Spaniard Blitzes the Germans

Fernando Alonso took his second pole of the season, following hot on the heels of his pole in wet conditions at Silverstone two weeks ago.  Ironically, it was in very similar circumstances that he found himself yet again on the top step of the podium come the end of Q3.

First things first, though, a round-up of penalties and the provisional grid.  Romain Grosjean, Nico Rosberg, and Mark Webber were all penalized five places for unscheduled gearbox swaps.  Sergio Perez was also penalized five places for impeding Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in Q2.  Both men, but not Sergio Perez made it into Q3, nevertheless.

Final Grid including penalties

  1. Fernando Alonso
  2. Sebastian Vettel
  3. Michael Schumacher
  4. Nico Hulkenberg (very nicely done)
  5. Pastor Maldonado
  6. Jenson Button
  7. Lewis Hamilton
  8. Mark Webber
  9. Paul Di Resta
  10. Kimi Raikkonen
  11. Daniel Ricciardo
  12. Kamui Kobayashi
  13. Felipe Massa (uh oh)
  14. Bruno Senna (another uh oh)
  15. Jean Eric Vergne
  16. Heikki Kovalainen
  17. Sergio Perez (oh boy)
  18. Vitaly Petrov
  19. Romain Grosjean (sounds familiar, like Silverstone familiar)
  20. Charles Pic
  21. Nico Rosberg (not good at all)
  22. Timo Glock
  23. Pedro de la Rosa
  24. Narain Karthikeyan

Qualifying started dry and eliminated the usual suspects plus Vergne (recall the grid above includes penalties).  The predicted rain, however, remained true to its word and began falling between Q1 and Q2 and early times were key before the track deteriorated to full wets, as it did by the half way point of the session.

Q2 knocked out a surprising cast of drivers, Rosberg, Grosjean, Massa, Senna and Ricciardo.  To me, it is Rosberg and Grosjean that are surprising.  Rosberg lay the blame upon his contact patches, claiming they were never hot enough to work properly.  Grosjean was similarly a surprise from his great performance at Silverstone in Q2 (before beaching himself, that is).  The Frenchman, however, never really looked comfortable at Hockenheim, spinning multiple times.

When Q3 arrived, the rain continued to fall, though at varying intensities.  Timing the rate of precipitation proved pivotal (yeah, thats an alliteration, in a F1 blog, what of it?).  Alonso and Red Bull got it right as opposed to McLaren who tried to wait, hoping the cars would dry the track enough for intermediates.  It didn’t work.  Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher delivered very impressive performances, particularly Hulkenberg, again proving his skill in the wet after that unbelievable pole in Brazil (the top right) a few years ago.

With a grid like this, how can we not look forward to the race tomorrow?

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