Fernando Alonso plays his cards right for pole for German Grand Prix
Scuderia Ferrari
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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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

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


Anyone have trouble getting 5live commentary yesterday?


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

I’ll be back behind the R5 mike in Hungary


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.


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.


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



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.


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!


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…


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


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.

Tom in adelaide

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


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


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


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


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


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


Indeed Alonso looks happy.



who will win the start?

who will win the race?

What’s ur guess?




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.


Q3 was wet, Q1 was dry!


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

Tornillo Amarillo

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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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

MS will be starting from P3.


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

Very impressive!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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?


A little too optimistic!


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


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.


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.


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 !


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?


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


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 😉


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


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.


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.


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



not to mention his often comparisons with senna.


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.


not any more, actually!


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.


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!


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)


I would call it Bull in China shop


Fernando – the real rain meister


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…

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