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Qualifying - Hamilton snatches pole in Germany 06 Jul 2013

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 6 July 2013 Mercedes' Nico Rosberg locks a wheel and runs wide at the first corner, ruining his first flying lap. His next lap is enough to go second behind team mate Lewis Hamilton Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, third and first respectively in Q2, head out early at the beginning of Q3 Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel pulls into parc ferme. Despite a brilliant final lap, he is pipped to pole position by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel share a joke after qualifying in 1st and 2nd positions respectively. Everything is set for a thrilling German Grand Prix on Sunday

His Mercedes team mate, Nico Rosberg, may have endured something of a nightmare, but Lewis Hamilton's qualifying session couldn't have gone better as he pipped home favourite Sebastian Vettel to pole position at the Nurburgring on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton's late effort on soft tyres was enough to pip the Red Bull driver to P1 by a tenth of a second, with Mark Webber third in the other Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean fourth and fifth for Lotus.

Q3 had some relatively unfamiliar drivers in it, notably Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg, but, very surprisingly, not the in-form Rosberg. Mercedes clearly miscalculated how much the track was ramping up and elected to leave him in the pits whilst a flurry of improvements suddenly jeopardised his lap time of 1m 30.326s.

When time expired Rosberg was still in the top 10, but Raikkonen was on a hot lap and when the Finn bumped himself up to P2 the German was eliminated.

Hamilton saved face for Mercedes, however, in Q3 setting the pace with a lap of 1m 29.540s which held Vettel to second on 1m 29.622s. On their second runs the German shaved his time down to 1m 29.501s, but the Briton’s response was an emphatic 1m 29.398s to settle the issue.

Behind them, Webber took third with 1m 29.608s, with the black and gold cars of Raikkonen and Grosjean in threatening fourth and fifth places with 1m 29.892s and 1m 29.959s respectively.

Daniel Ricciardo was in top form again to take sixth with 1m 30.528s for Toro Rosso, ahead of the Ferraris which both ran (and will subsequently start tomorrow's race) on medium tyres in what should be a clever strategy ploy. Felipe Massa was once again faster than Fernando Alonso, with 1m 31.126s to 1m 31.209s.

Button made it through to Q3 for McLaren and lines up ninth after opting not to record a timed lap, and Hulkenberg did one untimed lap for Sauber for 10th.

Behind Rosberg, Paul di Resta was 12th in Q2 as Force India couldn’t quite muster the pace. His lap of 1m 30.697s left him ahead of Sergio Perez’s McLaren on 1m 30.933s, Esteban Guttierez’s Sauber on 1m 31.010s, a time shared by Adrian Sutil in his Force India, and Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 31.104s in the other Toro Rosso.

As Massa had set the pace with 1m 30.547s, Q1 weeded out the Williams, Caterham and Marussia duos. Valtteri Bottas was unfortunate to miss out with a lap of 1m 31.693s which left him 17th, while team mate Pastor Maldonado was 18th on 1m 31.707s. Caterham's Charles Pic wrested back the tail-end honours from Marussia's Jules Bianchi in the closing minutes, bettering the French driver’s 1m 33.063s with 1m 32.937s. On the final row of the grid, Caterham's Giedo van der Garde kept the other Marussia of Max Chilton at bay, with 1m 33.734s to 1m 34.098s.

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