Alonso on pole again in rain-hit German GP qualifying

2012 German Grand Prix

Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Hockenheim, 2012Fernando Alonso starts from pole position for the second race in a row after another wet qualifying session in Germany.

The Ferrari driver survived a near-miss with his team mate in Q2 and will share the front row of the grid with title rival Sebastian Vettel.

Q1

Qualifying began on a dry track but with clouds gathering the drivers did not waste a moment in heading out to set their first times. Within minutes the track had all 24 cars circulating, and inevitably some drivers having to cope with slow traffic.

The first of those was Nico Hulkenberg, who had to dodge past a series of slower cars in the final sector as he completed his first lap.

Lewis Hamilton was fastest of the first group of runners, setting a 1’16.221. Team mate Jenson Button was briefly third with the Sauber of Sergio Perez between them.

But as the session continued without rain falling, thoughts turned to the battle to escape the bottom seven. Hulkenberg was the first to return to the track having fallen to the dreaded 18th, but was able to claim a place in Q2 with his next run.

Michael Schumacher cut it incredibly fine. Despite doing his final lap on the harder mediums tyres, he claimed 17th place by five hundredths of a second. He was a thousandth of a second slower than Romain Grosjean, who was visibly fighting with the Lotus.

Their improvements relegated Jean-Eric Vergne into the bottom seven – he was eliminated in Q1 for the sixth time this year.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.741
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’17.620
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’18.531
21 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’19.220
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’19.291
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’19.912
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’20.230

Q2

Q1 had stayed dry but a huge clap of thunder shook the track before Q2 began. As the session began rain was already falling and the teams scrambled to exchange slicks for intermediates and get their drivers out before the rain got too heavy of the lightly-grooved tyres.

Button’s crew won that race and he took his place among the quickest runners. But it was his team mate who found the most time in the slippery conditions, continuing to improve even as the rain worsened, his intermediate tyres giving greater grip.

Alonso impressively went second fastest with his first run despite team mate Felipe Massa running wide in front of him at turn eight and badly holding him up. Alonso secured a place in the final ten but Massa did not.

Race engineer Rob Smedley urged Massa back onto the track on full wet tyres later in the session, optimistically urging him to find the missing half-second on a now-drenched track.

The two Sauber drivers failed to make the cut – Sergio Perez was on course to eliminate Kimi Raikkonen until he ran wide in the final sector. Raikkonen’s team mate Grosjean failed to make the cut after losing his KERS.

Michael Schumacher claimed second fastest, almost seven-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton, with Vettel third.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.789
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.933
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’39.985
14 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.212
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’40.574
16 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’40.752
17 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’41.551

Q3

The rain stopped early in Q3 but left a near-flooded track. Several drivers complained about aquaplaning and Hulkenberg even lost control of his car completely on the curved straight leading to the Spitzkehre hairpin. Fortunately he didn’t hit anything and was able to continue.

Full wet weather tyres were the order of the day and several drivers chose to put a fresh set of them on halfway through session in order to obtain the best of the conditions. Hamilton did not, and the McLaren driver went from being the pace-setter in the first two parts to just eighth-fastest.

Team mate Button did put on another set of full wets but felt it hadn’t been the right way to go. He ended up just seven-hundredths of a second faster than his team mate.

But Alonso used his fresh rubber to perfection. He’d already set one time good enough for pole position and his final effort moved him even further ahead.

Vettel took second after running wide at the Spitzkehre. Earlier in the session he’d remonstrated with his team about being held up by his team mate: “What is Mark doing?” complained Vettel on the radio. “Instead of letting me by he slows me down.”

Webber was third fastest, but his gearbox change penalty will promote Schumacher and Hulkenberg to row two – the latter setting an impressive lap after his spin.

Top ten in Q3

1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.621
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’41.026
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’41.496
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’42.459
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’43.501
6 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’43.950
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’44.113
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’44.186
9 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’44.889
10 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’45.811

2012 German Grand Prix

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109 comments on Alonso on pole again in rain-hit German GP qualifying

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 21st July 2012, 14:13

    What a beast of a driver. Not sure he’s going to keep that P1 tomorrow, though! but at least Massa’s not close enough to give him the position, hehe!

    BTW, the TV drector is such a clown. He showed Button sliding around his last lap, which was “good enough” for 6th, when Vettel was coming close.

  2. carbon_fibre (@carbon_fibre) said on 21st July 2012, 14:13

    And people were mocking him for saying “it is too wet”.
    Fernando dropping jaws again!

  3. BasCB (@bascb) said on 21st July 2012, 14:15

    I would say this qualifying session was really one of the best this year. Great to see them keeping it on track in these conditions.

    Amazing driving from Alonso again, although it certainly helps to have good downforce (fastest 2 cars up front). I guess McLaren messed up their tactics in a wet session once again. And a very good drive from Hulkenberg to land a second row grid spot.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 21st July 2012, 14:19

      Mclaren looked good until rain starts. Their Q3 was disaster but I think the race would be way better. Meanwhile Red Bull was not so impressive in Q1 but they became stronger in Q2 and Q3. It would be great since the race is expected to be dry.

