British GP: Alonso nabs pole for Ferrari
The session was interrupted for over an hour and a half due to heavy rain.. 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.
Webber was 0.8 seconds ahead at 1m51.793s in the closing minutes, only for Alonso to pip it by 0.047s. Webber tried to get pole back but just missed.
Michael Schumacher was sensational for Mercedes as he secured third ahead of the second Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.
Felipe Massa qualified fifth the second Ferrari fifth.
Alonso is expecting to keep his pole position insisting that he slowed down when yellow flags were waved at the end of Q2. To back up his sentiments, the timing screens show that the Spaniard’s Sector 3 time was indeed slower than previous attempts in the session.
"I didn't set a green sector on that lap," Alonso explained. "I backed off in the area that they were taking the car away. We are happy with pole after nearly two years for Ferrari. For Ferrari it's a long time.
"With these weather conditions the qualifying is one of the least important of the year, because everything will be mixed after a few laps tomorrow, but with visibility it's better to start at the front so I am happy."
Alonso says it was a slight surprise when he found out that he had claimed pole position, with the torrential rainfall creating a more level playing field on Saturday.
"In wet conditions you never know, you need to be in the right place at the right time,” he added. “When you do a lap, the lap has to be clean with no huge mistakes. When you find yourself on pole position that can be surprising."
Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus starts alongside the Brazilian, with Catalunya winner Pastor Maldonado next up for Williams.
Lewis Hamilton qualified eighth for McLaren. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth quickest but will lose five places due to a gearbox change on his Force India.
Nico Hulkenberg will take a five-place grid penalty for the British Grand Prix after his Force India team elected to change the gearbox on his car.
The German finished in fifth place in Valencia a fortnight ago but his team found a problem with his gearbox after the event.
The unit was changed ahead of final practice at Silverstone, which means he will be given a mandatory five-place grid penalty after qualifying.
As expected, this morning’s dry final hour of free practice was just a diversion, an interlude in a weekend where the top story has been the weather, both because of its effect on the on-track action and the chaos it has caused, mainly for the spectators, who nevertheless are here in their tens of thousands as usual.
Predictions for tomorrow’s 52 laps of this famous airfield are pointless as the rain is expected to be on hand once again. However, what one can say is that the F2012 evidently performs well on a wet track and, as far as Fernando is concerned, assuming he can get off the line ahead of the rest, he will have the great advantage of good visibility on this high speed track.
Mark Webber (2nd, 1:51.793): "I raced here in '95 for first time so I've been round this track a few times. It was a tight session today with very mixed conditions. The cars are difficult to handle when it's like that. In every session we went out the times were changing by up to five or six seconds per lap; there was a lot of standing water and aqua planning. I was happy I was competitive when it counted. You have to put it all on the line in Q3. Alonso put a lap together that was just that sniff better than mine, but I'm not standing here with any regrets about my lap. I'm happy with what I put on the table and front row was what we deserved."
Sebastian Vettel (4th, 1:52.199): "It was a tough day. It's raining again now and it will probably be the same weather again tomorrow, so we'll see what happens. It's going to be a long race. We are at the front which is good. It was difficult today and in the end we only got one lap when the conditions were at their best. I think I should have been a bit quicker, but that's life. It was the right call to red flag the session, it's a shame for everyone watching, but we cannot control the weather."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Incredible conditions today. First of all, hats off to all the public who sat out for pretty much three hours in horrendous conditions. It was the right thing to stop qualifying in Q2, irrelevant of where we were placed, as it was just too dangerous with aquaplaning for these cars. Having navigated our cars into Q3, ultimately to qualify second and fourth is a really strong team result. Mark was so close to getting the pole, the rain just started to increase as he was completing his lap and he dropped a couple of tenths due to the rain, but nonetheless it was a great lap from him right at the end of Q3. Sebastian is right up there as well in P4. Hopefully it won't be so wet tomorrow for the race."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "A difficult session. I think in these conditions you always have more to lose than to gain and it's always difficult to put a lap together. Mark did a pretty good job and almost got pole. Seb starts fourth and I think, with everything today, to start second and fourth is a good result. Tomorrow will be a long race - also if the forecast rain returns. Engine wise we have looked at engine usage following the alternator issue at the last race, so hopefully we won't have any issues tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton (8th, 1:53.543): "I don't really know what happened in Q3. The Full Wets had been working really well, but, as the track gradually became less wet, I sought better grip and switched to the Intermediates - but we struggled to get enough temperature into them and just couldn't switch them on. So I had very little grip on the Inters, having felt more confident on the Full Wets; obviously, we'll have to try to analyze the problem overnight and hopefully fix it for tomorrow. I want to give a shout-out to the fans. They've been fantastic: very patient and so supportive. The cheers from the grandstands were spectacular. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a car on the front row for them, but we can still push tomorrow. Although eighth position isn't the best place from which to be starting, it's going to be a tough race and we're not that far away."
Jenson Button (18th, 1:48.044): "I can usually drive a racing car in the wet, but obviously not today. The car felt completely different on its second set of Inters - on the first set, I'd had a lot of front-shuddering and couldn't get the tires working, but on the second set that problem was much better. So, on my final run, I was around 1.8sec up on my previous best. Sadly, however, I wasn't able to make that count in terms of my overall lap-time, because it was particularly wet in the final sector and there was also a yellow flag along the start line. That's the way it is sometimes. It's the story of my year, really, I guess. If Sunday is wet, as we expect it to be, then the fact that we haven't put too many miles on the tires may make me a bit better equipped for tomorrow. You've just got to take the positives from the situation, wherever you can."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Clearly, eighth and 18th isn't where we'd hoped to qualify for our home grand prix, and to do so is therefore very disappointing. Q1 was a bit of a lottery - it was principally a question of trying to switch on your tires at the right time without encountering traffic - and those variables never quite aligned for Jenson. But he's looked quick at various points so far this weekend - and, bearing in mind that we expect the wet weather to continue tomorrow, he'll be looking to make progress through the field towards a points-scoring position by race's end. He's one of the ablest wet-weather racers out there, as we've seen him prove many times before. Lewis was very quick in full-wet conditions, as he demonstrated emphatically by being fastest of all in Q2 - but, when it came to the restart, and Q3, to our disappointment we discovered that our car was somewhat less competitive on the intermediate tire. So, since our car is demonstrably very competitive in the full-dry or the full-wet, but less so when intermediate conditions prevail, axiomatically it follows that we'd prefer it to be full-wet or full-dry tomorrow. I guess it's unlikely to be full-dry, so let's hope it's full-wet! Speaking of which, in conclusion, I want to pay tribute to the spectators here today, who have come in large numbers to watch the sport they love, despite knowing that they'd get drenched to the skin in the process. I've said it before and I'll say it again: British Formula 1 fans really are the best in the world, hugely knowledgeable and massively enthusiastic in equal measure. So, whatever the weather, for their sakes, here's hoping that tomorrow's Santander British Grand Prix offers them the spectacle and excitement that they've been waiting all year to enjoy."
Fernando Alonso (1st, 1:51.746): "First of all I want to dedicate this pole to Maria de Villota, who is going through a particularly difficult time. We are all feeling sad these days and our thoughts are with her and her family. Pole was a surprise, because in conditions like these, you never know what can happen. This morning, in the dry, the car was very good, but in the wet it could all be different, even if the F2012 has shown that's it's not bad in the rain, if one thinks of Malaysia and the Mugello test. This afternoon, one had to be in the right place at the right time on the right tires and, to succeed in that, you also needed a bit of luck. For once it came our way, as with the spin at the start of Q2 and when I managed to get through into Q3 by a hair's breadth after the interruption: in the end, I had a car ahead of me and the visibility was really poor and then there were yellow flags at the last corner, but in the end I managed to get through to the next stage. Today's pole is important, even if we know it came to us in unusual conditions. We still need to get one in the dry to be able to say we have closed the gap to the best. I'm hoping for a boring race tomorrow, given that for once I'm starting in front of everyone."
Felipe Massa (5th, 1:53.065): "It's a nice result for the team, mainly because, when the red flag came out, both myself and Fernando were out of Q3. We did a good job at the restart in the last few laps of Q2 and then, in Q3 we were always in the fight for pole position, but I was losing time right at the very last corner, as I was locking the rear wheels. All the same, I am pleased with fifth place. I think I will be competitive tomorrow, especially as the car is going well on this type of track. From Canada onwards, the F2012 has improved a lot and the results are clear to see. I think that the stoppage in Q2 was the right decision, even if it could have maybe come a bit sooner: it was incredible how much aquaplaning there was on the main straight at that time. Then Race Control did a great job in making sure the track was in a practicable condition, which meant the spectators were able to see a spectacle that must have lived up to their enthusiasm. For we drivers, the break was boring, but for everyone in the grandstands, it was even worse, given how hard the rain was falling!"
