Formula One

 
                 === Alonso claims second straight F1 pole ===
 
 Hockenheim, Germany (Sports Network) - Fernando Alonso from Ferrari will start
 on the pole for Sunday's German Grand Prix after posting the quickest lap in a
 rain-soaked qualifying session at the Hockenheim circuit.
 
 Alonso,  the current  leader in the world championship point standings, topped
 Red  Bull  drivers Sebastian Vettel and  Mark Webber in the closing minutes of
 Saturday's qualifying. Alonso made a lap around the 2.842-mile, 17-turn course
 in 1 minute, 40.621 seconds for his 22nd career F1 pole.
 
 The Spaniard also won the pole for the most recent grand prix two weeks ago in
 Silverstone, England. It was his and Ferrari's first pole since September 2010
 in Singapore. Qualifying for the British Grand Prix was also plagued by rain.
 
 The  first qualifying  stint (Q1)  ran under  dry conditions,  but rain  began
 falling  on the course  at the start of Q2 and continued through the third and
 final session.
 
 "Everything went well for us," said Alonso, who was also quickest in the final
 practice  session held earlier  in the day. "We backed off a little bit during
 those  aquaplaning  moments. The rest  of the laps were  clean. We made a good
 strategy  call  doing a pit stop  in Q3, and we  had fresher tires in the last
 minute  when  the track  was in  a little  bit better  condition. I think that
 helped us a lot to improve the lap time."
 
 Alonso  won the German  GP the last time it was held at Hockenheim in 2010. He
 finished  second to Lewis Hamilton in last year's race, which was contested on
 the 3.2-mile Nurburgring circuit. Alonso's first victory in this event came in
 2005 when he drove for Renault.
 
 Vettel  qualified second with a lap in 1:41.026. The German has 22 career wins
 but has yet to score a victory in his home race.
 
 "In these conditions, it's extremely tricky," Vettel said. "I think we had the
 pace  today to  put the  car on  pole at  the end.  I think  the lap  time was
 possible. We need to have a look at what Fernando did with his strategy at the
 end. Maybe that was a better way to do it.
 
 "Overall in these conditions, it's always a bit of a lottery. You can lose the
 car  without  making any  mistakes in  aquaplaning conditions. Fortunately, we
 didn't  lose it,  and we're on the  front row, which should be good. We'll see
 what happens tomorrow."
 
 Webber's lap in 1:41.496 placed him third, but he will drop five places on the
 grid  due  to a gearbox change.  His team discovered a transmission issue with
 his  Red Bull  car and replaced the gearbox prior to qualifying. Lotus' Romain
 Grosjean  and  Mercedes' Nico Rosberg  also received five-place grid penalties
 for unscheduled gearbox changes. Grosjean qualified 15th and Rosberg 17th.
 
 "I  did a better job than the other guys who had the five-place penalty," said
 Webber,  who will start eighth. "We could have done better here and there, but
 we did our best out there at that point."
 
 German Michael Schumacher qualified fourth one day after crashing his Mercedes
 car hard into the tire wall due to slippery track conditions during the second
 practice session.
 
 Nico  Hulkenberg  from  Force  India  placed  fifth,  while  Williams'  Pastor
 Maldonado  was  sixth. McLaren's Jenson  Button and Hamilton qualified seventh
 and  eighth,  respectively. Hulkenberg's  teammate, Paul  di Resta, and Lotus'
 Kimi Raikkonen completed the top-10.
 
 With nine of 20 grand prix completed this season, Alonso holds a 13-point lead
 over  Webber, who  won the British GP.  Alonso and Webber are the only drivers
 with multiple victories so far this season.
 
 Vettel,  the  two-time defending  world champion, trails  Alonso by 29 points,
 while Hamilton is 37 points behind.
 
 Sunday's 67-lap German GP is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. (ET).
 
 
 07/21 11:16:00 ET

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