Formula One

 
          === Alonso storms to pole in soggy British GP qualifying ===
 
 Silverstone,  England (Sports  Network) - Fernando Alonso from Ferrari won the
 pole  position for  the British  Grand Prix  in Saturday's  chaotic qualifying
 session,  which was  halted for an hour and  a half at the midway point due to
 heavy rain.
 
 Alonso,  the current  points leader and only repeat race winner in Formula One
 so  far  this year, crashed and  damaged his front wing during Friday's second
 practice  session,  also plagued  by rain. In  qualifying, the Spaniard barely
 made  it out of the first stint (Q1) before topping Red Bull's Mark Webber for
 the pole in the closing seconds of Q3.
 
 With  a set of  intermediate tires, Alonso posted a lap time around the 3.667-
 mile,  18-turn  Silverstone Circuit in  1 minute,  51.746 seconds for his 21st
 career  F1 pole, including his third in the British GP. He was quickest in the
 final practice session earlier in the day.
 
 "It  was tricky  conditions for  everyone, and  you have  to be  calm in  some
 difficult  moments," Alonso said. "In Q2, we were on the red flag in positions
 15  and 16, (teammate)  Felipe (Massa) and me, so it was not easy. Then in Q3,
 we  chose the  intermediate (tires), and when we saw everyone running on those
 tires,  we calmed down  a little bit, and then we put a lap together, which is
 not easy.
 
 "You  make a little mistake here and there, and to complete a lap with no huge
 mistakes is not easy in these conditions."
 
 Alonso  and Ferrari  claimed  their first  pole since  September  2010 in  the
 Singapore Grand Prix, a race that Alonso won.
 
 "I'm  happy with  the (pole) position after nearly two years, and for Ferrari,
 it's a long time," he noted.
 
 Alonso  is the defending winner of the British GP. Two weeks ago, he picked up
 his  second victory  of the  season in  the European  Grand Prix  in Valencia,
 Spain.  The 2012 F1 season began with seven different winners in as many grand
 prix before Alonso snapped the record streak.
 
 With  6:19 remaining in  Q2, wet conditions were so bad that FIA Race Director
 Charlie Whiting made the decision to red flag the session. Prior to the delay,
 many  drivers  had expressed their  concerns about the slippery track surface,
 particularly  Alonso,  who miraculously  saved his car  from slamming into the
 barrier.
 
 Webber's final lap at 1:51.793 was just 0.05 seconds behind Alonso.
 
 "It was a very tight session," Webber said. "Ultimately, you really don't know
 how it's going. You just completely focus on yourself.  Putting a lap together
 is very tricky in sections around the lap. In a session like this, when you've
 got sometimes five to ten seconds difference from one session to another, it's
 a huge amount down to the driver to get comfortable in the conditions and with
 the car."
 
 German  Michael Schumacher  from  Mercedes qualified  third,  followed by  his
 fellow compatriot and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, the two-time defending
 F1 world champion.
 
 "I  think  we looked  reasonably  competitive  in  wet conditions,  either  on
 intermediate  or heavy  wet (tires), so therefore, rain is welcomed tomorrow,"
 Schumacher said.
 
 Massa  will start fifth on the grid, followed by Kimi Raikkonen from Lotus and
 Williams' Pastor Maldonado.
 
 McLaren's  Lewis  Hamilton had a  disappointing qualifying session in front of
 his  home  crowd with  an eighth-place result.  Hamilton's teammate and fellow
 countryman, Jenson Button, had a much worse performance. Button failed to make
 it out of Q1 and ended up qualifying 18th.
 
 "I  couldn't get any heat on the fronts, and that is why I could not get a lap
 time on those tires," Button said.
 
 Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Lotus' Romain Grosjean completed the top-10.
 
 Sunday's British GP is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. (ET).
 
 07/07 12:41:30 ET

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