Alonso Takes Second Straight Pole with Pirelli Cinturato
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Abu Dhabi-UAE: 23 July 2012 – With rain once again dominatingqualifying, just as it did in Silverstone two weeks ago, Ferrari’s FernandoAlonso has taken his second consecutive pole position in wet conditions, thistime using the Pirelli Cinturato Blue full wet tyre.
The P Zero White medium tyrehas been nominated for the race along with the P Zero Yellow soft: acombination that was last used at the Grand Prix of Europe in Valencia.
All the frontrunners started Q1on medium tyres, in overcast conditions with a high risk of rain and coolconditions of 17 degrees ambient and 25 degrees of track temperature. Thefastest time of the session was set by Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen using themedium tyre: 1m15.693s, which turned out to be the quickest lap of the weekendso far.
The rain fell harder stillbefore the start of Q3, meaning that the top 10 all used the Cinturato Bluefull wet: again with the priority of setting a time immediately in caseconditions deteriorated. However, with the rain stopping after five minutes,the track gradually dried – meaning that pole position was decided in theclosing seconds, with Alonso setting a time of 1m40.621s. The Spaniard changedto a fresh set of wet tyres before his final run to benefit from extra grip andfind some traffic-free space.
Just as was the case atSilverstone, the final free practice session on Saturday morning in Hockenheimtook on a crucial significance, with the drivers getting their first chance torun on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre. The session remained dry until six minutesfrom the end, with Alonso going quickest when he tried the soft tyre for thefirst time.
After two days of uncertain conditions,the forecast is for dry weather tomorrow, but the teams are still lacking acomplete weekend of data on the slick tyres at Hockenheim, which Pirelli isvisiting for the first time as official Formula One tyre supplier.
Pirelli’s motorsport directorPaul Hembery commented: “The teams only got the chance to run on the soft tyrefor the first time this morning, so they went into qualifying with a distinctlack of data on this compound in particular. As it was, our wet andintermediate tyres once again took centre stage. With a dry race expectedtomorrow, we still have plenty of information to analyse as well, but from thelimited data we have we could expect a difference between the soft and themedium tyre of about 0.5 seconds per lap, although the medium compound shouldlast a few laps longer. This opens up many possibilities in terms of strategy,and could lead some teams to conclude that the medium tyre is the one to raceon. After a wet qualifying, all the drivers have most of their slick tyre allocationstill available to them, which also expands their options. As we have only everbeen to Hockenheim before as GP3 supplier two years ago, all the teams shouldstart on a level playing field. So the teams that can understand the tyrecharacteristics here most quickly, and build a race strategy around that, willbe in the strongest position to do well on race day.”
Tyres used by the top tenqualifiers:
Alonso: 1:40.621s - Wet
Vettel: 1:41.026s - Wet
Webber: 1:41.496s - Wet
Schumacher: 1:42.459s - Wet
Hulkenberg: 1:43.501s - Wet
Maldonado: 1:43.950s – Wet
Button: 1:44.113s - Wet
Hamilton: 1:44.186s - Wet
Di Resta: 1:44.889s - Wet
Raikkonen: 1:45.811s - Wet