Nico Rosberg beat Mercedes teammate and Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton to take the pole position for Sunday’s German Grand Prix.
Rosberg was the fastest in all three practice runs and set the pace again in the final of the three qualifying sessions Saturday, putting together just one late lap after experiencing problems with the throttle.
“A great lap, especially since I had extra fuel, I had fuel for three laps in case something went wrong and I had to do an extra lap,” Rosberg said after his 26th career pole.
Hamilton was .107 seconds behind Rosberg, with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen taking the second row on the grid in their Red Bulls. The Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel will be in the third row.
Three-time world champion Hamilton, winner of the last two titles, has won five of the last six races and leads Rosberg by six points in the standings.
Rosberg won the last race here in 2014 from pole. This was his fifth pole of the season.
He also started from pole in Hungary last Sunday but was beaten to the first turn by Hamilton, who went on to win the race and take over the lead in the standings.
“It has been a good weekend. I had no problems,” said a disappointed looking Hamilton, giving brief answers at the post-qualifying news conference.
“I had the pace today, just didn’t finish it off. I didn’t lock up. It should be a good day for Mercedes tomorrow,” Hamilton said.
The Red Bulls managed to finish ahead of the two Ferraris. Ferrari is winless after 11 races this year, with 10 remaining.
“I think we got pretty close to the Mercedes,” Ricciardo said. “My first lap in Q3 was really good and I knew there was probably not much more on the table. There was maybe a tenth of a second in it if there was a perfect lap.
“We might have different tires available for us for the race and hopefully that makes it interesting,” Ricciardo said.
Ricciardo’s teammate Verstappen is the only driver to win a race this season apart from Rosberg and Hamilton.