Ferrari's Fernando Alonso takes pole position in a rain soaked qualifying for the FIA Formula One Grand Prix of Germany.
Alonso ran a 1m 40.621s, .405s faster than Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Red Bull's Mark Webber grabbed the third spot with a 1m 41.496s, .875s off the Ferrari.
Managing to take pole in such extreme conditions is really gratifying.
Alonso told the team and officials it was too wet to run in Q3, but he was able to grab his second pole in wet conditions in as many races.
"It’s something of a fight for survival: before anything else, you have to get to the end and then look at where you’ve finished. Then, when you hear on the radio that you’ve got pole, it is extremely satisfying, because there’s a feeling you really have given your all.
"Managing to take pole in such extreme conditions is really gratifying," Alonso said. "Tomorrow I expect that the strategies will be not be too different among the top teams, but with a good degree of flexibility. Looking at the championship, clearly I can’t be unhappy about the fact that two strong competitors like Hamilton and Webber start on the fourth row, but we know how quickly things can change. The start will be important, but not decisive, as we have 67 laps to get through."
Q1 was completely dry, but dark clouds loomed and thunder and lightning struck just as the session ended. As if on cue, rain began to fall as soon as Q2 began.
The first three laps were the fastest of q2. Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Lotus' Romain Grosjean could not lay down fast enough laps early on and were left out of q3.
"The rain seemed to come at the wrong time for me; it always was at its heaviest when I was trying to go for a quick lap," Grosjean said.
Q3 was almost in slow motion. Lap times were almost 30 seconds off the times set during Q1.
Drivers tip-toed, over- and under-steered and hydroplaned at every corner.
With three minutes to go in Q3 times started to fall as drivers developed confidence in their cars and the conditions. Alonso webber and Vettel had a last minute shootout but the Red Bulls could not catch the prancing horse of Alonso.
Vettel and two other Germans, Mercedes' Michael Schumacher and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, round out the top four starting positions, as Mark Webber will serve a five grid spot penalty for a gearbox change.
Vettel said the Red Bull had the pace for pole, but he was held up by his teammate on the final and fastest lap of the session.
"I think we had the pace today to put the car on pole, so we need to look at what Fernando did with his strategy," Vettel said. "But it can be a lottery when the weather’s like that and fortunately we didn’t lose the car, which is good and I’m starting on the front line tomorrow. We are being consistent at the moment, which is the key.”
Vettel will start on the inside line in tomorrow's race, and the Red Bull is typically fast right out the gate.
The forecast for tomorrow is dry, and anything can happen.
The McLarens are absent from the front of the grid for the start of the race, but they have turned more laps than anyone and are remarkably quick in the dry.
"In the wet we just struggled to get the tires working," Button said. "I'm surprised really to be in seventh."
"At the end I don't understand how they went that much quicker," Hamilton said. "It was like driving on ice for us."
Both Button and Hamilton stayed out in an attempt to reach faster times, while Alonso and Ferrari timed their stop perfectly. With a brand new set of wet tires Alonso made the charge. Button tried to react and get new tires, but it was too late to set a competitive time.
The winner of this race cannot be predicted. Three Germans are up front vying for a home victory. Schumacher is looking for redemption, and Germany has been elusive for Vettel. Hulkenberg needs to prove himself, and the McLaren drivers are going to push hard. However, Alonso looks to stretch his championship lead.