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Fernando Alonso plays his cards right for pole for German Grand Prix
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Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Jul 2012   |  2:25 pm GMT  |  172 comments

Fernando Alonso will start on pole for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim after another rain affected qualifying session; another day for making the right decisions and being on the track at the right moment.

It was Alonso’s 22nd career pole and his second in a row after Silverstone, as he looks to consolidate his position at the top of the drivers’ world championship.

Sebastian Vettel was second and Mark Webber third. The final stages of qualifying were all about timing and tyre temperature and Alonso got it spot on, setting two fast laps as others struggled to get on his pace. He had done a pit stop for a new set of full wets just prior to his final run and it made the difference, a strategic decision which he and Ferrari were delighted with.

“It has been a strange weekend for conditions on the track,” said Alonso. “The forecast should be a little bit better for tomorrow, so we are quite optimistic.”

Meanwhile there are 5 place gearbox change penalties for Grosjean, Webber and Rosberg. Webber’s penalty means that Schumacher will start 3rd with Nico Hulkenberg fourth and Pastor Maldonado fifth. Schumacher said, “We cannot look ahead, we have to look behind us. It will be a tough race.”

Heavy rain started falling during Q2, as it had at Silverstone two weeks ago, but not so bad that the session needed suspending at that point, as it had in Great Britain.

The track was dry for the start of Q1 and Alonso was quickly into the groove, with the updated McLarens of Hamilton and Button also quick out of the traps.

Most of the front runners started with the medium tyres, but those who needed a second run went for the soft tyre on the whole. Raikkonen, Rosberg and Schumacher were the exceptions using mediums. Raikkonen set the fastest time.

Hamilton and Button got through Q1 with only one run, showing some confidence at this stage.

Schumacher just squeaked through in 17th place, eliminating Vergne once again.

Rain was forecast for half way through the session and it duly fell before Q2 started.

Button went straight out on intermediates, hoping that the first laps on the track before it got too wet would be the fastest.

As the rain came down more heavily, Hamilton set the fastest time from Schumacher, Vettel and Alonso. Rosberg was the first to switch from intermediates to full wets, followed by Hulkenberg. Webber improved to P7 with seven minutes to go, showing it was still possible, but the conditions were too bad to improve in the closing minutes.

This put Ricciardo, Perez, Kobayashi, Massa, Grosjean, Senna and Rosberg out. Rosberg said that he had been unable to get temperature into the tyres, despite two runs.

Q3 started on time, with everyone going out on full wets, but Hulkenberg showed that aquaplaning was a real problem, with a high speed 360 degree spin, luckily he didn’t hit anything.

Schumacher said on radio that it would be very tough to “survive” the session. A message from Vettel, meanwhile, seemed to suggest frustration that Webber had not let him through.

The margins in the final stage of qualifying were large; 1.78 seconds between the pole and P4. Alonso timed it perfectly at the end, getting the temperature into the wet tyres and setting two laps faster than his rivals in the closing stages.

McLaren’s updates looked like they had made a real difference for the dry conditions, but weren’t able to impact much on their performance in the wet and they qualified 7th with Button and 8th with Hamilton. Hamilton said that he didn’t have enough grip in the wet, indicating that tyres and temperature were likely to blame.

GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Hockenheim, Qualifying
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.621s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m41.026s
3. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m41.496s
4. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m42.459s
5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m43.501s
6. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m43.950s
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m44.113s
8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m44.186s
9. Paul di Resta Force India 1m44.889s
10. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m45.811s

11. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m39.789s + 2.424
12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m39.933s + 2.568
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m39.985s + 2.620
14. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m40.212s + 2.847
15. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m40.574s + 3.209
16. Bruno Senna Williams 1m40.752s + 3.387
17. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.551s + 4.186

18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m16.741s + 1.048
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m17.620s + 1.927
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m18.531s + 2.838
21. Charles Pic Marussia 1m19.220s + 3.527
22. Timo Glock Marussia 1m19.291s + 3.598
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m19.912s + 4.219
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m20.230s + 4.537

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172 Comments
  1. Mojo says:

    I think today we saw once again, that the park ferme rules between qualifying and race are dangerous. In order to be competitive for the race, drivers are forced to drive in heavy rain with a car that is set up for a race that is expected to be in dry conditions. Why does the FIA do that? Do we have to see a major shunt before the rules are changed? I thought safety is paramount nowadays.

    1. Xman says:

      A number of drivers have commented about dry and wet weather set up differences and they are not as pronounced as you might think. There is no doubt you can work towards developing a specific wet weather suspension system and engine spec, but it would be seconds off the pace in the dry. Its not as simple as you put it, and to those who struggle in the wet conditions is usually down to the lack of temprament and skill.

    2. Alexis says:

      Don’t worry. They always bring out the red flags, or the safety car.

