and as in Q1 drivers found themselves having to back off because of yellow flags.

With his final effort Romain Grosjean narrowly failed to make it into the final ten. Team mate Pastor Maldonado was once again sidelined by a technical problem, this time a loss of fuel pressure.

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Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’38.496
12Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’38.700
13Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’39.800
14Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’40.912
15Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’44.018
16Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari


A further sprinkling of rain meant the final 12 minutes of qualifying yielded the biggest surprises yet. It began to fall on the final sector just as drivers were completing their first runs.

It looked like business as usual to begin with, Hamilton leading the way from Rosberg after the first runs. But as the rain intensified it forced Vettel to abandon his first attempt, and he returned to the pits without a lap time on the board.

The drivers waited and watched as the final minutes drew near and the rain once again faded away. For some it seemed inevitable the conditions would not improve: Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull decided against running again. Team mate Vettel, with nothing to lose, rejoined the track.

Most drivers did elect to run again but they left it very late. Sergio Perez found it hard to warm up the tyres on his Force India and towards the end of the lap – to the displeasure of his team – let the Mercedes drivers past. Rosberg had been getting impatient behind Hamilton, urging his team to tell Hamilton to get a move on.

They cut it so fine that Rosberg crossed the start/finish line with barely a second to spare, and tucked up close behind Hamilton – far from an ideal position to launch a bid for pole position. But in the opening sector of the lap Hamilton decided he wasn’t going to find sufficient time to improve. His team had asked him to let Rosberg by if he found himself in that position, and he did so.

It proved a disastrous decision. The final sector had improved considerably, so much so that Vettel’s first lap moved him ahead of Hamilton. Four more cars beat his time including Rosberg, who ended up three and a half seconds faster than his team mate, illustrating the scale of the misjudgement Hamilton had made.

Button made the most of the opportunity to put his McLaren third on the grid alongside Nico Hulkenberg. He brought some cheer to Force India as Perez fell from third to seventh, ahead of a similarly disappointed Ricciardo.

Top ten in Q3

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’35.766
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’37.386
3Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’38.200
4Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’38.329
5Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’38.417
6Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’39.232
7Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’40.457
8Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’40.608
9Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’40.707
10Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’40.855

2014 British Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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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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78 comments on “Rosberg clinches pole as Hamilton slips up again”

  1. I think that could be the turining point, if Rosberg manages to convert it into victory. Of course, we have Abu Double, which can make fight for WDC a bit of a lottery, but Hamilton seems to be making mistakes in those difficult circumstances and does not give 100%, while Rosberg uses them to his advantage.

    1. I am not a HAM fan. But I must say I feel him like a god on the track literally, a superhuman. I know that man has got some real raw pace than anybody on the track. Even if you ask Nico, I wont be surprised if he agrees Lewis to be faster than him:P That being said, I feel gutted for Lewis every time he miss that opportunity to forge ahead his rival. To be honest, I support Nico more than Lewis although I know Lewis is better. It’s just a personal thing :) Everybody know Lewis is better and this WDC is his to lose. But deep inside, I got a feeling that he will take it either by winning back to back races or taking the final double point lottery. Well, the best you can afford is a 14 point gap getting into final race. If it happens, I must say that double points is not even that bad idea considering the amount of suspense and thrill we may get in this game show.

  2. Its funny that Hamilton trying to hold up his team mate cost him. In a way it serves him right. Maybe if he wasn’t so concerned with slowing Rosberg in the final sector on his outlap he would have realised just how quick the final sector was. It seems every other driver felt it.

    1. I think that’s a pretty ridiculous claim. If Hamilton had impeded Rosberg at all then he’d have likely suffered a penalty, so there’s no reason for him to do that.

      It seems pretty clear that Hamilton saw on his lap delta that he was dropping seconds compared to the fastest lap, and simply assumed that there was no way he could improve. He made the wrong decision, but probably a fairly understandable one. It’s a pretty exceptional set of circumstances that would allow a driver to find over four seconds in the final sector of the lap.

