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Qualy: Alonso tops extended qualifying

Saturday 7th July 2012

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Qualy: Alonso tops extended qualifying

Qualy: Alonso tops extended qualifying

Fernando Alonso made a dramatic escape from Q2 to take pole position at the British GP by 0.047s ahead of Mark Webber.

Alonso was out of the top 10 in the dying seconds of Q2 but managed to improve his time despite passing the stranded Lotus of Romain Grosjean and waved double yellow flags. He then went on to score a similarly dramatic pole ahead of Mark Webber and a resurgent Michael Schumacher.

It was a Qualifying dominated by rain and a 90-minute delay after Q2 had to be abandoned because of the surface water accumulating on the Silverstone circuit with 6.19 of the session remaining. By that time jenson Button had already been eliminated after failing to get the front tyres of his McLaren to generate anyheat.

Qualifying Report
The final practice had been run in drying conditions, but just as the cars took to the circuit light rain started to fall and teams opted for multiple laps on intermediate tyres.

With the circuit potentially quickest at the beginning of the session, most cars were queued at the end of the pitlane to get track position. As Kimi Raikkonen was leaving the pits he was told that he had no KERS.

While drivers found the level of grip on the circuit there were many 'offs', Paul DiResta left the track at Becketts and rejoined in a hurry.

Kamui Kobayashi set the first time at 1:50.411, Michael Schumacher reduced that to a 1:49.935, Felipe Massa got it down to 1:49.568.

There was almost an incident between the two Lotus cars with Kimi Raikkonen trying to get past Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez in one corner and having to go up over the kerbs to avoid Grosjean's car.

Daniel Ricciardo took over on top with a 1:49.446, followed by Lewis Hamilton 1:49.175 and Massa again with a 1:48.499.

Kamui Kobayashi was the first to go into the 1:47s with a 1:47.840 just as Sergio Perez reported back that "the track is drying out big time". This was clear with the times falling rapidly.

Jean-Eric Vergne took over with a 1:47.705, then Maldonado with a 1:47.123 and then Kobayashi took times into the 1:46s with a 1:46.649. After that it was another Sauber at the top of the timesheets, Perez putting in a 1:46.494.

Maldonado edged that down to a 1:46.449, Hulkenberg to a 1:46.334 and then Sebastian Vettel with a 1:46.279.

Going into the final four minutes, despite the mixed conditions, the new teams were in the bottom six positions with the danger positions of 16.Vergne, 17.Rosberg, 18.Button.

The Saubers had attempted to come in for slicks but when they came back out, the light rain had increased and they were forced back in for more Inters. Jenson Button had struggled to get heat into his front tyres in the opening fifteen minutes and came in for another set of Inters that had been heated in the garage.

He was going 1.7 seconds quicker on his final lap but then Timo Glock spun his Marussia going across the finish line which made the final sector restricted by a yellow flag, which meant it was difficult to improve.

So out went: 18.Button, 19.Petrov, 20.Kovalainen, 21.Glock, 22.De la Rosa, 23.Karthikeyan, 24.Pic

Qualifying 2
The rain got heavier between sessions and as Q2 started there was again the traffic jam at the end of the pitlane to be out on track first. Most of the teams had opted to go for full wet tyres in Q2 but Williams and Ferrari opted for Inters.

Even on the outlap it was clear that this was the wrong choice and though Maldonado opted to set a time, the Ferraris came straight back in and changed to full wets. Both Ferraris were instantly involved in scary moments, Alonso lost control on the hangar straight and collected it just in time before he made contact with the wall. Massa spun his car off the track and as he rejoined he almost hit Alonso.

Jean-Eric Vergne set the first lap time at 2:00.82, bettered by Sergio Perez with a 1:59.092. Lewis Hamilton grabbed P2.

Michael Schumacher spun his car coming out of Copse, followed by a spin and a trip through the gravel at the exit of Club, followed by another excursion at Stowe. Despite now having the right tyres Alonso got on the radio and said they should red flag the session, deciding to speak English not Italian when he wanted Race Control to hear. Even Lewis Hamilton radioed back to say that it was too slippy. "I nearly just crashed with a Sauber."

