F1 Winter Break
Vettel on pole but Alonso runs him close in German GP qualifying
Scuderia Ferrari
Vettel on pole but Alonso runs him close in German GP qualifying
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jul 2010   |  2:28 pm GMT  |  166 comments

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for tomorrow’s German Grand Prix, by just 2/1000ths of a second from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in a fantastic qualifying battle. It was Vettel’s sixth pole of the season and the 11th in his 54 Grands Prix, a ratio of 20%.

But the exciting thing was that Alonso and Ferrari had been the pace setter throughout qualifying, building on the improvement they showed in Silverstone. But on the final run, Vettel found two tenths of a second to edge out the Spaniard.

It is a huge weekend for Vettel, who needs to get a win to inject energy back into his championship campaign and get back in front of team mate Mark Webber. Vettel is seven points behind Webber and 24 – a win – behind Hamilton.

Webber wasn’t on Vettel’s level this weekend so far and qualified fourth, after making a mistake in Turn 1 on his final run. It is the first time since Bahrain that he has not started on the front row of the grid.

He qualified behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. That Massa was half a second slower than Alonso and yet still qualified third says a lot about the performance of Alonso, but also about how far off the pace the McLarens and Mercedes were. Button outqualified Hamilton for the first time since China. But he was six tenths slower than Vettel and Alonso in the final sector alone!

“Seven tenths behind is a little bit disappointing, ” said Button. “It was a good lap and I’m only a tenth off third. We’ve made a step forward, but not enough in qualifying, it seems.”

The morning practice had been wet, but it was fairly dry by the time qualifying started. Session one was cut short by a red flag for a large accident by Tonio Liuzzi. Coming out of the final corner, Liuzzi got up on the artificial grass, where some water was lying and the car snapped out of control, smashing into the pit wall.

Alonso set the fastest time in the first session, half a second faster than his team mate Massa, who was third behind Vettel.

Liuzzi was eliminated along with the new teams, although it was notable that Jarno Trulli’s Lotus was within a second of Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso. Also making a step was the Hispania of Bruno Senna who was only 2/10ths slower than Timo Glock in the Virgin. Di Grassi had a gearbox problem and did not take part in qualifying.

In Q2, Alonso again had the edge, but no-one was feeling very confident and all the front runners used up a set of new soft tyres for the final run in the session.

Michael Schumacher was edged out in the final seconds by the young German Nico Hulkenberg, who is managed by Schumacher’s former manager Willi Weber. Also missing out was Kobayashi, who had been very competitive in the Q1 session. Schumacher was only a few hundredths of a second slower than his team mate Nico Rosberg, but it was enough to eliminate him in front of his adoring public.

It was noticeable that Button was consistently three tenths of a second slower than Hamilton, but he was losing four tenths in final sector of the lap alone.

Having been beaten by Alonso in the first two parts of the session, Red Bull were under pressure to do what they have managed to do in the final runs of qualifying all year, which is to step up a gear, especially on the soft tyres. Vettel found the two tenths, but Ferrari’s pace has injected some real adrenalin into the second half of the championship. Now Alonso just needs to stay under the stewards’ radar tomorrow…

German Grand Prix, Hockenheim, Qualifying
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:15.152 1:14.249 1:13.791
2. Alonso Ferrari 1:14.808 1:14.081 1:13.793
3. Massa Ferrari 1:15.216 1:14.478 1:14.290
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:15.334 1:14.340 1:14.347
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.823 1:14.716 1:14.427
6. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.505 1:14.488 1:14.566
7. Kubica Renault 1:15.736 1:14.835 1:15.079
8. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:16.398 1:14.698 1:15.109
09. Rosberg Mercedes 1:16.178 1:15.018 1:15.179
10. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:16.387 1:14.943 1:15.339
11. Schumacher Mercedes 1:16.084 1:15.026
12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.951 1:15.084
13. Petrov Renault 1:16.521 1:15.307
14. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:16.220 1:15.467
15. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.450 1:15.550
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.664 1:15.588
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.029 1:15.974
18. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:17.583
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:18.300
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.343
21. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:18.592
22. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:18.952
23. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:19.844
24. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth No Time (Gearbox)

Featured Video
Behind the Scenes at the track
Behind the Scenes at the track
Featured News in ferrari
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

What ever one may think of Alonso, he's truly

a top shelf F.1 driver,I do believe tomorrow

race is for him to loose.


agreed on both counts


I'm no fan of Alonso, but it would be great to see him win tomorrow if only to keep the championship wide open. And i think he will do it: Red Bull qualify better than they race, ferrari (and mclaren to be fair) race better than they qualify.


I dunno, starting on the dirty side of the grid could give him some problems for tomorrow going into turn 1.


Do the best drivers jump starts? Get caught knapping in traffic and go from 1st to 3rd? Argue with their team on the radio? Criticise the authorities through the media? If by top shelf you mean trashy porn, then Fernando Alonso is truly TOP SHELF!


"Do the best drivers jump starts?"

Yes, they do: Alain Prost, GP Monaco 1993.

"Get caught knapping in traffic and go from 1st to 3rd?"

Ok, we could discuss this point as long as we want to, but IMHO this things simply happen in the races.

"Criticise the authorities (sic) through the media?"

First you could explain what do you mean by "authorities". I have never heard Alonso criticising the King or the Prime Minister...

Second, try searching in Google the topic "Ayrton Senna".

Anyway, do you really mean that Alonso is not a real top driver?


There's no denying that Prost/Senna had there questionable moments over the years, but Alonso has had enough questionable moments this year alone than most top drivers would have over a career and that’s my point here!

And then going back there's the race fixing, the Hamilton/McLaren business etc. Having Falvio as manager/team boss for too long can’t be healthy!

For me Alonso is dirty, not controversial like many of the greats have been!

Oh and as for the authororities I meant the FIA. He accused them of race fixing after Valencia. He might have a tax issue or be anti royal, I wouldn’t know, but as this forum concerns F1 I keep it relevant.