      1. He did impede Rosberg, but they were both on out-laps so no penalty gets given.

        However, the impeding is technically a separate incident from the backing out of the lap.

        1. There is precedent there though, with drivers having been given penalties for impeding another driver in such a way that they can’t get their final lap in. Remember a certain driver did that in the pitlane one time…

          1. Oh yes, I forgot about that happening (and it affected Sergio Perez badly), and there was a similar incident in Japan 2012 I think, with Schumacher and Webber. I remember somebody getting penalised then.

            We may just see Force India complain to the FIA about this one.

          2. @strontium It’s got to be worth an appeal at least. But I guess it depends on what actually happened when Hamilton overtook Perez. If it was simply that Perez himself was running slowly then I don’t think they could really have much to complain about. Maybe Checo hadn’t intended to set a time anyway, who knows. I wasn’t really following what was happening with them.

            But yeah, if I was FI I’d probably lodge an appeal about it.

          3. @strontium,@mazdachris, Perez could hardly complain of being impeded by the McLarens, he was in front of them holding up Hamilton and Rosberg which is why Rosberg asked the team to tell Lewis to get a move-on, once they passed Perez they pulled rapidly away.

      2. @mazdachris

        I think that’s a pretty ridiculous claim. If Hamilton had impeded Rosberg at all then he’d have likely suffered a penalty, so there’s no reason for him to do that.

        Actually not, drivers can only get penalized if they hold up a driver who’s on a hot lap. As Nico (like Lewis) was on his out-lap, Lewis cannot get penalized for holding up Nico.

        I also felt that Lewis’s behavior and the way he held up Nico with the clock ticking down was quite strange/suspicious. Nonetheless that does not matter now.

        1. In 2007 Alonso held up Hamilton by sitting in the pit box long enough to prevent Hamilton from having enough time to get round and put in a second flying lap. Alonso was given a five place grid penalty for that.

          If a driver deliberately holds up another driver in a way which disadvantages them, then historical precedent says that they would receive a penalty for it.

          1. @mazdachris Which was a big fault by the FIA. That was in the pitbox which is the team their responsibility. The FIA was in no right (imo) to penelise Alonso there. Like the stewards would penelise Vettel for M21?

          2. @xtwl I agree, and the decisions of the FIA that weekend start to seem ore and more outrageous with the passage of time. To strip the team of constructors’ points for that weekend was just…. astonishing.

            But anyway, the point is that there’s evidence that a driver would get penalised for holding up another driver even if it was on an outlap, if it did genuinely affect their ability to set a flying laptime. Ironically, if Hamilton did want to hamper Rosberg, he would have been much better off not aborting his flying lap, as Rosberg was close enough to be affected by Hamilton’s dirty air and maybe some spray. He wouldn’t have been penalised for that if he was on a flying lap himself.

        2. @mazdachris I dont think it was delibrate attempt by Hamilton. But to your point …..

          1) Consistency is not the strongest point of FIA

          2) Since it is Supposedly Rosberg who got held up who do you think will appeal against Hamilton ? Mecedes ? ( Of course Ron Dennis had reasons to appeal against Alonso )

          3) Even if it was deliberate attempt by Hamilton, Do you think they will hand out 5 grid spot penalty for him in Silverstone where the British fans have come down to watch him win ??????

          1. 1 – No it’s not, but I was at least illustrating the point that you can be penalised for impeding a driver on an out-lap. It has happened a couple of times before

            2 – I don’t think the appeal necessarily has to come from any individual competitor. The Stewards are within their right to investigate anything on the track they think is fishy. And honestly, I feel like at this point it wouldn’t take a lot to see one of the Mercedes drivers going to the stewards about the other. Could be wrong, just feels that way

            3 – I think the Stewards are generally pretty fair and don’t generally let politics influence their decisions these days. Even when Mansell is on the panel. If Hamilton did something wrong (or any other British driver) then I would really hope they would be rightfully punished. Again, it’s just speculation either way.

