Vettel pips Alonso to Hockenheim pole (German Grand Prix qualifying)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel beat Fernando Alonso to pole position by just two thousandths of a second at the Hockenheimring.

Felipe Massa underlined Ferrari’s improved pace by taking third place, capitalising on a mistake by Mark Webber who will start fourth.


The first part of qualifying was only five minutes old when Vitantonio Liuzzi brought it to an early halt. He lost his car at the final corner and hit the concrete barrier in front of the pit wall in a crash not dissimilar to Timo Glock’s during the 2008 race.

And it was Glock who had to brake and swerve to avoid the front wheel which was torn off Liuzzi’s car.

Race control swiftly red-flagged the session to recover Liuzzi’s car and clean up the track.

Lewis Hamilton was among the first of the cars to go quickest when the session re-started, before heading back to the pits.

His mark was beaten by the two Red Bulls and finally Fernando Alonso, who set a new best time of the weekend with a 1’14.808.

Unsurprisingly it was the three new teams’ cars that were eliminated along with Liuzzi. Both Virgin drivers are expected to take five-place penalties for gearbox changes, as is Adrian Sutil.


Most of the front-runners did their first runs on hard tyres but Felipe Massa was a notable exception, setting the fastest time to begin with on super-soft tyres.

But when his rivals switched to super-soft tyres towards the end of the session he was demoted – with team mate Alonso fastest once again on a 1’14.081.

The fight to escape the drop zone was closely-fought – especially between the Mercedes drivers. Nico Rosberg edged Michael Schumacher by eight-thousandths of a second, and Schumacher was ultimately knocked out by the improving Williams of Nico H?Ô??lkenberg.

The Saubers, Toro Rossos, Vitaly Petrov and Adrian Sutil were also eliminated ahead of the top-ten shoot-out.


Alonso struck the first blow in the final part of qualifying with Vettel unable to beat his first effort on the super-soft tyres.

But when they came out for the last runs Vettel turned the table – setting a 1’13.791 which Alonso got within 0.002s of beating.

Webber might have joined his team mate on the front row but he ran wide at turn one on his first lap and had to abort his lap. That allowed Massa to take third place off him.

Jenson Button turned the tables on his team mate with his last effort, edging Hamilton by a tenth of a second on his final run.

See how the grid will look after penalties here: German Grand Prix grid

Full qualifying times

Pos. # Driver Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.152 1’14.249 1’13.791
2 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.808 1’14.081 1’13.793
3 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’15.216 1’14.478 1’14.290
4 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’15.334 1’14.340 1’14.347
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.823 1’14.716 1’14.427
6 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.505 1’14.488 1’14.566
7 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’15.736 1’14.835 1’15.079
8 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’16.398 1’14.698 1’15.109
9 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’16.178 1’15.018 1’15.179
10 10 Nico H?Ô??lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’16.387 1’14.943 1’15.339
11 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’16.084 1’15.026
12 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.951 1’15.084
13 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’16.521 1’15.307
14 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’16.220 1’15.467
15 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.450 1’15.550
16 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.664 1’15.588
17 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.029 1’15.974
18 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’17.583
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’18.300
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’18.343
21 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’18.592
22 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’18.952
23 20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1’19.844
24 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth

2010 German Grand Prix

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101 comments on “Vettel pips Alonso to Hockenheim pole (German Grand Prix qualifying)”

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  1. Are McLaren still sand bagging or is Alonso just fast?

    1. Sand-bagging in qualifying? I doubt it.

      1. only on qually i know that hamilton is really great but has no chance of wining.i think this gp may be the step forward needed to reach the redbull.Ferrari is fast like all gp in this year but the turkey gp. lets see if ferrari bahrain luck comes back to reduce the possible gap between red bull and mclaren so mclarens can stay in the lead doing the impossible beeting red bull and ferrari and not having the pace

      2. But You’ve shaved .08 off Button’s advantage there, it should be .14 secs, no?

        My first ever “nyeeer nee nyeeer ne nyeer Keith you typed something wrong” post and it feels just as dirty, inane and pointless as I thought it would.

        I’m off to have a shower.

        1. Button was indeed .139 of a second faster.

        2. Fixed it, thanks.

      3. yep, sandbagging in quali would be extremly stupid :) i see no point is SB in quali!