Thats why I say Mark... Alonso is the only human element in F1 today... rest are slave to their engineers, strategies, and the state of their car.. He might not be perfect on the personal side... but was ever Senna considered as one? The human element is slowly being eliminiated from F1 and the races are being won and lost from the factory floors. Just like wars are won and lost in boardrooms in the corporate world. Alonso I observed breaks this phenomenon. He might not be a TOP SHELF PACKAGE but definately a TOP SELF DRIVER with human elements infused 🙂


Couldn't agree more. Go Fernando.


i have thought that several times this year but i am currently working out a way how ferrari will be screwed and mclaren will benefit again. just wait and see how the brits get lucky again


...you need to find a more challenging sport to put your conspiracy theories to the test.


The difference between Alonso and Massa (who are in identical machinery mind you) is as big as the time differential between the two compounds of tires... Point to Ponder 🙂



You could really see that the McLaren lacks downforce compared to the Red Bulls & Ferraris. Going through the final sector on board you could hear that the McLaren had to wait before getting on full throttle unlike the other 2 teams.

I guess that their blown diffuser needs more develoment in order to close the gap.


They couldn't get their diffuser tested due to the tricky conditions on friday and saturday practice. Once they get it sorted out, I think they will be in the mix too. This season is going to become extremely exciting towards the end with RBR trying to retain the advantage, Ferrari acting like transformers' robots to win and McLaren drivers pushing the car to the limit.


How much time do they need to get it working..the World has been waiting for the said diffusers since Canada.. In the meantime, Ferrari, Mercedes, Williams all had their 2 weeks later in Valencia. McLaren has has 6 weeks. At this rate by the time they get it "sorted", the season will be Over. Diffusers are not allowed next year!


Lionel, the EBD takes months to develop. Williams revealed recently that they started work on it last Autumn. Ferrari have now run their own for the last 3 GP's.

It's not just about the EBD in isolation its about how it works with everything else on the car, a change in driving style and overcoming the loss of exhaust gases when off the throttle mid corner.


They are allowed next year, but not some of the interpretations we have this season.


Let's have a wet and dry race. Be as chaotic as possible. Let's have fun !


I you want to have chaos and fun, may I recommend you to watch any film by the Marx Bros.

I prefer to see speed, top technology, emotion, competition... and the win of the best driver and the best car, not a race decided on a Lotto game.

So, let us have a dry race, and let us see pure competition.


I agree 100%... F1 is about who makes the fastest car and who is the best driver.


James, any news on the use of ignition retardation at the hockenheim? Thanks!


I'm interested in this too. Is this the reason Ferrari have suddenly jumped up in the pecking order? I know that their form was masked in the last number of races by bad luck and mistakes.


Ferrari is back - watch out Red Bull !!

Go for it Fernando. See you at the top step of the podium.


Ferrari will mess up tomorrow, just watch - I can't wait!


Seems like you got your money on some other horse, mate!! Alonso is a TOP SHELF driver 🙂 and he will finish on either of the top 2 steps of the rostrum.


Like I said Ferrari will mess up. But to be fare he did finish on the top step - shame that Ferrari are going to be whipped by WMSC, they don't mess around - remember Mclaren 07!


wow...Fred and Ferrari are finally starting to put it together!!! The last 2 races have fired him up at last!! Does this retarded ignition mode for 1-2 ultra hot quali laps mean the ECU is remapped? Did I not read the ECU was standard and not re-mappable?


Fammiliar name for "Fernando" in Spain could be "Fer" or "Fernan", never "Fred", that is not an Spanish name. If used, it could be to call an "Alfredo", or maybe a "Federico".

Actually, Alonso is known as "Nano", wich is another fammiliar form for "Fernando".


who the hell is Fred?

Fernando is this the Spanish equivalent of the English Ferdinand.


Fragile Fred, very fragile!


Supposedly this is the name by which Fernando is referred to in the paddock.


Yes, i am curious to know how the constant pressure is kept up during periods when the drivers are off the accelerator... as the ECU would need to be remapped, or have a special setting, but also does the gear box not need to slip in to neutral or something in order to keep the engine running at high revs but without the drive hitting the wheels during lift....?


It is a standard ECU but it is customised by programming for each team, and can be set up for the individual track. THe only limitation in terms of mappings is that they are limited to 5 mappings, but they can be reprogrammed from race to race.

James, looking around Teh Interweb, there is very little discussion about the ECU and it is not well understood. It would be a good feature to do.


I'm scheduled to go to McLaren Electronics to do a Tech Report on the ECU later this year


I just get the feeling Red Bull are trying to squeeze everything out of that car in the last qualifying session. It's happened a few times this season, awesome for qualifying, disappear during the race.

Alonso is as hungry as can be, and I fancy button to be competitive unless they've fueled him super light again. Hamilton will no doubt be fast.

The start will be amazing, the top 6 drivers all have something to prove right now, I would not want to be amongst them going into the 1st corner!


Mate, everyone have the same weight of fuel.


Everyone has a full load. All engines don't have the same fuel burn rate do they? In other words maybe the Ferrari engine requires 2 more gallons to go the distance, then say Mercedes. So the starting weight may vary. I would appreciate any input on this.


That is correct. The car with the most fuel efficient engine starts the race with less fuel than the car with the thirstiest engine. Engineers tell me the difference is of the order of 7-8 kilos, or 2/10ths of a second per lap


Same wait of cars.. not fuel. Some (lighter drivers) use more balast (to make up the weight - Better) for stability.



I thought there were some variations due to fuel efficiency and fuel consumption management strategies. Martin Brundle often says that the cars start with less fuel than is required to finish the race.

I would have thought a 10 to 15 Kg variation would be likely. What do you think?



That's quite a bit - 3/10ths of a second per lap at most places. Bit less I reckon, especially in places where it's hot as you heat the engine when you run lean, so some places you need to be careful - as Ferrari found at the start of the year.


