Hamilton holds off Lotus to take victory

Lewis Hamilton achieved his 19th career Grand Prix victory with a lights to flag win at the Hungaroring, holding off the Lotus’s of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

This was Hamilton’s third victory at the track and his second this season. Raikkonen’s impressive pace in the middle stint jumped him several track positions which was even more remarkable considering a technical issue with KERS. The Iceman recorded an excellent second position while his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean took third.

Hamilton led the majority of the Hungarian Grand Prix, but had a Lotus on his tail nearly all of the way.

Initially it was Romain Grosjean, who dismissed a strong challenge from Sebastian Vettel at the first corner, which allowed Jenson Button to then demote the Red Bull to fourth through Turns 2 and 3.

Button could not match Hamilton and Grosjean’s early pace, so the McLaren and Lotus pulled away in a two-car lead fight.

Hamilton had it under control, although Grosjean did apply some pressure for a while in the middle stint of their two-stop strategies when the Frenchman was on soft compound tyres and the Briton had medium Pirellis.

When Button made an early second of three stops, Vettel was free to start catching the leaders too, but in the end it was Raikkonen who was challenging Hamilton for the race win.

Raikkonen had been sixth in the opening stint, and then passed Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari in the first stops. His strong late-stint pace on a long run on soft compound Pirellis in his next stint then allowed the Iceman to lead for a spell and vault from fifth to second, firmly resisting team-mate Grosjean as he emerged from his final stop.

Hamilton and Raikkonen were then tied together until the chequered flag, but there was nothing the Lotus could do to pass the McLaren on this twisty circuit.

Grosjean held on to third place ahead of Vettel, who made a third pitstop without losing track position and charged back to attack the Lotus on fresh softs, to no avail.

Alonso calmly protected his championship lead on a difficult day for Ferrari, finishing fifth. For a while it looked like main title rival Mark Webber would trim a little from Alonso’s cushion. The Australian jumped from P11 to seventh on the opening lap, and then got ahead of Alonso at the second stops. But making a third tyre change cost Webber and he fell to eighth.

Button’s three-stop plan was also unsuccessful, as his second stop left him trapped behind Bruno Senna’s Williams. The 2009 world champion got back in front of the Brazilian in the final tyre changes then chased Alonso home in sixth.

Senna resisted Webber for seventh, delivering one of his best drives of the season on a day when his Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado lost ground at the start then received a drive-through penalty for barging into Paul di Resta’s Force India.

Felipe Massa was ninth while Nico Rosberg salvaged a point for Mercedes. As for Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion endured one of his most depressing races in Formula One. The Mercedes driver was left on the grid in an aborted initial start, joined the race from the pits, received a pitlane speeding penalty, and then retired from P18 late on.

Birthday boy Fernando Alonso still leads the championship with 164 points – forty ahead of Mark Webber followed by Sebastian Vettel and race winner Lewis Hamilton – as the sport heads into a summer break. The drivers and teams will re-group at the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit in a month’s time. After seven different winners in eleven races, the second half of the season will be fascinating.

Race results at the Hungaroring after 69 laps:
1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           1h41:05.503
2.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +1.032
3.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +10.518
4.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +11.614
5.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +26.653
6.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +30.243
7.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +33.899
8.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +34.458
9.  Massa         Ferrari                    +38.350
10.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +51.234
11.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +57.283
12.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1:02.887
13.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +1:03.606
14.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +1:04.494
15.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
16.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
17.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +1 lap
18.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +2 laps
19.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +2 laps
20.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +2 laps
21.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +3 laps
22.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +3 laps

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:24.136

Not classified/retirements:
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 63 laps
Schumacher    Mercedes                     61 laps

World Championship standings, round 11:

Drivers:
1.  Alonso       164
2.  Webber       124
3.  Vettel       122
4.  Hamilton     117
5.  Raikkonen    116
6.  Rosberg       77
7.  Grosjean      76
8.  Button        76
9.  Perez         47
10.  Kobayashi     33
11.  Maldonado     29
12.  Schumacher    29
13.  Di Resta      27
14.  Massa         25
15.  Senna         24
16.  Hulkenberg    19
17.  Vergne         4
18.  Ricciardo      2

Constructors:
1.  Red Bull-Renault          246
2.  McLaren-Mercedes          193
3.  Lotus-Renault             192
4.  Ferrari                   189
5.  Mercedes                  106
6.  Sauber-Ferrari             80
7.  Williams-Renault           53
8.  Force India-Mercedes       46
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6

Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps. August 31-September 2.

