Rosberg takes pole for home race ahead of Hamilton

Sat Jul 30, 2016 12:44pm EDT
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By Abhishek Takle

HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) - Nico Rosberg set a scorching pace under pressure on Saturday to seize pole position, ahead of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton, in qualifying for his home German Formula One Grand Prix.

Rosberg, determined to take back the championship lead from Hamilton on Sunday after losing it in last weekend's race in Hungary, lapped the 4.5-km Hockenheim track in one minute 14.363 seconds.

The German had only one flying lap to set his time, however, after being forced to abandon his first attempt in the final pole-position phase of qualifying due to an electronics problem.

“It’s a great feeling and just a great lap,” Rosberg said. “I also had extra fuel to make sure I could get another shot ... so (I am) really satisfied with that one, that was cool.”

Saturday’s pole was the 27th of Rosberg’s career and fifth of the season. It was also Mercedes’s 47th in the last 50 races. The German team have started all but one race this year from the front.

Hamilton, who escaped a penalty for an unsafe release in the final practice session, was 0.107 seconds slower than Rosberg.

The Briton had trailed the German in each of the three practice sessions in the build-up to qualifying but was quickest in Sunday's opening two phases before locking up on his final lap.

“I had the pace today, just didn’t finish it off on the last lap,” said a visibly disappointed Hamilton, who leads Rosberg by six points heading into Sunday’s race.   Continued...

Germany Formula One - F1 - German Grand Prix 2016 - Hockenheimring, Germany - 30/7/16 - Mercedes' Nico Rosberg before practice. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski