Alonso on pole, Webber penalised

Alonso on pole, Webber penalised

Ferrari's Formula One championship leader Fernando Alonso defied a thunderstorm to take pole position for the German Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Spaniard was joined on the front row by Red Bull's double world champion Sebastian Vettel, who will be attempting to win a Grand Prix in his native Germany for the first time, after qualifying in atrocious conditions.

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, second in the championship after nine of the 20 races, was third fastest but the Australian will drop five places after being penalised for an unscheduled gearbox change before qualifying.

Seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, fourth fastest for Mercedes in front of his home fans, will therefore start alongside Force India's Nico Hulkenberg on an all-German second row.

“It was not fun, that's for sure,” said Alonso of his second pole in a row, with the other coming at a wet Silverstone two weeks ago, and 22nd of his career.

“When you have this type of conditions it's very difficult to put a clean lap together and very easy to finish in the gravel or in the grass or in the wall.”

A huge clap of thunder shuddered over the circuit before the start of the second part of qualifying, announcing a deluge which left pools of standing water all over the track.

Vettel and Webber held the lead before Alonso went in for a new set of extreme wet tyres near the end and came out to produce a stunning lap of one minute 40.621 seconds, four tenths of a second quicker than anyone else.

Vettel was held up by Webber at one point but said his Red Bull team-mate probably had not seen him.

McLaren pair Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were seventh and eighth fastest after looking quick on Friday with new upgrades but will move up due to Webber's demotion.

Germany's Nico Rosberg, Schumacher's team-mate, and French driver Romain Grosjean for Lotus also have five place penalties for Sunday's race due to gearbox changes.

Britain's Paul Di Resta was ninth as both the Force India drivers made it into the top 10.

German GP qualifying

Driver    Team                 Time           
1. Fernando Alonso (Spain)    Ferrari               1:40.621
2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany)    Red Bull               1:41.026
3. Mark Webber (Australia)    Red Bull               1:41.496
4. Michael Schumacher (Germany)    Mercedes               1:42.459
5. Nico Hulkenberg (Germany)    Force India               1:43.501
6. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela)    Williams               1:43.950
7. Jenson Button (Britain)    McLaren               1:44.113
8. Lewis Hamilton (Britain)    McLaren               1:44.186
9. Paul di Resta (Britain)    Force India               1:44.889
10. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)    Lotus               1:45.811

Other results: 11. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso); 12. Sergio Perez (Sauber); 13. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber); 14. Felipe Massa (Ferrari); 15. Romain Grosjean (Lotus); 16. Bruno Senna (Williams); 17. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes); 18. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso); 19. Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham); 20. Vitaly Petrov (Caterham); 21. Charles Pic (Marussia); 22. Timo Glock (Marussia) 23. Pedro de la Rosa (HRT); 24. Narain Karthikeyan (HRT).

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