Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

2014 German GP: Qualifying report

2014 German Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg will start tonight’s German Grand Prix from pole position after his teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out due to a brake failure in Q1. In his first lap of Q3 Rosberg laid down a marker (1:16.540) that nobody could match. It’s his fourth pole in the last five races.

In the first serious hit out since the teams ditched the FRIC suspension the order we have come to expect in 2014 remained largely in tact. Perhaps we’re not used to seeing both Williams drivers in the top three, but their form has been on the improve in recent times and seeing Valtteri Bottas (1:16.759) almost challenge for pole was not a total surprise, nor was seeing Felipe Massa (1:17.078) in the frame as well.

In P4 was Kevin Magnussen (1:17.214) who claims McLaren has benefitted from the recent suspension changes. Once again Daniel Ricciardo (1:17.273) has qualified ahead of Sebastian Vettel (1:17.577) and the Red Bull pair will start from P5 and P6 respectively.

“It wasn’t too bad today, we would like to be further forward than fifth, but the lap I did was pretty good,” Ricciardo said. “I made quite an improvement in Q3 from Q2 so I can’t really argue with the lap I did, but as a team we are still a bit off.

“We know the Mercedes is strong, but the Williams was also continually showing their pace today and the McLaren with Kevin was good, so we have to keep working but we did what we could.

“I think the race will be close between the top eight tomorrow and it will be a battle for the final podium spot.”

The top 10 was rounded out by Fernando Alonso (1:17.649), Daniil Kvyat (1:17.965), Nico Hulkenberg (1:18.014) and Sergio Perez (1:18.035).

The major drama from qualifying was Hamilton’s crash in Q1. He is okay, although he was a bit shaken and has bruised knees after making heavy contact with the tyre barrier. Immediately afterwards Lewis claimed a brake failure caused him to lose control. Mercedes later confirmed a front right disc failed.

Mercedes has changed the discs on Lewis’ car and will now most likely start the race from the pit lane.

Nico Rosberg explained in the press conference he knew he could not be affected by the same problem as he runs different brake components to Lewis. Which is an interesting discussion point on its own.

Rosberg will be hoping to cap-off a great start to his home grand prix with a win, something made that little bit easier by Hamilton’s woes. Perhaps, things are just going to go Nico’s way this year.

2014 German Grand Prix qualifying

  1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG – 1:16.540
  2. Valtteri Bottas Williams – 1:16.759
  3. Felipe Massa Williams – 1:17.078
  4. Kevin Magnussen McLaren – 1:17.214
  5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing – 1:17.273
  6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing – 1:17.577
  7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari – 1:17.649
  8. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso – 1:17.965
  9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India – 1:18.014
  10. Sergio Perez Force India – 1:18.035
  11. Jenson Button McLaren – 1:18.193
  12. Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari – 1:18.273
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – 1:18.285
  14. Romain Grosjean Lotus – 1:18.983
  15. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG – 1:18.683
  16. Adrian Sutil Sauber – 1:19.142
  17. Jules Bianchi Marussia – 1:19.676
  18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus – 1:20.195
  19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – 1:18.787
  20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham – 1:20.408
  21. Max Chilton Marussia – 1:20.489
  22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham – DNS

Q1 107% Time 1:23.065

Note: Gutierrez qualified P14, but drops three places for causing collision at previous round. Ericsson failed to meet 107% requirement, races at stewards’ discretion.

2014 German Grand Prix Qualifying Press Conference

Transcript of the qualifying press conference organised by the FIA for the 2014 German Grand Prix

Sat 19.07.14, 4:04PM

1 – Nico ROSBERG (Mercedes)
2 – Valtteri BOTTAS (Williams)
3 – Felipe MASSA (Williams)


Nico, congratulations. Pole for your home grand prix and what a week it’s been for you: Germany win the World Cup, you get a new contract, and you get married, and now you’ve got pole for you home grand prix?
Nico ROSBERG: Thank you very much, yes. For now it’s been going really, really well. It’s great, home race here and to be on pole is fantastic. Of course I would have preferred if it was an open fight with Lewis. A little bit less happy as a result because Lewis didn’t have a shot at it in the end. But all in all, still a fantastic day up to now, but no points for today. [The} important [part] is just tomorrow, still a long way to go but it’s still a good start.

Very well done. Valtteri, it looked like quite a calm session; you worked your way through Q1 to Q2 to Q3 in a very methodical way. You looked fairly untroubled but do you think you could have got a bit closer to Nico or even challenged him?
Valtteri BOTTAS: Yeah, I must say we must again be really happy with the result we got today as a team, second and third, so well done to everyone, but I think Mercedes is still ahead. The lap I had in the end was no mistakes and a really nice, so I really I felt I got everything out of the car today.

