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Qualifying highlights - Germany 2013 - Mercedes snatch yet another pole position from Red Bull's grasp

Published by Christine

Hamilton in Germany
Credit: Daimler AG

After a controversial week, we saw a nice, relatively quiet and straight-forward qualifying session at the Nürburgring. The weather, unusually, was sunny and warm, letting the action go on unhindered, and keeping the fans in a good mood.

There were some surprises along the way, although Williams dropping out early was not one of them. The battle in the midfield continues to be fought tooth and nail, whilst there were some repeat visitors to the top ten who are really showing their worth.

If you missed any of the action, or want a quick reminder of what went down in Germany today, here's a lap by lap replay of the Factbyte Factbox coverage for qualifying.

As it happened: Germany 2013 - Qualifying

Event Highlights

  • Lewis Hamilton snatches pole position from Sebastian Vettel, with Mark Webber third
  • Nico Rosberg misses the top ten, qualifying 11th, after Mercedes mistakenly thought they were safe.
  • Both Williams drivers drop out in the first qualifying session.
  • Only Mercedes and Red Bull get through to Q2 on the medium tyres.
  • 12:30

    Hello there, you've come back! It's nearly time for qualifying for the German Grand Prix, and I'll be here for the whole thing. Will you?

  • 12:31

    Naturally, the tyres are still a hot topic of conversation but the FIA have come out and mandated the Pirelli recommended tyre pressures and cambers, so hopefully it will not be a problem this weekend.

  • 12:32

    Meanwhile, Williams have got their weekend off to a worrying start, after a KERS incident in the garage, involving smoke and firefighters. Not as big as their Spain garage fire, and no injuries, though.

  • 12:33

    The team are focusing on the task in hand, though, putting the incident behind them. Via @dickiestanford.

  • 12:34

    Fernando Alonso started off on the back foot with no running in first practice due to an ECU problem. He's made up for it since then, and the Ferrari looks reasonably fast this weekend.

  • 12:34

    Mercedes and Red Bull are still the teams to beat though, with Sebastian Vettel snatching two of the fastest times out of the three practice sessions.

  • 12:36

    Jules Bianchi was back behind the wheel this morning, after completing only ten laps yesterday due to a stomach bug.

  • 12:37

    Medium and softMedium and soft tyres are the choices this weekend, white and yellow sidewalls respectively.

  • 12:40
    2013 Poles
    1S Vettel3
    2N Rosberg3
    3L Hamilton2
  • 12:41

    TweetTweet from @f1elvis: Last chance to prep the cars, not only for qually, but race too. Decision time on final setup, which is always a compromise between the two.

  • 12:42

    With the German GP hosts alternating each year, the last data teams (and we) have for Nürburgring is 2011.

  • 12:43
    Historical Session Times
    Year: 2011
    Free Practice 1F Alonso1:31.894
    Free Practice 2M Webber1:31.711
    Free Practice 3S Vettel1:30.916
    QualifyingM Webber1:30.079
    The RaceL Hamilton1:37:30.334
  • 12:48

    QuoteInterview with Toto Wolff: "We have a new tyre situation, it's the same for everyone, we can't complain. At the moment, we seem to have developed Lewis' car a bit away from what he needs, what he wants. We need to get back nearer to where we have been in Free Practice 1.

    "Expectations are being raised pretty quickly with our team, with our friends, and it's difficult because I think we got on top of the situation at the last couple of races, it suited us. Here we are struggling a little bit, we are still the underdog... eventually it's about being successful in a sustainable way.

    "I think we are seeing a pretty strong Red Bull as far as we can see and analyse them. The whole field seems to have been shuffled around a little bit. You can see Red Bull is exracting the maximum from the tyres."

  • 12:56

    For a full track map and info on the two DRS zones this weekend, I recommend our handy Race information post.

  • 12:57



    Wind speed2.5mps
  • 12:58

    There are some final preparations going on in the Red Bull garage, a bit of a spanner here, a rub of cloth there.