      If it had been the race, the first 15 laps would have been behind the safety car.

      That’s how they deal with rain nowadays – they’ll qualify in it, but not race in it.

    3. Ghayth says:

      Agree

  2. Sammy says:

    Well done to Alonso and Ferrari.
    Massa again unable to deliver a good lap when it counts the most.

    1. TitanRacer says:

      unfortunately, Massa has never been a wet track kinda driver. not ever…

      1. Sammy says:

        And I do remeber him winning a race in the rain – not sure which one though…

      2. Quattro_T says:

        2008, Interlagos, the year he lost the championship with 1 point?

      3. Sammy says:

        No, rain only came in the last few laps… Could be I saw him winning a race in the wet in my dreams…

  3. DJFM says:

    Alonso is having an incredible season right now.

    What a grid for tomorrow. McLaren have shown their updates give them the best package in the dry. Big long DRS zone, so no excuses for either of them tomorrow (predicted dry). They need to perform and deliver.

    1. KRB says:

      Best package? They’ve helped, though we know nothing about how it’s helped them with their race pace, which is where they have the deficit to Red Bull, Ferrari, and Lotus. It looks to have helped them on one-lap qualifying pace, but race pace is what it’s all about.

      Plus they have Maldonado ahead of them!! Aggh! Hopefully he takes out Button and not Hamilton.

      I wonder if Alonso will give Vettel the start treatment that Vettel gave to him last time they raced here (almost put him into the wall!)?

      1. Parazar says:

        Hopefully Maldonado will have a clean start and not take anyone out. :)

    2. db4tim says:

      “-McLaren have shown their updates give them the best package in the dry-”

      Where did that happen?

      1. DJFM says:

        The big update package that McLaren have talked about for a while is now here. They looked very quick in Q3 (race sim).

        Vettel commented on their Q3 pace too:
        “They looked very competitive this morning, no doubt,” Vettel said of McLaren. “We couldn’t go that pace, but we were not entirely happy this morning.”

        Button talking up the new package here.
        http://www.formula1.com/news/interviews/2012/7/13608.html

        This isn’t an iterative update, it’s a big one. That’s why the car looks very different.

      2. Peter C says:

        Do you mean P3, they weren’t much good in the wet Q3?

      3. DJFM says:

        Yes, sorry. P3. Also Sam Michaels is still very confident. See comment below.

      4. Spanner says:

        Read this from Sam Michaels. He’s very confident about the McLaren in the dry: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/101388

      5. JTW says:

        Two comments:
        1) What would expect him to say?
        And
        2) This is the same Mr. Michaels who showed his, hmmm, skill? at Williams last year.
        So,
        Don’t count the chickens until they hatch.

      6. Quattro_T says:

        Best to wait for actual race I think… Was it not him who tried claiming to the FIA Hamilton out of fuel at Spanish qualy was ‘force majeure’?

  4. danny11 says:

    Yet another stellar performance from Fernando!!! He still doesn’t have the best package but he is proving from week to week why he is the best payed and by far the most complete driver on the grid. Finally good strategic call from Ferrari team to get a fresh sets of wet for the end of the session. Go Alonso!!!

    1. Skanda says:

      I dont understand the perception that Alonso always outperforms the car with an inferior car. Ferrari and the Redbull are the two fastest machinery out there, and Ferrari the fastest in cooler conditions, IMO.

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        RB 2-3
        Ferrari 1-14

        That says it all, IMO.

      2. Peter C says:

        Massa is often poor in the wet,but maybe his driving style is no good for wet tyres. I’m sure he’ll do better in the race, if it’s dry as forecast.

        As the Tifosi know, Ferrari is the fifth fastest car-it must be, having had two poles in a row!
        But the driver is carrying it on his back to put it where it has no right to be.

        He is good, though. It’s just the one-eyed fans who………….

      3. Buddy says:

        Massa failed to make it to Q3 because he botched his only chance in Q2 before the rain started to intensify. 14th is not a true indicator of the Ferrari. I would rate Ferrari as the 2nd best package over a weekend…..

      4. James Allen says:

        He said that himself.

        But the fact remains that Webber improved his lap time with 7 mins of the Q2 session to go, so it was possible to find improvements

      5. Quattro_T says:

        @Peter C
        I (one of the none-tifosi) have felt sometimes that some of the non-tifosi fans, have had both eyes closed when making statements “Ferrari is as fast/faster than RB/Mclaren.”, relying solely on the, as always, supreme performance of Alonso.

        Are you suggesting that no pole in over 2 years for Ferrari proves your point? Or the FACT that both poles that they now have were achieved on similar very difficult weather conditions – conditions that (everyone know) put much more emphasize on the ability of the driver than the machine? Have a look at the speed deficit in dry conditions, that will give you a clearer understanding of the relative performance of the packages (and maybe the eyesight of the tifosi).

