F1 2013 German Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton battles for pole

PUBLISHED: 08:58 06 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:54 06 July 2013

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on track ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton on track ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

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FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position at the Nürburgring today (Saturday) in qualifying for the 2013 German Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old Mercedes star from Hertfordshire was only eighth fastest in second practice ahead of today’s qualifying session.

However, Hamilton set the practice pace on Friday morning, with Mercedes AMG Petronas colleague Nico Rosberg second quickest in both of yesterday’s sessions in Germany.

The Silver Arrows F1 duo completed a front-row lockout at Silverstone last weekend in qualifying for the 2013 British Grand Prix, and Mercedes officials will be looking for a similar result today.

Speaking after practice on Friday, Hamilton said: “The car felt a little off balance during P2 so we’ll have a look into that overnight and probably backtrack on some of those changes for tomorrow [Saturday]. I’m sure we will be back on form for P3.”

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)

Ahead of his home race, Silverstone winner Rosberg said: “Generally it seems that we are quick again over one lap and the long run was not bad.

“It’s difficult to predict where we are, because you never know exactly about the fuel levels of the others.”

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: “The car seemed reasonably competitive and that’s reassuring, as we know there is still more performance to be found when the drivers are fully comfortable with the car.”

Hamilton took the chequered flag when the German GP was last held at the Nürburgring in 2011.

The Stevenage-born racer was in stunning form all weekend. He qualified on the front row of the grid, just 0.055s behind pole-sitter Mark Webber, and drove a determined race to come home 3.9s ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

One of the most iconic circuits in motorsport, the Nürburgring is situated deep in the Eifel mountains.

The modern grand prix track lies adjacent to the original 14-mile Nordschleife that was a regular fixture on the Formula 1 calendar between 1951 and 1976.

The circuit – nicknamed the ‘green hell’ by drivers – was eventually deemed too dangerous for F1 and today’s ’Ring was built in time for the European Grand Prix of 1984.

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton at the Nürburgring [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]F1 driver Lewis Hamilton at the Nürburgring [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Since 2008, the German Grand Prix has been shared between the Nurburgring and Hockenheim, 100 miles to the south.

Each circuit hosts the race in alternate years, the Nürburgring last hosting the event in 2011, when Hamilton dominated proceedings to give McLaren its eighth German GP win.

The Nürburgring’s modern layout has remained largely unchanged since 1984.

The first sector was tweaked in 2002 to promote overtaking into Turn 1, but the track has retained its technical challenge and is quick to highlight any weaknesses in car or driver.

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg on track ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg on track ahead of the 2013 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

The predominance of slow and medium-speed corners encourages the cars to run with maximum downforce.

There are two DRS zones at the Nürburgring. One is on the start-finish straight and the other on the approach to the chicane, Turn 13.

On both occasions the cars are expected to exceed 300km/h, which should provide good slipstreaming opportunities during the race.

The Nürburgring is a track that seems to encourage close racing and plenty of overtaking. The combination of low- and medium-speed corners tend to allow cars to run quite closely, and there are a couple of big braking zones, where it’s quite easy to get alongside and steal the inside line.

It presents a very different technical challenge to the flat-out sweeps of Silverstone though, requiring a higher downforce set-up to get the most from the twisting infield sections and high-traction corner exits from which much of the laptime is derived.

Qualifying for the 2013 German Grand Prix starts at 1pm on Saturday.

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