  • 13:00

    Button has a final peek out the front of the garage, arms folded, before walking back into the depths towards his car.

  • 13:01

    Green flagQualifying session 1 begins.

  • 13:02

    Paul di Resta breaks cover first, heading out of the pitlane and on to the track. In contrast, Fernando Alonso sits calmly watching on, his overalls still around his waist.

  • 13:03

    Giedo van der Garde, and both Marussias join Di Resta out on track, as more and more drivers start to pile out, ready to get their qualifying campaigns underway.

  • 13:04

    Pastor Maldonado is instructed the plan is three timed laps in this first session.

  • 13:04

    Di Resta sets the first time of the session, a 1:41.226.

  • 13:05

    Team radioTeam radio to Sutil: "Brakes are still cold, and tyres are still cold."

  • 13:06

    Half the field out on track now, as Hamilton joins the fun.

  • 13:07

    Pastor Maldonado jumps up to P1, with teammate Valtteri Bottas behind him. The benchmark time now 1:31.834 (Bottas just 0.002 behind!)

  • 13:07

    @theF1DON: Off we go @Marussia_F1Team it's qually time !! #F1

  • 13:08

    A mixture of medium and soft tyres in use. The Williams times came on the softer compound, Di Resta, Sutil and Gutiérrez on the mediums.

  • 13:08

    Maldonado's earlier radio call for three timed laps has been cancelled, as they look happy with the time set, abort the plan and return to the pit lane.

  • 13:10

    Sutil reports serious oversteer and a lack of rear grip.

  • 13:10

    Half the session done, we're still yet to see Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Button, Råikkönen, Grosjean and Hülkenberg.

  • 13:11

    Daniel Ricciardo crosses the line for a P1 time, dropping the benchmark to 1:31.081, soft tyres. Nico Rosberg heads round the final corner, and slips into second place, medium tyres.

  • 13:12

    TweetTweet from @OfficialSF1Team: #Guti was almost as quick as the BOT on soft tyres. he comes back to garage now for a change of tyres and last outing in Q1.

  • 13:12

    Hamilton tops his teammate, but still behind Ricciardo, he slips into second place for now.

  • 13:13

    Alonso is out on the soft tyres, his radio informs him he needs three timed laps. Sutil's radio is similar, confirming drivers are going faster on the third lap as that's when the tyres are ready to deliver.

  • 13:14

    Having said all that, Alonso jumps up to P1 with his first lap, a 1:30.709.

  • 13:15

    Räikkönen also on the soft tyres, and he's up to P1.

  • 13:15

    Still yet to see a lap time from Massa, Button, Grosjean and the Hulk but all four are out on track about to do the business.

  • 13:16

    Massa up to fifth, Grosjean sixth. Hülkenberg ninth.

  • 13:17

    The top four are back in the garage, less than three minutes on the clock, they're probably happy with that time.

  • 13:17

    Button improves to sixth place.

  • 13:17

    So, with 22 lap times on the board, the drop zone features Sutil, Pérez, Pic, Bianchi, Van der Garde and Chilton.

  • 13:18

    Sutil improves, dropping Bottas into the drop zone. The two Williams are close together again, so they may be pushing each other in and out of the drop zone like they did last week.

  • 13:19

    TweetTweet from @redbullracing: So far just Mercedes and us staying on mediums. Everyone else has opted for soft tyres.

  • 13:20

    Bottas moves ahead of teammate Maldonado, top push him down. Pérez is still under pressure.

  • 13:20

    Chequered flagQualifying session 1 ends.

  • 13:20

    Felipe Massa pops up to P1, with a 1:30.547.

  • 13:21

    Pérez finally finishes his lap and hauls himself up to 14th place, it's both Williams down in the drop zone now.

  • 13:22

    The fastest three in that session were Feliep Massa, Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso.