      6. Kay says:

        Maybe you should go all the way back to Alonso’s early days in F1.

        Driving a Minardi and out-qualifying his team mate by over 1 second, then go on to beat Benetton and Arrows (until his car decided to break down), that tells you quite something about the driver.

        If that’s not Alonso out-driving the car, then maybe it’s just others being not near the standard enough.

      7. AlexD says:

        If he is indeed outdriving the car, it should be an easywin today then…he starts from pole…

      8. Elie says:

        I completely agree Nanda so many clowns STILL don’t get it. The F2012 is a quick car it’s Defintely 1 or 2 till Mclaren prove their updates. As for Massa anyone with half a brain knows he’s is very hot & cold driver and can be aggressive on his tyres that’s why 1 week he can be 5 next he can be 14- also he makes mistakes where Fernando does not . As usual too many people believe the Ferrari BS when say their car is not quick– unbelievable really- happens every year !! Not denying Fetnandos ability you still have to be the best driver in the best machinery, teams to be a multiple winner — wake up people!!

    2. KRB says:

      2nd best car at the moment, and close to the RB. Lags on the soft tires compared to RB.

  5. Robwal says:

    Seriously, Vettel should have learnt by now that Mark will NEVER let him through.

    1. KRB says:

      Why should Webber have let him through there? He was starting his fast lap!

    2. Satish says:

      Strange that this sitution happened. After all, these drivers do give themselves space before a hot lap.

  6. Lynn says:

    The Lotus car looks miles apart in the wet vs dry!

    Alonso the most on form driver.
    Hmm…what happen to Hamilton?

    1. tharris19 says:

      McLaren’s strategy happened to Hamilton.

      1. DJFM says:

        Yep, Hamilton was truly incredible in Q1 & 2 in these conditions. Didn’t get the right call from the pits in my opinion.

      2. Vinola says:

        funny and true!

      3. Illuminatus says:

        Hamilton not good enough. Thats about all thats wrong. But if you WANT to blame anybody but accept that LH is not quick enough, take your pick – front left jackman, lollypop man, Whitmarsh, Simon Fuller, Anthony Hamilton.

      4. Phil says:

        The same Hamilton who was 6 tenths quicker in Q2?

        Guess blind partisanship DOES affect eyesight ;)

      5. Lynn says:

        Haha…

      6. Elie says:

        Illuminatus – some teams were more set up for the race. Just wait till the race then you will see how quick Lewis is – I won’t be surprised if carves everyone up !

  7. Elie says:

    Great drive by Fernando ! – extremely sharp to dodge the puddles and find better lines. Obviously the Ferrari is one of the quickest packages having proved that at a few different circuits.
    Kimis 1.15.693 in q1 on mediums shows how quick he will be tomorrow. I cant wait to see the two Mclarens and Lotus come storming through the field tomorrow!

    1. KRB says:

      That was a crazy time on the mediums from Kimi … is that down to the DDRS, or was the track just better at the point he set that time? That was half-a-second difference. Kimi’s 10th but if he has that race pace over the others, he’ll win tomorrow.

      1. Elie says:

        Can never be too sure.. I think in changeable (drying) conditions it’s more about right tyre temp, track position at the right time . It’s still a long shot for him – he will have to manage that first stint perfectly and pass a few in first few laps. Also no one knows how quick those red bulls are in full dry conditions after that Valencia update as they were awesome. I think Schimacker will hold people up also cause he drove well in the wet but may not have the pace in the race… Strap yourself down ! It should be a beauty !!

  8. Sean says:

    Well done Fernando again! What choice on the tyres for the first stint tomorrow considering how those softs will degrade. Another cracker will mixed strategies.

    1. James Allen says:

      I reckon soft/ medium/medium. Our strategy calculator thinks its quick and the tyre model was spot on got Silverstone

      1. Nigel says:

        Are we looking at the same calculator, James ?

        When I try it, the option is shown as considerably faster than the prime – even used versus new. (I seem to remember the same from Silverstone strategy calculator.)

      2. Avinash says:

        Sorry James but I have to agree with Nigel on this (although I am not so sure about used v/s new) and I think it’ll be soft/soft/medium.

        The strategy calculator says its significantly faster than soft/med/med (this is considering the first stint is on used softs and atleast 18 laps long). Also the drop-off for the soft is shown to be around lap 22 (again this is with a used set on higher fuel load) so we can expect a new set of softs to last atleast 22 laps.

        So there is a good chance of Perez and Grosjean starting on mediums, doing a 1 stopper and they might even trouble the top 6 if they manage a good start.

      3. Nigel says:

        Just checked back – the calculator was way off for Silverstone, as I remembered.