I think what he meant and James has done a topic on this, Could button be carrying a couple of laps less fuel then Hamilton as hes a smoother driver but will mean him leaning the engine out to save fuel.


Can the teams not choose how much fuel to put in at the start of the race?

So, you could fuel light, hope to make up places in the first part of the race when everyone is heavy and trying to preserve their tyres, then cruise home on an economy drive. Or, fuel heavy and drive aggressively for the whole race, to the detriment of your early lap times.


But I thought they could under fuel and then go into fuel saving mode? Don't the teams choose the fuel load still? Jenson had less in silverstone than Lewis I thought.


The fuel loads have no relevance this year. So its purely on drive-merit that the positions are attained. Button beat Hamilton on pure merit. Just as the reverse is appreciated. This should be appreciated as well and Button's praiseworthy performance must be honored.


In responce to my earlier comment (?!) 🙂

I've just read that Ferrari, like Red Bull are now running a 'Constant Exhaust Pressure' system to feed the blown diffuser. I guess this is something that McLaren/Mercedes will have to work on. Any inside news on this being the case James?


If Webber had gotten the pole the way Vettel did today, you all would be praising Webber like he was the second coming.

Now it's Vettel,so let's talk more about Alonso and find excuses why Webber wasn't there.

The BBC was keen to observe how Massa was 5 tenths slower than Alonso, that is was mind oggling, yet not one word about Webber being 6 tenths of a second slower than Vettel.

Mistakes or not, that's a huge gap. Vettel nailed it, Webber flunked.

It is really surreal to see how the English speaking F1 world portrays things radically different than the non-English speaking one.

For instance, nowhere on English speaking sites was mentioned how Webber in Silverstone had a new lighter floor, which Vettel didn't get (confirmed by Horner himself, so Webber was favoured, not Vettel) and how Webber didn't like the new wing and was only complaining about how it won't work during the trainings.

While Vettel was very positive about it during the training sessions. Which is why Vettel got it when 1 was left over. All confirmed by a chief mechanic at RBR.

He also said the team was shocked Webber started a whole drama act about it, while he initially was very negative about the wing and suggested it was basically a sh1t wing.

Anyway, back to your regular English speaking programming. Not that this will get through the pro-Webber censoring on this site 😉


like the man said.. no prices for saturday quali. Let us wait and see what happens tomorrow!


I think that the BBC didn't make too much of the Webber-Vettel gap because mark made a mistake on his last lap. Although to be honest I thought Jonathan Leggard did mention it and justified the gap and Martin Brundle said something along the lines of "it doesn't matter what the mistake was, the gap is too big". I could be wrong though.


Honestly, when facts emerged on the specifications of Webber's car, as well as his impressions of the wing, I felt he manipulated the situation to his favour. That said, nothing bad was said about Vettel. In fact nothing very negative gets said in James' articles in general.


The resurgence of Ferrari and Alonso, with respect to Mark Webber's uncharacteristically duff lap, is clearly the most exciting aspect of qualifying today. Its great news for F1.


By what are you talking about? I am Russian, no English roots and as much as I rooted for Vettel last year, I do not want to see his face ever again. He can get all wings available, people do not care any longer. And by the way, I am a Ferrari fan, so yes, I am happy that Alonso was so close:-) I hope he wins tomorrow:-)


I've seen James been accused of being pro and anti every driver on the grid so I don't think there is too much for you to worry about.


Could we have less of this jingoistic nationalistic comment, please? I want to read comments from fellow enthusiasts about the racing, I am not interested in opinions biased by nationalistic concerns. We all have our favoured drivers or teams - and why not, that's what fans are.

If you can't get past this flag waving, please stay away. If it was left to me, I would remove flag ceremonies and national anthems entirely, they are divisive and encourage this sort of statement.

What I support is talent, wherever it arises.


Not really that surprising that there wasn't much focus on Webber being well behind Vettel today. Webber has been off the pace all weekend - it was discussed at length on the BBC's coverage of Friday and Saturday practise. By the time qualifying came around, it was old news.

And if it is discussed less it's because Vettel is widely regarded as one of the top 4 drivers on the grid - Webber is not. So when Webber outdrives Vettel, it's a much bigger story than when it's the other way around. That's just how news reporting works. There's no anti-Vettel movement in the English-speaking press, certainly not on this site (from James nor commenters).


i agree massa always get a pounding and if button does the same thing theres always a excuse. ususally he covers it up by saying something broke in the car or its undriveable and people buy it. james you can say whatever u want but when you were commentating i thought you were a very knowledgeable commentator but very pro lewis hamilton and mclaren and thats why theres videos on youtube suggesting so. i respect this site massively though and think you know your stuff but


When James was commentating he was working for ITV and would have had to follow their editorial guidelines which being a UK commercial station would have dictated a UK focus, hence the 'pro Lewis Hamilton' situation you describe. It is the same for any commercial station in any country; I have F1 fans in other parts of the world who tell me their TV stations are very pro their nation's drivers.

Whether this disproportionate focus is bias or not, well everyone will have their own opinion on that. I can't remember James ever saying anything that was not true, but inevitably, with ITV's primary audience being the UK and Hamilton being the leading British driver of 2007 and 2008 it would be natural that the excitement would be directed towards his achievements.

This site, on the other hand, is independent and consequently James can follow his own editorial guidelines and as a result this is arguably one of the most balanced F1 analysis sites on the Internet. It is well connected and having been fortunate to have attended the F1 Fans Forum at the start of this month it is clear James is first and foremost an F1 fan who is passionate for the sport above any individual person, team or component.


To be fair, the ITV production was pro Hamilton, particularly Steve Rider as anchor man. I feel that the commentary of MB and JA was impartial, and to be honest it is the one area where the BBC have failed to excel since taking over, although they have it 50% right)

I too get immensely fed up with the assertion that the whole of the UK is against any non-English speaking driver. If you were reading some of the tabloid press I could imagine that to some degree but we have a large body of motorsport press who are extremely impartial in terms of driver nationality.

