Lewis looking mighty as he takes pole in Germany
It's not the homeboy on pole, it's the man from Blighty
Lewis Hamilton was mighty in qualifying today — truly mighty — and starts the German Grand Prix from pole position for the second race on the trot. He’s been rather grumpy this weekend, but put it all behind him to put a Mercedes he’s not been happy with all weekend one tenth of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull. He should have won last weekend, and he can win tomorrow. Hamilton and Murray on the same day? Don’t bet against it.
Q3 looked like it was heading for a Red Bull lock-out, but proved to be anything but. Since lunch on Friday it seemed apparent that this new interim tyre construction suited the Red Bulls and had knocked the edge of the Mercedes. But once the Williams had joined the Caterhams and Marussias in the Q1 exit, Q2 suggested that actually anything was possible; Massa’s Ferrari was quickest, Raikkonen’s Lotus second, and teammate Romain Grosjean had that look about him. But it was Vettel that set the marker on his second run in Q3. Hamilton shadowed him sector for sector as the clocked ticked down, and the smile was back.
Mark Webber, something of an expert around the new ‘Ring, will start third. But if you’re thinking that means Nico Rosberg will start fourth think again — Rosberg missed the cut in Q2 thanks to the kind of error we expect more from McLaren than Mercedes. Not the greatest debut for ex-McLaren tech’ director Paddy Lowe then. The somewhat born-again Lotuses of Raikkonen and Grosjean start next ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who must surely be edging closer and closer to an A-Team start next year.
Massa, Alonso and Button, who start seven, eight and nine, opted to play strategic and set their times on medium compound tyres. They’ll start the race knowing they have a lot more laps in them than the top six on softs. The soft is pretty much useless here, especially with the unseasonably hot track. Last in the top ten Nico Hulkenberg, his first top ten start since China. He’ll enjoy —for the first time this year — looking over his shoulder at the Force Indias in the Q2 group. Neither Paul di Resta (12th behind Rosberg) nor Adrian Sutil (15th) were able to show that Silverstone’s speed was anything other than an aberration. Still, Paul has shown in the last few races that he has every bit as much fight as countryman Andy Murray.
So TopGearers, how are you planning your day? Form suggests Murray will loose the first set anyhow, so it might be worth sticking to F1 until the end. Sure, the Red Bulls have the long-run edge, but then again it seemed like they had the one-lap pace too and Lewis Hamilton has proven, once again, that categorically not to be the case…