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