Hamilton takes McLaren’s 150th pole position

Lewis Hamilton secured McLaren’s 150th pole position in Formula One with a dominant performance in qualifying at the Hungaroring.

The McLaren driver was completely in a different zone setting the quickest lap time throughout, and his two flying laps was good enough for his third pole position.

Hamilton’s margin over Romain Grosjean was more than four tenths of a second, which underlines his strong performance. As for Romain, this was his best qualifying result this season for Lotus.

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel threatened to disrupt Hamilton’s momentum late on in Q3, only to lose time in the final sector. Despite this, Sebastian will start the Hungarian Grand Prix in third, alongside Jenson Button’s McLaren.

Kimi Raikkonen lines up fifth on the grid alongside championship leader Fernando Alonso, with Felipe Massa fractions away from out-qualifying his Ferrari team-mate for the first time this season.

Williams Pastor Maldonado, who appeared to be held up slightly behind Hamilton in Q3, qualified in eighth while making his first appearance in the session was Bruno Senna. The Brazilian did a great job to take ninth ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.

Senna’s Q2 lap meant Mark Webber was eliminated from the top-ten shootout. The Red Bull driver was unable to improve on his final run, leaving him only ninth with 60 seconds of the session to run. That became tenth when Hulkenberg came round, followed by Senna, which consigned Webber to an early exit as the flag fell.

Mercedes also endured a horrible qualifying, failing to break into Q3 with either car for the first time in 2012. Michael Schumacher was unable to recover from several wild moments and will start from P17, with Nico Rosberg four places ahead of him in P13.

The Silver Arrows pair were separated by the Sauber duo of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi and Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.

The latter had sparked a mad Q1 scramble when he switched onto soft Pirellis and jumped up to fourth place, forcing most of the field to adopt the same tyre strategy.

As the laps played out Red Bull Racing appeared to be in trouble but the team was ultimately able to tell both drivers to ease off as the scrap for the final Q2 place boiled down to Kobayashi and the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian eventually losing out.

However, Ricciardo will start ahead of the Caterhams of Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov, with the Finn almost six tenths clear of his team-mate.

A further second down the road were the Marussia’s Charles Pic meanwhile got the best of team-mate Timo Glock, the duo starting ahead of the HRTs of Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan.

Qualifying positions for the Hungarian Grand Prix:

1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m20.953s
2.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m21.366s
3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m21.416s
4.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m21.583s
5.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m21.730s
6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m21.844s
7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m21.900s
8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m21.939s
9.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m22.343s
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m22.847s
11.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m21.715s
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m21.813s
13.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m21.895s
14.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m21.895s
15.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m22.300s
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m22.380s
17.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m22.723s
18.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m23.250s
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m23.576s
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m24.167s
21.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m25.244s
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m25.476s
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m25.916s
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m26.178s

107 per cent time: 1m27.519s

Alonso fends off Vettel and Button to win in Germany

Fernando Alonso extends his championship lead after resisting huge pressure from Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button to win his third race of the season following a great drive at Hockenheim.

The Spaniard never had a huge lead in his Ferrari, but did enough to keep the chasing Red Bull and McLaren at bay.

In the end Alonso was helped by Vettel and Button battling to the finish, their duel finally settled by a penultimate-lap pass from the Red Bull.

Although the overtaking manoeuvre by Vettel means he could face a post-race penalty. The Red Bull gained track position over the McLaren despite all four wheels off the circuit.

Alonso’s victory means he now extends his championship lead to 34 points, as Silverstone winner Mark Webber finished a disappointing eighth.

In a similar scenario to the previous Grand Prix in Britain, Alonso spent the race under increasing pressure.

The Ferrari established a slight cushion over Vettel’s Red Bull in the opening stint on the soft tyres, and then came under greater threat once they changed to medium Pirellis at the first pitstops.

By that time Button was also in the fight. The 2009 champion overtook Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg early on, then closed in on the top two, gaining some ground when his team-mate Lewis Hamilton – who had been delayed with an early puncture – unlapped himself from Vettel.

Stopping a lap earlier than the defending champion at the final pitstop then allowed Button to sweep into second position. He resisted Vettel’s attempted retaliation at the hairpin, and then set off after Alonso.

But in the closing laps it was Button who was under pressure as Vettel attacked. The Red Bull went down the outside into the hairpin with a lap to go and used the run-off area on the exit to complete a pass then did not impress Button, although the McLaren driver still claimed his first podium since April’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Hours after the race, the stewards have decided to penalise Sebastian Vettel by twenty seconds on his ‘off-track’ manoeuvre. The German drops down to fifth while Jenson Button takes second position with Kimi Raikkonen completing the podium for Lotus.

Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Lotus, while the Saubers showed great race pace and tyre life with Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez coming through to fifth and sixth from their midfield grid slots.

Perez held on despite late pressure from Schumacher’s Mercedes, which was running a three-stop strategy and charging back on fresh soft tyres.

Webber never featured near the front and finished eighth, just ahead of Hulkenberg. The Force India driver drifted down the order as the race progressed, with his team-mate Paul di Resta ending up behind Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes in P11. Rosberg stopped three times in the pits and managed to make up lost ground well after his practice and qualifying dramas.

And Lewis Hamilton? His 100th race was a disaster as he cut his left-rear tyre on some of the Massa/Ricciardo debris on the third lap and dropped to the back of the field.

The McLaren eventually retired, while fellow early pit visitors Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean kept racing and got back to P12, P17 and P18 respectively.

Also in trouble was Senna’s Williams team-mate Pastor Maldonado, who appeared to be suffering high tyre wear as he slumped to P15.

The result puts Alonso even further ahead in the title chase with 154 points to Webber’s 120, and Vettel is closing on his team mate with 118. Raikkonen takes fourth from Hamilton, 95 to 92, with Rosberg sixth on 76 and Button seventh on 65. In the constructors’ stakes, Red Bull have 238 points to Ferrari’s 177, McLaren’s 157 and Lotus’s 156.

German Grand Prix race results, 67 laps:

1.  Alonso        Ferrari                    1h31:05.862
2.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +6.949
3.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +16.409
4.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +21.925
5.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +23.732*
6.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +27.896
7.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +28.960
8.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +46.900
9.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +48.162
10.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +48.889
11.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +59.227
12.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1:11.428
13.  Massa         Ferrari                    +1:16.829
14.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1:16.965
15.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +1 lap
16.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +1 lap
17.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +1 lap
18.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
19.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +2 laps
20.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +2 laps
21.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +3 laps
22.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +3 laps
23.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +3 laps

*Twenty-second penalty for overtaking Jenson Button off the circuit.

Fastest lap: Schumacher, 1:18.275

Not classified/retirements:

Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             58 laps

World Championship standings, round 10:

Drivers:
1.  Alonso       154
2.  Webber       120
3.  Vettel       110
4.  Raikkonen     98
5.  Hamilton      92
6.  Rosberg       76
7.  Button        68
8.  Grosjean      61
9.  Perez         47
10.  Kobayashi     33
11.  Maldonado     29
12.  Schumacher    29
13.  Di Resta      27
14.  Massa         23
15.  Hulkenberg    19
16.  Senna         18
17.  Vergne         4
18.  Ricciardo      2

Constructors:
1.  Red Bull-Renault          230
2.  Ferrari                   177
3.  McLaren-Mercedes          160
4.  Lotus-Renault             159
5.  Mercedes                  105
6.  Sauber-Ferrari             80
7.  Williams-Renault           47
8.  Force India-Mercedes       46
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6

Next race: Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring. July 27-29.

Alonso secures second pole in succession in rain-hit qualifying

Championship leader Fernando Alonso earned his twenty-first pole position in Formula One with a superb performance during a tricky wet qualifying session at Hockenheim.

This was the Spaniard’s second straight pole following similar wet conditions at Silverstone. The last-minute scramble to cross the finishing line with the quickest lap time made the top ten shootout really exciting.

The Red Bulls qualified in second and third with home crowd favourite Sebastian Vettel ahead of team-mate Mark Webber, although the latter will drop five places on the grid due to a penalty for a gearbox change.

This promotes Michael Schumacher up a position. The seven-time world champion was on provisional pole for a while before ending up fourth quickest for Mercedes.

Three of the top four positions on the grid will go to German drivers, as Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg delivered a spectacular fifth-fastest time to give himself a Formula One career-best starting slot on row two. His team-mate Paul di Resta also reached Q3 and will start ninth.

Pastor Maldonado completed the top six for Williams, ahead of the McLarens. Jenson Button was quicker than Lewis Hamilton, as the 2009 champion delivered his best qualifying performance since Bahrain.

Kimi Raikkonen was the final Q3 qualifier and rounds off the top ten for Lotus.

The rain had arrived just before Q2 began, leading to a scramble to get a fast time in on the one or two laps that were always going to be the quickest of the session.

Among those who missed out were two of the drivers with five-place gearbox change penalties: Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg. The pair will start in P15 and P17 respectively.

Felipe Massa slid off the wet surface on his first Q2 lap before rejoining right in front of his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. Despite being blocked, this did not stop Fernando reaching Q3, and yet Felipe’s error consigned him to P14.

Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo almost made it into the top ten as the rain he wanted arrived, missing the Q3 cut by just 0.06 seconds. Also out in Q2 were the Saubers and Bruno Senna’s Williams.

The first qualifying session was fully dry and fairly predictable, although Schumacher, Button and Webber all cut it a little close in either timing or pace terms.

In the event, the eliminated midfielder was Jean-Eric Vergne for the sixth time in his nine Grands Prix.

Heikki Kovalainen was nearly a second fastest than Caterham team-mate Vitaly Petrov, while Timo Glock found himself outqualified on his home ground by Marussia team-mate Charles Pic, despite the rookie’s lack of practice mileage.

Sunday’s race should take place in the dry conditions and despite the grid penalties applied to three drivers, overtaking at Hockenheim is possible thanks to the long straights.

And yet all eyes will be focused at the front with championship leader Alonso and home crowd favourite Vettel on row one. Can Sebastian finally take his first win in Germany or will Fernando earn his third win, extending his title lead? We will find out on race day.

Qualifying times from Hockenheim:

1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m40.621s
2.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m41.026s
3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m42.459s
4.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m43.501s
5.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m43.950s
6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m44.113s
7.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m44.186s
8.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m41.496s*
9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m44.889s
10.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m45.811s
11.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m39.789s
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m39.985s
13.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m40.212s
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m40.752s
15.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.741s
16.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m17.620s
17.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m39.933s**
18.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m18.531s
19.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m40.574s*
20.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m19.220s
21.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m41.551s*
22.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m19.291s
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m19.912s
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m20.230s

*Five-place grid penalty for gearbox change.
**Five-place grid penalty for impeding Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen during qualifying.

107 per cent time: 1m20.991s

Webber charges through to take victory at Silverstone

Mark Webber scored his second Silverstone victory after chasing down and passing Fernando Alonso in a final few laps in a dramatic and completely dry British Grand Prix.

By winning the race, the Australian has reduced Alonso’s lead in the championship to 13 points.

Sebastian Vettel completed the podium and almost managed to make it a Red Bull one-two as he gained on Alonso’s tyre-troubled car at the end.

Alonso pulled out a five-second lead over Webber in the first stint and maintained it for the majority of the race.

But while most of the field used soft tyres early then switched to the harder compound, Alonso waited until his final stint to try the softs, and could not keep up his previous pace.

Webber caught up rapidly and was on the Ferrari’s rear wing with seven laps to go, trying several moves before deploying his DRS on the run towards Brooklands on lap 48 out of 52.

Alonso defended the inside and yet Webber went around the outside, and after attempting to retaliate at Luffield, the Spaniard had to let the Australian go and concentrate on staying clear of Vettel.

The defending world champion had run fifth in the opening stint before a slightly early first stop helped him jump to third, unable to catch Alonso in the end.

Felipe Massa spent the opening laps trying ever-more creative attempts to overtake Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes for third, finally managing at Stowe on lap 11. The Ferrari lost out to Vettel in the following pit sequence, and then resisted the fast-closing Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen to take fourth.

Lotus managed to get both cars in the top six despite Romain Grosjean breaking his front wing in a brush with Paul di Resta on the opening lap. The resulting puncture and associated damage ended the Force India’s race, while Grosjean charged back from last to sixth.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button could only finish eighth and tenth in the McLarens. Hamilton had his moment in the lead and enjoyed a spirited dice with Alonso as he ran a very long first stint on hards, but then did just a handful of laps on softs before switching back to harder Pirellis. Hamilton’s pace then faded and he lost seventh place to Schumacher late on.

Although Button jumped to P12 at the start, his progress was less dramatic thereafter. In the closing laps he was in the thick of an epic dice for ninth with Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg, won by the Williams. Force India’s Hulkenberg ran wide at Copse in the heat of battle and dropped out of the points.

The other major incident of the race involved Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez. Running seventh and ninth in the first stint, they pitted together on lap 11 but then collided at Brooklands on their out-laps. The furious Perez sustained terminal damage to his Sauber, while Maldonado dragged his Williams back to the pits for repairs and finished P16.

Completing a nightmare race for Sauber, Kamui Kobayashi hit several mechanics at his final stop. At least there were no serious injuries and the Japanese driver was able to continue to finish in P11.

Nico Rosberg had a less dramatic bad pitstop during what was already a low-key midfield race, which ended with his Mercedes P15.