  • 13:23
    Qualifying Position
    17V BottasWilliams
    18P MaldonadoWilliams
    19C PicCaterham
    20J BianchiMarussia
    21G van der GardeCaterham
    22M ChiltonMarussia
  • 13:26

    TweetTweet from @byronf1: Max Chilton qualifies 22nd for the German Grand Prix. Time to get a shift on. He's been out-qualified by Bianchi at every race #f1

  • 13:27

    Green flagQualifying session 2 begins.

  • 13:27

    It's Jean-Éric Vergne that leads the way out this time, although Paul di Resta isn't far behind.

  • 13:28

    Sergio Pérez is studying some papers very hard. He'll need all the data he can get to find his way into the top ten.

  • 13:29

    Gutiérrez is told they'll just do the one timed lap this session.

  • 13:29

    Seven drivers out on track, all soft tyres in evidence so far.

  • 13:31

    Our first lap time on the board, it's Vergne's 1:31.258. Di Resta immediately tops it, but only by three hundredths.

  • 13:32

    Mercedes are out on track, they've got the soft tyres on this time round. Red Bull remain in the garage, as well as Jenson Button.

  • 13:33

    @McLarenF1: Checo studies the data in the garage as Q2 begins at Nürburgring

  • 13:34

    TweetTweet from @PirelliSport: Everybody who is out now in Q2 is on the yellow soft tyre. Time difference between the two compounds is around 1.5s.

  • 13:35

    Lewis Hamilton crosses the line for a 1:30.152. Teammate Nico Rosberg chases him across the line, but it's two tenths down.

  • 13:36

    Jenson Button's first time pops him up to P10, whilst the Red Bull pair finally deign to leave the garage and have a go.

  • 13:36

    They've picked a quiet time, as there are only three other cars out on track.

  • 13:37

    TweetTweet from @F1onNBCSports: 0.5s separates Raikkonen (P3) from Ricciardo (P13) - just like Q1, this is going to be a close battle to make it through to the top 10 #F1

  • 13:38

    Less than five minutes of the session remaining, Grosjean and Alonso filter back out to have another go.

  • 13:38

    Team radioTeam radio to Webber: "Looks like the wind may have dropped a bit. Less tailwind in to turn three this time."

  • 13:38

    The engine cover is off the rear of Adrian Sutil's car, they're either peering at the engine or the gearbox there.

  • 13:39

    Vettel crosses the line for a 1:29.992, that's P1 for the Red Bull for now.

  • 13:39

    Mark Webber slips into third place, just a couple of tenths off his teammate.

  • 13:40

    14 cars are out on track now, just the Mercedes pair remain in the garage, currently 3rd and 5th.

  • 13:40

    Webber's radio informs him they are happy with his lap time.

  • 13:42

    Both the Ferrari drivers have dropped the benchmark, a 1:29.825 for P1 for Felipe Massa.

  • 13:42

    Rosberg is now down to 7th, no, wait, that's 8th. He's dropping and dropping!

  • 13:42

    The drop zone currently features: Räikkönen, Di Resta, Pérez, Gutiérrez, Sutil and Vergne.

  • 13:43

    Chequered flagQualifying session 2 ends.

    Räikkönen jumps up to P2, and that's it, Rosberg is down and out in 11th!

  • 13:44

    Mercedes made a massive mistake keeping their pair in the garage for that final run. As soon as Grosjean put in a faster time, it was clear the track was improving, they should have gone out again.

  • 13:45

    Fastest three in that session were Felipe Massa, Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso.

  • 13:46
    Qualifying Position
    11N RosbergMercedes
    12P Di RestaForce India
    13S PérezMcLaren
    14E GutiérrezSauber
    15A SutilForce India
    16JE VergneToro Rosso
  • 13:47

    A bonus for McLaren, with Jenson Button scraping through into the top ten. Daniel Ricciardo also gets through to Q3 again.

  • 13:50

    TweetTweet from @clubforce: Neither of our cars in Q3 - considering the gap in performance between the two compounds, it might even be a blessing in disguise...