      4. James Allen says:

        It’s not set for Silverstone any more, it’s on Germany

        If you remember the talk from Pirelli before the race was that soft was faster by 1 sec per lap, we had it much closet than that

      5. Nigel says:

        Hi James.
        I understand that, but I went back & checked my comments after the Silverstone race to check my recollection.

  9. AussieWoZ says:

    Great qualifying result for Ricciardo!
    Smoked his team mate in qualifying. Again.

  10. ali says:

    Fantastic performance from two drivers in particular. Alonso who nailed it and has been the star driver so far, surprisingly considering their pre season woes; and Schumacher is just magnificent. He has really improved this season which shows just what affect being in your 40′s and being rusty can do to you. Lets hope Mercedes can deliver a good package for tomorrow.

  11. Simple says:

    There was obvious tension between Mark and Sebastian in the press conference following qualifying. Interesting…

  12. Matt W says:

    I don’t often say it these days but I think Alonso’s pole is more down to superb strategy from Ferrari than anything. The got the majors calls 100% correct to the point where Alonso crossed the line for his final lap with just 3 secs to spare. Granted it was a great lap from Nando too but you can’t let that overshadow the incredible strategy Ferrari put together.

    1. db4tim says:

      70% driver the rest was strategy!!

      1. Matt W says:

        I think that under plays Ferrari’s strategic supremacy to be honest. That was the best they have been in strategy in the post Schumacher era.

      2. Nandy says:

        I disagree. There have been quite a few screw up’s this year.
        Spain, Monaco (He could have won by staying out 2-3 laps longer), Canada and Britain.

      3. DB4Tim says:

        I agree they are better, but in those conditions, the pits made the call the drive had to make it work…still 70%

      4. Matt W says:

        I think we actually agree Nandy, Ferrari haven’t been so hot in strategy for a few years but today they were spot on. DB4Tim, I think sometimes the drivers get over credited. Alonso did put in a very good lap and deserves to be on top of the standings so far this year, but today the conditions needed the strategists and Ferrari got it spot on.

      5. Randy Torres says:

        I agree with @Nandy. Montreal was a disaster and Silverstone was just off the mark. But I guess you can say they are heading in the right direction.

    2. Kay says:

      Agree to a certain extent.

      Ferrari still need Alonso to be able to do the lap that exceeds the engineer’s expectations in order to make the strategy work. Do you think the same strategy would’ve worked for Massa?

  13. Dominic J says:

    James, is there any reason you’re aware of for there to be an epidemic of broken gearboxes? It’s fairly unusual for a race to feature more than one, let alone 3 (plus Pic’s engine troubles).

    Also, congratulations to Nico Hülkenberg and Force India for their impressive showing. Alonso v Germany tomorrow?

    1. JeanHenry says:

      Crofty & McNish picked up on this in practice 3. They thought it could be due to the back of the cars getting tighter and tighter resulting in the gearbox having less air around it and running hotter.

    2. Charlie B says:

      Last year each driver could have a free gearbox change, so there were less penalties. It may also be because the gearboxes are very tightly packed nowadays.

  14. Anil says:

    Great performances from both Schumacher and Alonso however due to the overly long DRS zone I don’t think either of them have a decent chance in tomorrows race. Just like at Silverstone I think that once the RB is close enough, they are going to breeze past :(

    Also, couldn’t help but laugh at Mark signing a new contract and things going wrong..

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      While i also think the RBs are faster, the Ferraris have not suffered with the softer compound this weekend and Schumi passing Sev at the start could change it all. The clean/dirty difference on the grid sides is notable here, plus the distance with the first corner many things can happen tomorrow at the first lap.

      1. DJFM says:

        Won’t the rain wash away a lot of the clean / dirty difference?

      2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        If it rains between Q3 and race yes, but that wasnt on the weather forecasts i read.

      3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        I’m mistaken sorry, obviously no rubber on track until GP2 races tomorrow and that wont make a big difference.

      4. oak says:

        there will be some dirt left from the support races

  15. SP says:

    Brilliant pole for Alonso, was untouchable. His closest challenger in the standings will move back 5 places so looking good to extend his lead. I expect Vettel to win tomorrow though. Alonso 2nd and 3rd will go to whoever fights their way up best. DRS is long so expect the likes of Lewis, Button, Webber and Kimi to fight through. Kimi seemed very quick in the dry.

    As for Mclaren and their updates, still reserving judgment until they show their race pace and not only tomorrow, but for the next few races to come. I have a feeling they may suffer with heavier tyre wear. We shall see. Oh and it will be interesting to see how Button fares in the updated car.

    The start will be fun with some of those front runners out of sorts.

    1. KRB says:

      re: McLaren’s race pace, absolutely. The proof will be in the pudding tomorrow. I hope they do well, but expecting both drivers to be slipping coming out of slow corners in the race tomorrow.

      1. Elie says:

        Lewis/ Kimi will be quicker than everyone out there just wait & see- whether or not they can catch & pass the front few is another story. They were lightening quick in dry conditions – as was Perez for that matter !

