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

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Somebody pinch me. Like, excruciatingly hard.

    1. Wake up! It is for real!! ;-)

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

    1. 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).

  5. 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!

    1. 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!

  6. Bigredbears10
    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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

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


  9. STRFerrari4Ever
    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.

  10. Incredible Hulk!!

    1. That’s for sure. He’s lived up to that title today.

  11. While I’m glad for Hulk, as an Alonso supporter, this worries me a little.

  12. Also to be noted is that almost every year we have had one surprise pole. In 2008 Vettel, 2009 Fisi and now Nico in 2010. I hope this tradition of surprise pole keeps on. Its really good for F1

    1. Great point Rahul, I hope it continues as well, because it gets everyone excited. Could this be a one off pole like Fisi last year at Spa, or are we about to see a blistering ascent by one of the sports next great drivers like we saw with Vettel 2 years ago?

      Here’s to hoping for the latter.

  13. The first corner is going to be incredibly interesting…

  14. HULK SMASH!! [-ed his first pole lap] :-)

    1. but hopefully not into another car come first corner!

  15. I must say the risk of collision with bully Hulk will be greater than ever tomorrow, I suppose there will be one, but who’s going to be a victim? We’ll be interesting to watch.

  16. No dirty-side, thanks to the rain. A midfielder sitting pole. This is going to be a heck of a start.

    Williams is going to call up Maldonado and ask for more money now. If Hulkenberg does get the hook, based on today’s results, I think he should be sitting where Button is now. Button is in horrifying form now.

    1. Younger Hamilton
      6th November 2010, 17:53

      NO Maldonado is not getting any possible drive anymore after that.I do agree with you Jenson is just horrible at the moment its not his fault he cant find a good balance the MP4-25 of the McLarens is so hard to find a good setup on unlike the F10 of the Ferraris.Hell of a Race to come tomorrow

      1. Jenson is just horrible at the moment its not his fault he cant find a good balance the MP4-25 of the McLarens is so hard to find a good setup on

        It is his fault. Button, who’s supposed to the the “smart” guy can’t find a good setup. Hamilton in equal machinery, could.

        1. I think basically Hamilton can drive around any problems better than Button can.

          I’m really disappointed by Button’s performances during the back half of this season…and I count him as my favourite driver…

  17. Younger Hamilton
    6th November 2010, 17:47

    1.049secs and more ahead of Vettel and the rest just destruction i thought it was a battle between Lewis and the Hulk for pole i didnt expect Nico on pole though i dont where the hell the Two Red Bulls came in this they shouldnt be P2 and P3 they should be behind Alonso because they were absolutely poor.Lewis should of had P2 in the bag at leasst

    1. The RBRs should be P2 and P3. Why? Because they set faster laps than Lewis Hamilton.

  18. Just worked out quickly that if they finish in the same order, albeit with hulkenberg behind them all, the championship standings would be as follows:

    alonso 243
    webber 238
    vettel 231
    hamilton 225

  19. Hats off to the Williams Team! So nice to have new faces on pole this year. I hope the rookie won’t fumble on Turn 1 with Red Bull, McLaren & Ferrari is just behind him. :)

    1. Younger Hamilton
      6th November 2010, 17:56

      Thats the problem with Rookies they just panic with the top runners behind them and end up making costly mistakes.

      1. You mean like Hamilton did when he parked his car in the tiniest gravel trap he could find trowing the championship away?

        1. If I remember correctly, Hulkenberg has had more than one race this season in which he has kept a cool head keeping the big shots behind him. Granted at Monza, he was all over the place to keep Webber behind, but his car was soooo much slower than Webber’s he had no choice but to drive way over the limit to achieve this. I think his car will be better suited for keeping those guys behind him, especially RBR whose cars are tailor made for a sweeping, high-speed track like Monza.

  20. Just so you know Keith.

    “Nico Hülkenberg produced a series of ultra-rapid laps on an ever-improving lap track”

    1. That is why it should be noted that even if he had not improved in last lap he would have had pole position!

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