Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton caused an upset for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel after snatching pole position from the German, ahead of his home race when the FIA Formula One 2013 German Grand Prix takes place tomorrow.
However, while he knocked off the German driver, the Briton handed Mercedes their homeland pole. "I'm very proud to put the car on pole for Mercedes-Benz today. I have been with Mercedes for a long time and it's a great result for us to achieve pole here in Germany."
Hamilton added, "I'm a little bit overwhelmed, to be honest, because I have been struggling since first practice this weekend. We were so far off this morning that we took the set-up back to where we started, tried to analyse everything and just worked really hard to improve it. I'm so grateful for the work the engineers and mechanics did for me, and it's all down to them really."
“Congratulations to Lewis on pole. It was very tight today, I tried everything," Vettel said.
Looking toward tomorrow, the German commented: "We had a good run yesterday looking at the race, so I think we have done our homework. We have put the car on the first row; it wasn’t quite enough for pole position, but we should have a good race from there tomorrow.”
It was a close call between some of the drivers as qualifying progressed and several of them looked in contention for the pole position spot.
The Aussie said, “I was actually happy with third position today, as it was very sensitive out there."
Lotus Renault’s Kimi Raikkonen continued the trend of drivers that showed good form today which could follow into the race tomorrow. The Finnish driver kept up with the other Championship contenders who are currently at the top throughout qualifying, but he did not manage to catch them as the chequered flag was waved to mark the end of the session. Raikkonen will accompany Webber on the second row as he lines up in fourth place.
“My car was okay today, but in my Q3 lap on the new tyres I struggled to get the fronts up to temperature which meant I lost quite a bit of time in the first sector; probably because there was traffic on my out lap meaning I couldn’t push as much as I wanted," said Raikkonen, adding "For sure it didn’t help and we probably should have been P3 today, but P4 is still a pretty good place to be for the race.”
Raikkonen may have been in the limelight competing against the likes of Hamilton, Vettel and Webber, but his team mate, Romain Grosjean seemed to appear from nowhere after making it into the top 10 shootout and qualifying in fifth place.
Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, who is one of the candidates in the running for taking Webber’s seat at Red Bull next year, appears to be moving in the right direction to strengthen his chances of being the chosen one. The Australian performed well at the British Grand Prix last weekend and he looks set to do a similar thing for the race around the Nurburgring tomorrow. Ricciardo qualified in sixth place and in doing so beat his team mate, Jean-Eric Vergne who finished the session outside of the top 10.
After appearing to struggle for pace so far this season and make steady progress, McLaren’s Jenson Button gave the team something to smile about as he made it through to Q3 and qualified in ninth place, which puts him in a good position to score some valuable points when race day arrives. Button’s team mate, Sergio Perez was not quite as lucky though as he dropped out of the session at the end of Q2 and qualified outside of the top 10.
Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg is one of the drivers who has not always featured in Q3 so far this season, but the German stands in good stead for his home race tomorrow, as he qualified in the 10th and final point scoring position ahead of the Grand Prix but it remains to be seen whether he will maintain it by the end.
Prior to this battle, there were shocking results further down the field for Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta, Hamilton’s team mate, Nico Rosberg, and the Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Maldonado, who all dropped out at the end of the first two sessions of qualifying. For the two Williams drivers in particular, it is a special weekend as they mark their 600th Grand Prix start tomorrow and are likely to have hopes of success to remember the day by.
Tomorrow’s race will also have a special meaning for four of the drivers in the pack as they will be racing on home soil in front of their supporters. Of the select few in this small group, Vettel is the one currently in the closest position to deliver in front of the German fans and aim for the race victory, but it remains to be seen as to whether or not his wish will be granted.