Rosberg grabs pole in dramatic qualifying
5 July 2014 – Nico Rosberg mastered changing weather conditions to claim pole position during Saturday's qualifying session for the British Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver posted a 1:35.766 on Medium tyres in a drying shootout, placing him 1.6 seconds ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. McLaren's Jenson Button finished third.
Rosberg's team-mate and championship rival, Lewis Hamilton, had held the advantage in the early stages of the final qualifying segment, putting in a solid first lap as the track continued to dry from previous showers.
Further light rain had looked set to end any chances of improvements, but it eased off and the majority of drivers opted to embark on a final run.
Force India driver Nico Hülkenberg held the top spot for a few seconds as lap times tumbled, but Button, Vettel and Rosberg all went quicker than the German with their own last-gasp efforts in a thrilling end to the session.
The Williams and Ferrari drivers were absent from the finale after strategic errors saw them drop out in Q1.
Kevin Magnussen took fifth in the second McLaren, ahead of Hamilton, who made the mistake of abandoning his last timed attempt after two sloppy sectors, with rival drivers making huge gains through the drier final sector.
Sergio Pérez capped off a strong session for Force India in seventh position, while the remaining Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and the Toro Rossos of Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Éric Vergne completed the top 10 places.
Marussia performed heroics to get both cars into Q2, with Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton finishing 12th and 13th respectively, just behind Romain Grosjean's Lotus. Chilton, however, drops five places due to a gearbox change.
The Saubers of Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrian Sutil and the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado were the others to drop out in the second phase. Sutil was unable to compete in Q2 after spinning out and getting beached in the gravel at the end of Q1, while Gutiérrez lost control of his car at Luffield and Maldonado ground to a halt late on.
Gutiérrez will fall down the order due to the 10-place grid penalty he picked up at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The opening third of qualifying also yielded plenty of drama, with the Williams and Ferrari drivers getting caught out by the conditions and failing to make the Q2 cut. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa fell in 16th and 17th, just ahead of Fernando Alonso, who suffered a spin while attacking on his final attempt, and Kimi Räikkönen.
Caterham drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi failed to reach the 107 per cent time at the back of the field, meaning their participation in Sunday afternoon's race now relies on the stewards' discretion.
Sunday's 52-lap British Grand Prix gets underway at 1pm local time (GMT +1)