If that isn't the case then how would anyone justify the massive support that Michael Schumacher generated, and still holds.


Webber messed up his final run in the first corner and therefore aborted it, so the time that was 6/10ths slower was from his earlier banker run when the track was slower (However, I believe Vettel was still quicker, just not by a margin of 6/10ths)

The times of Massa and Alonso were from the same run and therefore the difference is far more significant. Also, Massa was off of the pace of Alonso throughout qualifying (for example, in Q2 when he did both runs on the soft tyres unlike the other 5 top runners and his time on softs was not much faster than Alonso on hards)

Finally, Alonso has out qualified Massa 10-3 this year whereas it is 6-5 to Vettel at Red Bull so I think that a critical analysis of Massa's qualifying performance compared to Alonso is far more relevant than that of Webber to Vettel.


Just to clear up my error, I should have put Alonso as beating Massa 8-3 in qualifying not 10-3 - but my point still stands.


I agree 100%... when Vettel does well most media look elsewhere... When Webber or Alonso or Hamilton do well it is a love-fest.

With that said James is more fair than most... He even uses Vettel's image on his homepage.


First of all it was mentioned on this site that Webber had a new floor and a lighter chassis, have a look. Second there is no pro Webber censoring on this site. You obviously don't know much about this site nor about my relationship with Vettel and other non-English speaking drivers. Third it is not remarkable how English speaking fans take one view and German speakers another, and your comment here proves why. But this site refuses to descend into polarised arguments based on one bias or another and we are tightening up even more now on that kind of comment. This one passed, because there are some points that need to be answered. Ask Vettel whether he thinks my coverage of him is fair. You might get a surprise.


If he was talking about almost any other English speaking site, he'd be right, but you try to be unbiased, making large parts of your competition look rather foolish.

Now James, it'd be nice to get another technical update concentrating on how Ferrari has managed to catch Red Bull. Is it just that they are rapidly improving their exhaust, or is there something else that McLaren is also missing out on?


Tech Report is being prepared. Certainly they have optimised exhaust, but also update to front wing which seems to have done the trick


I suspect other nationalities misunderstand the British liking for the underdog. To succeed against the odds is applauded by Brits much more than the applause for the best driver in the best car winning conclusively. Hence the support for Webber. We know Vettel is an extremely good driver and when Webber beats him we cannot help but show our enthusiasm.

We also remember, in Turkey, Vettel pointing his finger at his head and passing comment on Webber's driving after Vettel had punted him off. It was at that point that we realised Vettel was coined in the Schumacher mould. It's not something we'll forget in a hurry.


Well said, James. And if I could humbly add, don't be shy about deleting absurd and biased BS posts.


Don't worry we are tightening up on that kind of comment


I've just re-read the article and it's a balanced, fair and above all interesting account of the qualifying session.

It is annoying to read such ill-informed accusations of bias, where there are none. May I suggest these readers go away and write their own blog (which we can all ignore) and the rest of us will stay here to read James Allen's unparalleled viewpoints.


i dont think he complained about this site though . 🙂

( i did comment on putting a 'kimi raikkonen' tag on the renault seat story . u mentioned Kimi on one single line in that whole article, yet his is the only drivers name in th tag list )

btw 2 thousands isnt what it could have been though . vettel did a better s2 but a poorer s1 and s3 than his previous q3 lap .

anyways vettel as always steps up when he needs to .he had to gain in s2 and he gained .


OK, Vetal "steped up", but don't forget the team's clever ignition curve that maintains some flow velocity/heat at the difuser on the overrun which they only use briefly in final qualifying due to the excessive temperatures created in the combustion chambers/exhaust valves/exhaust system/bodywork/suspension! I suspect this was the real reason he managed that last quick lap.



supreme reply


Go James! Drivers win on the track not in print


And I'm a Hamilton fan so no interest in this dispute


Brilliant response James, worded to perfection.

It really grinds on me this whole 'English Speaking' nonsense! I spent 10 mins after quali waxing lyrical about the awesome lap Seb put together...his best ever imo. I'm a LH fan who had money on Nando to get pole at 8/1 and yet i haven't anything other than admiration for young vettel's work today.

Keep up the great work. Some people really need to appreciate this site more.

richard hughes

well said.


@See: No not at all... James is fair enough... When i first started to follow this site, i expected he will be pro-Hamilton. But after going through many of his posts, i was proven wrong.. You should have been through all his posts before commenting this here..


@ C Pitter above,

Funny, I always thought James was somewhat pro-Hamilton & Alonso and somewhat anti-Kimi (while he was still around), so I guess the way we see his posts here reflect more of our own biases than those of James.


I've found this site to be very pro-Vettel (James has said he thinks he is a very likeable man - which I totally disagree with BTW), very pro-Button, and a bit anti-Hamilton. That's just my observation.

So I don't think nationality has anything to do with it.


If you met him, you'd like him, trust me


As a Spanish speaking fan, I have to absolutely agree with you, James. There is no pro English speaking drivers biass on this site. Maybe among the fans, most of wich are English speakers - I guess that British -, but not from the host.

By the way, it could be interesting to (try to) translate Alonso's words to spanish papers (I do apologize for my poor English):

"We have to thank the Team, as in the last races the car evolution has been incredible, giving us a strong position in terms of speed. We are going to try to get profit of it and let's hope that tomorrow both Ferraris are on the podium"

This words do not fit with the "moaning - whinnig - blaming all others but himself" Alonso that many people use to talk about...


Well defended James.

Personally I don’t like Vetel (although I never met the man) and this is based

not on his nationality but from what I have observed watching TV. He tries to bully his way on the track and looks like a spoiled child when things don’t go his way.

Is he fast? Naturally.

What was interesting after today’s qualifying was when the other drivers were next to him at the weigh-in station, not one driver looked at him let alone congratulated him.

