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Live Commentary: German Grand Prix qualifying - as it happened

Live coverage of qualifying for this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.
Live Commentary: German Grand Prix qualifying - as it happened
© Martin Rickett / PA Photos
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Lewis Hamilton secured pole position for tomorrow's German Grand Prix in qualifying at the Nurburgring this afternoon.

The Mercedes driver knocked Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel off the top of the timing board with the final lap of the session.

Vettel's teammate Mark Webber will start from third, while British Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg is in 11th.

Read how all the action unfolded below:


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Good afternoon! It's just half an hour until the start of qualifying at the German Grand Prix, where four of the 22 drivers are taking part in their home race.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has looked strong so far this weekend, posting the fastest lap time in two of the three practices, with Lewis Hamilton also showing good pace yesterday morning.

Tomorrow's race had been in doubt earlier this week, when the Grand Prix Drivers' Association threatened to boycott the event if improvements weren't made to the tyres, after four drivers suffered tyre failures during last weekend's British Grand Prix. Pirelli have made changes to the tyres for this event, and so far they seem to be doing the job.

The Nurburgring only hosts the German Grand Prix every two years, with the event taking place at the Hockenheimring on alternate years. Mark Webber has secured pole position during F1's last two visits to this track.

The track has undergone many changes over the years. The current layout in just short of 3.2 miles long, featuring 16 turns. The lap record is held by Michael Schumacher, and was set at 1:29.468 in a Ferrari in 2004.

There was a bit of drama is the pit lane earlier this morning, when Pastor Maldonado's Williams had a KERS failure, but firefighters were able to get the unit out of the team's garage before any damage was caused. A similar problem at the Spanish Grand Prix last year left several members of the Williams team with burns.

As always, qualifying will take place in three parts, with the six slowest cars dropping out after 20 minutes, and six more following 15 minutes later. Looking at the times from practice, it looks like it could be the Caterhams, Marussias and both Williams cars dropping out in Q1.

At the other end of the grid, Vettel has to be favourite to take pole, but Rosberg and Webber should push the world champion, as they both looked quick during P3 this morning too. Lewis Hamilton looked strong on Friday, but struggled with the balance of his car this morning, at one point telling his engineers that he was unable to drive the car.

The midfield battle should be interesting today. Force India and Toro Rosso both had cars in Q3 last week, but the Ferraris and McLarens are looking faster this weekend, so it will be a fierce fight in the second part of qualifying as drivers look to claim a place in the top 10.

Just a quick note on the weather, it's bright sunshine at the Nurburgring this afternoon with a track temperature of 42C!

GREEN LIGHT! The 20-minute Q1 session is underway, but no cars are on the track yet.

Most of the front runners are yet to get into their cars, with Alonso, Webber and Hamilton all still getting into their overalls. Paul di Resta is the first car to head of the pit lane, closely followed by Jules Bianchi.

Toro Rosso have also sent their cars out early. The Ferrari-powered team were impressive at Silverstone, but haven't been able to match that pace in Germany so far this weekend.

Di Resta posts the first timed lap at of the session at 1:41.226, which is over 11 seconds slower that Vettel's quickest time in practice this morning.

Pastor Maldonado goes top with a time of 1:34.834, just two one-thousandths quicker than teammate Valterri Bottas. None of the championship-leading teams have taken to the track yet, but McLaren have just sent Sergio Perez out.

Nico Rosberg is the first of the front runners to come out of the garages. Hamilton is also on track, but is struggling to get head into the tyres, with the track temperature having dropped a little in the last five minutes. Daniel Ricciardo moves top for Toro Rosso with a lap time of 1:31.081. Rosberg comes in just behind him.

Hamilton moves above his teammate, but can't replace Ricciardo at the top of the timesheets. The Mercedes driver both completed their laps on the medium tyre, but Ferrari and Lotus have both send their drivers out on the soft compound.

Alonso is looking strong in the middle sector, and is the first driver to lap under 1:31. Vettel completed his first timed lap, slotting into the fourth, while Webber is currently sixth with just over five minutes remaining in this session.

Raikkonen replaces Alonso at the top, with a lap of 1:30.676. His race engineer informs him that the time will be good enough to see him into Q2, so the Finn comes into the pits. Massa finally posts his first time of the session, slotting in above the Red Bulls into fifth.

Webber goes wide at turn one. The Australian is currently 12th, so will want another good lap to be sure of a place in Q2. Meanwhile, the Caterhams and Marussias are currently joined by Sergio Perez and Maldonado in the bottom six. Massa posts a new fastest time of the session.

The flag is out, so we'll just wait for those currently on laps to finish before seeing who will exit after Q1.

