Sebastian Vettel left it late, but still managed to break a few hearts by claiming pole position for the European Grand Prix - a race he has dominated for the past two seasons.
The German completed just a single flying lap, but it proved good enough to trump the field by four-tenths of a second as all the action compressed itself into the final half-minute of the ten allocated for chasing pole. Only four drivers bothered to post a time in the early part of the session, as tyre wear factored into their decisions, leaving Nico Rosberg
to sit atop the pile for much of the time.
Romain Grosjean then took the opportunity presented by the lull in proceedings to topple the German with 30 seconds remaining, but that only served as an appetiser, with Pastor Maldonado
chasing the Lotus across the line to steal P1. Both Force Indias looked potent, but Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg
only slotted into seventh and fourth respectively as the chequered flag fell between their efforts.
Vettel was next on track, and was more than half a second up through the second checkpoint. Although he lost a little of that by the time he reached the start-finish line, his margin was to prove unassailable, with Kimi Raikkonen
only able to slot into fourth, which became fifth when Hamilton claimed the other front row spot.
While the Red Bull
driver celebrates his 33rd career pole, Maldonado and Grosjean occupy row two, ahead of Raikkonen, Rosberg, Kamui Kobayashi, Hulkenberg, Button and di Resta.
Full report and times to follow....