    • dkpioe said on 21st July 2012, 18:25

      i think alonso drove the best of the top 3 cars drivers in q3. mclaren looked good until q3. its hard to tell the order of speed with the top 3 cars. i think alonso is doing a fantastic job but now getting 2 poles in a row, and it is a terrific effort by ferrari to get those pole positions after the qualifying pace they had at the start of the year. i think vettel will win, but alonso is looking good for the championship and can score another valuable haul of points tomorrow.

  4. Eggry (@eggry) said on 21st July 2012, 14:16

    Wow. That was amazing. Q1 was exciting and later part of Q2 was a little of lottery. Q3 was another classic qualifying like Silverstone. Considering dry Q1 and full wet Q3, I think Ferrari is the best-balanced team. They weren’t fastest in they won’t fastest in wet.(yes, Alonso got pole but it’s down to his brilliant drive and Vettel’s mistake.) but overall good. Lotus and Mclaren, Mercedes was good in Q1 and Red Bull struggled in Q1. now they’re P2 and P3. It would be interesting.

    BTW, finally I expected right pole seater in prediction championship first time! I failed last time because I didn’t choose Alonso even though I had chosen him entire season. Have faith! :D

  5. Hmmm said on 21st July 2012, 14:16

    Good job Fernando. Wow 43 y.o. Michael still brilliant

  6. smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 21st July 2012, 14:16

    alonso vs red bull again

  7. Estesark (@estesark) said on 21st July 2012, 14:18

    Fantastic from Alonso once again. I feel sorry for Kimi Räikkönen though, who just can’t seem to catch a break. He was quickest in Q1 on the slower Medium tyres, with a combination of track and conditions that shouldn’t really suit the Lotus, but then couldn’t find the speed in the wet. It’s up to him to do that, of course, so I’m not saying it’s bad luck, but again it seemed that things might go his way and then circumstances conspired against him. If we get a dry race he could still make hay tomorrow though.

  8. runforitscooby (@runforitscooby) said on 21st July 2012, 14:20

    Aussie TV saying there was tension between Webber and Vettel after qualifying, did I miss something??

    • Wallbreaker (@wallbreaker) said on 21st July 2012, 14:24

      Before Alonso got Pole, Vettel was delayed by Webber on his previous Pole lap.

    • maxthecat said on 21st July 2012, 14:24

      Not really, Vettel was asked if Webber held him up in Q3, Vettel said yes but it’s hard to see anyone in the mirrors in those conditions.

    • ShaneB457 (@shaneb12345678910) said on 21st July 2012, 14:25

      @runforitscooby
      Webber sort of held up Vettel and didnt let him through.. there wasnt really tension though after quali.. They just had a word with each other from what I saw.

    • AmirAnuar (@amiranuar) said on 21st July 2012, 14:26

      it not a big deal it just vettel stuck behind webber while doing his fastest lap and i don’t think he knew who in front of him with all that spay coming out behind of webber car

      • RFB said on 21st July 2012, 19:44

        He knew it was Webber, and complained rather loudly on the radio, which was aired on the pit lane channel.
        However, I believe at the time Webber was being held up, too.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 21st July 2012, 16:25

      Aussie TV saying there was tension between Webber and Vettel after qualifying, did I miss something??

      Greg Rust, Daryl Beattie and Craig Baird are probably the worst commentators I have ever seen. Dry, dispassionate, with fairly below average knowledge of F1; and poor historical knowledge of the drivers, the teams or the staff. They say whats written on the piece of paper and that is all. Very boring. They seriously need to get themselves a new job.

      • Matt Clark (@mattc888) said on 21st July 2012, 17:20

        I totally agree with you Maksutov, they are absolutely awful commentators and painful to tolerate, most obviously when the audio feed to BBC drops out mid race. Ten/OneHD coverage has steadily declined in the last few years which is particularly frustrating considering Webber’s success and now that we have a second Aussie on the grid now. The slap in the face is when they advertise the old movies they will be showing on the HD channel during the race the following day, with the race relegated to non HD Ten.

        • dkpioe said on 21st July 2012, 18:32

          i like greg rust and daryl beattie. the inclusion of carig baird hasnt been good, some of his views are pretty poor considering he was a high level racing driver. the oneHD coverage is perfect – we get free SKY coverage and every race is live and free! while others like in the UK, where the sky coverage comes from have to pay for it, or they have to wait for delayed telecast bbc races, so please show some gratitude! the only thing i dislike about the onehd coverage is the “innovative hairloss solutions” advertisements.

          • vho (@) said on 21st July 2012, 18:40

            Advanced Hair… Yeah Yeah… Gotta love Warnie don’t you?

          • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd July 2012, 4:11

            We actually have it pretty good in Aus now, I’m just upset I can’t see it because I’ll be at work AND THE NO LONGER SHOW DELAYED RACES A FEW HOURS LATER ARRRGGHHHH.

