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

Browse all 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

Advert | Go Ad-free


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

  1. Steve said on 6th November 2010, 17:37

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

  2. Rahul said on 6th November 2010, 17:37

    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

    • Adam Tate said on 6th November 2010, 17:50

      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.

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 6th November 2010, 17:39

    The first corner is going to be incredibly interesting…

  4. James_mc (@james_mc) said on 6th November 2010, 17:39

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

  5. 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.

  6. DaveW said on 6th November 2010, 17:43

    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.

    • Younger Hamilton said on 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

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th November 2010, 18:38

        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.

        • Adrian said on 6th November 2010, 18:57

          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…

  7. Younger Hamilton said on 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

  8. 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

  9. 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. :)

    • Younger Hamilton said on 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.

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

        • 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.

  10. sm4all said on 6th November 2010, 17:51

    Just so you know Keith.

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

  11. Adam Tate said on 6th November 2010, 17:55

    Wow, just saw this on Autosport. Hulkenberg lamenting the difficulty he and Rubens would have in reaching Q3 today hahaha.

    From worrying about making the shootout to the biggest pole in years. This kid is something else.

  12. Skett said on 6th November 2010, 17:59

    Who says the cosworth sucks! ;)

  13. rahul1810 (@rahul1810) said on 6th November 2010, 18:00

    Has anybody got any info on what he said at the press conference. I cant wait to find out!

  14. A fantastic drive from Nico, it’s probably a bit of a gamble set up wise, but still he was brilliant. Now I’m just waiting for Prisoner Monkeys response to this.

  15. Who saw the onboard view of Hulk’s last/pole lap? It was supernatural. One of the greatest laps I’ve ever seen. Talk about being “in the zone.”

    • f1alex said on 6th November 2010, 19:02

      There where so many times it looked as if he was going to throw it off the track in that lap!
      The speed he took through Ferradura/Laranjinha was unreal! I’m surprised he kept it on!
      Awesome lap, to my mind one of the best of the season!

Add your comment

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

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.