Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Hockenheim, 2012

Alonso on pole again in rain-hit German GP qualifying

2012 German Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando 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.


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


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


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”

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  1. Alonso strangely wasn´t very confident after qualifying, maybe with afraid to lose to another RB starting from pole. We are used to see him more optimistic. Doesn´t seem to have reasons for that, as he was quite fast in FP3 and basically all weekend. Maybe some concern over tyre degradation?
    A bit disappointed that Raikkonen didn´t qualified in the top 5, if he did I would put him on my favourite list as #1 (that lap on Q1 on hard tyres really amazed me!).
    Anyone for the victory tomorrow except the finger man!

  2. It will be interesting to see what the tyre strategies will be for a dry race tomorrow. Will Ferrari make the same mistake of running the options last? Or will McLaren and Kimi get the softs out of the way and then work their way up with the primes once the field spreads out?

    1. @vho
      It really depends on the tyre deg. A there were not so mutch runing on the options, so the best way would be to put them on at the start and see how good it is compared to the primes, especially how long do they last. The best strategy might be a 2 stopper, o-p-p.

      1. @bag0 Agree, but would the added weight of a fully fueled car degrade the options more compared to a lighter car towards the end of the race? But suppose that also depends on how long you can get the primes to last for. But without doubt, because of the limited running it makes sense to run the options first. Alternatively, a 2 stopper with p-o-p might also work for Alonso. If he can build a big enough gap to Vettel – who, say, was running on options, then Alonso might have a better chance to run the options in the 2nd stint once they realize how the other teams went in their 1st stint.

  3. Mclaren drivers watch out for Maldanado ahead of you, dont even think of trying to pass him or you know the consequences…

    1. Might be worthwhile for Lewis to hang back and let Jenson have ago at Pastor first. At least if they do collide he’ll take 2 spots without having to try too hard.

      1. Lol…. I doubt Lewis will hang back… he won´t let Jenson get the best of him… Before the fifth lap, Hamilton will have bagged Button! You just wait and see!!!

  4. You wait 1 and a half years for a pole, then 2 come along at once!

    1. I hope for the same for Seb and wins in July, you wait 11 races, then 2 go in together!

  5. during previous qualification (silverstone) mclarens were fast on full wets, this time they seem fast on dry and interm. tyres but somehow fall back to 7th and 8th on full wets.

    the thing that doesnt change is super form of alonso.

  6. Did anyone see/hear what Grosjean was up to walking down the pit lane with what appeared to be a determined purpose after he got knocked out? US commentators mentioned it, whent to an ad break, and then never said anything else on it.

    Looked like we was going to confront someone about something.

    1. @hays33d
      I doubt anything happened… he seems to “chilled” to confront anybody… He probably just went to get himself weighed

  7. Button is going to win the race tomorrow.

  8. It was a good session yesterday. Little frustrated that we didn’t get to see McLaren’s updates on a dry track, though. Also it was a shame that Caterham couldn’t stick one of their drivers in Q2. Thoroughly deserved P1 for Alonso, like Silverstone he made one mistake on his quickest lap which does go to show how difficult conditions were but that Alonso managed to hold it together the most.

    I expect Grosjean should provide some good entertainment and hopefully Rosberg too.

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