2012 British Grand Prix – Saturday Qualifying – Alonso takes pole in rain affected session

If the Brits were hoping for a home hero to shine at Silverstone after Murray’s semi final triumph at Wimbledon, they kinda expected the wrong kind as it was the fickle British weather that dictated much of the Qualifying session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took pole position in an extended session delayed due to heavy rain during Q2 as he rode his luck throughout and pulled out fast laps right at the fag end of the session. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was second fastest with Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher third fastest.

British Grand Prix Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel will start from fourth on the grid ahead of Felipe Massa in fifth, Kimi Raikkonen in sixth, Pastor Maldonado in seventh, Lewis Hamilton in eighth and Nico Hulkenberg in ninth. Romain Grosjean didn’t set a time in Q3 and will start from tenth on the grid.

Heavy rains were falling throughout the UK and it was no different at Silverstone a it affected much of the free practice sessions and indeed the qualifying sessions. Q1 was wet but not enough to warrant full wet weather tyres and all of the teams fitted intermediate tyres for their runs. Getting temperature into the Pirellis for them to be in their optimum running zone was challenging and it caught out Jenson Button as the first big casualty in failing to make into Q2; he will start 18th. Others to drop out included the two Marussias, the two Caterhams and the two HRTs.

Q2 started with the rain intensity increasing steadily and Ferrari made a tactical error in sending out Alonso and Massa on inters whereas the conditions warranted full wets and that decision could have affected them if it were not for the session being red flagged with six minutes left – both of them were in the drop zone. The unrelenting rain continued for a further hour or so as the drivers and the teams waited it out.

When the session restarted, everyone was out on full wets except the Sauber team and they paid for it and failed to make the cut for Q3. Alonso was in the drop zone as the session ended but he was still on his flying lap and despite having had to slow down for yellow flags caused due to Grosjean beaching his Renault, he made it into Q3. The ones to miss out were the two Saubers, the two Toro Rossos alongside Nico Rosberg, Bruno Senna & Paul di Resta.

Though the track was drying out in Q3, there still was the threat of further rain incoming but within the ten minutes of the session, inters were fitted on and fastest laps traded. At the end of it all, Alonso came up with the quickest time, just shading Mark Webber’s. This puts the Spaniard in pole position for Sunday’s race but with further rain forecast, it could be anybody’s game.

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