German Grand Prix 2012: Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso takes pole
Fernando Alonso takes pole for the second race running after mastering the wet conditions ahead of the German Grand Prix
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso clinched pole position in a dramatic wet qualifying session for Sunday’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
The world championship leader mastered the wet conditions to clock a time of one minute 40.621 seconds, ahead of Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber – although the Australian was demoted five places after a penalty.
Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher will start in third place at his home race after qualifying fourth, with his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg finishing fifth-fastest.
Jenson Button qualified seventh with a time of one minute 44.113 seconds, with his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton close behind in eighth – but both will start a place higher after Webber’s penalty for a gearbox change.
“I am very happy,” said Alonso, who secured pole for the second race running. “When qualifying is run in these conditions, it’s very difficult to put together a clean lap and it’s very easy to end up in the grass, the gravel or in the wall.
“It’s something of a fight for survival: before anything else, you have to get to the end and then look at where you’ve finished.
“Then, when you hear on the radio that you’ve got pole, it is extremely satisfying, because there’s a feeling you really have given your all.
“The car was going well in all conditions, which is encouraging, as it means that we can be in the fight whatever happens, be it dry or wet.”
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was full of praise for the Spaniard’s composure in difficult conditions, with the rain intensifying in the second qualifying session.
He said: “Once again, Fernando has demonstrated just how talented he is. Here, as at Silverstone, the rain played its part in the qualifying session and it was not easy to manage the evolution of the track conditions.”
Webber, who will start in eighth place as a result of his penalty, is still confident he can challenge for a podium finish in Sunday’s race.
“It was a very intense, tricky session for the drivers and engineers,” said Webber. “It was a challenge for us. Sometimes to be in seventh gear wasn’t possible, to use the Kers [power boost] wasn’t possible. When you have wheelspin at 180mph it certainly gets your attention.
“But I was happy with my lap, I’m happy to be up here and from eighth we can still have a very good race.”
German Grand Prix 2012: Qualifying times
1 Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 40.621s
2 Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 41.026s
3 Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 41.496s*
4 Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 42.459s
5 Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 43.501s
6 Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 43.950s
7 Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 44.113s
8 Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 44.186s
9 Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 44.889s
10 Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 45.811s
11 Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 39.789s
12 Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 39.933s
13 Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 39.985s
14 Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 40.212s
15 Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 40.574s*
16 Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault 1m 40.752s
17 Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 41.551s*
18 Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 16.741s
19 Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 17.620s
20 Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 1m 18.531s
21 Charles Pic France Marussia -Cosworth 1m 19.220s
22 Timo Glock Germany Marussia -Cosworth 1m 19.291s
23 Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 19.912s
24 Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 1m 20.230s
* denotes driver due to take five-place penalty