  • 13:50

    Green flagQualifying session 3 begins.

  • 13:51

    With just ten minutes on the clock, most drivers are out early to get a time on the board. We've got eight cars out on track, with just Button and Hülkenberg holding back.

  • 13:54

    QuoteInterview with Nico Rosberg: "The team underestimated it, and so it didn't really work out for me. Degradation-wise, it's better. The tyres, it didn't come to our advantage with these new tyres, especially in qualifying. But race pace is okay. I don't know, from 11th, I'll think about that tomorrow."

  • 13:54

    Lap times coming in now, Sebastian Vettel leads the way with a 1:29.622. Hamilton immediately tops that with a 1:29.540.

  • 13:55

    Five minutes remaining, five lap times on the board.

  • 13:56

    The current order sees Hamilton ahead, with Vettel, Räikkönen, Webber and then Grosjean.

  • 13:57

    Now the top five are back in the garage, whilst Alonso and Massa, plus Button all remain on track.

  • 13:57

    Button gives up on his lap, and heads back into the pit lane without a time.

  • 13:58

    The two Ferrari drivers are on the medium compounds, and it looks like Button's visit to the pit lane was for white stripes, as he's back out on mediums now.

  • 13:58

    All ten drivers are out on track, with everyone else on the soft compounds.

  • 14:00

    In the first sector, Vettel is a tenth of a second off the P1 time set by Lewis Hamilton.

  • 14:00

    Alonso posts the sixth fastest time, with Felipe Massa tucking in behind him. They are not competitive times at all.

  • 14:00

    He's 0.03 up through the second sector.

  • 14:00

    Chequered flagQualifying session 3 ends.

  • 14:01

    Vettel does move up to provisional pole position, 1:29.501.

  • 14:01

    Button pits without setting a time.

  • 14:01

    Webber looks like he's up on his teammate, and Hamilton also up in the sectors.

  • 14:01

    Webber can't do it, it's second behind Vettel.

  • 14:02

    Hamilton crosses the line, and he's done it!

  • 14:02

    StopwatchPole position for Lewis Hamilton with a time of 1:29.398.

  • 14:03

    Further down the order, Hülkenberg didn't set a lap time either, settling for tenth place. Ricciardo did, and was sixth, whilst Massa outqualified Alonso with a slightly more competitive time.

  • 14:04
    Qualifying Position
    1L HamiltonMercedes
    2S VettelRed Bull
    3M WebberRed Bull
    4K RäikkönenLotus
    5R GrosjeanLotus
    6D RicciardoToro Rosso
    7F MassaFerrari
    8F AlonsoFerrari
    9J ButtonMcLaren
    10N HülkenbergSauber
  • 14:04
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:06

    Great finish for Daniel Ricciardo, sixth on the grid, just three places behind the other Australian he's in the running to replace.

  • 14:08

    The top three head to the front of the garages to wave and pose for that media shot. Webber leans an elbow on Lewis's shoulder, as the three seem quite happy together.

  • 14:10

    TweetTweet from @OfficialSF1Team: we decided not to set a time which gives us more options for the race. P10 for #Hulk. well done. strong lap in Q2 and a good result.

  • 14:15

    A mixed day for Mercedes, joy for the pole position and disappointment for the mistake made with Rosberg. In front of the home crowd too!

  • 14:16

    Webber will line up third on the grid, but where will he be by the time they get to the first corner? He'll have Romain Grosjean directly behind him as well.

  • 14:16

    Lots of work to be done at Force India and Sauber, whilst McLaren have a ray of hope in Button's top ten finish today, but he'll be on a different strategy to those around him tomorrow.

  • 14:17

    The sun is set to keep on shining over the Nürburgring so that we should have an unaffected race, weather-wise. it should be a good one!

  • 14:17

    Join me back here tomorrow from 12:30 GMT+1, for a bit of build-up ahead of lap by lap coverage of the German Grand Prix. See you then!

All content in the series Germany 2013