Alonso on pole
Brits struggle

Fernando Alonso took pole position for the British Grand Prix in a rain disputed qualifying session at Silverstone.

Much has been made in the media over recent days regarding the unseasonal spell of wet weather that have made the car parks unusable and forced organisers to turn away an estimated 20000 fans.

Q1 took place under wet conditions with the usual suspects, Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen in the Caterhams, Timo Glock in the Marussia, Pedro De La Rosa and Narian Kartikeyan in the Hispanias, and Charles Pic in the other Marussia taking up their usual places at the back of the grid.

The big shock from Q1 was the elimination of McLaren driver Jenson Button. Both McLaren drivers struggled with the intermediate tyres, and his best lap was ruined when Glock spun at Club and brought out yellow flags.

When Q2 started it was raining even harder, Perez was topping the session, while the Ferraris were struggling in fifteenth and sixteenth before Alonso was heard on the team radio that he felt the session should be red flagged.

Just over a minute later the session was red flagged, ensuring that we all had more than a hour to wait before action could resume.

When the session resumed most drivers went out on wet tyres, however Perez took the gamble to run on intermediates, and regretted it as he fell from first to last.

Controversy rained just as much as the weather in the final seconds of the session. After setting a time to secure his place in Q3 Romain Grosjean spun his Lotus into the gravel.

Behind him Alonso was in the drop zone and on a better lap. Rather than aborting the lap like Button had earlier he eased off and slightly reduced his speed while passing the incident, but the track conditions had improved so much it was still quick enough to get him into the top 10.

As a result Paul Di Resta India lost his place in Q3 and was joined in the elimination section by Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Bruno Senna, Jean-Eric Vergne and Perez.

By the time Q3 started intermediates were the correct tyre to be on. Lewis Hamilton made the mistake of going out on wets, and when he finally changed he has trouble getting heat into the tyres and struggled.

Pole appeared to be heading towards Mark Webber when he went 0.8 seconds clear of the field in the closing stages, but his time was pipped by Alonso as one of the last drivers to cross the line.

Michael Schumacher improved on his last lap to take third from Sebastien Vettel who will start fourth. Felipe Massa showed an improved performance to qualify fifth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Pastor Maldonado and Hamilton who was forced to settle for eighth. The top ten was rounded out by Nico Hulkenberg and Grosjean who could not run due to his Q2 spin.

That is not how the grid will line up as there are a few penalties to be imposed. Charles Pic and Nico Hulkenberg take five place penalties for gearbox changes, while Kamui Kobayashi and Jean Eric Vergne get five and ten place drops respecify due to incidents in Valencia.

Written: Sun, 08 Jul 2012 09:17:35

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