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "The points are only given out on Sunday and we always keep that in mind...Obviously, we are happy today because it's been a long time, too long, that we have not had one of our drivers on pole position, but we must not get carried away now, quite the contrary. We must concentrate even more on our work because, once again, this afternoon, we saw how things can change literally from one minute to the next. Fernando was extraordinary and Felipe also did a great job: it's our best qualifying of the year and we must try and make the most of it in tomorrow's race. The weather forecast is rather uncertain, so we will have to be on high alert, ready to react to the slightest change. So many times this year, we have seen that grid positions have not proved decisive when it comes to the final result: let's hope that, tomorrow at least, it will play an important role."
Pat Fry: "It was a long and tense session. The final outcome is really great because we have not been on pole for a long time, but there was a long period, after the red flag, during which we feared the worse. It goes to show how, especially in such an evenly matched season as this one, in Formula 1 things can change very quickly. Both our drivers did a great job in very difficult driving conditions. It's pointless discussing if we managed things as well as we could: we will calmly analyze the evolution of the three sessions to see where we need to improve. However, now we must only think about tomorrow's race, which looks like being very unpredictable from every point of view, starting with the weather. This morning, in the dry, we saw that the F2012 is reasonably competitive, but also that the opposition is very strong. We will try and do our best, as usual. Clearly, when defining the strategies and how they will evolve during the race, the weather will play a key role."
Michael Schumacher (3rd, 1:52.020): "Naturally I'm pleased with today's result - after all, we're in the top three again. It didn't look so good before the break in Q2 because my visor was completely misted up and that meant I had some excitement during that lap! But then everything went well in Q3. We were competitive on both the intermediate and wet tires, so I would welcome more rain tomorrow. Third position is a good starting point for the race - I'm looking forward to it."
Nico Rosberg (13th, 1:57.108): "I wasn't quick enough in general today, and we need to understand why that happened as it's a bit surprising really as yesterday I was quicker in the same conditions. But I'm still confident for tomorrow and looking forward to the race as this year, it's possible to score good points even when you are starting from a long way back. Thanks to the fans who were here today. Even when there was heavy rain and we were not driving for a long time, they created a great atmosphere."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "It was a challenging afternoon for everybody, with the long break and some very changeable conditions throughout. Michael delivered a very good performance, especially in Q3 when he put in a time good enough for third place with his first lap on the intermediate tires. Nico didn't achieve his full potential today in the tricky six minutes when Q2 restarted. This was the kind of session where you could tumble from fastest to slowest in a couple of laps, as we saw with some other drivers, and he unfortunately wasn't able to put a full lap together. Overall, the car seems to be performing reasonably well in the wet conditions and the balance seemed drivable; I am sure that tomorrow's race, in changeable conditions, will be full of opportunities. On a personal note, thank you to all of the fans for sticking with us today, and this was certainly the first time I've performed a Mexican wave in the middle of Q2. I've already had a few text messages from friends about my technique!"
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "It's fair to say that Michael had a chance of setting pole today, as his second and third sector times on his last flying lap proved. However in the closing stages he only had one lap on inters and, although he was seven-tenths slower in the first sector compared to the best split time, he was less than three-tenths down at the end of the lap. Starting from third is a good base for Michael and our team tomorrow. This is his second top-three qualifying result in four races, after finishing on the podium in third place under completely different conditions in Valencia. It was a pity for Nico that he missed Q3 by about two-tenths. He qualified 13th after a less-than-perfect Saturday; hopefully '13' can be his lucky number tomorrow. Qualifying lasted two-and-a-half hours and two minutes today - hats off to the fans at the track because they made the very best out of it, enjoyed their time as much as possible and got a thrilling finale to the session as their reward."
