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Qualifying analysis - Alonso reigns supreme 07 Jul 2012

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Helmet dryer for Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso signs autographs for the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Qualifying, Silverstone, England, Saturday, 7 July 2012

The wet weather that has been such a feature of this weekend at Silverstone continued to wreak havoc during qualifying on Saturday. Whilst McLaren seemed to struggle in the rain that delayed Q2 for over an hour, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso made the most of the conditions to take a well-deserved pole position, his and the team’s first of the season. We take a team-by-team look at how all the runners performed…

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 51.746s, P1
Felipe Massa, 1m 53.065s, P5

Alonso had an adventurous day which included a spin at Club in FP3, then only just scraping through Q2. He looked quick under the Grosjean yellows at Vale, but was able to prove that his time in sector three was not faster than his previous best. Massa had a major spin in the first part of Q2 and was very lucky not to be hit as he rejoined. But overall this was a great afternoon for the Prancing Horse, with their first pole since Singapore 2010 and fifth place too.

Red Bull
Mark Webber, 1m 51.793s, P2
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 52.199s, P4

Webber was right in the thick of the fight for pole and was philosophical when he lost out by five-hundredths of a second to Alonso. Vettel for once was overshadowed by his team mate and said that he just had a tough day. Red Bull, however, look very strong for the race, and second and fourth on the grid hardly counts as a disaster.

Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, 1m 52.020s, P3
Nico Rosberg, 1m 57.108s, P13, will start P11

Schumacher had a major spin in Becketts in Q2 when his Mercedes aquaplaned, and he blamed that on having the wrong visor without anti-fog. But he got a second chance with the restart and did a great job to take third on the grid. Rosberg, however, went off at Vale in Q2 and said he was surprised not to be quick as he had done better in similar conditions yesterday.

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 53.290s, P6
Romain Grosjean, No Q3 time, P10, will start P9

Raikkonen had no KERS but still pulled a strong lap out of the bag to go sixth in Q3, which was a pretty good effort. He thought that with a better tyre choice, which would have given him more than a lap on the intermediates, he could have done better still. Grosjean was a little fortunate to make it through to Q3 after spinning and beaching himself at Vale. His mistake simply showed how easy it was to get caught out by the changing conditions.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 53.539s, P7
Bruno Senna, 1m 57.426s, P15, will start P13

Maldonado was again strong and qualified a solid seventh, just ahead of Valencia Nemesis Hamilton. Senna was going well in conditions he enjoys, but lost his shot at Q3 because of the yellow flags for Grosjean’s spin at Vale.

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 53.543s, P8
Jenson Button, 1m 48.044s, P18, will start P16

This was a deeply disappointing qualifying for McLaren. Button just didn’t get the front tyre temperatures he needed and failed to get through Q1. Hamilton dominated the restarted Q2 comfortably on full wets and made the right choice of intermediates for Q3, but also ran into tyre heating problems that robbed his MP4-27 of grip and he had to be satisfied with eighth.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 54.382s, P9, will start P14
Paul di Resta, 1m 57.009s, P11, will start P10

Hulkenberg did a fine job and was unlucky to drop from ninth to 14th because of the gearbox he had changed before FP3. Di Resta said his VJM-05 had zero grip in the super-slippery conditions that pertained at the end of Q2, after he had gambled on a dry set-up which made it too stiff. He was bumped from Q3 right at the end by Alonso. He will start P10, however, after his team mate’s penalty.

Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 57.071s, P12, will start P17
Sergio Perez 1m 57.895s, P17, will start P15

Sauber felt robbed. Having started Q1 on intermediates they bravely tried dries but soon discovered that was a mistake. But Perez and Kobayashi were fourth and seventh. After the first part of Q2 they were first and sixth. But then they tried inters again at the restart and that was too optimistic. Perez was thus 17th, until Kobayashi’s five-place penalty from Valencia was applied, which dropped him to 17th and, allied to Vergne’s penalty, promoted Perez to 15th.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 57.132s, P14, will start P12
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 57.719s, P16, will start P23

Ricciardo lost his best lap in Q2 after Grosjean’s spin, but is very optimistic if the race is wet. Vergne was fourth at the time of the stoppage, but couldn’t repeat that pace at the restart, and in any case was penalised 10 places because of his clash in Valencia with Kovalainen.

Caterham
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 49.027s, P19, will start P18
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 49.477s, P20, will start P19

Caterham had a disappointing day after the promise shown by their new package yesterday. Petrov said he was almost happy and felt that the upgrades were beginning to pay off, but Kovalainen said that he couldn’t quite get his lap together as the conditions worsened at the end of Q1 just when it had seemed dries might be worth a punt.

Marussia
Timo Glock, 1m 51.618s, P21, will start P20
Charles Pic, 1m 54.143s, P24

Glock was entertaining ideas of Q2 on his final lap on Q1, but then saw a wall of rain in the Hangar Straight and eventually spun exiting Club and ended up just short of the pit wall. Pic reported a very disappointing day, with fuel pick-up and electrical problems in the morning which required a gearbox change and thus incurred a penalty of five grid places. It ultimately made little difference to his grid position, as he finished Q1 last. He was the only driver not to meet the 107% requirement, but has been granted permission from the stewards to race.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 52.742s, P22, will start P21
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 53.040s, P23, will start P22

Both drivers said what everyone else did - that it was a lottery and that it was almost impossible in the changing conditions to know what lay beyond each corner.

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