            And of course largely irrelevant since Rosberg got his hotlap and managed to get on pole, so I don’t see any reason to investigate anything. And there seems to be no evidence that Hamilton was genuinely trying to impede his teammate. Just a lot of speculation by people who want a compelling story.

          2. @mazdachris

            This is true.

            I think the Stewards are generally pretty fair and don’t generally let politics influence their decisions these days. Even when Mansell is on the panel.

            Look how swiftly Mansell took away Jenson’s fastest Q1 time after going beyond the limits.

      3. @mazdachris

        Its not ridiculous at all. Hamiltons did slow Rosberg down, they only crossed the line with a few seconds left and it caused Perez to miss out completely.There was also a radio message from Rosberg telling him to speed up.

        1. I don’t disagree that Rosberg was held up. What I disagree with is the ridiculous notion that Hamilton would have been doing it deliberately. Maybe I’m giving Hamilton too much credit, but it seems more likely that he was just running slowly through indecision and trying to work out whether he should overtake Perez or drop back. I don’t believe there was any deliberate malice in it.

          1. rosberg was held up by Hamilton, but not with any malicious intent. it is just that rosberg needed to get over the line to start another lap, while Hamilton did not look in such a hurry to do so himself. hamilton then drove a worse first sector then rosberg, which may have held up rosberg ever so slightly. Hamilton called it quits on the lap, proving no malicious intent. the rest is history – an unpredicatable final sector which gave rosberg pole, as he chose to fight to the death, while Hamilton predicted wrong.

          2. Hamilton was in front of Perez, that’s why Perez didn’t get in his final lap. Rosberg just barely crossed the start/finish line in time for his final lap.

            Clearly Hamilton was trying to hold up Rosberg a bit – within the rules – as a form of gamesmanship. I don’t blame him for that and it was a smart strategy.

            But Hamilton’s error was in thinking that was enough to secure pole. In fairness, no one thought lap times would improve. The reason some drivers went for it was that they had nothing to lose. Vettel being the most obvious – he didn’t have a time so needed to set one. Rosberg was behind Hamilton so he had to take the slightest hope/chance that the final sector would improve.

          3. @uan, rubbish, Perez held up both McLarens (unintentionally,? probably) until they realized they needed to pass him to beat the flag.

    2. What a daft comment. If Hamilton really wanted to hold up Rosberg, he would have just stayed on the track.

    3. Going by the radio comments, Rosberg certainly thought he was a bit too slow, presumably making double sure his time wouldn’t be beaten. Just drive the car as fast as possible and complete the lap Lewis. If Rosberg wins the race, he will become seen as the de facto Mercedes number one driver this season surely.

    4. I get the impression that Hamilton genuinely thought the track was as slippery as he was stating. He did end up letting Rosberg through and aborted his own attempt during the pole lap. Video here –

      No malice here I’d say. A critical error that Hamilton will surely beat himself up over though.

    5. He didnt impede as Lewis had to overtake someone ahead of him, both him and Rosberg overtook someone, I think it was Perez, Lewis was probably just trying to keep a gap between himself and the car in front but realized he was going to slow and decided to over take him

    6. @f190

      It’s funny that Hamilton trying to hold up his team mate cost him.

      Clearly they were both being held up by Perez.

    7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      5th July 2014, 17:01

      @f190 obviously you didn’t listen to Hulkenberg’s interview. No one knew, it cames as a huge surprise to everyone except Nico who obviously knew that as he explained at length in the interview:-)

    8. Just think, if he had impeded him just 0.5s more, Sebastian Vettel would have been on pole.

  3. These are crucial moments in the WDC fight and as of now it’s Nico who is at the right places at the right time.
    Few more slip ups from Lewis and it would be K.O. (even with Abu Double)

  4. This is really irritating. In the predictions I kept putting Rosberg on pole, and it was always Hamilton, up until Monaco, where I them always put Hamilton on pole, and it’s always Rosberg! I can guarantee that it won’t be whoever I choose, next race.