Kimi Raikkonen (6th, 1:53.290): "We made a slightly wrong decision by using the full wet and I only had one lap in the restarted final qualifying session with the intermediates, otherwise I think it was possible to have gone faster. We also had a problem with the KERS which we tried to fix during the red flag break. We're in sixth place, which is certainly not a disaster; but it could have been better. The weather makes it a bit tricky for everybody. It's not easy, especially with the spray and this is even more difficult in race conditions when everyone is fighting for the same piece of track. On the plus side for the fans, it's good fun to watch, even if it's not the nicest weather if you're in a grandstand."
Romain Grosjean (10th, No Time): "It's frustrating and I'm very sorry for the team as it looks like we had a strong car, but sometimes mistakes happen. My lap was not much different from the previous lap but it was different enough for me to go off and the car went backwards into the gravel and then it was stranded. It was very slippery. We deserved better, but we will do our best tomorrow to gain positions to get some good points. It will be a long race and starting position doesn't mean as much if there are variable conditions. There's also a benefit from not making it into Q3 as I have a fresh set of intermediate tires. Let's see what happens tomorrow."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "We're certainly ready for any race conditions. We're disappointed with qualifying in sixth and tenth today. Romain made a mistake after going fifth fastest in Q2 so was unable to demonstrate any of his pace in the top ten qualifying group. With Kimi it looks like we should have used intermediates sooner in the restarted session, but that is something which is easy to say with hindsight but difficult to judge at the time. In the wet conditions we experienced, the lack of KERS would have cost him a couple of tenths. With the KERS functioning it could have been possible to be a position further forwards on the grid. That said, being on the correct tires and crossing the line to be the last driver on a flying lap would have yielded far more time. We took advantage of the rain delay to change everything we could to rectify the KERS issue, but were unable to do so in the time available. We don't expect it to be an issue in tomorrow's race. It looks like there will be showers again so we need to be prepared to run any of the four different tires available from Pirelli. From what we've seen so far this weekend, we'd prefer it to be dry, as we looked competitive in this morning's dry practice session with Romain on the hard tire. If it is dry, the hard compound looks to be the favored race tire, but if it's wet we're certainly ready for any race conditions."
Nico Hulkenberg (9th, 1:54.382): "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, 1:57.009): "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 tire performance. Anything is possible in the race and we won't give up."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "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 maximize 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."
Kamui Kobayashi (12th, 1:57.071): "We started on intermediate tires after the break and this proved to be the wrong decision. I pitted and changed to rain tires, but then I only had time for one flying lap and in the difficult conditions this wasn't enough to improve as much as I needed to make it into Q3. Before that we had a very good chance of fighting for a top position. Our pace was really good in the wet. It is a missed opportunity. For tomorrow's race I don't really care whether it's wet or dry. I'll be starting a long way down the grid and will fight as hard as I can."
Sergio Perez (17th, 1:57.895): "We made the wrong decision when we went for intermediates instead of rain tires after the break, but I also had traffic. I was driving behind Daniel Ricciardo and could hardly see anything. It is such a shame because we clearly had the pace to fight for a top position here. However, we made a mistake and now have to try hard to recover from that in the race."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "In the end clearly we made the wrong call. It was a good session up to then. As we had stopped for so long we were expecting the track to be in a better condition. We made a call for intermediates, which we thought would be okay, but it was the wrong call. We definitely had the car to be at the front today and the drivers were also doing a very good job."
Daniel Ricciardo (14th, 1:57.132): "It was a tricky session and a long one, with similar conditions to last year, when I made my F1 debut at this race. Unfortunately, after the restart I didn't manage to get through to the top ten, where we had been before the red flag. I am sure I was affected by the yellow flag for Grosjean's spin on the last lap, because without it I would have been into Q3. Our pace is better than our position would have you believe, therefore, as I said on Friday, if we have a wet race, which seems likely, I think we can do well tomorrow, when I will be racing hard. The car seems to work well in the wet, but starting in the mid field there will be a lot of spray to contend with, so there are pros and cons to racing in the rain."
Jean-Eric Vergne (16th, 1:57.719): "It could have been a really good qualifying and it had been going well up until the red flag. I was fourth at the time, but I knew it would restart with better track conditions and I would have to do it all over again. The red flag was definitely the right decision as there was too much water for the tires to clear. However, at the restart, we considered running Intermediates before making a quick decision to switch to the Extreme and I think maybe I could have been higher up the order except that I therefore missed the opportunity to do a second flying lap as the checkered flag came out. I am disappointed, as I feel I could have got into Q3 today. I hope we have a wet race tomorrow, because although I will be starting from the back, everything is possible in these conditions and I hope I can make the most of the fact our car is working well in the wet, to have a good race."