James, do you know what the feeling of the other drivers towards him is?

Not bringing Webber into the equation.


I have heard Vettel doesn't seem to be that popular with the other drivers, possibly his backing from Bernie all the time doesn't help. Can you shed any light on this or is it just Internet rumour.
I have heard his nickname is Princess Petal.


Button did, as Vettel got out of the car in parc ferme.


Why don't you just read non English websites if they annoy you so much. Thanks for the articles James, much appreciated


Am very Happy for Alonso. But why did he steer to the right after the final corner before crossing the Line. I reckon he would have been on Pole had he taken the left side line. Anyways, go for the Win Alonsooo.


Good point. They all do it. I think it's the way they come out wide but have to keep a bit of lock on because the kerbing ends and they don't want to drop a wheel off.


Great pole Vettel.... perhaps the best of his career... love seeing someone get pole not in the fastest car... Alonso just does not have it like he used to.... should have had pole


Michael S,

Correction: Vettel was about 2 to 3 tenths down comming into the stadium section and managed to extract time enough to be on pole by two thousandth of a second, so if you add up the two the speed differential between Red Bull and the Ferrari in slow sections are as high as 2.2 to 3.2 tenth. Which is considerable. This is also an indication that the blown diffuser is working better on Red Bull then on the Ferrari (comparisions of the two alone). So which means when matters Red Bull is has the Edge over the Ferrari which establishes the fact that Vettel still has a superior package than Alonso.

Having said that, it was a top lap from Vettel and I wish him well for today's race. But, from the animalistic angle of things Alonso was on a different level.


You cannot be serious, Red Bull 9 poles out of 10, Alonso 0.5 seconds faster than Massa in a 74 seconds lap.


Schumi is that you?

Good luck for the race lol


james allen dont you mean 2 THOUSANDTHS of a second??


I think James means 2 tenths; this is how the gap between VET and ALO improved from Q2 to Q3. Is this right, James?


This could be the first real tussle between Jenson and Lewis. I can see Lewis trying to barge his way through at the start but coming under pressure from Kubica and all ending in tears by the first bend.


IT WAS AN AWESOME PERFORMANCE BY ALONSO I've always said he is the only human element in F1 today and today he drew that very same from Vettel.


Radically different from the non-English speaking world? I suspect you mean radically different from the German speaking world.

Roger Carballo AKA Architrion

Well answered, James.


Not sure if the race is Ferrari's to lose but the Championship is definitely in my view Mclaren's to lose.

Ferrari being quick means less points to be earned by redbull and Mclaren in the second part of the seasons which adds weight to the points advantage enjoyed by Hamilton.

One thing everybody seems to underestimate is that the race pace of Mclaren is superior on full load. There is also the tyre and weather issue this weekend. Should be rather interesting. Unless it isn't:)

Cheers, let it be a great race.


One thing that struck me about Alonso's lap is that he kind of took the long way round in the run up to the finish line. Instead of going straight on he slightly swerved in the direction of the pit wall.

It is a common occurence, sometimes done for cooling purposes or in order to position oneself for the next corner, but this time it really struck me as odd, since I would think that running straight to the finish line might have given him the 0.003 s he needed to have pole.

Am I missing something here? Or did Alonso needlessly lose a possible pole position?


Great drive by Vettel. But it was Two thousandths of a second not two tenths.


Vettel was two tenths of a second after Alonso during Q2 (in Q1 it was three TENTHS). In Q3, he managed to get this 2 tenths (NOT thusandths) and reverse the positions.

* Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault Q1-1:15.152; Q2- 1:14.249; Q3-1:13.791

* Fernando Alonso Ferrari Q1-1:14.808; Q2-1:14.081; Q3-1:13.793


Now PLEASE Alonso, Off the line nicely tomorrow, for the Love of peace, and the avoidance of Stewards intervening!!! 🙂

I am quite shocked at the gaps, I never even noticed them after quali, but its hardly surprising with Legard telling us 6 times in a minute that Webber had a problem... Man can that man ramble on about nothing 🙁


It's astonishing, isn't it! And always about something or someone that's off the subject, or what happened at Kyalami in 1973 or [insert rubbish of your choice here]. On and on about irrelevancies that he feels compelled to share - I'm sure Brundle must feel like strangling him sometimes.


I find Hamilton and Button's response to their poor qualifying performance a bit confusing. When they're on top, they're the first to praise their team. But when they're behind, they're the first to point out that the car just isn't performing.

Hamilton said: "We're the third team, I've been saying this for a while. My qualifying pace was quite poor, to be honest. I don't think it was great, but I did the best job I could."

Are they doing this to deflect blame away from themselves? Is that just the F1 driver mentality. Are they sending a message to their guys back at the factory? It just seems to go against the supposedly amazing team spirit at McLaren.

Clearly the car is not great in qualifying trim - do they really need to go overboard with the team criticism?

Pleased for Vettel. He's due a bit of luck after the last two seasons he's had!


And Mark Weber's due a "bit of luck" after the last decade he's had! Go Mark!



They're being truthful, although Button is a bit more of a moaner, the mechanics wouldn't respond well to a rose-tinted outlook they know the car isn't performing in quali.

We'll see how the car performs in the race, when RB and Ferrari don't have the engine retardation advantage.


Fair point about driver's deflecting blame but seems all drivers - regardless of team and car - do pretty much the same. With Hamilton, it does seem fairly consistent... He says he got what he could out of the car and did the best he could... As long as he (and this applies equally to alonso, vettel and anybody else) outqualifies his teammate, which granted, on this occasion he didn't, there's not really much else he can say. From everything I've read, he admits that he didn't do a great job but the car ultimately wasn't fast enough. Is that an unfair assessment? Ultimately, these guys are asked and obliged to give their opinion to the media. While there is obviously a corporate line to tow, they have to provide some sort of insight... If I recall, there was plenty of love for the all-night job the team and test driver did between Friday and Saturday two weeks ago.


