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

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.

Q1

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.

Q2

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???lkenberg.

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

Q3

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???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

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

  1. Maciek said on 24th July 2010, 15:17

    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.

    • Dev said on 24th July 2010, 15:23

      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.

      • OEL said on 24th July 2010, 21:23

        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.

    • 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.

  2. rampante (@rampante) said on 24th July 2010, 15:33

    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.

    • bosyber said on 24th July 2010, 16:23

      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.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th July 2010, 20:49

      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.

  3. Eric said on 24th July 2010, 16:08

    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.

  4. Calum said on 24th July 2010, 16:17

    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.

  5. Slim said on 24th July 2010, 16:20

    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

  6. Vishy said on 24th July 2010, 16:33

    It is misleading to look at the difference in qualy times. McLaren behaves very well with full fuel.

    The 2 important factors that will impact the race are

    1. Will Alonso and Vettel get too far ahead before the McLaren’s make their way past anyone inbetween.
    2. Will the McLarens get super competitive against each other?

    My guess is atleast one of the McLarens is going to make it to the podium even if they might not win the race. Alonso seems set to win the race tomorrow. Finally a much needed Ferrari win is on cards.

  7. DaveW said on 24th July 2010, 17:18

    .6s is about how far back McLaren has been behind RBR in Q3 most of the year. And Hamilton was actually slower in Q3 indicating some kind of mess up—he appeared to be, as usual, about .3s up on Button throughout the weekend. I expect it to be a very tight race.

  8. I wish that any team other than Red Bull to win the race. I am just so sick of seeing them winning.

    • wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 25th July 2010, 2:47

      May be this time it may be a Ferrari of Alonso who may turn your wish into reality but the thing is in the last two races we saw that their pace on Sunday is different then from Saturday.

  9. Daniel said on 24th July 2010, 17:30

    Mclaren are not sandbagging, but they are the second fastest team, the reason because their qualifying pace, is average (compared to RBR) but their race pace is very strong, and they are reliable which is why they are 1st and 2nd and leading the constructors championship… And that’s why Mclaren are bringing these developments out, not to improve their race pace, but to improve their qualifying pace. Look back to China Jenson & Lewis fastest in FP1 FP2 SP Q1 Q2 and then suddenly lost grip and then started in 5th&6th, that’s evident how poor Mclaren are in Qualifying. But considering their poor starting positions (excluding Canada) Mclarens race pace has always got them out of tricky situations. Like Turkey they stayed with Red Bull for 40 laps and Lewis was always a second or less behind them, so it is clear they have pace, they just don’t show it on a Saturday, also i believe Lewis and Seb would of had a great battle in Valencia, but then Fernando complained. So this is what i come to expect from Mclaren and tomorrow at turn 2 and turn 4 expect Jenson and Lewis to be challenging for 1st or 2nd, because they are 5/6 KPH faster on a straight.

    • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 24th July 2010, 18:15

      Lewis wasn’t penalised cos Fernando complained, he was penalised cos he broke the rules.

      McLaren have had the second fastest car more often than not, but aside from a couple of races, Ferrari (read:Alonso) have had a car that’s just as quick. Now that they have an EBD that’s been run for two races and a decent amount of setup information they’re able to exploit it and should be able to usurp McLaren as the second fastest team, possibly even proving faster than Red Bull.

      McLaren meanwhile need to gain more knowledge on the EBD and on top of that have to sort out the whole engine retardation thing than RBR and now Ferrari seem to have. The wet running in practice wont have helped this and in my opinion it could be a little while before they can use it to maximum effectiveness and get back to the top. Having the extra few kph advantage wont rocket them to the front of the field if they cant manage a decent overall laptime.

  10. kbdavies said on 24th July 2010, 17:40

    This does not bode well for McLaren mid season. They are going down the same route as Ferrari did with the F-Duct – focusing all resources into making the EBD work to the detriment of developing other areas of the car. At this stage of the championship, this may cost them dear.