  16. Ram says:

    Kimi was flying in Q1 and once the rain came down he was 5 seconds off the pole … another blunder by Lotus in qualifying …should they put on new wet tyres like Alonso

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      That suggests a good dry set up. He should be quick in the race.

    2. GP says:

      It’s exactly what they did. Kimi was in the pits for a new set of extremes at the same time as Alonso at the end of Q3. Kimi’s not in the same class.

      1. Antti says:

        More like the Lotus car is no where near the same class as Ferrari in wet.

    3. Elie says:

      He is set for race not Quali. Also Lotus pitted him for new extreme wets straight after Alonso

  17. MaximumF1 says:

    Although it doesn’t matter as Alonso’s had provisional pole prior to his last lap, can his last lap be counted?

    Watching the replay, his car was completely off the circuit at turns six and 15-16. In a race you cannot leave the circuit if is seen to give you an advantage.

    Given that his last lap was faster than his previous did he gain and advantage?

    1. Cyberorio says:

      Same thing happened with Hamilton in Q1 and the lap counted. Strange.

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Well, Fernando had at least one tyre inside the track every moment so maybe that’s enough to valide the lap?

    2. GP says:

      Interesting point, isn’t it? I think that when conditions are so poor as was the case today FIA officials are more lenient.

      And another way to look at this is at the start tomorrow. I wonder if Alonso could get away with going through turn 1 flat out and use most of the paved run-off area? It may sound crazy but it is a sure thing that a bunch of them will go off to this paved run-off at the start and there won’t be any penalties. It’s somewhat like at the exit of the hairpin at Spa on the first lap.

      I think we’re in for a great one…

      1. Pierce89 says:

        The turn 1 runoff is fair game. Massa took a huge bite of runoff in 2010 when he swooped around the outside of Vettel and Alonso because Vettel was preoocupied with trying to push Alonso off the inside of the track.

  18. Anil says:

    Watch out for Maldonado – the cat among the pigeons :-)

    1. Simple says:

      [quote]
      Watch out for Maldonado – the crash among the pigeons
      [/quote]

      Fixed it for you :)

      1. Elie says:

        Lol.. “Cat” is an apt description though

    2. Esplanadist says:

      Maldo’s right in the middle of the action.

      I’m dreading it.

      Anyone from p4 to p8 is in danger of an early exit and a tearful interview with ms Mackenzie.

    3. Brace says:

      It’s more of a case of a bull in a china shop! :)

    4. tharris19 says:

      A rabid cat.

    5. AndyK says:

      don’t you mean the bull in the china shop

    6. KRB says:

      The turd among the pigeons. Yes, too harsh. He did great in qualifying, he’s obviously quite fast and is honed in on how to set the Williams up. Just hope that he wants to finally score points again tomorrow, and won’t treat every overtake on him like a personal insult.

      1. Jay West says:

        You can call Maldonado whatever you want, but the man soundly outqualified both Button and Hamilton in the upgraded McLaren’s, as well as both Raikonen and Grosjean. Like him or not Maldonado is fast! All the bashing on Maldo reminds me of the way some people slammed Senna over his dueling with Mansel on the early 1990′s.

    7. Dave Aston says:

      Gloat among the lists.

  19. Robert Gunning says:

    “Okay, so, Fernando is faster than you! Can you confirm you understood that message?”

    1. Robert Gunning says:

      On a more serious note. I did not catch FP3, what was the pace of the Ferrari on the soft tyre, and did it suffer from the graining that occurred in Silverstone. Also, with tomorrow’s race expected to be dry and the McLarens showing strong pace in FP1, does this mean the Red Bulls maybe dropping back in the race?

  20. hal says:

    Well done Alonso. I think if Hamilton finishes behind Alonso this race he can forget the championship this year. It was looking a tall order as it is and a bigger margin with no real signs of catching up to Ferrari/Red Bulls it looks bleak. Sorry to say.

    1. Dave C says:

      Don’t jump the gun or start to panic, we’re only half way through the season and the Mclaren seems to be the fastest carbon the dry again, that along with Hamilton’s 1 lap pace you can’t count him out if he finishes behind Alonso this race, just be glad it’s not Vettel ahead at the moment as the Valencia retirement for Serb has opened things up.

      1. Elie says:

        + 1 wayyyy too soon to write Mclaren off. I still think it is the best car in the paddock and will win the WCC. Both Lewis and Jenson will be quick this weekend just wait and see !

  21. goferet says:

    *Edited*

    Can’t knock wet qualifying sessions too
    much for they at least give us mixed grids with a couple of drivers out of position which can only be good for racing.

    Congrats to Alonso & Ferrari for getting it just right on the day for Vettel seems pretty disappointed for he believed to have had the car to grab pole.

