• Brazilian Grand Prix

Hulkenberg takes shock pole by over a second

ESPNF1 Staff
November 6, 2010 « Renault and Cosworth speak up over 2013 engines | »

Nico Hulkenberg took Williams' first pole position in five years with a remarkable lap on a drying Interlagos circuit during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The German rookie was in a different class and beat both Red Bulls to the top spot, with Sebastian Vettel his closest rival over a second behind. Mark Webber will line up third for Sunday's race, ahead of championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

The final part of qualifying started in the wet, with all the drivers opting to set a banker lap on intermediates. Midway through the session it became clear that the circuit was ready for slick tyres and the drivers flooded into the pits for a set of softs.

Hamilton, who had been quickest on intermediates, immediately set the pace on the drying line but Hulkenberg beat him with his first attempt. Initially it looked as though the lap times would tumble with each lap - and in Hulkenberg's case they did - but his rivals simply couldn't find the same level of grip and confidence on the patchy track.

The margin between Hulkenberg and Vettel was an incredible 1.049 seconds, with the four championship rivals behind separated by less than half a second behind. Hulkenberg's team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who initiated the swap to slick tyres, was sixth fastest ahead of Robert Kubica in seventh.

Michael Schumacher looked fast on the intermediates but couldn't hook up a lap in the dry and ended up eighth. Felipe Massa, who struggled to make the cut for Q3, was ninth ahead of Vitaly Pertov, who put in a decent performance for 10th.

Jenson Button's championship chances took another blow as he failed to make the final session and qualified 11th. He complained of handling problems throughout the session and struggled to get his reluctant McLaren to stick in the twisty middle sector.

Throughout Q2 drivers were faced with a dilemma between using a new set of intermediates or an old set, with the new tyres overheating. Kamui Kobayashi was 12th, ahead of Nico Rosberg in a disappointing 13th and Jaime Alguersuari in 14th. Sebastian Buemi qualified 15th but will drop five places once his penalty for taking Timo Glock out at the Korean Grand Prix has been imposed.

Adrian Sutil had his worse qualifying session of the season, dropping out in Q1 after being beaten by team-mate Tonio Liuzzi in a straight fight. Sutil will also drop five-places once his penalty from Korea has been imposed, meaning he will start from the back row of the grid alongside local driver Bruno Senna.