Nico Rosberg will start from pole position for the Grand Prix of Europe after team-mate Lewis Hamilton crashed in Q3.
Hamilton was ragged throughout the session and locked up at Turn 15 on his first run in the final part of qualifying, compromising Rosberg's lap too. Both drivers stayed out in the closing moments and Rosberg took pole position but Hamilton clipped the wall on the inside of Turn 11, damaging his front right wheel and bringing out the red flag.
While Hamilton was ninth at the time, there were still two minutes and five seconds on the clock and a mad dash for one final lap followed on the resumption. Max Verstappen had yet to set a time but managed to jump ahead of Hamilton, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo improved on his final run to beat both Ferraris to third place.
It was a shock second in qualifying for Sergio Perez, but the Force India driver faces a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox after a crash in FP3, meaning he will start from seventh place. That promotes Ricciardo to the front row, with an all-Ferrari second row of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Ricciardo and Vettel actually set identical lap times in Q3 - 1:43.966 - but it is Ricciardo who will start ahead of his former team-mate having posted the time first.
Felipe Massa and Daniil Kvyat will start from the third row after an impressive performance from the Toro Rosso driver, with Perez to start alongside Valtteri Bottas who lost out in the final rush for a lap.
Hamilton was very nearly a casualty in Q2 as he locked up on his final attempt and had to stop at Turn 7, ruining his lap. Sitting 10th at the time and with Ricciardo behind him, Hamilton was in trouble but managed to get in a clear lap right at the end despite some yellow flags threatening to ruin his chances. Ricciardo too progressed, with his improvement knocking out Romain Grosjean in 11th place.
Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise casualty after a spin at Turn 16 forced him to abort his first run. The first lap on his final run was not enough to progress and Hulkenberg then missed a radio message telling him he had to push on the following lap too, resulting in him dropping out in 12th. Carlos Sainz beat fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso to 13th, with Alonso complaining about McLaren’s traffic management. Esteban Gutierrez could only beat Felipe Nasr in Q2, with the Haas driver running off track on numerous occasions.
The first part of qualifying was a close affair with Felipe Massa in 13th less than 0.2s clear of the drop zone despite the 6.003km lap. A good lap from Nasr proved enough to get him through as a number of drivers fell just short on their final attempts. Jenson Button was the shock elimination as a poor first lap left him in danger and he was unable to improve on his second attempt, dropping out in 19th place.
Button ended up behind the two Manor drivers, with Rio Haryanto impressing to qualify 17th, just 0.116s slower than Nasr. Haryanto was also unable to complete his final lap due to a yellow flag, but the majority of drivers were failing to improve sufficiently on their second runs. The Indonesian driver beat team-mate Pascal Wehrlein by just under 0.1s to ensure an all-Manor row nine.
Marcus Ericsson failed to match team-mate Nasr’s pace having hit the wall on the exit of Turn 7, leaving him 0.7s adrift of the lead Sauber as he dropped out. However, Ericsson did enough to beat the two Renaults, with Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer 0.046s apart on the back row.
|02||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:44.462||1:43.939||1:43.515|
|03||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:44.570||1:44.141||1:43.966|
|07||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:44.694||1:44.687||1:44.717|
|09||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:44.939||1:14.387||1:45.570|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:44.860||1:44.824|
|13||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1:44.827||1:45.000|