            :c

      • nackavich (@nackavich) said on 21st July 2012, 20:30

        @maksutov Agreed, they’re fairly rubbish. Not too mention the ads..

        “Wow, what exciting on track action.. Let’s go to a break!”

        “Only one lap too go.. Let’s take a break!”

        “Hello and welcome back.. Let’s go to a break!”

        • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd July 2012, 4:12

          @nackavich

          Was that a break you said? I know, lets have a break!

          I’m honestly surprised it hasn’t all just turned into one large kit-kat ad… -.-

        • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 22nd July 2012, 7:20

          @nackavich

          Oh yes, and the breaks… Tell me about it.

          I remember once (and I am pretty sure this happened on more than one occasion) that there was literally 1:30 seconds of coverage at the start, followed by a 5 minute break and another 4 minutes of coverage followed by a 5 minute break….; Drove me mad. And they always put the commercial break on exactly when there is critical action on track.

          I understand some level of commercial breaks are required to maintain the support for hosting an F1 on free tv. But for crying out loud, not so often…

  9. maxthecat said on 21st July 2012, 14:22

    Kimi will win tomorrow if it’s dry. He was really quick on the Primes.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 21st July 2012, 19:47

      Looks like overtaking will be easy this time, so traffic won’t be as much of a problem as it might have been in Valencia or Silverstone, for example. Wouldn’t rule him out.

  10. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 21st July 2012, 14:23

    Alonso proving time and time again why he is the best driver on the grid. Either that or Ferrari have been lying to us the whole time about their car. A few more races and Fernando might well have his third WDC title.

    McLaren seem to be totally out of sorts. I think they are stuck in development limbo and cant seem to decide if they should develop this years car or junk it and develop next years car.

  11. Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 21st July 2012, 14:23

    The petulant drivers about the conditions end up on top in qualifying once more, I find Alonso complaining on the team radio in Q2 quite perturbing & disturbing at the same time, it’s sad to an extent from a spectator’s perspective because these are the best drivers in the world & surely they’re able to brave the harsh conditions, but you can’t take away the correct calls Red Bull & Ferrari made as opposed to McLaren. Great to see Schumi up there again in P3 If you take Webber’s penalty into account… and also Hulk! Hopefully! – It should be interesting unlike Silverstone, please let the race come to fruition.

    • maxthecat said on 21st July 2012, 14:27

      It does seem Drivers these days want all the money and absolutely no risk. If that’s the case we could all be F1 drivers because lets face it, we might be super quick in a video game but it’s doing those laps with the knowledge that one slight mistake could kill you that stops us.

    • infy (@infy) said on 21st July 2012, 16:53

      A ton of drivers say that every time it rains, it just so happens that they did not put those radio chats on the Telly today. Last race all the good drivers, including HAM said the same thing.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 21st July 2012, 20:03

      @younger-hamii It’s not all about being brave. The cars are design in a way that makes it impossible to drive when there’s a lot of standings water. We saw a glimpse of that today with Hulkenberg losing it on the curved straight. Something similar was happening in Silverstone. Sometimes there’s just too much water for the car to handle and there’s nothing a driver can do about it. It’s not about being brave or skilled, it’s a lottery at that point.

      Also, the spray and poor visibility. Some onboards looked downright scary today. It would be safe if there was only one driver on the track, but imagine someone spinning and pointing in the wrong direction at the end of the long straight – and then being hit by someone who’s going 280kph without seeing anything. That’s potentially deadly and that’s what the race direction wants to prevent.

      I prefer a red flag to a driver getting hurt badly because they have no control whatsoever on what’s going on.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd July 2012, 4:15

      @younger-hamii

      I think you need to reassess your thought process… Because I find it offensive you you seem to think risk should be part of their job.

  12. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 21st July 2012, 14:23

    WADA has raided the Ferrari garage to test Alonso’s car for doping :p

  13. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 21st July 2012, 14:28

    The rain certainly didn’t do McLaren any favours. The camera didn’t pick up Hamilton in the second half of Q3, but when the track was at its best, I saw him put in first sector times in the 24 seconds, about 2 seconds off the pace. Button finally outqualified his team mate, but he’s still 4 seconds off the pace. A dry qualifying would have seen them further up, surely. It’s a pity for McLaren and their fans, because even with a good car it’s not likely they will take a lot of points of Alonso and Red Bull tomorrow.

    • RagingInferno (@raginginferno) said on 21st July 2012, 17:10

      They don’t start too far back to make a difference, though it’s hard to tell where they are in the dry since only Q1 was dry. Button got a lot of race preparation done in P2 and P3 though, which can only be a good thing!

  14. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 21st July 2012, 14:42

    If Button gets off the grid in front of Lewis all hell will break loose. We all know it takes Jenson more time to settle into race pace, Lewis will need to get round him

  15. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 21st July 2012, 14:43

    Where did Kimi’s great speed go when it got wet? Looks like Lotus is now fast even if it’s not that hot – but they’re slow if it’s wet. Alonso was magnificient today.

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