    2. to be honest ferrari is quicker than mclaren (ham and alo) lets watch the race to see if mclaren can make another unbelieveble race and snatch some points mclaren has new updates car is always evolving and ferrari has a really new front wing and rain

  2. Mclaren aren’t sandbagging. They just need to find the sweet spot of their EBD.

    1. The straight-line speeds look interesting for the race:

      Vettel – 310kph
      Alonso – 306kph
      Massa – 307kph
      Webber- 307kph
      Button- 316kph
      Hamilton – 315kph

      1. As I said in the lifeblog, Keith do you think they set up the car to be overtaking monsters?

        I wonder if they thought they would get more downforce, and accompanying drag, from the EBD and thus tuned down the wings – leaving them a bit short of Red Bull and Ferrari, or if they made a choice to go for a setup that allowed them to use their biggest advantage of straight-line speed even if it would cost them a bit in other parts of the track.

        Even if it is the latter, I guess they underestimated how much downforce they might need to compete at the front.

        1. On the face of it I’d say no – if they knew they could out-qualify the others that’s what they’d go for.

          1. Though Button argued earlier that grid position is less important at this circuit with plenty of chances of overtaking. I imagine McLaren are confident of race pace and being able to overtake one or two of those in front at least.

          2. I agree. They wil not get close enough to VET and ALO to overtake them. The only chance is SC. After SC maccas can attack :)

          3. Keith’s right. It would be a strange strategy indeed to limit their setup for qualifying in hopes of overtaking in the race. Certainly Vettel doesn’t think it’s all that easy to overtake here from his last comment in the press conference.

        2. I just think McLaren never really got to find a perfect setup for qualifying, they spent all FP sessions on getting the EBD to work and setup for the race.
          Maybe they sacrificed a bit of downforce to go faster on the straights because they were afraid of getting passed by other cars if they did not do that.

      2. wow, I’m very glad theres two cars between Alonso and the Mclarens on the grid after seeing that

      3. the reason why Mclaren have higher top speed is cause they lack downforce…

        ideally i’d keep top speed capped around 305 or so… and prefer more downforce & traction coming out of the corners…

        1. Monza and Spa would be very boring then.

          1. only on like this track, monza needs more top speed.

        2. Not necessarily. They’ve got the best-functioning F-Duct remember.

          1. i remember Button say it few weeks ago, their higher top speed is mainly cause it lack downforce… when compared to Red Bull.

            on this track if the car is perfect through sector 3 then car can deliver a great lap time, both in qualifying and race… need downforce, strong acceleration, good braking stability & balance..

      4. Given their impressive straight-line speed, I guess McLaren are losing quite some time in the final sector. Is that so?

        1. Yep, they are super in S2, but S3 they loose quite a bit to Alonso and the Red Bulls.

      5. From Hamilton’s comments, it appears that they don’t have (efficient) downforce to add to the car. So this speed trap advantage does not show that there is cornering performance on hand from adding wing. But, if their race pace is good, they could be in for some passes.

        Morning rain may cancel out the “clean side” advantage, and Vettel has not been starting too hot lately.

        1. The McLarens might have the straight line speed, but if they can’t corner fast enough they won’t be able to get close enough at the start of the straight.

          I think that’s what Button said when he had a much higher speed on the straight (in Spain?) and he couldn’t get past Schumacher all race long. he just couldn’t line up to him in the last corner.

    2. Maybe McLaren haven’t got the gadget that Red Bull and now apparently Ferrari have that gives a constant feed of exhaust gases to the diffuser.

      1. That is possible, especially if you remember Button complaining of rear end instability (which happens when lifting off the throttle).

        One good thing is that the McLarens run better when loaded up with fuel and the time differential to the Red Bulls in a race is much less than in qualifying…

          … ends with saying that according to “Diario Sport” Ferrari did try it this weekend. Not much, but seems possible that is finally the to-have item then.

          1. Thanks bosyber, I got as far as ‘Ferrari kopiert Red Bulls Qualifying-Trick’ – says enough though! Precisely my thoughts watching.

            Presumably this is German for blown diffusor:
            ‘auspuffangeblasenen Diffusor’. Brilliant! Why use 5 letters when you can have 19?

          2. To be fair, ‘auspuffangeblasen’ means ‘exhaust pipe blown’ if you translate if you translate it by the Oxford English Dictionary .. which is 16 letters plus two spaces. So, not much of a difference, is there?!

          3. @ bananarama

            Fair enough! It’s the great thing about German though, it’s like you’ve got the entire car assembly instructions contained in the name of the parts! :0)

          4. But it seems Ferrari only tested it. And from the times in those sessions, you can see that Vettel got faster in Q3 again to beat Alonso.

            Interesting news notheless.

            @David BR – yes, German has this great combining of words to say it all in a (long) go.

          5. It seemed as though Ferrari were running it as well. I can’t imagine Alonso would be within 2 1000ths if they weren’t.

