Sebastian Vettel has claimed an emotional pole position for his home grand prix, and managed to deprive Fernando Alonso of his first pole position for Ferrari by the tiniest of margins – just 0.002 seconds!
Ferrari’s improved form was shown with its most competitive showing in qualifying since the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa lining up for tomorrow’s race from third place, ahead of the British Grand Prix race-winner Mark Webber, who will start from fourth.
Disappointingly for the home fans, Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil failed to make the Q3 qualifying cut, but Nico Hülkenberg managed to join Vettel and Nico Rosberg in representing Germany in the final stage of qualifying.
Alonso had looked a certain contender for pole position when he topped the timesheets in the opening and second phases of the qualifying session, and then led the reckoning in the early stages of the final proceedings.
But Vettel managed to scrape together a decent lap in order to eke back the couple of tenths required to depose Alonso, and he did so with an impressive 1:13.791, which Alonso was unable to surpass after a tiny mistake in the final sector of his last hot lap.
After the top-four, McLaren occupies the third row, but this team it is Jenson Button who managed a rare appearance ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the grid.
Robert Kubica – despite fears that Renault would struggle this weekend – will start from seventh place on the grid, lining up ahead of the impressive Rubens Barrichello.
The final rowo of the top-ten will be made up of Nico Rosberg and Nico Hülkenberg, but Mercedes GP will be incredibly disappointed with another poor qualifying effort ,particularly given that their latest poor effort has occurred on home soil as well…
F1 returnee Michael Schumacher suffered another Q2 exit, although he was just 0.008 seconds slower than team-mate Rosberg at the end of the Q2 session, indicating just how closely fought the entire session was at the sharp end of the field.
For Force India, the weekend seems to have gone belly-up after Adrian Sutil’s heroics in the opening practice session that saw him continue his mastery of changeable conditions. Sadly, a gearbox change penalty puts paid to a rather lowly 14th-placed qualifying result, but it is more than can be said for team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi, who crashed heavily in the opening minutes of Q1.
The Italian ran wide onto the damp Astroturf exiting the final corner, and the sudden loss of grip was enough to pitch the man from Locorotondo straight into the pit wall at high speed, scattering debris across the start-finish straight and plucking a front wheel from his VJM01. Fortunately he emerged from the wreck unaided and uninjured, but the session was momentarily red-flagged while the mess was cleaned up.
Lotus yet again finished quickest of ‘Division 2’, with Jarno Trulli hustling his car around the Hockenheimring a little quicker than team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, although Timo Glock did have their early measure in Q1 until a mechanical issue reared its head in the Virgin Cosworth. Glock’s team-mate Lucas di Grassi was unable to take part at all in qualifying with gearbox problems.
2010 German GP Qualifying Times:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing||1:15.152||1:14.249||1:13.791|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||1:15.334||1:14.340||1:14.347|
|9.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||1:16.178||1:15.018||1:15.179|
|11.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||1:16.084||1:15.026|
|14.||Adrian Sutil*||Force India||1:16.220||1:15.467|
|15.||Pedro de la Rosa||Sauber||1:16.450||1:15.550|
|16.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:16.664||1:15.588|
|17.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:16.029||1:15.974|
|20.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||1:18.343|
|22.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India||1:18.952|
|24.||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin Racing||no time|
* Denotes 5-place grid penalty will be applied for a gearbox change before qualifying.
[Original image via GP Update]