Very well done. Felipe, Williams once again up towards the front in qualifying. What do you put this performance down to and where do you feel you lost out to Valtteri today?
Felipe MASSA: Yeah, for sure I think I was struggling to put the lap together, so I had some movement from the tyres and I was not able to have a perfect car – just to put all the sectors together. I was able to do one sector better in one way, the other sector better in the other way. The car was not 100 per cent perfect in terms of set-up to put the perfect lap and Valtteri did really a very good lap. But anyway I’m still quite happy with the result and I’m quite happy with our car and for sure in the race the conditions are completely different, the feeling of the car as well is different, so let’s try to a very good job tomorrow as well.

Coming back to you Nico. What have you heard from the team about Lewis’ situation and also what are your thoughts about the race tomorrow, particularly with these incredibly high temperatures we’re experiencing here in Hockenheim?
NR: I don’t any details about the other car. I just knew it didn’t apply to my car, so from that point of view I was comfortable that I could keep on pushing. For tomorrow, it’s supposed to be a bit colder, which will make it easier on the tyres, because the tyres are very, very soft so degradation is high. And of course the weather could play a role, so just need to take it as it comes.


Q: Nico, firstly in Q1, a bit of a scare at the start. You seemed to go off the road a couple of times and with about five minutes to go after the red flag stoppage you went out on a set of super-softs, which is very unusual for you. Obviously you were feeling the pressure at that point. And also could you clear up, you mentioned before Lewis’ situation didn’t apply to you – that’s because I understand you run two different types of brakes between you. Maybe you could explain a little bit about that.
NR: Yeah, so quali one, I had problem with my brakes to start off in qualifying because we changed them for qualifying. It didn’t feel good, the whole of qualifying really I was struggling with that. Sort of found my way then – but it was especially difficult in the beginning in quali one, really difficult. And then, yeah, brakes, we run two different brakes between us. So, the problem that he had didn’t apply to my car as a result.

Q: It was a disc failure?
NR: I’m not sure of the details.

Q: Valtteri, a general question – just to sum up your feelings how it feels at this early stage of your career to be running at the front all of the time.
VB: I feel really happy to be part of this team as we are really on the right way and again, a strong result from us as a team and from me and Felipe. So, it’s good to be part of this. We are really focussing to get better and better. The race is tomorrow, there’s no points for today. We need to focus on that, again trying to do the perfect job if we can and get the maximum points available.

Q: Felipe, Nico was saying earlier he thinks it’s going to be a little cooler tomorrow – which is obviously good news from the car and tyre point of view – but maybe you could put into words for us how you think these tyres are going to perform here tomorrow, what the challenges you think will be in tomorrow’s grand prix given the relative temperatures.
FM: I think it will be a big challenge for everybody. So, we’re running super-soft and soft, definitely is not 100 per cent easy to keep the tyres in the good shape all the time, every lap, so the consistency… it’s not very easy to be there every lap, so maybe we will see more stops than at other races – I don’t know. Definitely having a little bit less temperature in the track will help a little bit, especially our cars so I hope this can be a good help for us tomorrow to make these tyres a little bit more consistent and trying to make the strategy the best way as well. But it’s always a big challenge tomorrow in the race.

Q: Nico, you’re looking at the replay there of Lewis’ accident. Your thoughts?
NR: I hadn’t seen it yet – but it looks pretty bad but I hear he’s OK and just a little bit bruised on the knees.


Q: (Graham Keilloh – F1 Plus) Nico, can you talk us through when you knew that Lewis was out of qualifying; do you then subsequently still push as much as you would have done if Lewis had been there or do you reign it back in to make sure you are getting laps in for the rest of the qualifying session?
NR: No, it doesn’t change, it doesn’t change the way I approach it. I’m still flat out and pushing all the way through, definitely.

Q: (Livio Oricchio – Universo On-Line) To both Williams drivers: yesterday you were struggling a lot with the car and suddenly today you appear almost fighting for pole position. What’s the magic you did in the car from one day to the next?
FM: Well, I don’t think we were struggling yesterday. Yesterday we were P6 in the session, so normally, even in the race, when we are starting at the front, we were top five, top six, so I don’t think we were struggling yesterday. Maybe in the first session everything was new for everybody, because there was a little change on the suspension for everybody but it was just something that you needed to get used to with the set-up but we were not struggling yesterday.

VB: Yeah, I agree. We knew that after Friday there was nothing really to worry about it. We knew that we had work to do to improve the car which we managed to do, improve the balance, but I think maybe sometimes some other teams are more focusing on qualifying laps in practice rather than just testing.

Q: (Heikki Kulta – Turun Sanomat) Nico, I would love to say that this is the first time in F1 history that there is an all-Finnish front row. Do you agree?
NR: Yes, I agree!

Q: (Paolo Ianieri – La Gazzetta dello Sport) Nico, in the last two races, Lewis has always been starting quite behind you but he’s always managed to catch up pretty quickly. This time he’s starting 15th. Is this a track where you think he can catch up as quickly as he could in Zeltweg and Silverstone or could you have more advantage here, looking at how far he is behind or maybe allow you to drive another kind of race, not so full attack all the time?
NR: For sure, I still expect him to come through the field quickly. I don’t know. It’s difficult to predict. I need to do my own race, I need to push anyways from the front, I need to go for it and try and pull a gap and then see where I am with strategy and everything.