F1 2013 German Grand Prix: Hamilton chases third victory
PUBLISHED: 08:40 07 July 2013 | UPDATED: 15:32 07 July 2013
FORMULA 1 star Lewis Hamilton bids for his third German Grand Prix victory today (Sunday) after placing his Mercedes on pole position in qualifying.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas motor racer from Hertfordshire stunned F1 rivals Red Bull by denying world champion Sebastian Vettel pole in front of his home fans.
Hamilton, 28, slammed in a super-fast last-gasp hot lap at the Nürburgring to claim his second consecutive pole position, and his third of the 2013 season.
It was Lewis’ 29th career pole position, bringing him level with the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio on the all-time list.
Hamilton first won the German GP in 2008 for McLaren in his world championship-winning season. He started from pole that day.
The Stevenage-born driver also took the chequered flag in Germany two years ago when the grand prix was last held at the iconic Nürburgring circuit.
After bagging pole for Mercedes-Benz’s home race, Hamilton said: “I’m a little bit overwhelmed, to be honest, because I have been struggling since first practice this weekend.
“I’m so grateful for the work the engineers and mechanics did for me, and it’s all down to them really.
“But we don’t get any points for today [Saturday] and the real hard work comes tomorrow [Sunday].”
2013 German Grand Prix
Nurburgring facts and stats
* Race distance: 60 laps (308.623km/191.778 miles)
* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
* Circuit length: 5.148km/3.199 miles
* 2011 winner: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-26) 60 laps in 1hr37m30.334s (189.911km/h)
* 2011 pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull RB7) 1m30.079s (205.739km/h)
*Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m29.468s (207.144km/h)
Hamilton used one set of prime tyres and three sets of options in qualifying, so will start on the option tyre, although practice demonstrated that the medium compound was by far the stronger race tyre.
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: “Looking at Lewis, we go into the race with some question marks, as we haven’t done any representative running with the set-up we now have on the car.
“Hopefully, he will find the balance he needs and we will be able to give Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus a run for their money.”
Hamilton will line-up on the grid with both Red Bulls behind him, Vettel in second place and Mark Webber third.
"I’m a little bit overwhelmed, to be honest, because I have been struggling since first practice this weekend."
Next come the Lotus cars of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.
While Hamilton followed his Silverstone pole with another in Germany, Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg failed to qualify for the top 10 shootout after the team misjudged the track improvement during Q2 and did not complete a second run.
He will start today’s race from 11th on the grid. British Grand Prix winner Rosberg said after qualifying: “I could have been on the front row today and that’s why I’m so disappointed.
“It’s been a tough day but sometimes that’s how racing is. I will be doing my best to climb up through the field tomorrow but it won’t be easy.”
Team principal Brawn said: “It’s a little bit of an understatement to say that we have mixed emotions after qualifying.
“Lewis put in a superb lap to take pole position. He hasn’t been comfortable with the car since his first run yesterday [Friday] but I could sense a quiet determination as he went into the session and he absolutely delivered.
“With Nico, we misjudged how quickly the track was improving and got caught out: he clearly had the pace to qualify at the front but found himself on the wrong side of the top ten by half a tenth.
“Ultimately, the final decision on the pit wall rests with me and it’s clear we could have done a better job today.
2013 German Grand Prix qualifying result
Qualifying top 16
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:29.398
2 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:29.501
3 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 1:29.608
4 Kimi Räikkönen (Lotus) 1:29.892
5 Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 1:29.959
6 Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) 1:30.528
7 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1:31.126
8 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:31.209
9 Jenson Button (McLaren) No time
10 Nico Hülkenberg (Sauber) No time
11 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:30.326
12 Paul di Resta (Force India) 1:30.697
13 Sergio Pérez (McLaren) 1:30.933
14 Esteban Gutiérrez (Sauber) 1:31.010
15 Adrian Sutil (Force India) 1:31.010
16 Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1:31.104
“For tomorrow, the only silver lining for Nico is that he has a free tyre choice for the first stint, although unusually there is a real mixture of tyre choices within the top 10 as well.”
Mercedes director Toto Wolff added: “We know that it will be a hard race in the hot conditions, so let’s see what we can achieve.”
Meanwhile, it was another underwhelming qualifying session for the McLaren drivers, with Jenson Button finishing ninth and Sergio Perez 13th.
Former world champion Button posted no time in Q3. Afterwards he said: “Strategically, it was a difficult decision for Q3: do we run the option, the prime, or do we not run at all? My heart said we should go out and set a time, whereas my head said we probably shouldn’t!
“Our pace suggested that qualifying sixth would have made it worthwhile [to go out and set a time on the option], and we probably could have done that – but we chose not to complete a lap, playing a cat-and-mouse game with Nico [Hulkenberg].
“Nevertheless, starting ninth is not too bad – I’ll be on the clean side of the grid, and I have the freedom to choose my tyre compound, because I didn’t set a laptime this afternoon.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the option tyre early on in the race, but I think we’ve put ourselves in the best possible position for tomorrow.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: “Starting Jenson from ninth is not a bad place to be, particularly as, we suspect, the option-runners ahead of us will have to stop quite early in the race.”
The 2013 German Grand Prix starts at 1pm.