That is just it.. they have never really been on top.. they have the points they have because the Redbulls have been "backfiring" as they say..

Ryan Tegelberg


Nothing much to add to James' rebuff to your one sided rant.

No need to look for excuses for Webbers' disappointing qualifying, he screwed up the first sector on his flying lap.

I don't recall the coverage of Vettel's qualifying on the times he has been beaten by Webber this year (since his injuries have more or less healed) as being any more or less critical.

I think perhaps that some people have it in for the Aussie, although those numbers are now diminishing, and now those people are finding themselves out in the cold, which is a place they're not used to being.

Personally I believe he has always been chronically understimated, so I don't see some pro-Webber conspiracy now he is getting a little more praise. It's not like he didn't have to earn it.


Sorry but I seriously think that McLaren would have been closer if they had not ran their new floor and blown diffuser this weekend!

This is the biggest gap between them and Red Bull (apart from Red Bull's super tracks - Barcelona and Silverstone), since probably the first two races?

The margin is almost as big as it was at Silverstone, a track suited perfectly to Red Bull, yet this track is shorter and also does not suit the Red Bull as much and with the long straight, should suit McLaren more. Baring in mind, Red Bull have brought minimal updates, then how can this "super-duper" new blown diffuser upgrade, actually take them backwards.

I am incredibly dissapointed, but also think Ferarri have done an amazing job and made McLaren look pretty silly. McLaren's blown diffuser is not working, they will probably not have their usual great race pace, whereas, Ferarri's blown diffuser is working great.


They did use their EBD this weekend,and i think it is working,(either it does or it doesn,t) and Mclaren decided to keep it on,but i agree Ferrari have optimised their EBD along with other updates.


James what about the start of the Race? Alonso has been pretty awful and has lost a lot of places at the start in the previous couple of races. Is this is a Ferrari problem or was it just Driver error? It would be interesting to see how he performs at the start. If he gets ahead of Vettel in the First corner he will be my bet for the race.

Also the Weather. It is a unusually hot summer in Germany this time and Rain should arrive anytime tomorrow.


It has been said that Ferrari and some issues with the launch control part of the clutch...hope they have it fixed.


I suspect Webber will be second coming out of first corner tomorrow behind Vettel with Alonso third.


watch out for massa. his starts this year have been very good example australia malaysia canada silverstone


Alonso is due a good start


He was always a good starter at Renault, didn't they have some special system?


That reminds me when all the football commentators say 'XXX is due a goal' after not scoring for months.

However, despite this, I agree and I expect Alonso to be leading going into turn 2. Although I wonder if his jump start at China has been playing on his mind at all. I'm not suggesting in a big way and I doubt once they are on the grid he would even think about it, but it is so rare to see a jump start in Formula 1 you wouldn't want to receive the penalty twice in a year.

Andrew Woodruff

James - this retarded ignition feature is really interesting, and its interaction with the blown diffuser is a perfect example of how all the features on an F1 car need to be integrated and harmonised, and not simply bolted on.

I'd love to see a full length report on this alone, and understand from Newey and the bods at Renault how the brilliant system was conceived, and why they were able to come up with it and leave everyone else miles behind (including the Renault works team).

Also, as a non engineer I have no clue how and why it actually works, so if you could fit that into the article as well, it would be ideal!

All the work you and your team do on this site and beyond is superb. Thank you!


Remember the exhaust air does not have to be a byproduct of commustion (car buring oil). Just compressed air out of the exhaust when braking will do the trick. I believe that is how it is done.. Cheap Trick as Jack Nicholson "Witches of Eastwick" would say.


The interesting thing is that I was talking to Christian Horner on Thursday about this and he said they don't have such a device. One of the rival tech directors said that it isn't noticeable by its engine note, but two other TDs have told me that they are definitely doing it and everyone is working on a similar system. Looks like Ferrari got there already.


Typical that Christian denies it. It almost suggests that even though he denied the ride height system, that they still could be doing some kind of trick in that department. I guess he isn't going to come out and admit it though, as that would give the game away.

It is pretty obvious that Red Bull have been doing something in Q3 to give them a fair few tenths.

Like you said, big rumours, including an article on espn, have suggested Ferarri were using the trick here, which would explain a big leap from them in qualifying.

Do you know if McLaren tried to use it James or have they not managed to get it sorted yet?

If McLaren did use it and were still that far behind then that is very worrying.


The difference between Vettel and Alonso was 2 thousandths of a second not 2 tenths.


Truly, the surprise was Ferrari and Alonso, Vettel was expected to be either first or second, so the normal thing to do is to talk about Ferrari and Alonso. I expect, perhaps after quite some time, a non-boring dry race, with lots of passing tomorrow, or am I an incurable optimist?


NO rain...please


This is off the point, but I just want to ask you something James: is there any chance of banning the dreadfully looking sharkfin? The cars look really beautiful without all those small wings, but the sharkfin just ruins it. And BTW I remember someone of the drivers saying that they were not even certain if it adds up some extra tenth (that was before F-duct days)...

Anyway looking forward to a great race, Alonso you can do it!


If we move to turbocharged engines then the cars will look more like the Mercedes design as the cars will not require the airscoop to help get the air into the engine. The Mercedes design is not compatible with the sharkfin so you will get your wish.


I agree. It's revolting


Alonso and Ferrari did great. In my opinion, they should be leading the WDC by now, but aren't due to hundreds of silly mistakes. Sounds funny, but I wanted to say that it became a Ferrari style to make mistakes, although it sounds strange. Last 2-3 years are surrounded by mistakes for Ferrari...plane, silly mistakes.

I only hope that tomorrow it is going to be a straightforward race to put Alonso back into contention. I never liked him personally, but he is one of the best and he is the only hope Ferrari has at the moment.

P.S. James, why are you saying that Vettel found 2/10th? Do you means that he improved by 2/10th vs his own time? He won qualifying by 0.002.


