Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, Interlagos, 2010

Hulkenberg ends Williams’ five-year pole drought

Brazilian Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico H?‚??lkenberg, Williams, Interlagos, 2010

Nico H?‚??lkenberg took a shock pole position for Williams in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The rookie heads the Red Bull duo, Vettel ahead of Webber, with Hamilton fourth and Alonso fifth.

But Jenson Button faces a tough race after failing to reach Q3 and qualifying 11th.


More rain fell between the end of practice and the start of qualifying, meaning Q1 began on a wet track.

With more rain expected, all the drivers hit the track the moment the session began and most stayed out all the way through, some of them logging 15 laps.

But the rain held off until the final moments of the session and the usual six cars from the new teams were at the bottom of the times, headed by Timo Glock.

Once again Force India struggled for pace in Q1 and the battle to survive into Q2 was contested almost exclusively by their drivers.

Adrian Sutil, who already has a five-place grid penalty for the race, was beaten to 17th by team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi.

But he might have made it had he not been held up by Liuzzi when he rejoined the track after spinning off at Mergulho.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’20.830
19 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’22.130
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’22.250
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’22.378
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’22.810
23 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’23.083
24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’23.796


The Red Bull drivers led the way as the track continued to dry in Q2. Webber led Vettel, Kubica, Hamilton and Schumacher.

But the drama of the session came as Felipe Massa and Jenson Button battled to avoid elimination.

A last-minute improvement by Massa got him into Q3 by just 0.088s.

Nico Rosberg also failed to make it into Q3, ending up 13th behind Kamui Kobayashi.

Team mate Michael Schumacher made it into the top ten shoot-out, as did both Williamses and both Renault.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’19.288
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’19.385
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’19.486
14 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’19.581
15 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’19.847
16 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’19.899
17 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’20.357


All the ten drivers in Q3 started off on intermediate tyres for banker laps before switching to super-softs.

Lewis Hamilton was quickest to begin with on intermediates and re-took the top spot after changing tyres.

But Nico H?‚??lkenberg produced a series of ultra-rapid laps on an ever-improving lap and incredibly moved the target time well beyond the reach of the championship contenders.

Fernando Alonso briefly took pole position back from him but H?‚??lkenberg took it back again.

He still had one lap to spare and he used that to set a 1’14.470, over a second faster than any other driver.

The Red Bull pair line up behind him with Hamilton in fourth ahead of Alonso.

Top ten in Q3

1 Nico H?‚??lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’14.470
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.519
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’15.637
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.747
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’15.989
6 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’16.203
7 Robert Kubica Renault 1’16.552
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’16.925
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’17.101
10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’17.656

2010 Brazilian Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

110 comments on “Hulkenberg ends Williams’ five-year pole drought”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. Best qualifying in a while, really unpredictable and excitement all the way through.

    Congratulations to Hulkenberg and Williams !

    1. Remains Vettel in Monza 2 or 3 years ago.

      1. It reminds me of many years ago when Barrichello got pole at Spa in the Jordan. best qualification with season.

        1. Funny that I said the same thing before I even had a chance to read your post.

  2. Incredible job by Hulkenberg.

    I fear this could be the end of Barrichello’s career though, it would be tough to choose him for 2011 alongside Maldonado now even with his development experience.

    1. Maybe he could come back as a “consultant”?

    2. One of the best qualifying sessions I’ve ever seen; still can’t get over how THE HULK managed to be 1 second faster, despite having the ‘extra’ lap at his disposal.

    3. Dont be silly Ed. no one believed on hulkenberg and iam proud to say that i did.Barichello is a great driver being 2nd to him is no shame, people might say that it is another german on the grid but he had the best junior career possible so congrats for the pole despite not being a normal dry qually his set up decision and commitment gave him a sec over the “Touros Vermelhos”

    4. If Williams drop Rubens they will be nothing more than idiots… He may need a fair bit of emotional care, but his experience is second to none.

      1. Actually, I think because of Nico’s incredible pole, that you may not have noticed Rubens in 6th… Which is also rather fantastic as well.

    5. The end of Barrichello’s career? What? Why would you want to get rid of him? Rubens is 29 points ahead of Hulk. Besides, he already has a seat in Williams for 2011.

    6. Barichello did something similar for Jordan, at Spa, so many years back.

      The crucial thing was getting on the slicks early are building heat into it, and all they following cars would have to play catch up.

      Thumbs up to Williams for reading the track conditions and deciding to go for the slicks earlier.

  3. Brilliant! Simply fantastic. I have enjoyed this session more than any other this season! Great scenes from Interlagos. :) If the race is half as exciting as Qualifying we’re in for a treat!

    1. Agree with that, this is shaping up to be an amazing weekend again.

  4. Looking good for a good race tomorrow. The hulk should mix things up at the front there.

  5. Congrats Nico!!!!!!!!! Just Wow. What a thrilling qualifying.

  6. stunning last laps by Hulk …. not just the final lap… but the two past ones…incredible….

    he get a perfect felling on the dive in first corner…

  7. Raise your hand if you thought The Hulk was going to take pole…by OVER A SECOND!!!!!!!! Definitely the shocking result of the year.

    1. I think that just surpassed Webber’s backflip as the #1 highlight of the year…

  8. Incredible! The top guys were crossing the line a full minute after he did on a surely drier track, and they were still 0.9 slower. Almost 2 seconds over Rubens as well, who got the pole here last year.