Laurent Mekies, Chief Engineer: "This morning we compressed our programmed to include the usual FP2 work of doing runs in race trim on both types of tire - one car on Option the other on Prime. This afternoon turned into a full wet qualifying. We had hoped for a bit better than what we eventually achieved, as I believe Daniel would have made the cut into Q3, if it had not been for the yellow flag on his final lap. Our performance was looking quite good up until the red flag in Q2, as both our cars were in the top ten at that point. At the restart, it was a tight call between Intermediates and Extremes and in the end, we elected to wait a short while after the restart to see what the other cars looked like and that decided us to go with the Extremes. Unfortunately, Jean-Eric missed the opportunity to start a second timed lap in this run by just a few seconds, which made his life difficult. Our performance has definitely looked better in the wet, therefore a wet race would suit us tomorrow. For Jean-Eric who has a ten place penalty, it will be more difficult, but we know that in the rain, anything can happen and grid positions can prove irrelevant."
Pastor Maldonado (7th, 1:53.539): "I was able to drive at a really good pace but in the end was just unlucky to catch a yellow flag on my final qualifying lap when I was easily on course to make it well into the top ten and go through to Q3. It's frustrating but we'll see what happens with the weather and hopefully we can be competitive and challenge for the top 10 in the race."
Bruno Senna (15th, 1:57.426): "The conditions were very difficult because the track was changing all the time and we had to work hard to improve the performance. I was a bit unlucky at the end as I crossed the line just as the checkered flag came out so did one less lap than the others, but we are looking forward to tomorrow. We are competitive and consistent so will be looking to challenge for a strong finish tomorrow."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "Today was dominated once more by the weather. Based on yesterday's feedback we adapted the set-up of the car to protect against the wet conditions. The drivers' feedback was good today and both drivers did well. Bruno had to back off on his last run in Q2 under a yellow flag due to Grosjean's spin which resulted in him not proceeding into Q3, qualifying in 15th. Pastor pushed hard in Q3 ultimately qualifying in 7th. We now need to concentrate hard to get both cars home in the points."
Vitaly Petrov (19th, 1:49.027): "I'm almost happy with today's performance! It's a little disappointing that we couldn't show the full potential of the car but it is good that we know the updates are working. That's obviously important for me, but also for all the guys here on track and back at the factory because we know that we are progressing. It looks like it's going to rain here again tomorrow and again that means we won't be able to really show what we've achieved with the new package and with the summer break coming up in a couple of races time I hope we have a couple of dry races in Germany and Hungary where we can really show how far we've come. With the rain I think tomorrow's going to be a really exciting race for the fans. For us it'll be about making sure we don't make mistakes, using the strategy well and keeping the car on the road. If we can do that anything can happen."
Heikki Kovalainen (20th, 1:49.477): "Qualifying today was all about trying to get the lap in at the right time. There was a point when the track was drying out and we were thinking about going to dry tires but then the rain started falling more heavily and I couldn't quite put my best lap together. I was in a group of cars at the beginning of the session and that cost me a bit of time but other than that there weren't really any problems, I just don't think there was any more on offer today with the conditions."
Tony Fernandes, Team Principal: "Even though we have not yet been able to show how much of a step forward we have taken this weekend with the car's performance I think it is clear how much progress we have already made this season. Once we have had the chance to put all the new parts through the test processes we need to on track to unlock their full potential I think our development will be even more clear. In the practice sessions last year we were around four seconds off the outright pace and this year we were two seconds away, with a car that we know has more pace in it so I am delighted to see where we are approaching the mid-point of the season and even more pleased to see how positive the whole team is about our continued growth."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "Qualifying sessions like that are always a lottery and I think we were unlucky not to be able to take advantage of the weather conditions. Despite that, both drivers performed well and made sure they did not make any mistakes which could have cost us tomorrow. I think it is also a shame we have not had the chance to really show what the upgrades have brought to the car. The weather in qualifying affected everyone's performance and when you see a McLaren going out in Q1 you see just how unpredictable the rain can make the final positions. In FP3 we were also running the cars in their new guise for the first time on dry tires and we spent most of that session working on baseline setups to optimize performance on both the prime and the option tires. Once we have found a balance the drivers are happy with we know there is more to come from the new package so that is very encouraging, and with the direction we have take on setup for tomorrow I think we are in a good position to put in another strong performance on race day."