He found two tenths from his penultimate run to his last one ie the last one was 2/10ths faster than he had gone before, quite impressive


Hello James,

Did Alonso make any mistakes during his run? Given the gap in Q1 and Q2, I was thinking he would be on pole by at least a tenth.

And yet again, when I read the comments from Ferrari (SD and CD), I couldn't help but think that they were expecting to be pole by that margin as well. Chris Dyer in particular doesn't seem to like Alonso that much.

This is just conjecture on my part, but since you are close to action , could you shed light on this please ?

As usual, great read!


No, Alonso said he was braced for RBR to find wings in Q3 as they usually do. I think he's pleased that Q3 final runs are as close as they are


Even with the upgrades Alonso is still grabbing that Ferrari by it's neck and dragging it around.

He was SO unlucky to have missed out pole by 2/1000ths of a second. The last I can remember that happening was Monza 2006 with Kimi and Schumi.

Now I'm not saying Massa didn't do a good job either. Sure he may have been about half a second down on those 2, BUT he was the leader of "Best of the Rest" if you will and landed a 3rd place grid slot and in doing so confirming Ferrari's improved performance from its upgrades from the recent races and practice form.

If memory serves correct, Webber may have never been outqualified at a German GP before by his team mate (till now obviously), but in the race I don't seem to remember him having too much luck so maybe he's going to have a role reversal tomorrow of sorts.

I think Mercedes are a lot more disappointed than they perhaps are showing. They were confident of a top 6 grid slot and they ended up down in the 5th and 6th rows! Lets hope Eddie Jordan was right in thinking all their efforts are pretty much on their 2011 challenger.

I haven't read anything about Liuzzi yet about his quali performance today, but I reckon he'll get a bit of leniency just like Petrov. Atleast the team know he was pushing, admittedly perhaps too much, but he was pushing.

And there are already articles of Eric Boullier saying Petrov was unlucky due to the times being so close and his engineer praising him for difficult practice sessions with the weather.

Tomorrow's race looks to be another classic.


"Now Alonso just needs to stay under the stewards’ radar tomorrow…"

Good one, James!

The "White Bull" is on the charge...


See en Zor, I think you are overdramatizing a little.

I'm from non-English speaking country myself and yes in Hamilton-Alonso conflict you could see how most English speaking people were defending Hamilton, just like Spanish did Alonso. You can't fight against it, it's natural. Just like till this day I read Finnish F1 sites and they are full of negative comments against Alonso, cause Santander bought Kimi out of Ferrari. And it's all natural I say.

Talking about the wing incident, it's sad that Vettel came out as a bad boy, cause he didn't do anything wrong (altough I would have refused the wing if being Vettel. It's not that 1 wing was left over, it was taken from Webbers car, whether he liked it as much as Vettel or not, I don't care). But hinting that this site is biased, that's when I think you're terrible wrong. Even if I tried really hard, I could not be as neutral as Mr. Allen has been.


Webber was not 6 tenths slower Vettel.In Q1 it was less than 2 tenths and in Q2 a tenth.In Q3 Webber ran wide and abandoned his final run.


A great qualifying session for Ferrari. They are not only the 2nd best team but closer to the bulls now. Ferrari got the timing of sending their cars out wrong. Had they released Alonso a bit later, he would've got a clean run by not having Massa near him in front. Anyways a great lap by both Ferrari drivers.

It would be interesting to see the battle between Button and Hamilton tomorrow. Let's see how Button defends from Hamilton who is a very good overtaker. Time for Button to prove something.

Michael Schumacher really needs to pack up and go. He can't use the car and the time as excuse now. Nico with the same car (which was rather altered in Spain to suit Michael) got into Q3 and now it has been 10 races for MS to get used to the car and still slower ? Instead of gathering criticism, he should go back home or become team principal for Ferrari.


Schumacher's time was 8/100ths of a second slower than Nico Rosberg's in Q2, the closest of any team mates. It was just bad luck for Schumacher it happened to be over 10th and 11th.


Agreed. He has been looking closer all weekend. I think he may be finally finding his feet.


We all heard how excited Vettel was to grab pole (and rightly so). James, during the post qualifying press conference, Vettel was talking about how close it was between himself and Alonso. I think he tried to play down how much ground Ferrari had made up on Red Bull by saying he didn't do a perfect lap and that there was more time in the Red Bull. What is your take on this since you were actually there!?


Luizzi's wheel came awfully close to that virgin racing car... It could have been very bad indeed.

As a Michael Schumacher fan (I speak English, by the way), I'm again disappointed in today's result. James, who takes care of technical direction at Mercedes? If it is Ross Brawn, what other roles does he fill in the team?

Obviously Brawn's role changed at the beginning of 2009 when he took ownership of the team. Prior to that he was fully involved in the technical side at Honda, in the year they produced early 2009's state of the art car. After that things began to slip downward over the course of 2009 season, and now into 2010. I suppose what I am trying to ask is, is Ross just stretched too thin at the moment?


I feel u bro. But people look at things more dramatically than it actually is. What if Vettle is his teammate and doing what Nico is doing?

Will they praise MSfor being that close to the top driver or will they bash him?

I think there is a possibility that Nico is as fast as a guy like Vettle.

And personally, if MS is in red bull and being that close to Seb I would be happy as a big fan. But now I am slightly disappointed.


See En Zor,sorry but the lightened floor on Webbers car has been talked about on "English" sites,obviously you haven,t found them,now go and sit down,reflect be calm.

Brilliant qualifying and to see Ferrari so close to Red Bull.

Fransesco,Alonso is not a double world champion for nothing, and possibly to much is written in the media that shows him in a bad light,but i agree he is one of the greats in F1,and today showed why.


Seems most cars got slower in Q3, yet the Red-Bull and Ferrari improved. Does this mean Ferrari now have the constant flow exhaust?

And also I would like to ask about one source claiming the system was designed to improve reliability(I presume to keep temperatures stable and not changing rapidly), yet the teams that use it can only do so for a few laps.


