Hamilton storms to German pole

Eurosport

Britain’s Lewis Hamilton put McLaren on pole position for engine partners Mercedes’s home German Grand Prix.

2008 German GP grid - 0

The 23-year-old will share Sunday’s front row with Ferrari‘s Felipe Massa, the Brazilian who is level on 48 points with Hamilton and his own world champion team mate Kimi Raikkonen at the halfway point in the season.

Raikkonen, on pole at Hockenheim for McLaren in 2005 and 2006, qualified a distant sixth for Ferrari alongside Renault‘s Fernando Alonso.

McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen will start third, paying the price for some ‘rallycross moments’ in the final session, with Italian Jarno Trulli fourth for Toyota in what amounts to a second home race for the Cologne-based Japanese team.

The pole was Hamilton’s third of the season and ninth in 27 Formula One starts.

“My lap was pretty smooth, you know, it was pretty easy going and I’m quite comfortable that we could have gone a little bit quicker if we needed to,” said Hamilton, the runaway winner in Britain two weeks ago.

The changeable conditions and swirling wind, with the car buffeted by gusts down the back straight, made life difficult but Hamilton kept it all together to secure his first pole since Canada in June.

“I think I just collected all the little pieces that were missing,” he said when asked whether he felt the season had begun to swing his way since the pre-British Grand Prix Silverstone test.

“At the test we’ve made a step forward with the car and that’s definitely made us more competitive. I think we’ve improved all round.”

Massa, who had a nightmare in the last race when he spun five times and finished last, saw a tough and tight race ahead between Ferrari and McLaren and shrugged off his dire Silverstone performance in the wet.

“It’s not really a recovery, I know I’m quick,” he said. “All my career I was quick on the wet, even in go-karts always when it rained I won.”

BMW Sauber‘s Robert Kubica qualified seventh on a disappointing afternoon for the German manufacturer, who had Nick Heidfeld back in 12th place.

Toro Rosso‘s Sebastian Vettel was the highest placed German driver with ninth place — the 21-year-old’s second top-10 grid position in a row.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who secured Honda‘s first podium since 2006 at Silverstone, came back down to earth with an 18th-place slot at the circuit where he took his first Formula One victory with Ferrari in 2000.

Reuters

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