Alonso on pole for British Grand Prix as McLaren duo suffer in rain-hit qualifying
15:01 GMT, 7 July 2012
Fernando Alonso ended Ferrari's long wait for a pole by grabbing top spot on the grid for Sunday's British Grand Prix at the end of a rain-hit qualifying session.
For the first time in 31 races, since the Singapore Grand Prix of 2010, championship leader and double world champion Alonso will lead away the field at Silverstone.
On pole: Alonso was fastest in Saturdays qualifying session
British Grand Prix qualifying
1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
5. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
7. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
8. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)
10. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
The Spaniard is joined on the front
row by Mark Webber in his Red Bull, beating the Australian by 0.047
seconds, with Mercedes' Michael Schumacher lining up in third place.
For the Britons, it was an afternoon
to forget as Lewis Hamilton qualified eighth for McLaren, with team-mate
Jenson Button 18th, with Force India's Paul di Resta 11th.
The rain that has blighted Britain's
summer, again caused chaos at Silverstone after yesterday sending fans
into a fury as many were left stranded in traffic jams and wading
through muddy car parks.
Making his Mark: Webber will start behind pole-sitter Fernando Alonso for the British Grand Prix
On this occasion the rain that began
at the start of the opening practice session turned torrential for the
beginning of Q2 which had to be red flagged just after the midway point.
It resulted in a 92-minute delay,
during which time the fans in the grandstands and even the teams in the
pit lane, entertained themselves with the odd Mexican wave.
Good old-fashioned brooms and a
couple of road sweepers cleared the danger of the standing water off the
circuit, allowing the session to recommence just after 3pm.
At that stage Button was a bystander
after missing the cut from Q1, the 32-year-old failing to get his front
tyres to work on his McLaren.
It just compounded his horror of a
year as he has collected six points from the last five races, and his
British Grand Prix especially as he has never finished on the podium in
12 attempts at this track.
Button will now have to conjure a special performance if he is to finally bring an end to that hoodoo after qualifying 18th.
It was sod's law the rain that had
held off all morning finally decided to hit the track just as qualifying
started. Initially, the track was only wet enough for intermediate
tyres, and although conditions fluctuated, with some dry areas appearing
on occasion, Button was nowhere near quick enough.
With three minutes remaining he
switched to a fresh set of inters for one final shot and was on course
to clamber out of the bottom seven when Marussia's Timo Glock spun on
the start-finish line.
With yellow flags in the final
sector, Button was forced to slow after setting personal best times in
sectors one and two, leaving him above the Caterhams, Marussias and
For only the second time this season
Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Caterham team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, the
duo qualifying 19th and 20th. Glock qualified 21st, followed by the HRT
duo of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan, with Charles Pic
requiring the help of the stewards as the Frenchman finished outside the
107 per cent time.
At the start of the 15-minute Q2, the
rain increased in intensity, prompting most drivers to switch to
extreme wet tyres, with the exception of Ferrari duo Alonso and Massa on
The time lost in realising their
mistake and pitting again for the wets ensured that when they posted a
'quick' lap they were trailing in 15th and 16th when the red flagged
The delay came to their aid as they
both made it into the top 10, although with Lotus' Romain Grosjean
spinning late on into the gravel, there is a suggestion Alonso made Q3
with a hot lap under waved yellows, with the stewards likely to
It was enough to drop di Resta down
to 11th, followed by Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, although he faces a
five-place grid penalty for a collision with Massa last time out at the
European Grand Prix in Valencia. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg qualified 13th,
followed by the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo and Williams' Bruno
Senna. Jean-Eric Vergne was 16th, but faces a 10-place grid penalty for
causing a collision with Kovalainen in Valencia, dropping him to last
for the race, with Sauber's Sergio Perez qualifying 17th.
Elsewhere in the top 10, reigning
world champion Sebastian Vettel qualified fourth, followed by Massa,
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and Williams' Pastor Maldonado, with Hamilton also
on the fourth row. On row five it will be Force India's Nico
Hulkenberg, with Grosjean 10th as he did not compete in Q3 due to his