    1. @strontium
      Please choose Lewis to take pole in all the remainder races of the season. ;-) :P

  5. All German front row in the British Grand Prix.

    1. @kingshark The irony! I wonder what will happen next time in Germany!

      1. No doubt Max Chilton will be up there

        1. And Wolff.

  6. That oughta boost Hamilton’s confidence in his judgement. And Britney did it again…

  7. Luca will be praying Bernie steps ahead and decides to drop Monza for this year, instead of 2016. Imagine the embarrasment of seeing their beloved Ferraris qualy so low on the grid.

    Of course it was because of the rain, but wouldn’t it be awesome to happen at Luca’s party?

    Tomorrow’s race is shaping up great !

    1. what have you got against luca? he has beenj in charge at Ferrari during highs (very high) and lows. what is your angle? I notice there are many unintelligent comments these past years aimed at luce de montezemalo by ignorant people who do not know what luca has done for the Ferrari brand.

      1. It must be nice to selectively ignore all the complaining that Luca’s been doing for the last year or so.

        1. leave him alone, he is doing nothing wrong. you complain more.

          1. That’s rich, given how many times you’ve tried to ram your hatred of the new engines down everyone’s throats.

  8. How do I get a message to Rosberg? I need him to do my lottery number. First he escapes scot-free for overtaking under a red flag and then lucks into a bone-dry sector three on the final run of Q3. Just don’t try and tell me he used that superhuman brain of his to know he’d make up that time. Bet Ricciardo’s full-beam smile has dimmed a bit too.

    1. Hamilton had top time, he just had to stay on track and mirror Rosberg to exclude any unanticipated conditions. He didn’t and paid the cost.

    2. Does it really take a “superhuman brain” to decide to push for one last flier in the hope that you might make up some time? To me, if it comes down to a simple decision between setting a time and not setting a time, then setting a time would generally be the default option.

      Hamilton’s decision to abort the lap was probably pretty logical, given that he’d already dropped a couple of seconds relative to provisional pole, but even then I would have said that he may as well have just kept pushing regardless. There were certainly plenty of other drivers on the track who felt it was worth a go, and it paid off.

      1. Sounds like you should drop Mercedes a line and offer your services as chief strategist. You clearly know more than the rest of the pitlane.

        1. Are you really saying that it takes a professional strategist to know that setting a laptime is a better strategy in qualifying that not setting a laptime?

          1. If he had kept going and time didn’t improve, you’d have people saying he should have saved his tires.

          2. @trublu So? It was still the right decision to do another lap. People will criticise Hamilton no matter what he does. If he’d have put in a final flying lap he would have matched everyone else, and thus negated any possible advantage they could have gotten. No matter how you slice it, Hamilton made a mistake, and has admitted so himself, in deciding to give up on the final lap.

            It’s a truism of sport that you must never give up, even in what may seem a hopeless situation. Always put in one more lap, always make your opponent make one more shot… it’s how you make sure that if your opponents make a mistake, you’re there to take the spoils.

            Rosberg would have been seeing the same sort of lap deltas on his dash, but he decided to keep pushing regardless in the hope of making up some time. Hamilton decided not to. That’s why Rosberg is on pole and Hamilton is in sixth. Hamilton will know this better than anyone, and I’m sure it’ll be a really painful situation for him to handle. At this level, he can’t afford to be making mistakes like that. And he knows it.

          3. Shame none of you guys with 20/20 hindsight didn’t call Ricciardo’s engineer during Q3 and tell him to advise Dan to leave the garage for another run. It all seems obvious, doesn’t it?

          4. Given that the majority of drivers had gone out onto the track to attempt one more lap, yes apparently it was pretty obvious. The couple who stayed in the garage made the wrong choice. Hamilton, who aborted a lap presumably because he thought he wasn’t going to improve, also made a mistake, but at least initially thought it was worth going out to give it a go. I agree with the changeable conditions there was an argument for not bothering, but the majority agreed that it was at least worth sending the cars out to see what happened.