    The gap to the Red Bulls is approx 7/10ths; more or less what it was in Silverstone – and they didnt run it there!They have no hope of catching the Red Bulls in the race. Massa is their only potential casualty, as the car in Alonso hands look too good in race trim.

    I predict Lewis to jump Jenson at the start(he always jumps someone), maybe Massa too. He should look out for Massa though, as Massa has a habit of putting his car into invisible spaces at the start. The best Macca can hope for is 4th and 5th. The Red Bulls have this one im afraid, and Alonso will be looking to make the podium – come hell or high water.

    • David BR said on 24th July 2010, 19:30

      Though Jenson has been fairly nifty off the grid too recently, albeit from further back. I expect both McLarens to be pushing, though I’d be wary about colliding with Webber…

      As for McLaren development, this time they should get a full race of EBD data to work with. And presumably they have their own engine late-burn doodah system to install when the basic system is up and running. It’s an area where they can gain a lot of potential for further development, why not focus on it?

    • DaveW said on 24th July 2010, 19:44

      If Ferrari have afterburners this thickens the plot because it represents a qualification-only advantage. But I don’t think so. Ferrari’s practice pace looked very good. I had suggested before that if RBR is in a true scrap they may be forced to light up their exhausts during the race raising both fuel consumption and reliability issues. Fuel is curious issue this year. We saw in Valencia how Hamilton was able to go to “yellow G 1″ and give a massive burst of speed before his penalty. The cars pace may be consumption limited overall.

  11. sumedh said on 24th July 2010, 18:40

    In the press conference, Sebastian Vettel describes the tyre degradation on the harder tyre: When you change to the hard tyre you know that you can drive this one to Hungary without any problems

    Love this comment from him. Bridgestone have really over-done their preparedness for 2010. Good that ehy are leaving now. Pirelli with no experience of making F1-spec tyres for 10-12 years (or more?) will make less durable tyres for sure.

  12. murtuza said on 24th July 2010, 18:48

    i wish i can see a ferrari 1-2 tomorw…

  13. Hmm, interesting situation tmr. Yes, true that mclaren race pace is good, but we shall see if it will be better tmr. Ferrari could be vulnerable @ start if the rumor of their engine being super fuel thirsty is true. that will add alot of weight to the car.

    Anyway, if im nt wrong, mclaren strong race pace has to do with the weight distribution which indirectly affects downforce. When race fuel load is high, their rear end is far more stable n has more downforce then when it is lighter. this will mainly explain the reason for good race pace but wk qualy pace. So, yea, its nt a problem that can be solved v easily, as it involves weight distribution of the car.

    Still looking forward towards tmr strong race n super competitve front.

  14. BBT said on 24th July 2010, 20:05

    German — 1:13.791 — 1:14.427 — +0.636
    British — 1:29.615 — 1:30.556 — +0.941
    European — 1:37.587 — 1:37.969 — +0.382
    Canadian — 1:15.420 — 1:15.105 — -0.315
    Turkish — 1:26.295 — 1:26.433 — +0.138
    Monaco — 1:13.826 — 1:14.432 — +0.606
    Spainish — 1:19.995 — 1:20.829 — +0.834

    I don’t think its all doom for Mclaren, look at Silverstone and the Spainish GP, in both Hamilton ran comfortably 2nd even though he was over 0.83 behind in qualifying, and Jenson was only 0.636 behind today.

    Looking at Ferrari and their first attempts with the EBD and today them running with the engine retardation thingy, plus RBRs general pace in qualifying against race pace (and FP low fuel pace) it seems this trick is worth about 0.4 in qualifying but not run in the race.

    Mclaren are stronger on full tanks as well so it could be very interesting tomorrow, a three team race?

  15. statix said on 24th July 2010, 20:28

    I hate this “finger boy” :) really…
    Good job by Ferrari. Nice by Kubica too, but the gap to “top 3″ is quite big.

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