Alonso seals dramatic Silverstone pole
7 July 2012 – Fernando Alonso has taken Ferrari's first pole position in 31 races at Silverstone, delivering an incredible late lap in changeable weather conditions. The Spaniard brought himself back into contention after a lengthy delay due to a period of heavy rainfall, with Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher in close contention.
Heavy rainfall just moments before the session gave the teams plenty to think about, with intermediates the only option. On the whole, the usual suspects were able to get through without issue, but McLaren’s Jenson Button struggled for tyre temperature throughout. Despite a late change for new rubber, he found himself on the sidelines after Q1.
As the second segment of qualifying got underway, the rainfall increased significantly. Alonso, his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa and Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher were just three men to suffer trips onto the grass, the ultimate pole-sitter making a remarkable save at the beginning of the saturated Hangar Straight.
This phase of spins marked the start of a long red flag period, with an hour and a half passing before the session resumed. When it did, the whole field made improvements and an supremely fierce battle developed for the ten Q3 spots on offer. Britain's Paul di Resta narrowly missed out to Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, while Sergio Pérez, who topped Q2 before the stoppage, ultimately wound up 17th.
Romain Grosjean was an unlucky victim of the conditions as Q2 drew to a close, ending his session in the gravel trap after setting a time fast enough to make it into the final phase. When the action got back underway, Schumacher was quick to show his hand, but the fight for pole narrowed to Alonso and Webber in the dying moments.
Webber looked like the favourite for pole on his late run, but Alonso kept his car facing in the right direction and pushed towards the line to set a time of 1:51.746, just half a tenth of a second ahead of Webber when both men completed their final laps.
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