Fernando Alonso (1:51.746) took pole for the 2012 British Grand Prix from Mark Webber in the final moments of qualifying and Webber was unable to respond, even behind the Spaniard on track. Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel completed the second row of starters for Sunday’s race in a rain-soaked qualifying session at Silverstone.
Jenson Button was the big name knocked out in Q1, falling afoul of the rain in the final sector, along with yellow flags for a stranded Timo Glock. Button looked ready to knock Rosberg out, but instead he was the man out with the Caterhams, Marussias, and HRTs. Kamui Kobayashi garnered a five place grid penalty for an incident in Valencia, while Charles Pic and Nico Hulkenberg will receive the same for gearbox changes.
Silverstone saw a distinct lack of sunshine for nearly the entirety of the day, and at no time did cars speed around the circuit without wet or inter tyres. Grosjean (1:56.552) topped the morning session, holding on to his car long enough to set a time, then added his name to the list of off-road excursions through the mud and muck. Though most cars went off the track or spun, there were no major incidents and all came through unscathed in the morning practice, with Ricciardo, Hamilton, Perez, and Massa completing the fastest five runners. Neither Di Resta nor Friday tester Jules Bianchi set a time for Force India, nor did Alonso.
Hamilton (1:56.345) took charge in the second, also extremely wet, session, leading Kobayashi, Schumacher, Rosberg, and Perez through the standing water. Not only did the lack of tyres keep drivers tucked away dry in the garages, but so did a red flag. Senna aquaplaned as he exited Becketts, damaging his Williams in the barriers. So too did Alonso crash, just as the session ended, damaging the new Ferrari front wing as he skipped across the grass on inters.
Saturday dawned neither bright nor cheerful, but the final practice did remain dry. Nearly the entire field lined up at pit out to start the session, switching to the softer compound just after an early red flag. Pic’s Marussia suffered electrical problems that left the Frenchman stranded on the middle of the track. Alonso (1:32.167) led the session over Button, Grosjean, Vettel, and Raikkonen, but clouds constantly threatened to disrupt the running. Multiple drivers led the session, only to be shuffled down the order as teams crammed three sessions’ worth of running into an hour.
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