The high cost of attending races and reduced engine noise has been put forward for the fall in spectator numbers at venues such as the Hockenheimring, said Sebastian Vettel: “It’s clear nowadays, let’s say the last couple of years haven’t been that popular. There’s been a lot of negative in the press and obviously people, fans, follow that as well and that doesn’t help.
Maybe but the racing is as good as it ever was. Nico Rosberg pipped his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position this afternoon at the German Grand Prix in a dramatic qualifying session. The result marks the 300th and 301st Formula One front row grid slots for Mercedes-Benz Power. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 (Soft) and Q2 (Supersoft), with Rosberg completing one run and Hamilton two in Q3 (Supersoft).
Nico Rosberg: “That was a difficult qualifying for me! I had an electronic problem with my throttle on my first quick run in Q3, so I had to abort. That meant I had a bit more fuel on my final run. I did a pretty good lap but I wasn’t sure if that was enough.”
Lewis Hamilton: “There was nothing particularly wrong today. My final lap just didn’t work out. It was pretty close out there and sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. The car was feeling great. The team did a great job to get it where I needed it to be and it was definitely on for pole.
“I was two tenths up coming out of T2 – but from T8 onwards it started to deteriorate and I couldn’t maintain the gap. I’ve missed out on pole, so I didn’t do what I was supposed to do – but it’s in the past now, so you just let it go and look forwards. It doesn’t mean the race isn’t there to win tomorrow. I’ll try to get a good start and see how it goes from there.
“I don’t know what the strategy will be – we’ll look through that tonight. But this is a track where you can overtake, so I don’t have to go for it at the first corner. It can be somewhere else. Last time we raced here I started dead last and finished on the podium, so this is definitely a big step up from that! The pace is clearly there, so it’s still been a good day and I’m generally pretty happy. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to do something from where I am. I’m just focused on trying to move forward and if I can drive like I have done in the past few races then anything can happen.”