With 6.19 of the session left to run the red flag came out followed by a delay of well over an hour. With the track swept and the rain stopped, the cars came back out at 15.07.

Before the break for rain the positions had been: 1.Perez, 2.Hamilton, 3.Rosberg, 4.Vergne, 5.Hulkenberg, 6.Kobayashi, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Webber, 9.Ricciardo, 10.Vettel

Maldonado was out first as the cars queued in the pitlane and although Kobayashi started on Inters he soon came back in for wets. Romain Grosjean was first to edge P1 down with a lap immediately two seconds quicker than Perez's initial P1, a 1:57.634

.

Schumacher took over at P1, followed by Webber and then Lewis Hamilton on top of the timesheets. Fernando Alonso was rapidly knocked down the order and was back in P12 when he tried to improve on his final lap. Just after he'd set two sectors Romain Grosjean dumped his Lotus in the gravel at the Brooklands complex spoiling anyone's final sector time as it brought out waved yellow flags

Paul DiResta had got up to P9, been demoted to P10, but Alonso pushed the Scot into P11 with an improved time, despite the waved yellows in the final sector. A dejected Grosjean had finished in P5 at the end of Q2 but he would have to watch his Lotus get dragged out of the gravel and take no further part.

So out went: 11.DiResta, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Rosberg, 14.Ricciardo, 15.Senna, 16.Vergne, 17.Perez.

Of those drivers - Perez, Rosberg, Vergne, Kobayashi and Ricciardo would have made it into Q3 if the times had been frozen at the Red Flag. There were still some questioning - particularly Paul Di Resta - how Alonso had set a faster time with double waved yellows in the final sector.

Qualifying 3
Going into Q3 it was only Pastor Maldonado who chose to sit at the end of the pitlane on a set of Intermediate tyres, the other eight cars followed him out once the green light had come on.

Felipe Massa set the first serious pole time with a 1:55.617 as the track began to dry and it became clear that Intermediate tyres were needed. Hamilton, Schumacher and Raikkonen had started on wets but Hamilton was soon back for Inters despite Schumacher setting provisional pole on wets with a 1:54.091. Michael followed suit.

Alonso reduced it to a 1:53.699 before Felipe Massa sliced a second off that time with a 1:53.549. Next time round Alonso took it down to 1:52.544

Mark Webber always excels at Silverstone and grabbed P1 with a 1:51.793 while his team-mate struggled. Hamilton, despite being quickest in Q2 was a long way back and not a contender for pole.

Into the final laps and Alonso went fastest in the first sector, Webber went even faster. Across the line they flashed and while Alonso improved to go P1, Mark could not. In the closing stages Michael Schumacher put his Mercedes into P3 while Vettel finally got a convincing lap together for P4 pushing Massa down to P5. Hamilton could only manage P8 behind Raikkonen in P6 and Maldonado in P7.

With rain expected during the race tomorrow, it looks like there might be many twists and turns before we get to the chequered flag.

FH

Times
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:51.746
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:51.793 0.047
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:52.020 0.274
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:52.199 0.453
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:53.065 1.319
6 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:53.290 1.544
7 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:53.539 1.793
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:53.543 1.797
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:54.382 2.636
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus
11 Paul di Resta Force India 1:57.009
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:57.071
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:57.108
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:57.132
15 Bruno Senna Williams 1:57.426
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:57.719
17 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:57.895
18 Jenson Button McLaren 1:48.044
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:49.027
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:49.477
21 Timo Glock Marussia 1:51.618
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:52.742
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:53.040
Charles Pic Marussia 1:54.143Qualifying 2
The rain got heavier between sessions and as Q2 started there was again the traffic jam at the end of the pitlane to be out on track first. Most of the teams had opted to go for full wet tyres in Q2 but Williams and Ferrari opted for Inters.

Even on the outlap it was clear that this was the wrong choice and though Maldonado opted to set a time, the Ferraris came straight back in and changed to full wets. Both Ferraris were instantly involved in scary moments, Alonso lost control on the hangar straight and collected it just in time before he made contact with the wall. Massa spun his car off the track and as he rejoined he almost hit Alonso.

