Alonso masters the rain again to take German GP pole at Hockenheim

Fernando Alonso was fastest in qualifying for the German GP in very wet conditions

Fernando Alonso was fastest in qualifying for the German GP in very wet conditions

Jul.21 (GP247) Two weeks ago exactly our headline after qualifying at Silverstone referred to Fernando Alonso as the rain master for his feat in claiming pole position in torrid conditions, yet again the Ferrari driver further enhanced his reputation as the rain master of this era by powering to pole position for the German Grand Prix at rain soaked Hockenheim…

Pole sitter Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday 21 July 2012.His laps, with rain pelting down and puddles just about everywhere, was a show of sheer gutsiness, tenacity and masterful car control. The best lap of 1 minute 40.621 seconds was almost half a second up on his closest rival, and notably his slower of the two laps, which he did in a final flurry, would have been enough for top spot too. The Spaniard’s performance can be aptly described as a comprehensive trouncing of the opposition.

Alonso said after scoring his 22nd F1 pole position, “Sometimes it’s good to check the circuit conditions as we did in Q3. Going into Turn 6 was not easy for anybody, a lot of aquaplaning, but everything went well for us. We made a good strategy call doing a pit stop in Q3 so we could have fresher tyres in the last minute. I think that helped us a lot to improve the lap time.”

“It has been a strange weekend for conditions on the track, but the car was performing well in both conditions so we will see what happens tomorrow,” added the championship points leader.

Next up were the Red Bull duo with Sebastian Vettel taking second fastest from Mark Webber, the pair almost tripping each other up during their final runs, prompting some annoyed waving from Vettel’s cockpit.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday 21 July 2012.Vettel reflected, “In these conditions it was tricky, you can lose the car a bit in the rivers, but I think we had the car today to put on pole, we need to look at the strategy Alonso touched on, maybe that was better but in these conditions it is a bit of a lottery. Fortunately we didn’t lose the car and we are on the front row which should be good. I am starting on the inside as well so we will see what happens.”

Webber, who will drop five positions for an unscheduled gearbox change, said, “The session was tricky for all of us, dodgy conditions. We could have done better here and there. We could have stopped [like Alonso], but we’re third, which is eighth with the penalty for a gearbox change, and looking to come forward tomorrow.”

Up next was Michael Schumacher, who only narrowly made it out of Q1, but then showed his skills in the rain (after all he was the rain master during the ‘first’ chapter of his career) to take fourth place on the timing sheets.

Making it three German ‘homeboys’ in the top five was Nico Hulkenberg who mastered the conditions to claim fifth fastest time of the session. This means, with Webber’s demotion, there will be three German drivers starting from the first two rows of the grid!

Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday 21 July 2012.Pastor Maldonado gave a good account of himself in the adverse conditions, setting the sixth best time in a session that saw him at the sharp end of proceedings throughout.

McLaren again battled with the Pirelli wet tyres, struggling to generate heat into them, and  as a result their two world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will start the race seventh and eighth respectively.

Hamilton summed up the afternoon from his perspective, “We did our last laps first and then the track got better and better and I guess the other guys were able to post quicker times after that. The track was drying so we would have got better if we had one more lap, but it was like driving on ice for us.”

It was a good afternoon for Force India, as Paul di Resta’s ninth place ensures that both drivers start in the top ten.

Lotus have become accustomed to battling near the front of the pack this season, but in qualifying they fell short and although Kimi Raikkonen did make it into Q3, he was slowest of the top ten – a whopping five seconds down on Alonso’s best.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday 20 July 2012.Again showing impressive pace and control in adverse conditions was Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo who only just missed out on Q3 and will start from 11th on the grid. His rookie teammate Jean Eric Vergne failed to make it beyond Q1.

Other drivers who will have to be disappointed with their qualifying in Germany include:

  • the Sauber pair of Sergio Perez (12th) and Kamui Kobayashi (13th) who had a car far more capable than mid pack;
  • Felipe Massa (14th)who has simply not come to grips with the Ferrari F2012 around Hockenheim in any conditions and again massively outperformed by his teammate;
  • Romain Grosjean (15th) and his crew simply got his sums wrong on the day;
  • Nico Rosberg (16th) found himself on the wrong tyres at the wrong time;
  • Bruno Senna (17th) again comprehensively out shone by his teammate.

Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso in a wet pit lane. Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hockenheim, Germany, Saturday 21 July 2012.Red Bull and Ferrari arrived in Germany on a high, and ahead of the grand prix they will be satisfied that they have maximised their packages for the race at Hockenheim. It remains to be seen if McLaren are really down and out, or can fight themselves out of the ever growing hole they find themselves in.

Really the biggest factor on race day will probably be the weather, already it has played havoc with the weekend and ripped up well laid out plans and strategies. In the space of a several minutes Hockenheim can turn from a dry sunny place to a dark, sombre very wet place… Whatever the case an intriguing grand prix is on the cards.

But back to qualifying, as Ferrari mechanics stood and applauded their hero, prompting BBC’s David Coulthard apt comment: “I think the other drivers would also give Fernando Alonso a round of applause. That is a sizeable gap in very difficult conditions.”

