Force India survives rain soaked Silverstone qualifying: Alonso, Webber and Schumacher top three

Formula 1 had their rainiest day this season earlier today at the British Grand Prix. Heavy rains played spoilsport  at Silverstone where final qualifying session had to be interrupted by more than an hour. Earlier in the day, Silverstone officials had requested 30,000 F1 fans with tickets for today’s qualifying, not to attend. Silverstone car park was soaked in rain water and efforts were going on to get it back in a better state for tomorrow’s big race.

The qualifying session continued in heavy rains and lasted for almost 3 hours. At the end of it, Fernando Alonso came out on the top with a fastest lap time of 1:51.746 (compared to last year’s fastest qualifying time of 1:30.399 set by Mark Webber). Ferrari’s world champion driver was followed by Australian Mark Webber while the third spot was taken by the most experienced man on the track, Michael Schumacher.

After the race, Alonso said, “No secret. Its tricky conditions for anyone. You have to be calm in some difficult moments. In Q2 we were on the red flag in positions 15 and 16 Felipe and me. We went though and then in Q3 [it was a] difficult choice between inter and full wet and then when we saw everyone on the inter we relax a little and put a lap together. It was not easy. To complete a lap with no huge mistakes is not easy in these conditions. [I’m] Happy to be on pole after nearly two years. In these conditions the qualifying is probably the least important of the year but obviously for visibility it is always better to be on pole.”

Meanwhile, Force India continued their impressive run this season as their drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta qualified for the 9th and 11th position respectively for tomorrow’s race.

Nico Hulkenberg – 9th: “It was a very long session with the delay, but I think I made the most of the conditions in Q1 and Q2. It was definitely the right call to stop the session when the rain got really heavy because there was too much standing water on the circuit and the car was beginning to aquaplane. But I don’t understand where the pace went in Q3 when I was on the intermediates because the car felt more tricky to drive and the laptime didn’t come so easy. I was actually hoping for a better position in Q3 than P9, especially with the five-place penalty I have for tomorrow.”

Paul di Resta – 11th: “We actually took a bit of gamble on the qualifying session being dry and that’s the direction we took with the set-up, but it made driving very difficult in today’s wet conditions. I think some other cars went more aggressive with a full wet set-up so hopefully my gamble will come back to me tomorrow in the race. Of course I would like to be starting further towards the front, but we are going into the race with a lot of unknowns in terms of set-up data and tyre performance. Anything is possible in the race and we won’t give up.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director: “Another very wet day at our local race and I want to pay tribute to the fans who put up with yet more rain showers and delayed track action. Our car looked competitive today, but in such tricky conditions qualifying is always a lottery and so we can’t be too disappointed to have just one car in Q3. Paul just missed the cut, but we have a good race car and we know he will fight hard tomorrow. In Q3 Nico didn’t manage to maximise his final quick lap and he also has to drop five places on the grid due to the gearbox change. I’m looking forward to the race and whatever the weather I’m confident we can be up there fighting for points and challenging the teams ahead of us.”

2012 Formula One British Grand Prix Final Qualifying Results

1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari (11)
2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault (19)
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes (12)
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault (1)
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari (13)
6 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault (5)
7 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault (3)
8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (2)
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes (6)
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault (4)
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes (10)
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari (7)
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes (6)
14 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari (17)
15 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault (14)
16 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari (18)
17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari (15)
18 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes (9)
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault (20)
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault (16)
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth (DNS)
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth (21)
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth (22)
24 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth (23)

Note – Figure in brackets, is qualifying position of the respective driver in previous F1 race this season.

2012 F1 DRIVERS’ STANDINGS after European Grand Prix

1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari – 111
2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault – 91
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes – 88
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault – 85
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes – 75
6 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault – 73
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault – 53
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes – 49
9 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 39
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault – 30
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes – 27
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari – 21
13 Michael Schumacher Mercedes – 17
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes – 17
15 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault – 15
16 Felipe Massa Ferrari – 11
17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari – 4
18 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari – 2
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault – 0
20 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth – 0
21 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth – 0
22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth – 0
23 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault – 0
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth – 0

2012 F1 CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS after European Grand Prix

1 Red Bull – 176
2 McLaren – 137
3 Lotus – 126
4 Ferrari – 122
5 Mercedes – 92
6 Sauber-Ferrari – 60
7 Williams-Renault – 45
8 Force India-Mercedes – 44
9 Toro Rosso STR Ferrari – 6
10 Caterham-Renault – 0
11 Marussia-Cosworth – 0
12 HRT-Cosworth – 0