Michael Schumacher expressed his delight with his team's qualifying display in Hockenheim on Saturday afternoon.

The German was fourth fastest in a session that saw torrential downpour hit the circuit but will begin third for the second consecutive race due to Mark Webber's grid drop.

Schumacher scraped into Q2 by 0.06s to beat Jean Eric Vergne to 17th but regained confidence in his Mercedes once the rain arrived to end the day on a positive note at his home grand prix.

"That's certainly a nice way to start the German Grand Prix - we had been expecting a position between fifth and seventh on the grid, so fourth in qualifying, which will become third place on the grid, is even better," Schumacher said.

"Naturally I'm particularly happy for all the Mercedes colleagues in the grandstands: they support us throughout the year and we wanted to give something back to them. In any case, we can be satisfied with this result.

"Perhaps it would have been even better to change to a new set of tyres right at the end, but I don't think we could have done much more today. Now we have to focus completely on tomorrow's race. We know that it should be dry tomorrow and we should be more competitive here than we were in Silverstone."

Mercedes boss Ross Brawn was also pleased with the team's pace and says Schumacher could have gone even better.

"It was a very eventful qualifying today but the positive thing was that our car was fundamentally fast in both the dry, intermediate and wet parts of the session," said Brawn.

"Michael did an excellent job in Q2 and Q3; he was fourth fastest, will start P3, and could potentially have been even further up. But we can be satisfied with a second row start in such tricky conditions."

by Dan Connor