            German truly is a wonderful language. This is 1 word:

      2. That constant exhaust feed only makes up for about a tenth of a second at best.

        There were a lot of poor Q3 laps this time round though. Only Vettel, Alonso and Button improved on their Q2 times.

        Guess the stress got to most of them and they tried to hard.

        1. I hadn’t realized that they were the only three to improve. It was great to see Button out-qualify Hamilton again for the first time in a long time.

    3. Do Macca really need the EBD? The qualifying gap to RBR is more or less the same as in Silverstone, where they didnt run it. Methinks it is upsetting the cars balance too much. I hope they dont go down the same avenue as Ferrari did with the F-Duct – focusing all attention on getting the EBD to work, at the detriment of improving the car as a whole.

  3. Ferrari is looking good! Alonso might win this one tomorrow.
    The blown diffuser doesn’t seem to be working for the Mclarens

    1. To be honest this seems like our (ferrari) best chance. If they dont get close to winning then i doubt we will get a better chance. Im hoping we’ll get a podium and a nice clutch of points.

  4. Blog Raider
    24th July 2010, 14:27

    The Red Bulls have been caught by the red horses, mclaren left in the dust for now…best news of the season so far!!!

    1. Suggest watching the race tomorrow first!

  5. ExplosiveFace
    24th July 2010, 14:29

    Goddammit, I didn’t know One HD were showing this delayed. Kinda ruins it.

    1. I hear you loud and clear mate… :(

  6. So Jenson finally beats Lewis in qualy again. Good for him. Lewis please don’t clout him when you try to pass him at the start thx.

    1. Must be very interesting in tomorrow race to see if Hamilton can overtake Button!

      1. Its going to be very interesting WHEN Lewis overtakes Jenson

        1. It’s going to be very insteresting when Hamilton tried to pass Button and both collide. ;)

    2. Haha yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lewis push his way past at the first corner, potentially knocking Jenson out the way. It sure will be a pretty exciting first lap tomorrow.

      The BBC said Senna’s qualifying was disappointing, but isn’t that the highest on the grid an HRT car has been all season? Plus he was nearly 1.4 seconds faster than his team-mate…

    3. What do you mean by that You obviously watch a different Formula 1 when has lewis ever clouted Jenson this year?????

  7. Congrats to RBR, Vet, Alo, But, Bru, Kob and Alg. Glad Liuzzi seems ok.

    I was mega, mega impressed with Fernando today to the point where I may end up using more superlatives about him than JA does about Hamilton. To get so close and his teammate was quite some way off and I didn’t think Massa did too badly.

    Alonso was my man of the day. He wasn’t fighting Vettel for pole he was fighting that RB6. Vettel’s a damn good driver and clearly had the edge on Mark today but Alonso just should not have been that close to that car.

    1. Lol “I may end up using more superlatives about him than JA does about Hamilton”

    2. It was a magic performance. He’s been properly on it all weekend.

      In some ways I kinda wish it was more like a 1 or 2 tenth gap, but two thousandths? Arghhh!


      Was a good session all round though and the race tomorrow should be interesting – Red Bull have tended to be slower than their qualifying pace suggests and Ferrari and McLaren have often been faster.

    3. Aww… Aren’t you one happy girl today?… :)

    4. How do you know he shouldn’t be that close in that car?

      The Ferrari has been fast all weekend, in fact I’d say it’s probably faster in race (and RBR have the EBD working better for qualy)

      1. Vikas- encouraged. Quali doesn’t get points :p

        Tom- one word : Newey. Ferrari has upgrades and this track suits them but look at the difference to Massa who (I don’t think) made any obvious mistakes.

        That rb6 was made for pole. It was like Ham who went above and beyond at Canada.

        I expect Ferrari to be quicker during the race but I was solely looking at qualifying.

        1. Well, you cannot go quicker than the limit of the car, so if Alonso was on the limit, Massa was half a second off the limit of his car unless he┬┤s got a worse set-up than Alonso. He has to improve, P3 looks good on paper but half a second is a lot. :(

  8. what are the smallest gap in qualifying ? other than jerez 1997 ?

    1. Likely that this was closest after Jerez 1997.

      2 thousandths translates to 12.397 centimeters in my calculation. Too close!!

      1. Monza 2006 was the same, with Raikkonen pipping Michael Schumacher by 2 thousandths.

  9. Williams :D!

    nice to see how much they improved over the last few races…

    1. yeah it’s so nice to see.
      They need to be a top contender again.
      The heritage and name just screams racing!