British Grand Prix, race results after 52 laps:

1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1h25:11.288
2. Alonso Ferrari +3.060
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault +4.836
4. Massa Ferrari +9.519
5. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault +10.314
6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault +17.101
7. Schumacher Mercedes +29.153
8. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes +36.463
9. Senna Williams-Renault +43.347
10. Button McLaren-Mercedes +44.444
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +45.370
12. Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes +47.856
13. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari +51.241
14. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +53.313
15. Rosberg Mercedes +57.394
16. Maldonado Williams-Renault +1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault +1 lap
18. Glock Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
19. Pic Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
20. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth +2 laps
21. Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth +2 laps

Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:34.661

Not classified/retirements:

Perez Sauber-Ferrari 14 laps
Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 3 laps
Petrov Caterham-Renault 1 lap

World Championship standings, round 9:

Drivers:
1. Alonso 129
2. Webber 116
3. Vettel 100
4. Hamilton 92
5. Raikkonen 83
6. Rosberg 75
7. Grosjean 61
8. Button 50
9. Perez 39
10. Maldonado 29
11. Di Resta 27
12. Schumacher 23
13. Massa 23
14. Kobayashi 21
15. Senna 18
16. Hulkenberg 17
17. Vergne 4
18. Ricciardo 2

Constructors:
1. Red Bull-Renault 216
2. Ferrari 152
3. Lotus-Renault 144
4. McLaren-Mercedes 142
5. Mercedes 98
6. Sauber-Ferrari 60
7. Williams-Renault 47
8. Force India-Mercedes 44
9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6

Next race: German Grand Prix, Hockenheim. July 20-22.

Alonso on pole position after rain-delayed session at Silverstone

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso claimed his first pole position since the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix after surviving a spin and a yellow flag incident in a wet and heavy delayed qualifying session at Silverstone.

The session was interrupted for over an hour and a half when the level of standing water became impossible to handle. By the time it resumed, conditions were much improved, and although full wets were still the best choice for the remaining six minutes of Q2, intermediates were the way to go in the pole shoot-out.

Mark Webber looked to be in good shape as he put himself 0.8 seconds clear of the pack with a time of one minute, 51.793 seconds in the closing minutes, only for Alonso to pip it by 0.047 seconds. Webber’s reply was not quite fast enough and he had to be content with second position.

Germany’s two Formula One world champions will share row two with Michael Schumacher ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The Mercedes driver produced one of his best qualifying efforts to take third ahead of the Red Bull of Vettel.

Scuderia managed to got both its cars in the top five with Felipe Massa in fifth.

Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus starts alongside the Brazilian, with Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado next up for Williams.

Lewis Hamilton was the best-placed British driver on the grid with eighth for McLaren. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth but will lose five places due to a gearbox change on his Force India.

Romain Grosjean qualified for Q3 only to the spin into the gravel at Vale at the end of Q2. The Lotus driver had to sit out Q3 and settle for tenth.

Inevitably there were some midfield upsets in the rain. Nico Rosberg was third at the red flag but tumbled to P13 after the restart while Sergio Perez dropped even further. The Sauber driver was the fastest before the stoppage, but his choice of intermediates proved too ambitious and he dropped down to tumbled to P17.

And yet the biggest story from Q1 was yet another Silverstone disappointment for Jenson Button. The McLaren driver could do no better than P18, and his hopes to get through on his final lap was dashed by yet more rain arriving in the third sector plus yellow flags for Timo Glock’s spun Marussia on the exit of Club.

Hamilton was the only home driver in the top ten, Force India’s Paul di Resta being edged out of a Q3 place by Alonso in the closing moments, leaving the Scot in P11.

Qualifying positions, Silverstone:

1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m51.746s
2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m51.793s
3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m52.020s
4.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m52.199s
5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m53.065s
6.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m53.290s
7.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m53.539s
8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m53.543s
9.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m54.382s
10.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        no time
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m57.009s
12.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m57.071s
13.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m57.108s
14.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m57.132s
15.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m57.426s
16.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m57.719s
17.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m57.895s
18.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m48.044s
19.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m49.027s
20.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m49.477s
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m51.618s
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m52.742s
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m53.040s
24.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m54.143s

107 per cent time: 1m53.718s

Sous Vide Supreme

I like food. I like good food. My bathroom scales however thinks I should avoid food for while lol. Unfortunately my latest purchase bought in advance of my new kitchen is another food gadget.

What we are talking here is the latest food revolution for the home cook, Sous Vide. The French gave this name to the process of cooking “under vacuum”. Now to do the process and food a great dis-service it’s kind of like posh boil in the bag. Only it’s much, much better. Unlike boil in the bag food, where you just boil the thing to death, sous vide lets you cook just about anything in vacuum sealed bags but at precise temperatures, sometimes for up to 3 days!!

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