• British Grand Prix - Qualifying

Alonso snatches pole at wet Silverstone

ESPN Staff
July 7, 2012

Fernando Alonso took pole position for the British Grand Prix with a late lap in unpredictable conditions which led to a 90 minute delay in the session.

Alonso secured pole with his final lap in Q3 as the track continued to dry following an earlier downpour which had seen qualifying delayed mid-way through Q2. He usurped Mark Webber at the top, with Webber finished the session just 0.047s behind the Ferrari. Michael Schumacher displayed he hasn't lost his wet weather touch with third for Mercedes ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

The times were tumbling constantly in the final ten minutes with the session ending on intermediate tyres. A number of drivers held top spot but Alonso came through to take pole just as the rain started again, leaving Webber unable to improve.

Felipe Massa starts fifth having been trading fastest times with Alonso for much of the final session, and he'll be joined on the front row by Kimi Raikkonen. Pastor Maldonado was seventh ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with McLaren struggling in the conditions compared to its main rivals. Nico Hulkenberg ended Q3 ninth but will take a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, promoting Romain Grosjean who spun off in the closing stages of Q2 at Vale and did not take part in Q3 despite getting through.

The elongated Q2 session eventually finished with a six minute flurry of fast laps with drivers able to go faster than before the red flag on the full wet tyres. A good clean lap was crucial and in the end Paul di Resta, Kamui Kobayashi (who will face a five-place grid penalty), Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Bruno Senna, Jean-Eric Vergne (who will start from the back due to a ten-place grid penalty) and Sergio Perez failed to make the cut for Q3.

Jenson Button was the biggest name to drop out in Q1 as his Silverstone hoodoo struck again in the mixed conditions early on. With the south of the circuit dry and the north wet, Button struggled to hook up a quick lap when the track was at its best. He then took on another set of intermediates to try to improve, but the rain intensified in the final sector and he came across Timo Glock's Marussia broadside across the track.

His first two sectors were comfortably quick enough, but his final sector pace was nowhere near good enough due to the track conditions and not helped by waved yellows. The usual suspects dropped out with Button in Q1 with Vitaly Petrov leading the two Caterhams in 19th and 20th ahead of Glock, Pedro de la Rosa, Narain Karthikeyan and Charles Pic.

Romain Grosjean spins into the gravel © Sutton Images