  10. Now that it looks as though Ferrari has finally poised itself to begin taking points away from McLaren and BB (probably in that order) for some of the remaining races, this could get very interesting :)

    1. oops. Make that RB

  11. I wish Alonso wins this one. He has a great car and he lost by 2 thousandth of a second…. He is Fast..

  12. Man of the Day Vettel….Front of Home croud and under tremendous Pressure…Vettel Delivers….I hope he wins tomorrow

  13. Interesting that places 5-10 were .1-.4 seconds slower in Q3, while the opposite was true for the top 3 and Button (Webber was a tad slower in Q3 due to the mistake).

  14. I reckon that, had Alonso gone straight towards start-finish instead of swerve to the middle of the track, with such a smalle difference, he would have had pole position in the bag.

    1. I thought that too, but perhaps he took the last corner in such a way that the inertia carried him to the inside of the track and to straighten up would have scrubbed off too much speed. Or perhaps he simply put a little too much throttle on or simply wasn’t thinking!

      1. or simply wasn’t thinking… he needs 12,4cm less.

  15. Whatever happened to Mercedes. On friday they seems bullish about this race prospects

    1. They had to be up for it for the sake of the fans at the home race.

  16. Mercedes – ouch! This would be the time to pull the plug on this season and design a new car from the ground up for next year. Pleasantly surprised to see Williams showing progress. Ferrari makes things interesting for the rest of season.

    1. their base car is a big problem… no matter what they add to the car… the base car won’t change… they should have stuck with what they know & evolved their last years car further….. they clearly now should focus on 2011 car.

      1. Unless there┬┤s something fundamentally wrong with how they are using the wind tunnel or something like that. Then next year┬┤s car will be as bad unless they find the problem immediately.

    2. If you think back over the history of the Mercedes team, they have never been particularly strong at developing the car. Last year McLaren gained something like 2.5 seconds on Brawn over the course of the season, which for a front-running team is pretty dreadful. And they only started last year with an all-conquering car because they were able to run four wind tunnels during the 2008/9 close season.

      Unless they manage to produce something brilliant for the start of next season, I don’t see them fighting for the championship in any case.

  17. Interesting quali and excellent drive by Vettel but I can’t understand why so many are supprised by ferrari. Since Valencia they have been quick. They have lost points due to stupidity and bad luck. RBR have been the team of the year and have not translated this into points and while Mclaren have been very competative they have been by far the luckiest team out there.

    1. I would say that I wasn’t so much surprised that they were fast, as relieved that Red Bull didn’t just find a new tweak to go even faster on a Saturday. I am very happy that Ferrari finally manages to get both drivers to do a good job again and take it to Red Bull. They need this, and they can get it this time, no stupid things happening to ruin the race.

    2. Good job from Ferrari, your right they have improved the car to go where it is now.
      In Valencia they brought the key improvements, but they did not yet use them to full effect, and the race was a shame because of the SC.

      In Silverstone it worked as wanted in Qualli, but both Alonso and Massa shot themselves in the foot (puncture and not letting Kubica back past).

      Now they have the package right and were able to use it to maximum effect. Red Bull couldn’t counter even with the retarded ignition trick and McLaren are still learning to use their updates. This is Ferrari’s chance to gain the momentum for the next races.

  18. awesome to see Ferrari back up in front,
    with Vettel just nipping Alonso for pole means poor Alonso is likely to be beaten to the first corner due to starting on the dirty side of the track, with Webber and Lewis following suit.
    that side of the track is hardly used at all if you take a good look.
    Vettel, Massa, Button all will possible get away better.

    i predict Hamilton to chase down some of those front runners with his higher end top speed and pass them, would love to see Button do the same but not sure he will risk it.

    i hope for Ferrari that Alonso brings this one home.
    if Massa can hang in there as well it would be a excellent improvement for all the hard work the Ferrari team has done to get the car back on track, considering all the bad luck they have had, yeah i know some of it was there own fault.

  19. Ferrari have got 2 full races worth of integrating and refining EBD to their car over Mclaren, as a result they will have altered it and made the rear of the car more stable, and they will have been able to continue with other development areas. Mclaren have spent the last two weeks trying to sort one problem and probably haven’t paid as much attention to other areas of development. Redbull already had a perfect EBD but do not seem as far ahead on Hockenheim. If I was at Mclaren I would be disappointed to be the 3rd team, but not to downheartened to know that my car has always been impeccable during race day.

  20. Im really glad to see that the Ferraris and Mclarens are close to the RBR because im tired of seeing that team(RBR) have success especially after last race’s stupid drama. Vettels annoying… end of story…Theyre like watching a soap opera. I want Massa and Ham to do well but i really want to see Jenson win… GO JENSON!

    Congrats to Jarno Trulli! almost a second faster than Heikki and though hes a second and a half behind the torro rossos it seems that there is some potential for speed in that lotus

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