German Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying
The Formula One German Grand Prix takes place this weekend at Hockenheim with Britain's Lewis Hamilton looking to take the lead in the championship over his teammate and home favourite, Nico Rosberg.
The Mercedes drivers have dominated F1 this season and are 63 points clear of the field going into the 10th race of the competition.
Hamilton took the victory in the previous race in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Rosberg recording his first DNF of the year. This leaves Hamilton just four points from the top spot.
Mercedes will be hoping to give Rosberg improved reliability at their home race after a fantastic few weeks for German sport.
Rosberg will be looking for a positive result on the track to maintain his slender lead over Hamilton after signing a new contract extension with the Silver Arrows constructor, per Giles Richards of The Guardian.
Rosberg said, per Richards:
"As a German, the heritage of Mercedes-Benz is very special for me. It has been a difficult road to get to where we are now – but everybody kept believing and, thanks to the fantastic support from Mercedes-Benz, we are now leading the way in Formula One."
But it is Hamilton who takes the momentum into this race and is excited to further his charge, at Hockenheim.
He said, per Formula1.com:
Winning at Silverstone was just an incredible feeling–for myself, the team and the fans, I couldn't have asked for more. I feel like I've been on the back foot all year, only briefly leading the championship despite taking the wins I've had, so to have got myself just about level was exactly what I needed - it's almost a fresh start heading into the second half of the season.
I've won twice before in Germany, but not at Hockenheim since way back in 2008. The aim is to change that this weekend.
Quadruple World Champion Sebastian Vettel will also be hoping for better luck at his home grand prix after a disastrous season which sees him down in sixth place, on just 70 points.
His Red Bull has struggled to compete this year after dominating the sport in recent times.
Red Bull are already 158 points behind Mercedes in the constructor championship and now have little chance of landing the title this season.
Here, we review each practice and qualifying session before the race on Sunday.
P1 takes place at 9.55 a.m BST on Friday, per BBC Sport, with P2 following at 1 p.m. BST.
Qualifying begins at 1 p.m. BST on Saturday after the conclusion of P3, which starts at 9.55 a.m. on the same day.
Read Bleacher Report's German Grand Prix preview for a full and comprehensive look into the weekend's action.
Qualifying: Rosberg Takes Pole, Hamilton Crashes
Nico Rosberg will start on pole position in the German Grand Prix after a dominant qualifying performance in his Mercedes.
The German had a comfortable buffer between himself and the rest of the field after his teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out in the opening stages of the first qualifying session; the Brit will start in 16th position in Hockenheim.
The Williams pair of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will start in second and third respectively, with McLaren's Kevin Magnussen producing an excellent performance to take fourth place.
Daniel Ricciardo edged out his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel to start in fifth position, while Fernando Alonso will start in seventh on what was a difficult day for Ferrari. Rounding off the top ten are Toro Roso's Daniil Kvyat who will begin the race in eighth position and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez who'll go off in ninth and tenth respectively.
After less than ten minutes of the first qualifying stint the session was red flagged. Hamilton crashed heavily in the stadium section of the circuit, but thankfully the Brit was able to walk away from the crash. He did manage to post a time however, and as such, technically advanced into the second phase of qualifying.
Hamilton insisted that he was "OK, but sore from the crash", per Sky Sports F1. Hopefully he'll be in a good enough condition to take his place on the grid come race day.
The session restarted and Rosberg was quick to go top of the standings, posting an impressive time of 1:17.631 on the super soft tyres. Dropping out at the end of Q1 were the Marussia pair of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, as well as the Caterham duo of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson. Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado continued his miserable season and failed to progress to yet another Q2, while Adrian Sutil just missed out in his Sauber.
With Hamilton guaranteed to drop out, the remaining drivers would have been well aware that there was a wonderful opportunity to get in amongst the leaders should they progress to Q3. Rosberg was again the fastest man in the session, posting a time of 1:17.109 to put him clear of the Williams duo of Bottas and Massa.
Joining Hamilton in the drop zone were a few big names. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Jenson Button both missed out on the final qualifying session after finishing in 12th and 11th respectively. Trailing the former World Champions were Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean in the Lotus.
Ahead of the final qualifying stint, it was wholly apparent that Rosberg was going to take some beating. And early in Q3 he produced a stunning performance, posting a scintillating time of 1:16.540; it was obvious early on that no driver would get anywhere near to what BBC’s David Coulthard described as a “beautiful lap” from Rosberg, per BBC Sport.
The battle for the minor places was intriguing though, as the Williams pair of Bottas and Massa scrapped with Magnussen and the Red Bull drivers for a spot in the top three. Eventually Bottas was able to oust his teammate to take his place on the front row, getting pretty close to Rosberg with a time of 1:16.759. Massa snatched third in ahead of Magnussen, who will be delighted to start in fourth position.
Rosberg was naturally elated to start on pole in his home race, but encouraged caution ahead of the race itself per BBC Sport:
For now, it's been going really well. Home race, to be on pole is fantastic. I would have preferred if it was an open fight with Lewis so I'm less happy as a result.
But it's a fantastic day but there are no points today. There is still a long way to go tomorrow.
Second placed Bottas was delighted with his performance, saying that he thought that he got the very best out of the car today, per BBC Sport:
I'm happy with the result we got as a team, well done to everyone, but Mercedes is still ahead.
The lap I did in the end, I made no mistakes, it was a really nice lap. I felt I got everything out of the car today.