OUT! 17. Bottas, 18. Maldonado, 19. Pic, 20. Bianchi, 21. van der Garde, 22. Chilton

As expected, it's the Caterhams, Marussias and Williams cars that all leave after the first part of qualifying. McLaren's Sergio Perez had looked to be in trouble, but was able to move up to 14th with his final lap of the session.

Felipe Massa set the fastest lap, with Kimi Raikkonen second and Fernando Alonso third. All three of them were on the soft tyre, so can expect stronger competition from the Red Bulls and Mercedes cars in the next part of qualifying.

Of the four German drivers, it was Nico Hulkenberg who set the fastest time in his Sauber, finishing sixth, while Vettel managed ninth on medium tyres, Sutil finished 10th and Rosberg was 11th.

GREEN LIGHT! Q2 is underway, and Jean-Eric Vergne immediately comes out of the Toro Rosso garage.

Di Resta and Hulkenberg are also out to post an early time, but Vergne's teammate Ricciardo appears to be waiting. Vergne sets the first timed lap at 1:31.285.

The first of the front runners are on track, as Mercedes and Ferrari send both of their cars out. Meanwhile, Paul di Resta beats Vergne's lap time with a 1:31.258

Raikkonen moves top with a quick lap of 1:30.575, with teammate Romain Grosjean coming in just behind him. Rosberg locks his tyres heading into turn one on his first lap of the session and runs wide in a bid to avoid damaging his tyres.

Hamilton replaces Raikkonen at the top of the time sheets with a 1:30.575. Alonso completed his first lap, but comes in behind the Lotus driver to go third.

Having recovered from his wide, Rosberg manages to claim second. Red Bull are yet to send either Webber or Vettel out of the garage.

Vettel and Webber finally head out to the track. Perez, Ricciardo, Sutil and Gutierrez currently join them in the bottom six. The Red Bulls will only have time for one stint with just over three minutes remaining in this session.

Vettel goes fastest with a 1:29.992. Webber can't quite match the German, having suffered some understeer towards the end of the lap, but he does move into third. Vergne, Hulkenberg and Button have all dropped into the bottom six.

The track temperatures are rising again, and that's resulting in quicker lap times. Alonso beats Vettel's time, but Massa is going quicker again just behind him, and posts a 1:29.825 to move top.

The clocks runs down, with the McLarens and Raikkonen among those who could go out.

OUT! 11. Rosberg, 12. Di Resta, 13. Perez, 14. Gutierrez, 15. Sutil, 16. Vergne

A stunning final lap from Raikkonen moves him up to second, knocking out Nico Rosberg. That's a big shock, the Mercedes driver was one of the favourites for pole position.

Jenson Button just managed to make it into Q3, while both Lotus cars also showed impressive pace towards the end of the session.

Once again, it was Massa, Raikkonen and Alonso with the fastest times, with Red Bull and Mercedes both electing to save tyres by going for one timed stint.

Daniel Ricciardo will be pleased to be in the top 10 for the second week in a row. The Australian didn't look that strong in practice, but has really stepped it up for qualifying in his Toro Rosso.

GREEN LIGHT! The final part of qualifying is underway, with Ricciardo and both Ferraris heading out straight away.

The Ferraris and Ricciardo come back into the pits without setting a lap time. Raikkonen sets the first lap time of the session at 1:29.970, but Vettel immediately beats it with a 1:29.622

Lewis Hamilton goes top after completing a blistering final sector to complete the lap in 1:29.540. Jenson Button is on track ready to begin his first timed lap.

The Ferraris, Ricciardo, Button and Hulkenberg are all yet to set a time with just a couple of minutes remaining, but all 10 cars are now on track.

With just over a minute to go, Vettel starts what will be he final timed lap of the session. The clock runs down, so the drivers are all on their last laps right now.

Vettel beats Hamilton's earlier time with a 1:29.501, but Hamilton is still on track.

Webber and Hamilton both going faster than Vettel.

Webber loses time behind Alonso.

LEWIS HAMILTON CLAIMS POLE POSITION AT THE GERMAN GRAND PRIX!

A brilliant last lap from the Mercedes driver of 1:29.39, knocking Vettel down to second, while Webber will start from third

TOP 10: 1. Hamilton, 2. Vettel, 3. Webber, 4. Raikkonen, 5. Grosjean, 6. Ricciardo, 7. Massa, 8. Alonso, 9. Button, 10. Hulkenberg.

Button and Hulkenberg both chose not to set times, while the the Ferrari duo both set their fastest laps on the medium compound tyres. Meanwhile, Ricciardo qualifies in the third row for the second race in a row.

Well that's all from qualifying at the Nurburgring this afternoon, but join us again tomorrow for the German Grand Prix. Thanks for joining me this afternoon, goodbye!

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Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany steers his car to win the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix on April 21, 2013
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