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???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???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)”

  1. 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.

  2. .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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. People speak of Mclaren falling behind and not performing well at today’s qualifying. The fact of the matter is, Ferrari have improved massively and are where Mclaren would be. Let’s not forget in this competitive field 4th and 5th still a decent result.

    I honestly thought Alonso would get it today! 2 thousandths of a second!! Vettel must have driven a peach of a last sector as he was still behind Alonso at the end of sector 2. A popular result will be that Williams are up there with the big boys for the 3rd race running, so it’s clear the car is looking good and it’s not down to luck.

  9. To add, I know I harp on about Legard but the commentary today was dire. No hype whatsoever in Q3 when everyone was coming in at the end, whilst i’m sat there thinking “THE WHOLE WEEKEND IS DETERMINED BY THIS YOU PILLOCK!”. To be fair he got out of his seat a bit when Vettel and Alonso crossed the line but that was about a month after the time came up.

    Also the “Look at Alonso! He’s four tenth’s quicker than anyone else!” annoyed me at the start of Q3, because it was actually less than tenth than anyone else looking at Q2 times.

    “It’s not looking good for nico rosberg is it…” When he was on his inlap. Even Brundle )who stays quiet when Legard flops these days) stepped in to correct him…

    There were other moments as well but I don’t want to turn this into a bigger rant ;)

  10. Great work by the Ferrari team but in the last two races we saw that their race pace deteriorate as they progress to the race.I think Hamilton have done the best he could but Webber was disappointing.

    Again Schumacher fails to clear Q2 I think that the more races is going the more weaker the Mercedes car is getting,Kobayashi made a mistakes or else I think he could have been there in Q3.I think it will be a exciting race tomorrow (today).

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