    Also job well done by Schumi though he really rode his luck out of Q1 but hey, when it’s your day, it’s your day, would have been bad for the fans if he didn’t make it through.

    Shame Mclaren were once again caught out this time by the improving track conditions but at least their upgrades have soon the car is good and the positive thing about a poor grid spot is you can only go up =
    praise from the fans!

    Oh and well done to Jens for finally getting one over Lewis in qualifying though interesting, he also beat him here in 2010.

    As for Lotus, once again qualifying isn’t
    helping their cause at all despite coming alive on race day.

    *Food for thought*
    Schumi’s penalty in Monaco pretty much granted Webber the win, could Webber be returning the favour this time round, lets watch and see.

    1. Dave C says:

      Schumi fir win? Hahahahahahahahaha
      Funniest thing I’ve heard all day, it’s not 1995 Schumi can’t wrestle a weak car to victory, especially with the best 2 drivers on the grid ahead of him and the Redbull and Ferrari are also faster cars, I’d be surprised if Schumi can hold on for a podium, the Mclarens and Lotuses will beat him.

  22. Die Scuderia says:

    race start will be very crucial tomorrow. I hope Webber gets a good start to hassle Vettel whilst Alonso manages to sneak thru the first corner. Big day for Ferrari stratergies with two RedBulls behind Alonso. Unless MSc jumps webber! Roll on sunday….

    DS

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Webber starts 8th due to gearbox change so hope Michale overtakes Vettel and will be a easy race for the Great.

    2. Steve says:

      Webber will have some work to do before he can hassle Vettle thanks to the gearbox penalty.

    3. Andrew says:

      Positions after Turn One:
      1.Alonso
      2.Vettel
      3.Schumacher (left rear puncture)
      4.Hulkenberg (broken front suspension)
      5.Maldonado (retires after Turn Two)
      6.Hamilton (retires after Turn Two)
      7.Raikkonen
      8.Button (retires after Turn Two)
      9.di Resta (right rear puncture)
      10.Kobayashi (front right flat spot)
      11.Ricciardo
      12.Webber
      No changes for the remainder of the grid.

  23. val from montreal says:

    So not only do Ferrari have one of the best cars on the grid , they also have the best car when it comes to variable weather conditions … So its no surprise they are collecting the fruits of their results …

    Its also no surprise that Schumacher is constantly putting that Mercedes higher on the grid than the W03 deserves …. It took Schumacher almost 2 full years to re-learn Formula-One but NOW he is out-performing his teamate just like in the good ol’ days …

  24. Anup Kadam says:

    Battle in on 1spaniard and 3 German drivers locking the first 2 rows…followed by the dangerous Pastor Maldonado..who is his next victim..only he knows…

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Its worse, not even him knows!

    2. xvr says:

      “who is his next victim..only he knows…”

      Only God knows.
      Maldonado is a loose cannon.

    3. Buddy says:

      Yes, I wouldn’t want a Columbian breathing down my neck either!

      1. Jay West says:

        Columbian?? Montoya has been out of F1 for quite a few years now! Are you posting on the wrong site? This is not NASCAR friend.

      2. Buddy says:

        My bad…I failed to check my facts. And as I clicked the submit button, I wanted to undo that click.

        As for Maldonaldo, he definitely has speed.

      3. Peter C says:

        [mod]

        [Please can you be more responsible in your comments. Many have had to be moderated or cut out altogether lately,

        It's not what this site is about, so please observe the rules - Mod]

      4. Elie says:

        Ya mean Venezualan

  25. Michal says:

    Schumacher seems to be getting his mojo back – let’s hope Merc will be competitive tomorrow. Alonso and Ferarri planned and performed a perfect qualyfying…

  26. Panya says:

    Fernando – the real rain meister

  27. OldIron says:

    I would call it Bull in China shop

  28. Nuno says:

    It’s just too bad to see little Senna doing such a terrible job in the Williams. It’s a shame to see that team with so bad drivers.

    Little Senna is the opposite of HIS UNCLE.

    Ayrton would have, simply, ridiculed Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton etc, etc.in today’s very hard and changeable conditions.

    In dry conditions he was just another very good driver. In the wet he was very very good. In changeable conditions he was the best of the best, and still is, and by a huge margin.

    1. Dave C says:

      It’s just speculation, I don’t think Senna would have wiped the floor with Vettel and Alonso, Seb’s win at Monza 2008 or Alonso’s win at Malaysia this year is as good as any win by Senna also Hamilton’s win at Silverstone 2008 was as good as Senna’s Donnington 1993, same goes for Schumi’s win at Barcelona 1996, all beyond good victories, supernatural.

