Hulkenberg ends Williams’ five-year pole drought

Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying

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

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

  1. SparkyJay23 said on 6th November 2010, 17:26

    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

  2. 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?

  3. James S said on 6th November 2010, 17:27

    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!

  4. Megawatt Herring said on 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.

    • Adam Tate said on 6th November 2010, 17:41

      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.

  5. 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.

    • Adam Tate said on 6th November 2010, 17:44

      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.

  6. Really super exciting qualifying..with in flash timing screens are going up and down. great job hulkenberg..he seems to be on different planet in last 3 laps..ABSOLUTELY BLISTERING PACE!!
    Anyhow he will realize that it is asking too much to end Williams wind drought also as his car is much inferior in dry. But still he sent some strong msg to williams and hopefully they retain him otherwise they may rue in long run.

  7. Rahul said on 6th November 2010, 17:30

    Alonso would be wishing that Vettel, Webber and Hamilton all go fighting into the first corner, especially with the in fighting in Red Bull and Hamilton aggressive nature. I am thinking Alonso wont be too dissapointed that he isnt in midst of that, though I am sure that he would rather watch that from his rear view mirror.

    Also Nico could do for Alonso what Massa could not.

  8. Prateek727 said on 6th November 2010, 17:31

    Somebody pinch me. Like, excruciatingly hard.

  9. Funny that Q sessions can be more exciting than the race itselft. realyl love that Q formula.

    • Yes! After all the various quali incarnations F1 has finally hit on a format that should be permanent (barring some unforseen changes in the sport’s nature that takes away from it).

  10. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 6th November 2010, 17:32

    totally shocked for that qualifing.

    Honestly, how the hell saw that one coming????

    Impressive. Over a sec on the Red Bulls. Thumbs up for Nico!.

    Best performance of the year, not only for him but for all the non-top teams!

    • Adam Tate said on 6th November 2010, 17:47

      I’d say the best performance of the year period. Top teams included. If Vettel had won pole by over a second everyone would be impressed, but no one would be shocked. Nico winning it by over a second in what is probably the 6th fastest car on the grid is absolutely incredible. I went in to the weekend hoping desperately that Felipe could be the hometown hero, but now all I can think of is the Incredible Hulk!

  11. Bigredbears10 said on 6th November 2010, 17:33

    Just saw the onboard of Hulk’s pole lap on Speed. Almost lost it big time at the 6-7 complex. Great drive, on the absolute limit.

  12. I’m just concerned that being fellow Germans, Vettel might have a word with Hulk asking him to conceed the place at the beginning and hold the rest up! Either that or Vettel will be so keen to ‘aim’ his car at Hulk like he so often does that Hamilton or Webber can sneak through. The race should be very exciting indeed.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 6th November 2010, 17:47

      Can’t imagine that. I think Hülk would politely tell Vettel to go **** himself. I think Vettel’s smart enough not to ask in the first place though.

    • Gusto said on 6th November 2010, 19:08

      I bet without a doubt that the Hulk will go hell for leather at the start, the two Red Bulls will tangle for position while Lewis slips into second into the Senna S, Lewis then takes first into turn three and then goes on to win.

  13. Juan Pablo Heidfeld (@juan-pablo-heidfeld-1) said on 6th November 2010, 17:35

    Oh Nico. What a legend. I am very happy for him, very well done. 1.1 seconds faster….


  14. STRFerrari4Ever said on 6th November 2010, 17:36

    How I love Interlagos! Ah Hulkenberg you truly deserved that a blistering performance, no one else had an answer not even the almighty Bulls! A great day for Williams they were long overdue a pole position.

  15. Eggry (@eggry) said on 6th November 2010, 17:37

    Incredible Hulk!!

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