Nico Rosberg grabbed pole position for his home German Grand Prix for the first time on Saturday, taking advantage of a 260 kilometre per hour crash by his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg now has a 5-4 advantage over Hamilton in poles this year and he has perfect opportunity to regain the momentum in their duel for the drivers’ title.
Hamilton emerged shaken from his brake failure crash. But the accident was a major setback after he had reduced Rosberg’s lead to just four points with a victory in the British Grand Prix where the German retired.
Hamilton spun into the barriers heavily at the Sachskurve, with seven minutes of the first qualifying session remaining. The right front brake disc of his Mercedes failed as he attempted to slow from an estimated 260kph.
“I hit something,” Hamilton told the team by radio. “I hit... hit the brakes — the brakes failed.”
Hamilton was winded and shaken by the impact, but climbed from his car and was able to walk away after a visit to the circuit medical centre.
The 2008 world champion will start Sunday’s race in 15th position on the eighth row.
Rosberg who has never won the German Grand Prix, raced to the fastest laps in all three sessions, culminating in a blistering best of 1 minute 16.54 seconds to seize fourth pole in five races.
It also continued a memorable week for the 29-year-old German who married his long-term girlfriend Vivian Sibold, signed a new contract with Mercedes and cheered Germany to World Cup victory.
Behind Rosberg, Finn Valtteri Bottas secured the second front row start of his career and his second in three races for Williams ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa of Brazil and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen, who was fourth for McLaren.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo again outgunned his Red Bull team-mate defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany by taking fifth place ahead of the title-holder with Fernando Alonso seventh for Ferrari.
Russian rookie Daniil Kkyvat was eighth for Toro Rosso ahead of German Nico Hulkenberg and his Force India teammate Mexican Sergio Perez.
Mercedes confirm brake failure
The Mercedes team confirmed that a right front brake disc failure caused Hamilton’s high-speed crash.
Hamilton was distressed after the incident but maintained his composure.
“Even if something’s broken, I’ll still be driving tomorrow [Sunday],” said Hamilton.
He added, “I can’t believe it, but things like this happen. They’re sent to try us. The guys had done such a great job with the set-up and it felt great.
“The guys did lots of tests with the brakes and it should have been alright, but it’s one of those things.
“We’ll figure something out. There are still a decent amount of races to go and we’ll do what we can tomorrow [Sunday].”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.
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