      1. Harv says:

        Don’t know why Vettel’s win in a TR is always brought up as something special – the TRs were one of the fastest cars that weekend, even his team mate who did NOTHING all year qualified 4th (but didn’t finish race)

      2. Jay West says:

        Whoa! You need to have another look at Senna in the rain in 93. That was “supernatura!” As good as others have done in the rain since, no one compares to Ayrton in the rain! Go check the video footage. James would likely concur. Cheers!

    2. dzolve says:

      not any more, actually!

  29. Rodger says:

    What a great qualifying! Alonso really impressive!
    Pity Vettel’s number 2 driver held him up, and what happened to Lewis ‘I’m great in the wet’ Hamilton.
    Anyway, bodes well for a fascinating race, rain or shine.

    1. hal says:

      I have never actually heard/read Hamilton utter those words.

      1. Rodger says:

        You’re right! I shoulda called him Lewis ‘I’m very sensitive, very comfortable in the wet, it comes naturally’ Hamilton instead.
        Apologies!

      2. veeru says:

        not to mention his often comparisons with senna.

      3. Nesto says:

        I’m 100% sure Hamilton has said something along the lines of that. He has talked a lot about his prowess in the rain especially compared to most of the field and hopes for rain at times when he has a bad car as hes supremely confident he can bring it home higher than he could if it were dry.

        Nothing is wrong with this and he has shown to be more often exceptional in the wet but like all, hes had his bad moments.

      4. Amritraj says:

        You should actually catch highlights of China 2009, Korea 2010, Hungary 2011 and Malaysia 2012; Hamilton wasn’t going anywhere forward in the wet.

        Hamilton is great driver but I dont think is any superior than Alonso, Vettel, Button or Schumacher in the wet.

        Truth is that McLaren had a great car in 2007 and 2008 when he notched-up those wet weather victories in Japan, Silverstone and Monaco.

      5. SP says:

        Alonso proving yet again that he is by far the best! And that Ferrari is NOT the best package and is NOT the best in the wet. Give it a rest fanboys ;)

      6. SP says:

        Sorry, that was meant to go at the end of the thread.

    2. Phil says:

      The tyres happened to Lewis. Do you not remember him finishing over a minute in front of anyone else at the wet British GP in ’08?

    3. James Clayton says:

      Its really, really sad the amount of posts I see these days which are just people bashing drivers who don’t happen to be their favourite.

      It’s sad when they do have a valid point, as nobody is brilliant all the time, and it’s even sadder when they DON’T have a valid point – seeing as the McLarens were faster for pretty much the whole session, but wore out their tyres. Had they come in for a fresh set at the same time as Alonso, then they’d clearly have been higher up the order. Would they have been able to match Alonso? We’ll never know.

      1. Elie says:

        Agree James- I can just see Lewis finish right up there in dry conditions. It’s also sad when so many so called Mclaren fans have already written them off – very silly !

  30. Chris says:

    James, whats going on with Jean-Eric Vergne, his qualifying is abysmal.

  31. Terry says:

    Congratulation to Fernando Alonso on the Pole. I think if he wins this Germany and keeps winning or get a podium every race he on his way to the 3 WDC title club. Michael Shumacher is still the king of the wet in a off and on again car hopefully he turns the qualifying results in to podium this time.

    Pastor Maldonado has been set on fire for a pay to play driver I almost impressed with him this season. who. People were really ticked off at Williams for picking him a couple years ago.
    It to bad Williams picked the wrong driver in Senna they should have kept Rubens he could have reaped the rewards of a good car this year maybe even a win. Williams would be sitting in 3rd place in the constructor championship this year.
    Terry

    1. Syed says:

      A little too optimistic!

    2. anil says:

      Very true about Senna. That said his race pace is very good, it’s just his qualy where he suffering and he’s getting involved in too many incidents.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Is it “very good”? Or just “good”/”not bad”?

        I haven’t been following him much in the races; but I’ve seen a few comments like yours. Does his race pace compare to Pastor’s?

    3. Elie says:

      In the right hands that Williams could be top 5 every race. + 1 on Senna- big mistake for Williams to drop Rubens for him !. Had they signed Kimi Williams would be where Lotus are now.

  32. Jonathan says:

    The competition and conditions have been increasingly more challenging recently…and Alonso is in the form of his life!

    Very impressive!

    1. CanadaGP says:

      I’ve been following Alonso since the start of his F1 career. He has acknowledged before that he wasn’t the best at qualifying (I believe he has more race wins than pole positions), nor the best in wet or changeable conditions. He has improved in every facet throughout his career. It looks like he has worked on his previous relative weaknesses. I believe he is even a better driver now than in his 2 WDC years. A true professional.

      1. Jonathan says:

        Yeah 29 wins from 22 pole positions shows he has been a better racer than qualifier but that its an area he has improved on recently.

        I think also,particularly here in the uk, he didnt do himself any favours when he was teammates with hamilton at mclaren and his reputation was slightly tarnished by that season.

