Rosberg claims pole for German GP as Hamilton crashes out

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Nico Rosberg has secured his fifth pole position of the 2014 F1 season today at Hockenheim after Lewis Hamilton crashed his car in Q1, leaving the German with only the Williams drivers to contend with at the front of the field.

Rosberg went unchallenged on Saturday at his home circuit, after Hamilton’s terrifying brake failure in Q1 left the Briton in the wall and down in 15th place on the grid. However, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa put in good performances to qualify second and third respectively, giving Mercedes some food for thought, but ultimately the German marque reigned supreme again with its ninth pole in ten races.

As Q1 got underway at Hockenheim, Caterham faced a race against time to get Marcus Ericsson’s car repaired following a hydraulic issue that had sidelined him during FP3. Eventually, the team was forced to throw in the towel, meaning that he will start tomorrow’s race from last place.

The rest of the field did manage to get out early in the first part of qualifying, and Lewis Hamilton quickly rose to the top of the timesheets with his first flying lap. However, as he went about beating Valtteri Bottas, who had gone four-tenths quicker, Hamilton suffered a terrifying brake failure, causing his Mercedes car to crash into the wall at turn 11 at high speed. A red flag was immediately shown, and Hamilton thankfully walked away from the shunt with nothing more than his pride bruised.

The session restarted once the debris had been cleared, with Rosberg – having yet to set a time – heading out immediately on a set of super-soft tires. He went fastest on his first lap on the option compound, and duly finished the session there, a full five-tenths clear of the rest of the field. Predictably, the Marussia drivers joined Ericsson and Caterham teammate Kamui Kobayashi in the dropzone, with Adrian Sutil and Pastor Maldonado also failing to make it through to Q2.

Rosberg continued to set the pace in the second part of qualifying, immediately setting the pace ahead of Bottas and Vettel. McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen put in a good first run to sit fourth, whilst Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez both found themselves in the dropzone with five minutes to go.

They eventually went out to better their times, but Raikkonen could not find enough time to move out of the dropzone. He will start tomorrow’s race from a disappointing 12th place. Perez managed to get into Q3 by a very narrow margin ahead of Jenson Button, who finished 11th. Jean-Eric Vergne, Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean were also eliminated, with the latter also having to serve a three-place grid drop carried over from the British Grand Prix.

The final session saw the drivers complete two runs on the super-soft tire in their bids for pole position, and Perez was the first to post a lap time. His initial benchmark of 1:19.395 was soon beaten when Rosberg showed up, the German going almost three seconds quicker. Bottas and Massa slotted into second and third place with their first efforts, but after the initial runs, it was clear that it would take something spectacular to beat Rosberg.

Although Bottas was up on the pole time through the second sector, he just fell short of Rosberg’s best effort, meaning that the German’s own inability to improve went unpunished. Williams once again finished as best of the rest behind Mercedes in second and third, with Kevin Magnussen finishing a fine fourth for McLaren. Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel locked out the third row for Red Bull ahead of Fernando Alonso and Daniil Kyat. The Force India pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten.

With his fourth pole in five races, Rosberg now has a chance to cap off a perfect week. Since the British Grand Prix, he has got married, seen Germany win the FIFA World Cup, signed a new long term deal with Mercedes and now secured pole position for his home grand prix. However, he will need to convert it into a fourth win of the season tomorrow if he is to truly take control of this world championship.

Mario Andretti says Colton Herta could be next American star in F1

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Mario Andretti’s last Formula One victory is also the last by an American driver in more than 42 years on the international open-wheel road racing series.

If you had told Andretti that while he was celebrating on the Grand Prix of the Netherlands podium on Aug. 27, 1978 at the Vandzoort circuit, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Absolutely not,” Andretti told Kyle Petty during the most recent “Coffee With Kyle” episode (video above). “It’s a shame. Somehow we have so much talent here, and either there’s no invitation or something there. But I think it’s time to give some of this young talent that, in my opinion, is absolutely capable.”

The Dutch GP was the last of Andretti’s 12 victories in F1 and came during his championship season. No one since has come close to matching his success in F1.

Mario Andretti drives his Lotus-Ford to victory in the 1978 Grand Prix of the Netherlands (Bernard Cahier/Getty Images).

Andretti’s son, Michael, took a full-time ride with McLaren in 1993 but left with three races remaining in a season marred by crashes and mechanical problems.

Scott Speed was the last American to run a full F1 season in 2006, and Alexander Rossi made the most recent F1 start by a U.S. driver in 2015. Rossi has said he has no desire to return to racing in Europe after winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and becoming an IndyCar championship contender.

But Mario Andretti believes Andretti Autosport has another rising star with F1-caliber ability.

“Colton Herta is one that comes to mind,” Mario Andretti said. “As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3, and he knows most of the circuits there. He’s trained. He’s showed in his rookie season and won some premium races at COTA (and Laguna Seca), beat two of the very best Indy has to offer (in) Will Power and Scott Dixon.

“This is one kid I’d love to see him get a break over there to fly the U.S. colors again.”

Herta, 20, seems interested in exploring an F1 leap over the next few years. After winning Sept. 13 at Mid-Ohio from the pole position (his third career victory in the NTT IndyCar Series), the No. 88 Dallara-Honda driver is ranked fourth in the standings in his sophomore year and regarded as one of the series’ top prospects.

Herta recently told RACER.com “I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack” but said he also would be happy driving in IndyCar and IMSA.

A naturalized U.S. citizen who told Petty about spending several years with his family in an Italian refugee camp before coming to America, Mario Andretti said F1 brought an enormous sense of patriotic pride.

“Formula One is like the Olympics in a sense,” he said. “You’re in a different country, a different continent. When you earn that highest step of the podium, they play your national anthem. That’s when you take nothing for granted. You feel like I’m representing my country, and the proudest moments are those.

“I’d just like to see some other American drivers experience that. It’s time.”

Mario Andretti with four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton before the Nov. 22, 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).

During the “Coffee With Kyle” conversation, Andretti also discussed:

–His versatility as a winner in IndyCar, sports cars, NASCAR and Formula One;

–His 1967 Daytona 500 victory and how he enjoyed racing with crew chief Jake Elder at the famed Holman-Moody team;

Mario Andretti Colton Herta
Mario Andretti and Kyle Petty saluted “The King” by wearing their Richard Petty-style hats during the latest “Coffee With Kyle” (NBCSN).

–Why he delayed his entry to F1 for a few years because of his earnings power in IndyCar. “I always say I’d race for free, but at the same time, you’re thinking of family and the future,” he said. “It was in the back of your mind that you can’t give up the earning power of IndyCar. That kept me from going full time in Formula One, but I always said that sometime in my career, I’d have to devote a period to Formula One.”

–On what it was like racing in an era when driver deaths were more prevalent. “If you’re going to do this, you’re not going to dwell on those negatives,” Andretti said. “There’s no way. You knew it was present. Especially in the ‘60s at the beginning of the season at the drivers meetings, you couldn’t help but look around and say, ‘I wonder who is not going to be here at the end of the season.’ We’d lose four to five guys. In ’64, we lost six guys.

“It’s something if you dwell on that, you’re going to take on a different profession. It’s a desire and love to want to drive that overcame all that and then the confidence it’s not going to happen to me. And then you pray.”

Watch the full “Coffee With Kyle” episode in the video above or by clicking here.

Mario Andretti looks on before the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).