I will echo what I said after attending Silverstone; Alonso and Vettel appear to have the most impressive driving style when seen in the flesh. There is a palpable barely controlled aggression tempered with amazing precision. Button, Hamilton and MSC stand out as well, but Alonso and Vettel seemed so much more purposeful, perhaps because they were more comfortable with their car.

I used to be slightly suspicious of commentators discussing the "body language" of a driver in an F1 car, but it really is apparent.

I suspect it will be an amazing race tomorrow.


I think/wonder/hope that McLaren are playing the percentages game this weekend. With the Ferraris a strong challenge to the Red Bulls here, it's a perfect oppurtunity to spend time developing the diffuser - as if this weekend is test session almost. They just need to stay out of trouble, score some decent points and fully understand their technology going into Hungary.

Great to see who'll beat who in the Button/Hammy battle though - and with the temparamemt of the drivers in front of them in question plus the race pace car, they should take it easy and retain their leads I think.


I've followed F1 since 1966 and motor racing in general before that. I've not seen any fall-off in support for F1 when British or English speaking drivers (I thought they all were required to speak English) were not to the fore.

At one time during the Schmacher years, I read that the highest national membership of the Ferrari fan club other than Italian was English and this has been evident at every GP I've been to.

I used to watch GPs with a largish group of mates and the support was spread over all nationalities. I've supported teams rather than drivers but I was a big fan of Senna and also Piquet in his Brabham days.

The group has shrunk a bit after the excesses of someone high up in management, but of those remaining, one is an Alonso fan. Another was a big Rosberg the daddy supporter and another all but worshiped Senna.

This is the norm.

I've supported English F1 teams but Ferrari for sports cars. And I'm by no means alone in the latter pasttime.

The thing I like about British fans of F1 is their cosmopolitan affiliations.

It does irritate me when accusations about partiality arrise. I've got 44 years to suggest just the opposite. I don't care what nationality you are: beat my Mclarens and I will be prejudiced against you.

I've left other forums when they have been taken over by nationalistic posters. This one is, thankfully, not one of them. And long may it remain so.

My vote would be to ban national anthems after races. I reckon they are inappropriate and misleading. Benetton became Italian after a demand from a sponsor. How daft is that?

Let's keep jingoism out of F1.


Funnily enough on the drivers parade lap at Silverstone even Sebastian Vettel was saying that the thing he loved about British fans was their knowledge of the sport and non-partisan approach to F1.


And I sure hope we don't see the Maori haka at the Hamilton Street race again, either! PK.


James, what is your view on Pat Symons theory that Red Bull have a 'engine overun' system that they can use on qualifying laps?

He observed at Silverstone the Red Bulls had a very different exhaust note to the other cars and alsoreckoned Ferrari were testing a similar system on some laps.

Perhaps this system explains why Red Bull have been dominating qualifying and explains Ferraris improved performance today?


It's not a theory. If you look at the Strategy Briefing I did after Valencia you will see we covered it then


Hi James

I'm still chuckling about your response above (you very rarely get dragged into responding on criticism, but when you do its always worth a read).

It will be very very interesting to see how the race pace for McLaren is affected by running the new diffuser. They've always struggled for 1 lap pace, but usually are excellent on full tanks.

Are they feeling positive about their race pace? I know they are 3/4 second off on one lap, but if they can get it going over the race they will be in good shape.


James, I predict Button to win tomorrow.....

Remember, you read it here first.....




I want to believe that, I really do.



I have a feeling he might do well tomorrow as well. His race pace has usually been really decent, and this is the first time for a while he hasnt been miles back.

I'll second you on that!


Well he did go deep into the race didn't he....

Knows how to manage tyres.



I worked out that the 0.002 sec margin represents 12.4cm Ironicaly this is the average size of a latin male member. Vettel does'nt know how lucky he was!!


clearly the average German size is 24.8cm then 😉

Thomas in Australia

Well, I'm thinking this is going to be the craziest first corner of the year...

Anyone else think Matha is going to give Fonso a taste of his own medicine? 😉


Go James! And if I ever say something similarly foolish, please whack me around the ears quickly! 😉 Well done. Keep up the good work.


Hi James,

What's the grip level like on the dirty side of the track? Is it as grippy as Silverstone or as bad as Valencia?

And you still think everyone will do 2 stops?


Not as good as Silverstone



If it rains.. the following drivers are to be watched:

1. Massa: During free wet practice he was the quickest and Alonso coundn't match his pace, so he dialed in something which others including his teammate couldn't.

2. Lewis: He is always good in Wet, China this year is a shining example.

3. Reubens: He is always quick in wet, can't bet on winning though but while wet you never know.

4. Sutil: The most underrated wet specialist.

5. Vettel & Web: Simply on the grounds that The Red Bull is extremely nimble and accurately responsive and thats what you need in wet conditions.

Enjoy 🙂


James, are you the closest to the actions, teams and you have the chance to understand the situation. Will you be able and interested to write about Ferrari and what is going on with the team over the last several years?

They seem to struggle with setting the trend and they seem to be lost. Alonso is making too many mistakes, which he never did before. What is behind the red mist? Are they going to win again?


Looks like they are pretty competitive at the moment..


Yesterday Schumacher pointed out to the zero in-season testing being ridiculous and he was so right. When we look at it, all teams suffer from this "testlessness": Red Bull looks fine for the past 2 GPs but since Bahrain, they have lost races to reliability. Ferrari has not been fast enough, they already used two engine changes. McLaren could not keep up with the major upgrades that other big teams have achieved. Mercedes is also one of those, not to mention the new teams..

In a spectator's view, we're deprived of a full potential racing. Let them develop fully, test themselves within some limits, at least. Watching races with What if's and But's in mind is definitely not as enjoyable as it was in the 2000s.

I hope the decision makers come to their senses and do something about this.

Top Tags
SEARCH Scuderia Ferrari
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!