• German Grand Prix - Qualifying

Alonso secures pole at wet Hockenheim

ESPN Staff
July 21, 2012
As in Silverstone, the top three on the grid are the top three drivers in the championship © Getty Images
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Championship leader Fernando Alonso secured pole position for the German Grand Prix by displaying his skill in the wet for the second race running.

Alonso - on pole in similar conditions at Silverstone - was able to find more time than anyone else on full wet tyres and beat the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at a sodden Hockenheim. Michael Schumacher was fourth and Nico Hulkenberg fifth, with Webber's five-place grid penalty meaning Germans will start second, third and fourth at their home grand prix.

Pastor Maldonado was sixth as McLaren pair Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton again struggled in the wet. Button outqualified his team-mate for the first time this season, but neither timed their runs well and were the first to start their final laps as the track was improving.

Paul di Resta was ninth just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen as conditions saw a field spread of over five seconds during Q3.

The rain had first started to fall in the gap between Q1 and Q2, and Button was first out on intermediate tyres to try and make the most of the best track conditions. Some impressive wet weather driving saw Hamilton and Schumacher improve to occupy the first two places after the opening two laps, but then the rain intensified to the point where full wets were needed.

The tougher conditions prevented drivers from improving their lap times as Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean both ran off track through the gravel at turn 13. The result was some surprising names dropping out in the second session; Daniel Ricciardo was 11th ahead of both Saubers, and then Felipe Massa, Grosjean, Bruno Senna and Nico Rosberg also failed to make it in to the top ten.

The threatening rain meant all 24 drivers went straight out on track to try and get times in at the start of qualifying, making traffic a problem. In the end it was Jean-Eric Vergne who dropped out as Schumacher knocked him down to 18th by just 0.055s with his final flying lap. Vergne was ahead of the usual suspects, with Heikki Kovalainen ahead of Vitaly Petrov, Charles Pic outqualifying Timo Glock and Pedro de la Rosa once again beating his HRT team-mate Narain Karthikeyan.

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