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Qualifying analysis - pole and possible pit-lane start for Mercedes

19 Jul 2014

The high track temperatures of up to 57 degrees Celsius put the emphasis on clean, error-free laps in qualifying at Hockenheim on Saturday, and in the end it was Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg who once again came to the fore.

But across the garage his team mate Lewis Hamilton had another session to forget as a brake disc failure consigned him to the gravel and 15th on the grid, if indeed he starts from the grid. We take a team-by-team look back on a sizzling day of action in Germany…


Nico Rosberg, 1m 16.540s, P1

Lewis Hamilton, No time, P16, will start P15

Yet again, there was good and bad news for Mercedes, and the good was for Rosberg, the bad for Hamilton. This time it centred around their brakes. The W05 Hybrids use Brembos at the back, but while Hamilton prefers Brembos up front too, Rosberg favours Carbon Industrie discs and calipers. Soon after the start of Q1 Hamilton suffered a right-front brake disc failure which pitched him hard into the wall in the Sachskurve, leaving him only 16th on the grid. That became 15th with Gutierrez’s Silverstone penalty taken into account, but it was another bitter pill for the Englishman to swallow, especially as Rosberg overcame Q1 brake problems of his own to set a stupendous pole time that only Bottas could approach. And if he changes back to Carbon Industrie front discs - which the team may opt to do as a precautionary measure given the limited time to investigate Saturday’s failure - he may yet have to start from the pit lane. Whatever happens, it’s going to be another superb race.


Valtteri Bottas, 1m 16.759s, P2

Felipe Massa, 1m 17.078s, P3

Just as they did in Austria, Williams pushed Mercedes really hard. This time there was no fairy tale pole position, but Bottas gave it everything he could and the team were surprised to have so much pace in the temperatures that had caused them some difficulties the previous day. The Finn said he got everything out of his FW36 on a very clean second run in Q3, while Massa thought he lost a little bit of crucial time as he struggled to put a strong lap together.


Kevin Magnussen, 1m 17.214s, P4

Jenson Button, 1m 18.193s, P11

McLaren’s improvement continued today, and Magnussen upset Red Bull as his final run in Q3 put him ahead of the RB10s right at the last gasp. The Dane equalled his previous best qualifying position, from Australia, and said that the new rear wing he first tried yesterday really helped. Button, however, felt he was blocked by Grosjean in Q2 and never got his second run together as he struggled with set-up. He got bumped from 10th place by Perez right at the end of Q2, and by only three-thousandths of a second.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 17.273s, P5

Sebastian Vettel, 1m 17.577s, P6

Much had been expected of Red Bull after their apparent speed on Friday, but it never really came together for the Milton Keynes team, though annexing the third row of the grid was hardly a disaster. Vettel said that Renault’s changes had not made much difference, and again he was pipped by team mate Ricciardo though the gap between them was miniscule. Both believe they can be in the fight for the final podium slot tomorrow, however.


Fernando Alonso, 1m 17.649s, P7

Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 18.273s, P12

Once again it transpired that in practice Ferrari flattered only to deceive in qualifying. Alonso yet again gave his all in the F14 T, but lack of rear-end grip stymied him. Raikkonen blamed time lost to water pump problems yesterday and a fuel pressure issue in FP3 for his lack of pace, but also admitted to a mistake on his final run. Alonso says he is looking forward to a tightly-bunched race with plenty of overtaking.

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat, 1m 17.965s, P8

Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 18.285s, P13

Yet again Kyvat produced the goods to qualify an excellent eighth. The Russian rookie drove flawlessly and made up for problems with the brakes pulling in FP3 to overshadow team mate Vergne once more.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 18.014s, P9

Sergio Perez, 1m 18.035s, P10

Hulkenberg and Perez once again proved very evenly matched. The former did his usual smooth job while the latter recovered from a technical problem in Q2 to pounce on Button at the last knocking, bumping the McLaren driver from 10th place and his chance of Q3.


Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 18.787s, P14, will start P17

Adrian Sutil, 1m 19.142s, P17, will start P16

Trying a new technique of not trying so hard and ending up overdriving, Gutierrez found things coming to him as he qualified his C33 in a decent 14th place, but his Silverstone penalty (for a collision with Maldonado) puts him behind team mate Sutil on the grid. The German had an unhappy time which began in FP3 when a problem with his car’s battery pack prevented him from running on the supersoft tyres. That set him back in Q1.


Romain Grosjean, 1m 18.983s, P15, will start P14

Pastor Maldonado, 1m 20.195s, P19

Lotus seem to have lost momentum in recent races, as Grosjean and Maldonado continued to struggle. As one of the first to use inter-connected front and rear suspension (aka FRIC), they were one to suffer most through the removal of such systems by all teams following FIA questions over their legality.


Jules Bianchi, 1m 19.676s, P18

Max Chilton, 1m 20.489s, P21

Bianchi said he got the most out of his car in Q1, while Chilton was reasonably pleased with his pace since he lost a lot of time in FP3 because of an electrical problem and never got to run the supersoft tyre.


Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 20.408s, P20

Marcus Ericsson, No time, will start P22

Kobayashi’s CT05 was repaired after its fire yesterday and he felt he got all he could out of it before the supersoft tyres lost their edge. Ericsson never got to run because of a leak in the hydraulic throttle which had developed in FP3 and couldn’t be fixed in time for qualifying.