Sebastian Vettel delighted his home crowd by snatching pole position at the German Grand Prix on Saturday, his success made even sweeter by Lewis Hamilton's hydraulic problems.
Vettel turned on the style in Q3 at Hockenheim, immediately going three tenths faster than Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen before smashing the lap record.
His final lap of 1:11.212 denied Valtteri Bottas top spot, a feat that would have slightly lessened the blow Mercedes suffered at the end of Q1.
That saw Hamilton bow out at Turn 10, the Briton having taken a very wide line two corners earlier that appeared to cause the issue.
Hamilton will start Sunday's race from 14th as a result, handing Vettel the advantage in the championship battle – the German already leading his rival by eight points.
"It's been a tough day, but these things happen in sport. This is a part of racing. When you're fighting for a championship that's as close as this you can't afford days like this. You put so much preparation in, everyone works so hard, and then to go out early in qualifying is a bit of a shock," said a dejected Hamilton.
"Your heart sinks and sometimes you just can't believe things unfold the way they do, but all you can do is suck it up."
Bottas joins Vettel on the front row so could give his team-mate some support, while Vettel has Kimi Raikkonen to keep the other Mercedes in check.
LONG WAY BACK FOR LEWIS
For the second successive race Hamilton finds himself facing an uphill battle to stay with Vettel in the drivers' standings, having fallen to the back of the race at Silverstone.
That came following an incident with Raikkonen, but the Mercedes man showed his superb talent to claim second place and stay in touch with his title rival.
Doing that at Hockenheim will not be as easy given the lack of overtaking opportunities, but watching the four-time champion try will keep the race interesting throughout.
"I will not to give up. All I can do is put aside that negative energy and see [Sunday's race] as another opportunity to rise. Hockenheim is a trickier for overtaking on than Silverstone, but I'll do everything I can," said the Briton.
1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
4. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
5. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
6. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
8. Carlos Sainz (Renault)
9. Charles Leclerc (Sauber)
10. Sergio Perez (Force India)
1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 171
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 163
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 116
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 106
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 104
1. Ferrari 287
2. Mercedes 267
3. Red Bull 199
4. Renault 70
5. Haas 51
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2014: Nico Rosberg
2013: Sebastian Vettel
2012: Fernando Alonso
The threat of rain will continue into Sunday for the race, but temperatures will increase at Hockenheim after a chilly and damp qualifying.
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