Pedro de la Rosa (22nd, 1:52.742): "This was probably the toughest qualifying session, because you didn't know what you were going to find. Towards the end of the session they asked me through the radio if I wanted to change to dry tires and I looked up to the sky and didn't know what to go for because some parts of the track were dry, others wet...so we continued on intermediates and the strategy was to push on every lap as if it was the last one. As for tomorrow's race, there aren't many options because this is a high downforce track, both in wet and dry conditions. We used a set-up with a medium suspension, not too hard, because I doubt it will be a fully wet or fully dry race, so we have to be flexible."
Narain Karthikeyan (23rd, 1:53.040): "Qualifying was a big lottery because at some stages it was raining heavily in one part of the track and not on another. The car was really good in the dry this morning but English weather is very unpredictable and it turned things right around. We beat one Marussia, which is good, but we always want to do better. These conditions are a gamble and for us it's better to race in wet conditions because anything can happen. You just need to stay calm and take the opportunities that present themselves."
Toni Cuquerella, Technical Director: "Today has been a very productive but hectic day because the sessions have taken place in different conditions to yesterday, dry in the morning and intermediate in the afternoon. In the practice session we had to work on a dry set-up and compare the tires in only an hour but we gathered enough data in case qualifying or the race was to take place in those conditions. But this wasn't the case so we had to adapt to the drizzly conditions. The first five minutes were the most important and we doubted whether to go for a risky strategy, with dry tires, or go for intermediates like the rest. In the end we went for the latter and it was the right decision because the rain got stronger. The times in these conditions aren't realistic because many mistakes occur, there's traffic, you have to find the right moment on track...But despite all of this the drivers did a good job. Tomorrow will be a very open race where you can either win or lose a lot."
Timo Glock (21st, 1:51.618): "A very frustrating end to a qualifying session that held so much promise for us, and which could have really lifted the team after such a difficult week. The last lap of my second run was very strong and I thought 'Wow, we have a chance at Q2 here'. Then I came up to the Hangar Straight and I just saw this massive rain front ahead of me. The last sector was massively wet, whereas before it was very dry, and I thought 'I can't believe it. We're going to lose everything.' In the last two corners there was no grip and I just couldn't continue the pace to keep on pulling out the gap, so in the end we ended up where we normally are position-wise. I'm disappointed for the team, but to look at the positive, we could have had a surprise result today as the car seems to be working well. We have to accept it and carry the promise through to tomorrow and see what the weather will do for us."
Charles Pic (24th, 1:54.143): "A very disappointing day for me. This morning we were working hard to ensure a positive result, but we experienced a fuel pick-up problem first and I was stuck on track. We managed to get the car back quite quickly which meant we could try to get back out - and we did, with 15 minutes to spare - but then soon after the car stopped again for a different reason, so there wasn't much luck in that session. After some changes to the car in the break, with the engine and gearbox, we were building slowly towards the final run and my first two sectors were strong. Then the rain hit in the last sector and I had to slow for the Yellows which came out for Timo's spin, so I didn't get the chance to continue the improvement into sector 3. It's disappointing but we have to hope for a more positive end to the week. I would like to thank the team for their great work in the lunch break today to ensure we weren't delayed for the start of qualifying."
John Booth, Team Principal: "All in all, a very frustrating day for us and it seemed to all turn on the knife-edge that the weather produces here. After a tough morning we seemed to get our rhythm back for qualifying and both Timo and Charles were looking strong in their final runs. Timo in particular seemed to be enjoying a well-balanced car with the benefit of our new upgrades and was going great guns in the early part of his final lap. We could see the weather closing into the last sector and in the end it just got the better of both drivers, with Timo unfortunately spinning, but thankfully collecting it well to avoid any damage. Charles hit the same wall of rain and lost out on the chance to improve also. Disappointment aside, we do at least have some positives signs from our upgrade today, so we hope for better things tomorrow and all the fantastic support of our home crowd."
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