Mercedes' Nico Rosberg took pole position for the 2016 German F1 Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton after an eventful third qualifying session on the famous Hockenheim track on Saturday.
Rosberg aborted his first lap of that session, allowing Hamilton to snatch provisional pole. But the German's restart let him take the signature position, before Hamilton sluggishly went through the middle sector on the final lap.
The win had extra special significance for Rosberg, coming 30 years after his father took pole at the German Grand Prix, according to Puma Motorsport.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo helped Red Bull finish ahead of Ferrari in the battle for third and fourth.
The official F1 website provided the grid classification after qualifying:
There was some controversy before driving began, however, with Hamilton questioned by the stewards over an unsafe release from the pits during the third practice session. Ultimately, punishment was meted out to the driver's team, rather than Hamilton himself, as Mercedes confirmed via Twitter:
Mercedes were probably happier to pay the fine than see Hamilton suffer a grid drop. The team needed both their premier drivers competing after Red Bull and Ferrari had closed the gap at the front during the practice races.
Rosberg still took all three of those sessions, though, and soon established himself as the man to beat in qualifying, even if he was racing on the slower, soft tyres. Hamilton did the same and finished the first session two-tenths of a second quicker than his team-mate and professional rival.
The team were naturally very pleased at how their cars performed on the less fashionable tyres:
By contrast, Red Bull went with the supersofts from the start. Yet, even with the swifter tyres, Ricciardo couldn't really get near Mercedes' familiar leading pair.
In the end, Hamilton made the most of Q1, per Channel 4 F1:
The speed of both Hamilton and Rosberg, even on the soft tyres, was an ominous sign for the rest of the field.
Among those who went out, Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso finished in P19, while Renault's Kevin Magnussen was also eliminated. Kvyat in particular wasn't shy about venting his frustration, per BBC Sport's Andrew Benson:
Finally ready to unleash the speed they'd held in reserve during Q1, Hamilton and Rosberg were the first on to the track for Q2 with their cars equipped with the supersofts.
The gain on the new tyres wasn't much different, though. Nor was the result, with Hamilton once again pacing Rosberg. Grand Prix Times showed how little there was to choose between the two:
A little further back, Max Verstappen overtook Red Bull ally Ricciardo to move into P3. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen then put further distance between the Red Bull team-mates when he took P4 after setting a very solid lap.
Raikkonen and fellow Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel were on the supersofts, and the effect was obvious, with both cars responding well to the added speed.
McLaren bowed out after Q2 with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button not making the top 10.
The provisional classification at the end of Q2 showed Hamilton's advantage before the final battle for pole, per the F1 official site:
Vettel got out first in Q3 but didn't make the smoothest progress round the corners as he set the first lap. He couldn't establish a pace to scare Mercedes.
In fact, it was only a trip to the pits on the first lap that slowed Rosberg and allowed Hamilton to roar ahead and secure provisional pole. The German aborted due to an electronic failure:
In the meantime, Raikkonen and Ricciardo took advantage. Yet Rosberg had the track almost to himself and took full advantage to stage a frantic recovery and make time on the leaders.
He wrapped up a flying lap to take pole, as Hamilton couldn't quite make up the difference on the final sector.
Rosberg had the confirmation relayed to him by his delighted team, per Channel 4 F1:
Afterwards, Rosberg expressed his satisfaction at how he rebounded under tough circumstances on the final lap:
A naturally disappointed Hamilton still took some pride in his efforts this weekend and also confirmed there hadn't been a problem with his car late on, according to Sky Sports F1:
Hamilton then turned his thoughts toward the race proper:
Ricciardo echoed the sentiment after praising Red Bull's qualifying performance:
Red Bull did boost their credentials as Mercedes' most credible rivals. Still, it's unlikely Ricciardo and Verstappen can make the world championship race anything more than a straight fight between Hamilton and Rosberg.