 

German Grand Prix Qualifying – Saturday, 21 July 2012

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:16.073 1:38.521 1:40.621 23
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:16.393 1:38.309 1:41.026 23
3 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:16.500 1:39.382 1:41.496 24
4 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:16.686 1:38.010 1:42.459 24
5 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:16.271 1:39.467 1:43.501 24
6 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:16.181 1:38.731 1:43.950 27
7 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.507 1:38.659 1:44.113 20
8 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:16.221 1:37.365 1:44.186 18
9 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:16.352 1:39.703 1:44.889 26
10 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:15.693 1:39.729 1:45.811 20
11 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:16.516 1:39.789 15
12 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.726 1:39.933 17
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.481 1:39.985 16
14 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:16.265 1:40.212 17
15 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:16.685 1:40.574 18
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1:16.426 1:40.752 21
17 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:15.988 1:41.551 18
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:16.741 9
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1:17.620 8
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1:18.531 9
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1:19.220 12
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1:19.291 11
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1:19.912 8
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1:20.230 10
Q1 107% Time 1:20.991

Note – Grosjean, Rosberg, Webber drop five grid places for unscheduled gearbox changes.

 

  • Butterfly

    Shame Felipe couldn’t get a good lap together.

  • Harsha

    A Perfect Front row start both Excellent Drivers sharing front row who can get Good and Excellent Starts fingers crossed for Tommorrow

  • hillside

    so who’s the rain master now huh??lol

    i wonder hows the wet/Inters tyre will work on a full race

  • f1 fan

    ! That last lap was unbelievable , how he managed to go so fast when others couldn’t , amazing !! looking good for the Title !!
    still hope that webber or raikkonen wins !!

  • Matthias O’keeffe

    It is so nice to hear that Michael will be starting 3rd on the grid thanks to Webber’s grid penalty.. Hopefully Michael will win the German GP tmrw.

  • Forza Ferrari

    What an absolutely amazing qualifying performance by Fernando! There is no doubt now that he is currently the best driver in F1. Grande Fer, grande! A true Ferrari driver’s performance. Hopefully he can keep that position tomorrow as well. A real shame about Felipe though, just when everything seemed to start going much better for him, he ends up on 14th place. Really unfortunate :( But tomorrow there’s a long race ahead where anything can happen and hopefully Felipe can still get a good result. Go Ferrari!!!

  • Uday Motwani

    Am real impressed with Force India. Hulkenberg’s 5th qualy (4th tomorrow) surely proved that he also is a great driver in the wet. Being his home race, am sure he’ll try to make the best use of his 4th place tomorrow. Di Resta was cautious but did well to qualy 9th & hopefully tomorrow, both Force India’s score well.

  • Abhinav Katiyar

    Go Alonso !!!!!!!!!!!! its impossible to bet against him………Just imagine Ferrari getting the pace of Red Bull…….He will just totally annihilate Vettels, Hamiltons and Buttons. Sheer Class……!!!!!!!!!

  • Andy – London

    It’s well documented amongst drivers that your second season in Formula 1 is much harder than the first, but DiResta just doesn’t seem the same driver as last season. Maybe it has a lot to do with the likes of Lotus, Sauber and Williams producing much better cars this year, but to consider him a possible replacement for Schumacher (should he leave Mercedes – which I doubt next year) is a year or 2 too soon.

    Alonso again demonstrating why he is the most gifted driver of his generation. His driving is very similar to that of Schumacher in the Ferrari of 96 and 97 where the driver extracted more than was thought possible from the car. Michael didn’t always have the best vehicle!

    Vettel has to be recognised as a sublime talent in F1 – even with the best car last year, his poles/wins were remarkable, and I’m glad that the car isn’t masking the fact that he is world class, even in machinery at the start of the season that wasn’t too great.

    I think the top 3 in the world have become the top 2. Vettel and Alonso are getting on with it, while Lewis seems to moan more than he drives. (and I like Lewis too)

  • purnomo setiawan

    looks at both RBR drivres gesture at press conference…i think something bad just happened between them.

  • f1 fan

    tomorrow would be a fierce battle, because vettel and alonso are both aggressive drivers and both are very very fast, just imagine vettel chasing alonso with his Red Bull !!

  • Speedo

    Pirelli wets and the rain cause the demise of the McLarens. Kimi followed by Nico fastest in Q1 while Lewis was fastest in Q2 and cometh the rain and he is 8th, Kimi 10th and Nico 17th.
    McLaren got their strategy wrong again sending the two drivers early in Q3 and not waiting for the track to dry up. Webber admitted that Ferrari got the strategy right by putting on the new tyres for Alonso in Q3 when he pitted midway. Masterful drive from Alonso. He is going to be WDC this year.

  • Speedo

    Alonso, Oh no, not the finger sign. It is Vettels signature which most have got tired of. Why not change it to the V signature on both hands. That suits you.

  • Butterfly

    It’s okay for a driver to show ‘1’ like Alonso does, but not like Vettel does it (‘in your face!’).

    Still, ‘V’ would be better…

  • Lauda Fan

    In any other year I’d pick Alonso to win tomorrow. But ’12 is different. No, it’ll be Schumacher.

  • fools

    Alonso is the best. No doubt. Poised. Intelligent. Pure Racer.

    WDC ON PACE!

  • Psych4191

    “Bruno Senna again comprehensively outshone by his teammate”

    That’s utter blind journalism. HORRIBLE work by Yalla. Nevermind the fact that he missed FP1, and is blowing Pastor away when it comes to races, to the tune of 18 points to 4 (minus ONE race). The fact is, if Bottas doesn’t get FP1, Bruno would be right with Maldonado. Money didn’t buy him seats. He got up to GP2 on merit alone. Maldonado has had to pay his way through every where he goes because he’s an insufferable cunt.

    Bruno’s essentially being sabotaged, yet still coming away with points in most of the races. Meanwhile, his teammate is coming away with less and less respect every passing week.