    Nico will look at the names behind him on the grid and wonder how there’s any question over his place at Williams next year.

  9. A little disappointed Hamilton couldn’t get 2nd but the pole man made up for it!

    1. Younger Hamilton
      6th November 2010, 17:41

      Same here man Forget about the rest,Its about the Hulk tonight Brilliant just Brilliant dont worry he’s gonna help Lewis because he gonna be Holding up the Red Bulls

    2. Its about Hulk’s greatness is coming. Forget your Hamilton he’s not the topic. You might have clicked the wrong one. Anyway, I understand the site has new look… Don’t worry am happy he is 4th. He is strong to hold alonso to the front.. :)

  10. Thisll make it a fun, fun race….Nico wow, amazing.

  11. How many people predicted that in the Predictions championship?!
    I cannot wait for tomorrow!

    1. I bet that result played havoc with everyone’s predictions !

  12. Hallelujah! What a nice surprise! If Hulkenberg ends up getting demoted to HRT next year it’ll be a travesty

    OK, so we shouldn’t get carried away. His qualifying speed has never been in doubt, and he hasn’t scored as many points as we might have expected. But he clearly has star quality- something that the likes of Petrov, Buemi and Heidfeld lack. If he performs tomorow, I daresay Mercedes might put him on their shopping list

    1. I’d say it is more likely for Maldonado to end up at a revamped HRT next year.
      Surely Williams would not praise him, push him for a longer term (said to be 5 year) deal and then drop him after getting this pole, Weber will have non of that. And Rubens is still to much of an asset to lose.

      So Maldonado could conveniently be assesed by Williams in Abu Dhabi and then start fielding the cash to pay for the gearbox deal at HRT and drive next to Pedro d/l Rosa.

      1. Maldonado/De La Rosa would make sense for the latin team…

        I think it would be a massive mistake at this point to change the Williams lineup. Clearly Hulk has what it takes. With a little refinement he’ll be fighting at the very top. And Barrichello is a master tester/developer. Many believe that Button never would’ve taken the championship if it hadn’t been for his development abilities in season, and certainly today H√ľlkenberg owes his pole position to Rubens’ decision to switch to slicks when he (Nico) was still uncomfortable with the decision.

  13. Shocking performance by Hulkenberg. That was just unbelievable. Clearly the best qualifying we have had this season. Very unpredictable, and very exciting.

  14. Younger Hamilton
    6th November 2010, 17:25

    Speechless just speechless fantastic Phenominal and superb by the Hulk there all credit and headlines goes to him today no doubt no matter what happens this weekend HE IS driver of the weekend.Over a second ahead of the Two Red Bulls who would have predicted that in the whole course of the season and thats actually gonna play into Lewis’s and Fernando’s hands as long as he is in P1 during the race.Plus 60% chance of Rain could make the Grand Prix and title even more exciting and down to the wire

    1. Yeah, without a doubt the driver of the weekend. This is one of those moments that will likely be remembered for decades.

      1. The only thing that was missing was Murray Walker with He`s ” Yes Yes Yes unless Iam mistaken It`s the Hulk “.

  15. It’s great but do you think he will hold that position for longer then a lap?

    1. Exactly, it introduces an unknown at the start of the race. Will he hold up the reb bulls, can Hamilton use that to his advantage? Who knows. should be a good start to the race.

    2. If he makes it through the first sector, then yes. He was quickest through S2 all qualifying. ;)

  16. Great job by The Hulk and a really poor one by Massa & Button.

    How Fast is Hulkenburg going to be tomorrow? Can Lewis and Alonso jump the Red Bulls at the start.

    Can’t wait for the race

  17. Fantastic result for Nico, and great to see Williams get a boot. They really needed that.

    Not wanting to take anything away from Nico I am curious as to how he so out performed Rubens (who is great in the wet) at his home track. Is it possible that Nico had what the team considered was a more conservative setup for safety for him for wet qualifying, and that setup just came good at the end of qualifying?

    1. oops! Should be “Williams get a boost”. :)

  18. I actually said in the live qualifying section before it started: “I think that a Williams will be up there in the mix.” Well, it certainly was!

  19. Megawatt Herring
    6th November 2010, 17:28

    I think this was the best possible qualifying result, I’ve never seen so many people on this site so happy. At the end of the day everyone loves the underdogs to win.

    1. So true!! I almost feel sick because I only caught the last several minutes of qualifying, but I am just so happy about it that it’s okay!

      I hope Hulkenberg destroys everyone tomorrow. It’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen all year. Godbless Interlagos, it is one of the most exciting places ever.

      1. I hope he can hang on to a podium. He’ll really have to keep his head and drive the drive of his life to do that though.

  20. Stunning job by Hulkenberg and Williams. But also by Rubens, as Patrick Head said in interview: it was Rubens who chose the slicks and Nico had to be convinced to try them as well.

    I think the Williams team need to stick with them both for one more year at least, to get the most out of Rubens’ experience and the possibility that provides for Nico to learn at an accelerated pace from experience before mistakes are made, rather than from making mistakes by himself.

    1. I agree Ral, with improvements like these, the duo of Nico and Rubens could really bring the results to Williams next year.

      Patrick Head, this is a community of fans begging you not to race Maldonado next year, give him the reserve role, farm him out, do anything, but don’t give up the Hulk.

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.