Drivers: Fernando Alonso
(Ferrari), Mark Webber
(Red Bull Racing), Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
Fernando first pole since 2010, very difficult to get it right today, especially with that long delay in Q2. What was the secret though at the end?
No secret. I think it's tricky conditions for everyone. You have to be calm in some difficult moments. In Q2, as you mentioned, we were at the red flag, in position 15 and 16, Felipe and me. It was not easy, so we went through Q2 and in Q3 difficult choice between extreme and intermediate tyres. We chose the intermediates and when we saw everyone planning on those tyres we more or less calmed down a little bit. And then we put a lap together, which is not easy. You make a little mistake here or there and to complete a lap without making a huge mistake is not easy in these conditions. Yeah, happy with pole position after nearly two years, for Ferrari
that's a long time and we'll see. Tomorrow is the race and with these weather conditions the qualifying becomes one of the less important qualifyings of the year because everything will mix up after a few laps tomorrow maybe, but for visibility and things like that it's always better to start at the front, so very happy.
Mark, a great duel between you and Fernando at the end there. You missed out on pole by five one hundredths of a second - it's always good to compete against this guy [Alonso] yes?
Yeah, it was a very tight session. Ultimately, you don't know how you're going, you're completely focused on yourself, putting a lap together. As Fernando said it's very tricky in sections around the lap. Obviously, in a session like this when you've got five or 10 seconds sometimes between one session to the next session obviously it's a huge amount down to the driver to get comfortable in the conditions, also with the car. The guys did a great job. Yeah it was nip and tuck with Fernando for the pole. I think ultimately we put a pretty good lap together, our strategy in quali I was pretty happy with it, doing four laps... and race tomorrow.
Michael, another strong qualifying for you. You used to be known as the rain meister, how do you fancy your chances tomorrow in a wet British Grand Prix?
I think we look reasonably competitive in wet conditions – either on intermediate or heavy wet – so therefore rain is welcome tomorrow. It was a bit of an exciting session today, particularly Q2 where I had the wrong visor on, that didn't have anti-fog. I didn't have much visibility and found myself sideways in Becketts. That didn't help either. But we recovered well in the delay and got back in our rhythm. Yeah, very happy to be third; good for the team; good for my boys, so thanks to all of the guys.
Fernando, first of all well done, is it a surprise or did you feel it was a lottery a little bit out there in the conditions?
It's always a surprise to be on pole position because you know that conditions in qualifying… it's always difficult to beat some of the guys around and we maybe feel more confident in dry conditions. We did some tests today in FP3 and the car felt quite good in the high-speed corners and we were quite happy with the balance – but in wet conditions you never know. You need to be in the right place in the right moment, with the circuit in the best conditions possible when you do the lap and that lap has to be clean with not huge mistakes because a little bit here and there you always lose or you can improve a little bit because you never know exactly the conditions of the next corner when you arrive on a day like today. It can be a little bit drier than the lap before but we saw some drops of rain on the visors so it can be a little bit wetter so it's a little bit of… gambling what would be the grip at the next corner. To put the lap together was the only thing we had to do today and when you find yourself in pole position, for sure it's a little bit surprising but, yeah, good to battle like this.
It was nearly all over in the first part of Q2, wasn't it – at one point you were facing the wall?
Yes. I had a spin in Turn 13. It was a lot of aquaplaning there. We changed tyres, we went for the extreme tyres and there was a red flag. It was impossible to run, to be honest it was a good decision. And then also it was a good decision waiting for the time the circuit was in condition to run again. So, sometimes we criticise the decisions when we are not happy with them and today they were doing a really good job. The first priority is safety, the track was not in condition to continue qualifying and we wait the necessary time to do it and we've been at the limit for Q3, I think P9, so it was not easy. I had a Toro Rosso
for two laps in front of me with no visibility, so the Q2 lap was a little bit like a blind lap: you do whatever time the Toro Rosso
will do – more or less.
How big a moment was it on the grass when you went off in Q2? You got a round of applause in the press room for sorting it out…