Silverstone - Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for Sunday's British Grand Prix
with a late fastest lap in the final seconds of a dramatic and
shock-filled qualifying session on Saturday.
German secured the prime starting position by persevering on his final
lap in rapidly-drying conditions as Mercedes team-mate and home hero
Briton Lewis Hamilton pulled into the pits, thinking like most observers
that he was already safe on pole.
It was a sensational finish to
an unpredictable session that saw both Ferrari and both Williams
eliminated in the Q1 part of qualifying and which delivered surprises
For Rosberg, it was his fourth pole of the year,
drawing him level with Hamilton, his first at Silverstone and the eighth
of his career and gave him a great opportunity to enlarge his 29 points
lead in the drivers' championship.
"It was definitely quite
crazy," said a remarkably cool Rosberg. "Certainly in first qualifying
it was and last qualifying also... The tyres were still drying out so we
lost time on the out lap.
"We sat in the garage and eventually
came to the conclusion that we might as well go out and have a look.
Then it seemed like it was worth it because the last part of the lap was
very dry. It was a great team effort."
Hamilton had dominated
until the final seconds when, thinking he was secure, he went to the
pits while his rivals improved their times by more than three seconds in
the final sector of the lap.
Rosberg's fellow-German, defending
four time champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, qualified second on the
front row ahead of Briton Jenson Button of McLaren, German Nico
Hulkenberg of Force India and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen who was
fifth for McLaren.
Hamilton wound up in sixth place ahead of
Mexican Sergio Perez in the second Force India and Australian Daniel
Ricciardo in the second Red Bull.
Asked why he pulled in, a
bitterly disappointed Hamilton said: "I don't know, I don't have much of
an answer... I just decided not to do the lap." He added that he did
not believe it was dry enough for him to improve his time.
"Obviously not... I don't have anything to say to you at the moment."
team boss Paddy Lowe said it was the driver's decision to abort the
lap. "He felt the lap was worse," said Lowe. "He bailed out, which was
unfortunate as a lot of time was found in sector three."
On a day
of intermittent heavy rainfall, and after a rain-hit final free practice
in the morning, it was always likely that the rapidly-changing
conditions would create problems.
This was apparent in Q1 when the
treacherous weather created a major upset as both Ferraris and the two
Williams men, who had locked out the front row of the grid in Austraia
two weeks earlier, were eliminated along with the two Caterhams.
gently drying conditions, Hamilton set the early pace ahead of
Ricciardo before the struggling teams gambled on slick tyres in the
closing minutes. This led to a scramble in which Mercedes reacted first,
Rosberg going quickest ahead of Kvyat with Hamilton third.
But Ferrari and Williams missed 'the window' and hit problems as it began to rain again.
resulted in Finn Valtteri Bottas and his Williams team-mate Brazilian
Felipe Massa winding up 17th and 18th ahead of Alonso in 19th and
Raikkonen who was 20th.
Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson finished 21st ahead of Japanese Kamui Kobayashi in the two 'under new owners' Caterhams.
as remarkably, the two Marussia cars of Frenchman Jules Bianchi and
Briton Max Chilton timed their slick tyre runs perfectly to take fourth
and fifth places in the leading group.
All this was a clear
warning to the top outfits. Hamilton heeded it well and was soon clear
at the top on medium tyres in Q2 in which a fast Vettel lap was
disqualified because he took all four wheels off the circuit.
champion responded to finish up third behind the rapid Hamilton and
Rosberg as Mexican Esteban Gutierrez crashed to join Sauber team-mate
German Adrian Sutil in the team's repairs bay.Formula One: British Formula One Grand Prix qualifying (Q1), (Q2) and (Q3) times at Silverstone on Saturday:
1. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:35.766, 2. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1:37.386, 3. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:38.200, 4. Nico Hlkenberg (GER) Force India 1:38.329, 5. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren 1:38.417, 6. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:39.232, 7. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1:40.457, 8. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1:40.606, 9. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:40.707, 10. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:40.855
1. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:34.870 (Q), 2. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:35.179 (Q), 3. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1:36.410 (Q), 4. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:36.579 (Q), 5. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:36.813 (Q), 6. Nico Hlkenberg (GER) Force India 1:37.112 (Q), 7. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1:37.350 (Q), 8. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren 1:37.370 (Q), 9. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:37.800 (Q), 10. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1:38.166 (Q), 11. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:38.496, 12. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia 1:38.709, 13. Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia 1:39.800, 14. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber 1:40.912, 15. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus 1:44.018, 16. Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber
1. Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1:40.380 (Q), 2. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:41.032 (Q), 3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes 1:41.058 (Q), 4. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia 1:41.169 (Q), 5. Nico Hlkenberg (GER) Force India 1:41.271 (Q), 6. Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia 1:42.082 (Q), 7. Sergio Perez (MEX) Force India 1:42.146 (Q), 8. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren 1:42.507 (Q), 9. Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber 1:42.603 (Q), 10. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1:43.040 (Q), 11. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1:43.121 (Q), 12. Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber 1:43.285 (Q), 13. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus 1:43.892 (Q), 14. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1:44.425 (Q), 15. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull 1:44.710 (Q), 16. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1:45.086 (Q), 17. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams 1:45.318, 18. Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams 1:45.695, 19. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1:45.935, 20. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari 1:46.684, 21. Marcus Ericsson (SWE) Caterham 1:49.421, 22. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Caterham 1:49.625