Alonso takes pole in Britain

By on Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fernando Alonso has sailed to Ferrari’s first pole position since 2010, by only five-one hundredths of a second to the Red Bull of Mark Webber. The Mercedes of Michael Schumacher managed 3rd, whilst Lewis Hamilton floundered down in 8th position after a disappointing final session.

What should have been a qualifying hour last well over two hours, as torrential rain plagued the proceedings at Silverstone. With only six minutes of Q2 remaining, the session was red flagged as the conditions became unbearable for the drivers out on track.

The opening session of qualifying started with light rain falling over the circuit, as the majority of the field opted for the Cinturato intermediate (green) tyres. Kamui Kobayashi set the initial pace, as the times quickly began to tumble in the topsy-turvy conditions. The likes of Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton all shared the top spot amongst others, as the track began to dry out. With a dry line beginning to appear, the Sauber duo switched to slick tyres, but quickly switched back to inters as the conditions proved very tricky.

Jenson Button became the major casualty of Q1, as the Briton joined the usual suspects of the two Caterhams, Marussias and HRTs in dropping out after Q1. Although Button was on a much quicker lap towards the end of the session, Timo Glock spun at the final corner bringing out yellow flags and destroying Button’s lap.

As Daniel Ricciardo led out yet another huge queue of drivers at the start of Q2, the rain visibly began to intensify with many drivers opting for the Cinturato full wet (blue) compound. Jean-Eric Vergne set the initial pace, with a 02:00.082, as Michael Schumacher spun at turn 11. The German was luckily able to reverse back onto the track and continue. Sergio Perez then set the pace with a 01:59.092, as Schumacher yet again went off the track at turn 16.

With the conditions becoming unbelievably difficult, Fernando Alonso also spun his Ferrari on the exit of turn 14 yet amazingly was able to keep his car out of the barriers. Eventually the session was red flagged, as the drivers returned the drier confines of the pit lane. This delay lasted roughly 1 hour and 32 minutes, as the rain gradually eased thus allowing the cars to return to the track.

Pastor Maldonado was the first driver to return to the track, with the majority of the field running on the full wet tyres. Romain Grosjean immediately went fastest with a 01:57.634, before Schumacher, Webber and then local hero Lewis Hamilton went even quicker. Fernando Alonso miraculously sneaked into Q3, as yellow flags were flying after Grosjean spun and beached his Lotus in the gravel and turn 16. After Q2, Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi, Daniel Ricciardo, Bruno Senna, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sergio Perez were all eliminated from qualifying.

With the track gradually drying after the earlier deluge, it was Maldonado who once again took to the track first on intermediate tyres. The Venezuelan driver continued to set the initial pace, with a 01:58.016. As the rest of the field also opted for the intermediate tyre, the times quickly tumbled as both Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso and then Mark Webber all went quickest.

Lewis Hamilton, however, was suffering greatly in the still tricky conditions, with the Briton unable to challenge for the top spot. In the dying minutes of the session, Fernando Alonso stormed to his first pole position of the 2012 season. The Spaniard will start alongside the Aussie of Mark Webber.

With tomorrow’s weather looking as dicey as todays, the race could be another long and wet afternoon of racing around the legendary Silverstone circuit.

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m51.746s
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m51.793s + 0.047
3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m52.020s + 0.274
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m52.199s + 0.453
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m53.065s + 1.319
6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m53.290s + 1.544
7. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m53.539s + 1.793
8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m53.543s + 1.797
9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m54.382s + 2.636
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault no time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m56.931s Gap **
11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m57.009s + 2.112
12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m57.071s + 2.174
13. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m57.108s + 2.211
14. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m57.132s + 2.235
15. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m57.426s + 2.529
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m57.719s + 2.822
17. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m57.895s + 2.998
Q1 cut-off time: 1m47.105s Gap *
18. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.044s + 1.765
19. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m49.027s + 2.748
20. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m49.477s + 3.198
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m51.618s + 5.339
22. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m52.742s + 6.463
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m53.040s + 6.761
24. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m54.143s + 7.864

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