The Briton’s best of 1:15.098 was enough to outpace Rosberg by over three tenths of a second and grab his fifth pole of 2015.
Rosberg, on pole for the past two years, had to settle for second after locking up his tyres at the start of his final flying lap. Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari, but over seven tenths of a second off Hamilton’s pace.
Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat had their best qualifying of the season so far and will start from fourth and fifth respectively. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth in the second Ferrari, ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez, who put on a superb performance to get the Force India in the top 10.
Carlos Sainz – under investigation in Q1 for missing the weighbridge – was eighth in the Toro Rosso ahead of Pastor Maldonado in his Lotus, with Max Verstappen completing the top ten.
Unlike his teammate, Romain Grosjean was unable to make it into Q3. The Frenchman – who will drop five places due to a penalty – qualifying in 11th ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button, who was left very disappointed after failing to reach Q3.
The Briton had been competitive enough to reach the top 10, but yellow flags at the start of his final lap in Q2 – when Rosberg overshot the first corner – meant he was unable to improve.
“That’s painful,” said the Briton. “That would have been easy.”
Nico Hulkenberg will start from 13th in his Force India, ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa, whose team had its worst qualifying of the season.
Fernando Alonso missed a big chance of having his best result of the season after hitting problems at the start of Q2.
Alonso was starting his first flying lap when his Honda-powered McLaren appeared to switch off completely, the Spaniard parking it at the first corner. He will be 15th on the grid.
Felipe Nasr will start from 16th place after being knocked out in Q1, the Sauber driver missing the cut by over three tenths of a second.
The biggest shock in the first qualifying segment, however, was Valtteri Bottas, who failed to reach Q2 as he struggled for pace in the Williams.
The Finn, who had last missed Q2 in last year’s British Grand Prix, needed nearly a full second to have made it through.
Nasr’s teammate Marcus Ericsson completed a poor day for the Swiss squad, finishing down in 18th position.
Manor duo Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi wound up at the bottom of the times over two seconds off Ericsson’s pace.
|Pos||Driver||Car / Engine||Time||Gap|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1’16.041||0.943|
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1’16.182||1.084|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1’16.808||1.710|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1’16.931||1.833|
|10||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1’16.957||1.859|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1’17.193||2.095|
|16||Romain Grosjean *||Lotus/Mercedes||1’17.007||1.909|
* Drops five places due to a penalty