For the second successive race, Fernando Alonso made the most of poor weather conditions to secure pole position for the German Grand Prix after a rain-affected qualifying session at Hockenheim.

The arrival of rain during the second segment of the session led to a scramble for teams to get onto the right tyres, with Alonso ultimately able to set the benchmark time when conditions were at their worst in the final stage of qualifying - giving him his second pole of the season as he seeks to extend his championship advantage.

Times improved throughout the final phase of the session despite the rain continuing to come down, with Alonso securing his place at the head of the field with a lap of 1min 40.621secs on his final lap of the session.

The Spaniard had already set a time that was quick enough to give him pole prior to his fastest time, with the double champion eventually finishing the session some four-tenths of a second quicker than Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull. Vettel in turn was four-tenths up on team-mate Mark Webber, although the Australian will take a five place grid penalty for a gearbox change that was carried out by Red Bull prior to Saturday's final practice.

Webber's penalty will mean an all-German second row of the grid, with Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg having set the fourth and fifth best times for Mercedes and Force India respectively.

Schumacher had earlier escaped the drop zone in Q1 by the skin of his teeth after managing to make it through to Q2 by just 0.055secs, although the seven-time champion appeared to be more at home when the weather turned as he secured a second-row start for the second race in succession. Hulkenberg meanwhile suffered a spin on standing water at the start of Q3 before recovering for his best qualifying result of the season so far.

Pastor Maldonado was sixth quickest for Williams as the Venezuelan continued to build on the encouraging pace he has displayed so far this weekend, although there was disappointment for McLaren with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton seventh and eighth.

Both will however move up a position as a result of Webber's penalty.

Paul di Resta was ninth as Force India got both cars into the top ten, with Kimi Raikkonen tenth quickest having been the final man to make it through to the final stage of the session.

Rain had started to fall just as Q2 got underway, with the field heading out on intermediate tyres as soon as the pitlane opened in an effort to get a time in before the conditions worsened. In general, those drivers to head out first were those to get the best of the track conditions with the exception of Schumacher who was the last man out but made it through with ease.

Daniel Ricciardo went close to putting Toro Rosso into Q3 before falling just 0.06secs shy of the required time and will start eleventh, ahead of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi - the Sauber pair both dropping out at the second stage. Felipe Massa also fell in Q2 once again, with the Ferrari man running off track on his first timed lap and failing to recover as the track got wetter.

Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg both struggled in the conditions and could only manage 15th and 17th quickest, with the Williams of Bruno Senna in between on the times. To make matters worse, both join Webber in taking a five place grid penalty for gearbox changes and will be even more on the back foot for race day.

Q1 had seen Jean-Eric Vergne again fall at the first hurdle as he struggled again in qualifying at the wheel of his Toro Rosso. Behind him, Heikki Kovalainen was best of the rest, nearly a second clear of Caterham team-mate Vitaly Petrov, with the two Marussia drivers and the two HRTs rounding out the grid.

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