Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton snatches Nurburgring pole from Sebastien Vettel
With Vettel having looked dominant in FP3 and set the provisional pole time, Hamilton responded with a lap of 1:29.398 to edge out the championship leader by just 0.1s. Vettel starts second ahead of team-mate Mark Webber, but it was a bittersweet session for Mercedes as Nico Rosberg failed to make it through in to Q3.
Kimi Raikkonen showed the improved Lotus pace with fourth, while Romain Grosjean starts just behind his team-mate in fifth place. It was another very impressive performance from Daniel Ricciardo as he took sixth ahead of the two Ferraris, although Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso both ran on the medium compound tyre in the final session.
Jenson Button and Nico Hulkenberg start ninth and tenth having failed to set a time in the final part of qualifying.
It was a close session in Q2 as half a second covered the top 11 drivers, but Mercedes was caught out as it pit both its cars following their first runs and Rosberg was eventually pushed down to P11 with a final lap from Raikkonen. Good laps from Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Button also hurt Rosberg, who will start on the sixth row alongside Paul di Resta.
The majority of teams opted to complete their Q1 laps on the soft tyres, with the mediums being saved for the race and only Red Bull and Mercedes bucking the trend. It was a poor session for Williams as the team marked 600 grands prix by seeing both of its drivers drop out in the first part of qualifying; Valtteri Bottas beating team-mate Pastor Maldonado and failing to make it through by 0.012s.
The back two rows are predictably occupied by Caterham and Marussia, with Charles Pic and Jules Bianchi shining relative to team-mates Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton respectively.
German GP 2013 Qualifying Results:
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m29.398s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m29.501s +0.103s 3. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m29.608s +0.210s 4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m29.892s +0.494s 5. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m29.959s +0.561s 6. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m30.528s +1.130s 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.126s +1.728s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.209s +1.811s 9. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes No time set 10. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari No time set Q2 cut-off time: 1m30.269s Gap ** 11. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m30.326s +0.501s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m30.697s +0.872s 13. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m30.933s +1.108s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.010s +1.185s 15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m31.010s +1.185s 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m31.104s +1.279s Q1 cut-off time: 1m31.681s Gap * 17. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m31.693s +1.146s 18. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m31.707s +1.160s 19. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m32.937s +2.390s 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m33.063s +2.516s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m33.734s +3.187s 22. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.098s +3.551s