After signing a bumper new contract with Mercedes, Rosberg’s impeccable qualifying performance was the perfect way for him to reward the team’s unshakeable backing. With Hamilton loitering down the field, the German has a great chance to pick up another race win, and a triumph on his home turf would be very special indeed.
His teammate’s predicament should make for an enthralling race day, with Hamilton likely to drive aggressively in an attempt to open up the field and get in amongst the leaders. But by the time he’s at the front, his teammate will probably be way beyond the horizon. Hamilton will be encouraged by the forecast though, which suggests that there could be some rain about come Sunday's race.
Getting on pole has always proven to be vital in Hockenheim, and barring any reliability issues on race day, expect Rosberg to waltz to another grand prix victory and extend his lead atop of the driver’s championship.
Click here for full qualifying results, courtesy of Formula1.com.
P3: Rosberg Leads the Way, Hamilton Struggles
Nico Rosberg looks in excellent shape on the brink the German Grand Prix, as the Mercedes driver finished top of the timing sheets in the final practice session.
By comparison, his teammate Lewis Hamilton struggled ahead of the qualifying sessions, as the Brit found himself trailing the World Championship leader by a whopping sixth tenths of a second.
With Hockenheim’s narrow track and sweeping bends, qualifying is vital for the drivers. Subsequently, it was critical for them to find their rhythm before the sharp end of the weekend.
On the sweltering German circuit, Ferrari endured mixed fortunes early on. After suffering with problems with a water pump on Friday, Kimi Raikkonen again found himself in the wars. His engineer pulled him in with a fuel system problem during one of his stints, and not long after, Fernando Alonso had a spin at turn eight.
But with a fresh set of super-soft tyres on his car, the Finn set what was then fastest time of the morning, that despite a poor middle sector and a full tank of fuel. Problems returned though, and his session was curtailed early on. Alonso eventually went half a second quicker than his teammate to take the lead in the session.
Overall final practice was pretty quiet in the early stages, with teams preparing the drivers for qualifying simulation runs late on. With eight minutes left in the session, Rosberg blitzed the Spaniard’s time by six tenths of a second. Hamilton couldn't get near the German and posted a time sixth tenths off the pace to slot into second place.
BBC Sport's James Allen claimed Hamilton was a little puzzled as to why he was so far off his teammate, per BBC Sport:
Interesting what's going on here. Rosberg's lap was really impressive. Hamilton didn't sound like he knew why he was sixth tenths off [Rosberg] there. Six tenths is a lot.
Ahead of the qualifying sessions, it’s hard to look past another dominant performance from Mercedes. While there were signs of Red Bull closing the gap during the second practice session on Friday, Hamilton and Rosberg look as though they have a little bit extra on the hot laps.
If either of those two get on the front row, expect the championship leaders to notch another race win. Given the how notoriously difficult it is the overtake at the German circuit, whichever driver gets that coveted pole position could be leading the drivers standing in the race for the World Championship come the end of the weekend.
Click here for full results from the third practice session. Courtesy of Forumla1.com.
P2: Red Bull Fight Back
Despite Mercedes still posting the fastest times, it was Red Bull who made significant improvements in P2.
Lewis Hamilton leapfrogged his teammate Nico Rosberg with a time of 1:18.341 as he claimed the fastest lap of the session.
But Daniel Ricciardo got close to the dominant pair in his Red Bull as he posted a flying lap of 1:18.443, only a tenth of a second off the pace of the leaders.
Kimi Raikkonen also improved from his first session on Friday morning, hitting a time of 1:18.887 to go fourth fastest.
But his Ferrari partner Fernando Alonso could only manage ninth as he slipped down the order.
Williams also showed an improvement in P2 with their cars posting times in the top ten.
BBC's F1 analysts Allan McNish gave his evaluation of the current track conditions.
"The circuit has been very slippery and greasy with high track temperatures. It's nip and tuck between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. I'm interested to see who will be best of Red Bulls tomorrow in qualifying."
There was also drama as the Caterham of Kamui Kobayashi caught on fire, leading to the Japanese driver to grab an extinguisher to help rescue the car from the blaze.
Click here to see the details of the full results of P2, via Sky Sports.
P1: Mercedes Dominate
Nico Rosberg and Mercedes dominated in the first practice session at Hockenheim, with the German posting a time of 1:19.131 after 29 completed laps.
His teammate and championship challenger Lewis Hamilton was a close second after recording a best time of 1:19.196.
And despite FRICS being dropped by the governing body for the race, the status quo was largely maintained with no evident advantage for any constructor.
Fernando Alonso continued to show his pace in the early practice sessions of races—ending in third place for the morning run, just 0.227 behind the Silver Arrows’ cars.
Daniel Ricciardo continued to be the more impressive of the two Red Bull drivers as he once again eclipsed teammate and four-time champion, Sebastian Vettel.
Ricciardo recorded a time of 1:19.697 to see him go fourth fastest, with Vettel in sixth—almost a full second behind Rosberg on 1:20.097.
It was a much better day for McLaren as they continue their recovery in 2014.
Jenson Button went fifth fastest with a credible lap of 1:19.833, with his young partner Kevin Magnussen placing seventh on 1:20.105.
Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen returned for Ferrari after his lay-off because of injury. But the legendary driver could only hit a lap 1:20.210 to be eighth fastest for P1.
*Click here to view full practice results via Sky Sports.