          5. It would be “obvious” if all drivers went out.

        2. Dan it wasnt luck. The track was the same for everyone and Rosberg kept with it. If anything it showsthe determination Rosberg has over Hamilton. He could see he was down on time and his team mate abort his lap. Ithink he deserves pole for sticking with it.

      2. Thats my view as well. He had nothing to lose by staying out. Even just being a good sport and doing an extra lap to celebrate with the fans if he didn’t improve. I think id have completed the lap just to have had that moment to be honest. If his reason for pitting was because he thought he had pole then why not celebrate that with the fans on the cool down lap.

      3. @mazdachris, there’s a saying ” It aint over until it’s over ” but I guess no-one in Lewis or Dans garage have heard it. But one also has to consider the upcoming unreliability penalties.

    3. its not luck Dan, it is fighting to the death, which Hamilton did not do. rosberg gave it his all until the very end, where it proved to matter most. that is not luck – that is sportsmanship.

      1. with the changing track conditions, Hamilton should have too.

      2. Well said.

        Anyone who thinks it was ‘luck’ that Hamilton failed relative to Rosberg needs to get a grip…

        1. I’ve said nothing about Hamilton’s error being anything to do with luck. I’m saying Rosberg’s weekend so far has had a large element of luck. See the countless qualifying reports on how Rosberg gambled and it paid off. Good luck to the guy but his performance wasn’t down to talent alone. Luckiest guy on the grid is probably Vettel …

          1. Talent isn’t just raw driving capability. Talent is also knowing what to do when.

            Hamilton had nothing to lose (on tyres that needed to be returned, at least) by finishing the lap.
            Knowing this fact isn’t luck. It’s logic.

  9. Well, Bernie’s new ‘double speed in the final sector’ gimmick certainly gave us an exciting end to qualifying…

    1. I laughed way too hard :’)

  10. Fully deserved pole for Rosberg, Hamilton might have looked faster here al weekend, it was Rosberg who kept on pushing in the moment he needed to. If he keeps making such mistakes he will not become World Champion, I guarantee you that!

    1. I agree, bad judgement by Hamilton. Kudos to Rosberg for the final lap-push!

      @force-maikel Shame Belgium didn’t win at the World Championship Football though :-( Sad day for our country :-)

      1. @gdewilde Agreed but hey it’s a team for the future, that is if the country still exists by then.

  11. Lewis you blithering idiot !
    and to those of you armchair experts , yeah , i don’t know what it takes . But I am angry nonetheless.He messed up today.

  12. Is it just me or was there a ~5 second sequence of footage in the Sky coverage that seemed to show Vettel crossing the line to start his final lap after the lights turned red?

    1. Which line are you talking about? At Silverstone, the finish line is behind the grid.

  13. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    5th July 2014, 15:41

    Maybe hamilton has really started to feel the pressure

  14. Just realised that Vettel was, in many ways, half a second from pole. Well, Nico was half a second from losing it, actually.

  15. Does anyone else get excited by the Ferrari’s and the Williams cars at the back of the grid! Lots of passing and storming through the field is exciting!!!!

    1. Those are the four best cars on race start, arent they?

      1. yep, at the end of the first lap they will be 11,12,13, 14 and will struggle to make much after that.

        1. Thought it was in the bag. Need to replicate the Austria bite point tomorrow.

  16. Good old British weather, the only way to ensure topsy-turvy qualifying… might even help make for a good race tomorrow. Rosberg appears not to have lost the psycho-war, both Williams drivers admitting to mistakes and bad luck, but no comment from Ferrari — except of course the iceman’s “it’s hard to say…”

    1. @paul-a Another way: Those sprinklers.

  17. Ferrari out in Q1, Hamilton making another silly mistake….

    Fans of schadenfreude are having their best qualifying session ever.

    1. @hairs Don’t forget Maldonado’s exclusion. All good things come in threes after all.

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