Jean-Eric Vergne set the first lap time at 2:00.82, bettered by Sergio Perez with a 1:59.092. Lewis Hamilton grabbed P2.

Michael Schumacher spun his car coming out of Copse, followed by a spin and a trip through the gravel at the exit of Club, followed by another excursion at Stowe. Despite now having the right tyres Alonso got on the radio and said they should red flag the session, deciding to speak English not Italian when he wanted Race Control to hear. Even Lewis Hamilton radioed back to say that it was too slippy. "I nearly just crashed with a Sauber."

With 6.19 of the session left to run the red flag came out followed by a delay of over an hour. With the track swept and the rain stopped, the cars came back out at 15.07.

Before the break for rain the positions had been: 1.Perez, 2.Hamilton, 3.Rosberg, 4.Vergne, 5.Hulkenberg, 6.Kobayashi, 7.Raikkonen, 8.Webber, 9.Ricciardo, 10.Vettel

Maldonado was out first as the cars queued in the pitlane and although Kobayashi started on Inters he soon came back in for wets. Romain Grosjean was first to edge P1 down with a lap immediately two seconds quicker than Perez's initial P1, a 1:57.634

Schumacher took over at P1, followed by Webber and then Lewis Hamilton on top of the timesheets. Fernando Alonso was rapidly knocked down the order and was back in P12 when he tried to improve on his final lap. Just after he'd set two sectors Romain Grosjean dumped his Lotus in the gravel at the Brooklands complex spoiling anyone's final sector time as it brought out waved yellow flags

Paul DiResta had got up to P9, been demoted to P10, but Alonso pushed the Scot into P11 with an improved time, despite the waved yellows in the final sector. A dejected Grosjean had finished in P5 at the end of Q2 but he would have to watch hi Lotus get dragged out of the gravel and take no further part.

So out went: 11.DiResta, 12.Kobayashi, 13.Rosberg, 14.Ricciardo, 15.Senna, 16.Vergne, 17.Perez.

Of those drivers - Perez, Rosberg, Vergne, Kobayashi and Ricciardo would have made it into Q3 if the times had been frozen at the Red Flag. There were still some questioning - particularly Paul Di Resta - how Alonso had set a faster time with double waved yellows in the final sector.

Qualifying 3
Going into Q3 it was only pastor Maldonado who chose to sit at the end of the pitlane on a set of Intermediate tyres, the other eight cars followed him out once the green light had come on.

Felipe Massa set the first serious pole time with a 1:55.617 as the track began to dry and it became clear that Intermediate tyres were needed. Hamilton, Schumacher and Raikkonen had started on wets but Hamilton was soon back for Inters despite Schumacher setting provisional pole on wets with a 1:54.091

Alonso reduced it to a 1:53.699 before Felipe Massa sliced a second off that time with a 1:53.549. Next time round Alonso took it down to 1:52.544

Mark Webber always excels at Silverstone and grabbed P1 with a 1:51.793 while his team-mate struggled. Hamilton, despite being quickest in Q2 was a long way back and not a contender for pole.

Into the final laps and Alonso went fastest in the first sector, Webber went even faster. Across the line they flashed and while Alonso improved to go P1, Mark could not. In the closing stages Michael Schumacher put his Mercedes into P3 while Vettel finally got a convincing lap together for P4 pushing Massa down to P5. Hamilton could only manage P8 behind Raikkonen in P6 and Maldonado in P7.

With rain expected during the race tomorrow, it looks like there might be many twists and turns before we get to the chequered flag.

FH

Times
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:51.746
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:51.793 0.047
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:52.020 0.274
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:52.199 0.453
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:53.065 1.319
6 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:53.290 1.544
7 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:53.539 1.793
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:53.543 1.797
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:54.382 2.636
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus
11 Paul di Resta Force India 1:57.009
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:57.071
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:57.108
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:57.132
15 Bruno Senna Williams 1:57.426
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:57.719
17 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:57.895
18 Jenson Button McLaren 1:48.044
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:49.027
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:49.477
21 Timo Glock Marussia 1:51.618
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:52.742
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:53.040
Charles Pic Marussia 1:54.143

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