Nico Rosberg (1st, 1:14.363): “That was a difficult qualifying for me! I had an electronic problem with my throttle on my first quick run in Q3, so I had to abort. That meant I had a bit more fuel on my final run. I did a pretty good lap but I wasn’t sure if that was enough.
I’m very happy to start from P1 at my second home race. It was awesome to hear the fans cheering for me after my run. It’s a great atmosphere here in Hockenheim and I can’t wait for tomorrow. I hope we can put up a good show and that I can win this Grand Prix.”
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 1:14.470): “There was nothing particularly wrong today. My final lap just didn’t work out. It was pretty close out there and sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. The car was feeling great. The team did a great job to get it where I needed it to be and it was definitely on for pole. I was two tenths up coming out of T2 – but from T8 onwards it started to deteriorate and I couldn’t maintain the gap. I’ve missed out on pole, so I didn’t do what I was supposed to do – but it’s in the past now, so you just let it go and look forwards. It doesn’t mean the race isn’t there to win tomorrow. I’ll try to get a good start and see how it goes from there.
I don’t know what the strategy will be – we’ll look through that tonight. But this is a track where you can overtake, so I don’t have to go for it at the first corner. It can be somewhere else. Last time we raced here I started dead last and finished on the podium, so this is definitely a big step up from that! The pace is clearly there, so it’s still been a good day and I’m generally pretty happy. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to do something from where I am. I’m just focused on trying to move forward and if I can drive like I have done in the past few races then anything can happen.”
Paddy Lowe: “Well that was a bit of a change from Hungary and the two hour marathon we saw there! Fortunately today we were back to a more regular pattern with warm, dry weather throughout. We chose to run the Soft compound tyre in Q1 to give ourselves more strategic options for the race with a new set of SuperSofts available. Sealing the top two spots on a harder compound seemed extraordinary at the time. But, as it turned out, the delta between the compounds was not that large in these conditions.
Q2 was pretty straightforward – but things didn’t start quite as smoothly in Q3. An electronics problem on Nico’s car caused an engine cut-out, with a warning message relating to his throttle pedal also appearing. This, quite reasonably, caused Nico some concern, which caused him to pit immediately. Fortunately we were able to fix the problem by switching various systems to default modes, before sending him out with enough fuel for three timed laps in a single run. As it turned out, he delivered pole at the first attempt with an extra two laps of fuel on board, which was very impressive – particularly in the circumstances, with his programme disrupted and the pressure on.
Lewis did a great job throughout all three sessions and will be disappointed not to get pole. But it was a great battle between the two of them which will hopefully continue through tomorrow’s race. Overall, we can be very proud to have secured the front row at the home Grand Prix of Mercedes-Benz and excited for a close battle tomorrow.”
Toto Wolff, Technical Director: “Overall, a fantastic result to take the front row of the grid at our home race here in Hockenheim. I’m really pleased for Nico because he overcame a tricky session to get pole. On his first Q3 run, he had an electronic problem during his fast lap, so he aborted and came back to the pits to have it fixed. For the second run, we gave a safety margin of two extra laps of fuel, just to make sure he could get a time on the board. But on his first flying lap, he pulled it out of the bag and got the pole anyway.
Lewis then responded on his final run, but fell slightly short; afterwards, the times showed he had been faster in sector three, but lost a bit too much time in the middle sector of the lap. In any case, we can see that our biggest threat for tomorrow starts right behind us. On the long runs yesterday, Red Bull were very competitive and we know that it’s a long and hard race here in Hockenheim. So the first, small part of the job is done. But we must make sure to prepare carefully overnight, keep our feet on the ground and deliver the result tomorrow.”