Rosberg on pole as Hamilton crashes out

2014 German Grand Prix qualifying

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Nico Rosberg claimed his fifth pole position of the year at home for Mercedes in Hockenheim.

But it didn’t all go according to plan for the championship leaders. Lewis Hamilton crashed out after a brake failure during Q1 and will provisionally line up 15th on the grid.

That left the Williams pair to take the fight to Mercedes, and Valtteri Bottas put his car on the front row alongside Rosberg.


Qualifying has been a weakness for Hamilton in recent races but as Q1 began it seemed things were going his way. Running on the harder of the two tyre compounds he set the quickest time initially, while Rosberg aborted two runs and languished at the foot of the times.

Bottas then beat Hamilton’s time by four-tenths of a second, so the Mercedes driver pressed on in search of further improvements. But it all went wrong as he sped into the Motodrom section – his right-front brake disc failed, and the W05 pirouetted across the short run-off area before making heavy contact with the barrier.

Hamilton, bruised but unhurt, clambered out of his car while the session was red-flagged. He’d already set a quick enough time to secure a place in Q2, but as he would take no further part in the session he was condemned to start near the back of the field.

When the session resumed with seven minutes to go Rosberg wasted no time in making sure he didn’t suffer the same fate as his team mate. He used a set of the quicker super-soft tyres to ensure he continued into Q2.

With Marcus Ericsson failing to leave the pits due to a hydraulic leak from his Caterham’s throttle, Max Chilton was the slowest of the drivers to set a time and will line up on the back row of the grid.

His team mate Jules Bianchi put his car ahead of Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus as well as the other Caterham of Kamui Kobayashi. Adrian Sutil also failed to progress to the second part of qualifying.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’19.142
18Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’19.676
19Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’20.195
20Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’20.408
21Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’20.489
22Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault


Normal service was resumed as far as Mercedes were concerned in Q2 – Rosberg was quickest, but the Williams lurked close behind, just two-tenths of a second slower.

With Hamilton unable to take part only five further drivers would be eliminated. Romain Grosjean was the slowest of the runners in the ill-handling Lotus, with Esteban Gutierrez ahead of him. However Gutierrez’s penalty from the previous race will promote Grosjean and Hamilton, as well as Sutil.

Jenson Button ended final practice very unhappy with the handling of his McLaren, but reported the braking had improved when the qualifying session began.

Nonetheless he was unable to claim a place in the final ten. Former team mate Sergio Perez squeezed him out by three-hundredths of a second. But of more concern will be the four-tenths of a second gap to his current team mate.

Kimi Raikkonen also failed to reach the final ten after his fuel pressure problems during final practice.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’18.193
12Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’18.273
13Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’18.285
14Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’18.787
15Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’18.983
16Lewis HamiltonMercedes


The loss of Hamilton meant the spice was taken out of the pole position shoot-out. The Williams drivers’ hopes of beating Rosberg on pure pace always seemed remote, though Bottas gave it a good go.

Rosberg’s first run eventually proved to be his best – initially he was over half a second faster than Bottas. The Williams driver produced the fastest middle sector on his final run, but fell short of Rosberg by two-tenths of a second.

That confirmed Rosberg’s fifth pole position of the season – a coup for the driver who re-signed for Mercedes earlier this week.

Massa took third and will share the second row of the grid with Kevin Magnussen, who starts seven places ahead of the other McLaren.

The Red Bull pair claimed the third row of the grid, Daniel Ricciardo out-qualifying Vettel again, followed by Fernando Alonso and Daniil Kvyat, then the two Force Indias.

Top ten in Q3

1Nico RosbergMercedes1’16.540
2Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’16.759
3Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’17.078
4Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.214
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’17.273
6Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’17.577
7Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’17.649
8Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’17.965
9Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’18.014
10Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’18.035

2014 German 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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13 comments on “Rosberg on pole as Hamilton crashes out”

  1. So the biggest gainers from FRIC ban are Williams and Mclaren. Red Bull seems to suffer as much as Mercedes. Ferrari are in their usual positions.

    1. I’d wait for at least two race weekends before I jump to conclusions, but my initial impressions are different anyways.

      I don’t see a particular improvement in the performance of either Williams or McLaren (the former was strong in the dry in Austria as well, indicating a well-working upgrade package, while the latter is stronger in quali – and weaker in race trim – since about Barcelona).

      I think Lotus may have suffered the most with the loss of FRIC and I see no particularly big gainers up to now.

  2. Well at least Hamilton is going to have plenty of tyres, and he’s going to need them if the weather stays hot, any bets on how many times he will have to pass Hulkenberg?

    1. Forecast for tomorrow is rain. The only possibility for HAM to make podium.

      1. But Hamilton has been better than Rosberg so far this season in the rain.

      2. You gotta be kidding if Ham has a reliable car and is not caught in a first lap incident. He will finsih 2nd

      3. Hm … I believe Hamilton will be in P8-10 after the first lap and quickly work his way up into the top 4. Even if the Williams are superquick tomorrow – Massa will drop the ball or they screw up at least one drivers’ strategy.

      4. Unfortunately for HAM, it now looks like the rain will come too late for the race.

    2. Who knows, he might have a start much like last race and end up in the top 3 by the 5th lap!

  3. Kamui beat Max! There is hope for Caterham yet

    1. To be fair that is more of Kamui being a better driver compared to Chilton

  4. Roseberg should have been out in q1 as he put four wheels off the track in the last corner. Where is the consistancy!!!!!

    1. @David Smo But didn’t gain a lasting advantage from it.

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