        However, he is the form man at the moment and as EJ said at last race weekend…if you were to ask any of the team principals who is the most complete driver in F1 they would say Alonso!

  33. Francisca says:

    Webber was penalised, remember? H’ll be starting from P8.

    MS will be starting from P3.

  34. JohnBt says:

    It would be a great race if all four compounds are used for the race. Fascinating.

  35. Nic Maennling says:

    Forza Alonso ! Once again the tv networks have marginalized us here in the Ottawa, Canada area. On TSN we get the race delayed until 11 pm Sunday. Qualification is not being broadcast. SPEED Channel is blacked out in Canada. However it is broadcast Tuesday at noon !

    Still, it is better than back in the 1980s when I remember, as a low point, the U.S. GP from Detroit when, after several exciting laps, they broke away to interview a driver’s Mother in her garden ! That was ABC.

    1. Simple says:

      If you look hard enough, you’ll find live F1 streaming on the net.

      1. Peter C says:

        Yes, but you need good Broadband. Where I live I get less than 1mb. Frustrating.

  36. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I fear tomorrow will be decided the Championship, what each team and driver will do. I don’t know if Alonso and Vettel will just try to grab the points prudently, or if Hamilton will get not less than 3rd, or if Maldonado and Button will drive just deceptively as they did lately.

    My only hope is a clash between Alonso and Vettel, 2 DNF in the first laps.

    1. James Allen says:

      Hardly! It’s only race 10 – there are still 250 points available after that!

  37. Grant says:

    Just thought i would mention HRT today. They may have been doing this for a while now, but only noticed today that they are now 4 seconds slower than the pace setter in Q1. i know still poor but i remember the days of 6 seconds plus.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Q3 was wet, Q1 was dry!

      1. James Clayton says:

        Sorry; didn’t read your post thoroughly enough… ignore me!

  38. Angelina says:

    James
    who will win the start?
    who will win the race?
    What’s ur guess?

    1. Wild Man says:

      Alonso

  39. Angelina says:

    No one seems happy. Such a sad pic. Pity!

    1. Puffing says:

      Indeed Alonso looks happy.

  40. JaY says:

    Seemed like the Ferrari was the only car that could keep heat in the tires.

    1. JR says:

      Good strategy by Ferrari made the difference, pitting for a new set of full wets, let’s give credit where credit is due.

    2. Phil says:

      Apparently it was the opposite – too much heat. Alonso realised his wets were overheating and came in for a new pair.

  41. SP says:

    Alonso proving yet again that he is by far the best! And that Ferrari is NOT the best package and is NOT the best in the wet. Give it a rest fanboys

  42. Tom in adelaide says:

    I think Massa will be having an extra long summer vacation this year…..

  43. Nick4 says:

    Brilliant stuff by Alonso and Ferrari. At last a pit call from which Alonso benefitted as opposed to Canada when he lost at least 2nd place. He was quick to praise the team’s call; as quick as he was to defend his team’s call in Canada. No wonder they love him at Ferrari. Not only is he a great team player but a great team leader. They win and lose together.

  44. Puffing says:

    Yes, I also think HRT is improving, though slowly. With a small budget without debts, as different from Marussia.

  45. Bullish says:

    James,
    On Vettel’s final qualifying lap, when the team realised that they were not going to take Pole, why didnt they ask him to pull up and settle for 3rd position? This would have allowed his team-mate to start one position higher on the grid. This would have had no impact on where Vettel started but he team as a whole in a better position.

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question, but there had been some niggle between them earlier as Vettel felt Webber blocked him and he lost 2 laps. I don’t think they were in a mood to collaborate!

      1. Aussie Fan says:

        That’s a shame really, as it is a very good point raised & I think possibly one of those times that the team should have reminded Vettel that he is just an employee after all, & part of a TEAM.

        Maybe the team just didn’t think of it, or maybe they could see someone else on a good lap & wanted to cover them, its definately a question worth asking though…

  46. Liam says:

    I like how the fastest official times set for their respective grid positions are for VER, KOV, PET, PIC, GLO, DLR and KAR haha

  47. Luke Clements says:

    Alonso has jagged two wins this season. His luck has been amazing but he is probably due to run out of it at some stage.

    Don’t know if it will be here, but it’s coming, and then it will hopefully bring the title back to a 3 or 4 driver race again.

    1. DingBat says:

      huh? the title race is between 4 and 5 drivers as things stand right now, even if Alonso wins today his margin over the 5th place is nowhere near insurmountable.

  48. MookF1 says:

    Anyone have trouble getting 5live commentary yesterday?

    1. James Allen says:

      Sounds like quite a lot of people did. I’ll look into it.

      I’ll be back behind the R5 mike in Hungary

  49. Fernando A. says:

    Redbull uses illegal mapping for wet conditions on saturday. Maybe DSQ for Redbull.

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