Rosberg grabs pole for German GP

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iol spt july19 Rosberg Reuters Nico Rosberg grabbed pole position for his home German Grand Prix for the first time. Photo by: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Nico Rosberg grabbed pole position for his home German Grand Prix for the first time on Saturday, taking advantage of a 260 kilometre per hour crash by his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg now has a 5-4 advantage over Hamilton in poles this year and he has perfect opportunity to regain the momentum in their duel for the drivers' title.

Hamilton emerged shaken from his brake failure crash. But the accident was a major setback after he had reduced Rosberg's lead to just four points with a victory in the British Grand Prix where the German retired.

Hamilton spun into the barriers heavily at the Sachskurve, with seven minutes of the first qualifying session remaining. The right front brake disc of his Mercedes failed as he attempted to slow from an estimated 260 kph.

“I hit something,” Hamilton told the team by radio. “I hit... hit the brakes - the brakes failed.”

Hamilton was winded and shaken by the impact but climbed from his car and was able to walk away after a visit to the circuit medical centre.

The 2008 world champion, will start Sunday's race in 15th position on the eighth row.

Rosberg who has never won the German Grand Prix, raced to the fastest laps in all three sessions, culminating in a blistering best of 1 minute 16.54 seconds to seize fourth pole in five races.

It also continued a memorable week for the 29-year-old German who married his long-term girlfriend Vivian Sibold, signed a new contract with Mercedes and cheered Germany to World Cup victory.

Behind Rosberg, Finn Valtteri Bottas secured the second front row start of his career and his second in three races for Williams ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa of Brazil and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen, who was fourth for McLaren.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo again outgunned his Red Bull team-mate defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany by taking fifth place ahead of the title-holder with Fernando Alonso seventh for Ferrari.

Russian rookie Daniil Kkyvat was eighth for Toro Rosso ahead of German Nico Hulkenberg and his Force India team-mate Mexican Sergio Perez.

Rosberg's pole gives him a huge advantage for Sunday's 67-lap race. Only three times since 1987 has the winner at Hockenheim qualified from behind the front row - Briton Eddie Irvine from fourth for Ferrari in 1999, Brazilian Rubens Barrichello from 18th in 2000 and Alonso from third for Renault in 2005.

The session began with a welcome wind gusting across the forests on another hot day at the track in Baden-Wurttemberg. The air temperature was 34 degrees Celsius and the track 55 degrees as Rosberg streaked away to set the pace before Hamilton's crash at the Sachskurve.

The accident led to a five-minute break for track repairs before the action resumed with Rosberg clocking a fastest time of 1:17.631 and finishing on top ahead of Ricciardo while German Adrian Sutil was the only German eliminated in his Sauber car at that stage.

Sutil exited along with Frenchman Jules Bianchi of Marussia, Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Lotus, Japanese Kamui Kobayashi of Caterham, Briton Max Chilton of Marussia and Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson in the second Marussia. Marussia failed to clock a time.

The second part of the hour, Q2, produced less spectacle but more drama as Rosberg again set the pace and Briton Jenson Button, the 2009 champion, was eliminated in the final seconds, the McLaren driver again beaten by his rookie team-mate Dane Kevin Magnussen.

It was the first time Button had been out-qualified by a team-mate at Hockenheim since 2003.

Out with Buitton went Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari, Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso, Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus.

Starting grid for German Grand Prix:

1st row

Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes)

Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams-Mercedes)

2nd row

Felipe Massa (BRA/Williams-Mercedes)

Kevin Magnussen (DEN/McLaren-Mercedes)

3rd row

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Red Bull-Renault)

Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull-Renault)

4th row

Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari)

Daniil Kvyat (RUS/Toro Rosso-Renault)

5th row

Nico Halkenberg (GER/Force India-Mercedes)

Sergio Perez (MEX/Force India-Mercedes)

6th row

Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Ferrari)

7th row

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso-Renault)

Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault)

8th row

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)

Adrian Sutil (GER/Sauber-Ferrari)

9th row

Esteban Gutierrez (MEX/Sauber-Ferrari)

Jules Bianchi (FRA/Marussia-Ferrari)

10th row

Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Lotus-Renault)

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Caterham-Renault)

11th row

Max Chilton (GBR/Marussia-Ferrari)

Marcus Ericsson (SWE/Caterham-Renault) - AFP


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