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Qualifying - Hulkenberg rises to the challenge 06 Nov 2010

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams (Centre) celebrates his first pole position in parc ferme with second placed Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing (Left) and third placed Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing (Right).
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 6 November 2010 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 6 November 2010 Jarno Trulli (ITA) Lotus T127 makes a practice start on the grid at the end of the third practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 6 November 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 6 November 2010 Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 6 November 2010

Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg stunned the Formula One fraternity in the changeable conditions at Interlagos on Saturday afternoon as he fought and beat the Red Bulls, Ferraris and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren to take pole position for Williams.

As the weather showed signs of improving for Q3, the question arose whether anyone might get around to a run on slicks… Sure enough, after Hamilton set the pace with 1m 17.212s on intermediate Bridgestones ahead of Schumacher, Vettel, Alonso and Webber, they ventured out on slicks for their final runs.

Hulkenberg was fast all through, and pasted everyone with a final lap of 1m 14.470s to put pole well beyond doubt. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber crucially start second and third for Red Bull, in 1m 15.519s and 1m 15.637s respectively, and with Hamilton fourth on 1m 15.747s, Fernando Alonso is only fifth for Ferrari on 1m 15.989s.

Rubens Barrichello put the second Williams sixth with 1m 16.203s ahead of Renault’s Robert Kubica on 1m 16.552s, Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher on 1m 16.925s, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa on 1m 17.101s and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov on 1m 17.656s. It was the qualifying session of the year!

The rain held off for Q2, in which Webber was fastest in 1m 18.516s as a tremendous scrap finally weeded out McLaren’s Jenson Button on 1m 19.288s as Massa’s 1m 19.200s in the final seconds bumped the reigning champion. Behind the McLaren, BMW Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi was 12th on 1m 19.385s from Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes on 1m 19.486s, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rossos on 1m 19.581s and 1m 19.847s apiece, Nick Heidfeld in the second BMW Sauber on 1m 19.899s and Tonio Liuzzi in 1m 20.357s for Force India.

Heavy rain was expected soon after the start of Q1, so the session was a major league shoot-out as everyone went for times on the intermediate Bridgestones while light rain fell. As Alonso set the pace with 1m 18.987s from Webber and Vettel (1m 19.025s and 1m 19.160s), Adrian Sutil failed to beat Force India team mate Tonio Liuzzi and thus had to settle for 18th on 1m 20.830s to the Italian’s 1m 20.592s.

Joining the German among the first fallers were Timo Glock, who was the fastest of the new team runners for Virgin on 1m 22.130s, then the Lotus duo of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen (1m 22.250s and 1m 22.378s) and Lucas di Grassi in the second Virgin on 1m 22.810s. At the back, Christian Klien beat HRT team mate Bruno Senna, 1m 23.083s to 1m 23.796s after the Brazilian spun.

With Buemi and Sutil both getting five-place penalties from Korea, the order from 15th downwards becomes: Heidfeld, Liuzzi; Glock, Trulli; Buemi, Kovalainen; Di Grassi, Sutil; Klien, Senna.

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