The bad weather returned for qualifying for the British Grand Prix, which takes place tomorrow at Silverstone.
The rain got heavier throughout the first two sessions, with everyone running intermediate tyres and then extremes, before Q2 was red flagged when the conditions became too bad to continue.
With just over 6 minutes remaining, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were fifteenth and sixteenth respectively. After a 90 minute break the weather showed signs of improving and the race director restarted the session. The two Ferrari men were straight back out on track, making it to Q3 with two good laps on Extremes, in almost nil visibility.
At the end of the session another magic performance from Fernando Alonso saw the Spaniard quickest in 1.51.746, thus putting the Ferrari on pole.
Felipe Massa also did very well, who was in the hunt for the front rows eventually finishing fifth in 1.53.065. Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel filled the three spaces between the two F2012s.
Fernando Alonso - Grid 1
First of all I want to dedicate this pole to Maria de Villota, who is going through a particularly difficult time. We are all feeling sad these days and our thoughts are with her and her family. Pole was a surprise, because in conditions like these, you never know what can happen. This morning, in the dry, the car was very good, but in the wet it could all be different, even if the F2012 has shown thats its not bad in the rain, if one thinks of Malaysia and the Mugello test. This afternoon, one had to be in the right place at the right time on the right tyres and, to succeed in that, you also needed a bit of luck. For once it came our way, as with the spin at the start of Q2 and when I managed to get through into Q3 by a hairs breadth after the interruption: in the end, I had a car ahead of me and the visibility was really poor and then there were yellow flags at the last corner, but in the end I managed to get through to the next stage. Todays pole is important, even if we know it came to us in unusual conditions. We still need to get one in the dry to be able to say we have closed the gap to the best. Im hoping for a boring race tomorrow, given that for once Im starting in front of everyone.
Felipe Massa - Grid 5
Its a nice result for the team, mainly because, when the red flag came out, both myself and Fernando were out of Q3. We did a good job at the restart in the last few laps of Q2 and then, in Q3 we were always in the fight for pole position, but I was losing time right at the very last corner, as I was locking the rear wheels. All the same, I am pleased with fifth place. I think I will be competitive tomorrow, especially as the car is going well on this type of track. From Canada onwards, the F2012 has improved a lot and the results are clear to see. I think that the stoppage in Q2 was the right decision, even if it could have maybe come a bit sooner: it was incredible how much aquaplaning there was on the main straight at that time. Then Race Control did a great job in making sure the track was in a practicable condition, which meant the spectators were able to see a spectacle that must have lived up to their enthusiasm. For we drivers, the break was boring, but for everyone in the grandstands, it was even worse, given how hard the rain was falling!
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis directorIt was a long and tense session. The final outcome is really great because we have not been on pole for a long time, but there was a long period, after the red flag, during which we feared the worse. It goes to show how, especially in such an evenly matched season as this one, in Formula 1 things can change very quickly. Both our drivers did a great job in very difficult driving conditions. Its pointless discussing if we managed things as well as we could: we will calmly analyse the evolution of the three sessions to see where we need to improve. However, now we must only think about tomorrows race, which looks like being very unpredictable from every point of view, starting with the weather. This morning, in the dry, we saw that the F2012 is reasonably competitive, but also that the opposition is very strong. We will try and do our best, as usual. Clearly, when defining the strategies and how they will evolve during the race, the weather will play a key role.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principalThe points are only given out on Sunday and we always keep that in mindObviously, we are happy today because its been a long time, too long, that we have not had one of our drivers on pole position, but we must not get carried away now, quite the contrary. We must concentrate even more on our work because, once again, this afternoon, we saw how things can change literally from one minute to the next. Fernando was extraordinary and Felipe also did a great job: its our best qualifying of the year and we must try and make the most of it in tomorrows race. The weather forecast is rather uncertain, so we will have to be on high alert, ready to react to the slightest change. So many times this year, we have seen that grid positions have not proved decisive when it comes to the final result: lets hope that, tomorrow at least, it will play an important role.
Silverston GP Qualifying times
Q31. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m51.746s 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m51.793s + 0.047 3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m52.020s + 0.274 4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m52.199s + 0.453 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m53.065s + 1.319 6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m53.290s + 1.544 7. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m53.539s + 1.793 8. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m53.543s + 1.797 9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m54.382s + 2.636 10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault did not take part
Q2 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m57.009s + 2.11212. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m57.071s + 2.17413. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m57.108s + 2.21114. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m57.132s + 2.23515. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m57.426s + 2.52916. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m57.719s + 2.82217. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m57.895s + 2.998Q1 18. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.044s + 1.76519. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m49.027s + 2.74820. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m49.477s + 3.19821. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m51.618s + 5.33922. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m52.742s + 6.46323. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m53.040s + 6.76124. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m54.143s + 7.864