Hamilton crashed heavily with seven minutes remaining in the session, leaving his car badly damaged and the driver clearly shaken. The Brit reported over the radio that his brakes had failed, a fact subsequently confirmed by his team. He was greeted with a sporting round of applause from the German fans as he climbed from the car, before being taken to the medical centre.
Hamilton’s sole lap was quick enough for 12th, meaning six drivers were eliminated in Q1. Adrian Sutil (Sauber) was 18th at his home circuit ahead of Jules Bianchi (Marussia) and a disappointing Pastor Maldonado (Lotus). Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham), Max Chilton (Marussia) and Marcus Ericsson (Caterham) filled the last three places, with the Swede not running due to car issues.
The second session was less dramatic, though it did account for two former world champions. Jenson Button (McLaren) could only manage 11th, while Kimi Raikkonen’s dismal 2014 continued as he ended Q2 in 12th. Next up were Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) and Romain Grosjean (Lotus). Hamilton was classified 16th after not running, but will start 15th due to a penalty for Gutierrez.
Without Hamilton to contend with Rosberg was able to secure a comfortable pole in the deciding session. The Mercedes driver set a 1m16.540, two tenths clear of Valtteri Bottas (Williams). The Finn briefly threatened to snatch pole on his last lap but fell short in the final sector. It was nevertheless an impressive display from Bottas, who is coming off the back of successive podium finishes.
Felipe Massa will start third in the second Williams, with Kevin Magnussen an excellent fourth for McLaren.
Daniel Ricciardo again beat Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel, the pair lining up fifth and sixth, with Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and the Force India machines of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez completing the top 10.
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
- Valtteri Bottas (Williams-Mercedes)
- Felipe Massa (Williams-Mercedes)
- Kevin Magnussen (McLaren-Mercedes)
- Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull-Renault)
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
- Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso-Renault)
- Nico Hulkenberg (Force India-Mercedes)
- Sergio Perez (Force India-Mercedes)