Fernando Alonso has dedicated his F1 2012 British Grand Prix pole position to Maria de Villota.
de Villota was seriously injured this week following her accident while conducting a straight-line aero test with the Marussia F1 team at Duxford. Her condition is currently described as 'serious but stable' [see separate story - HERE].
"First of all I want to dedicate this pole to Maria de Villota, who is going through a particularly difficult time. We are all feeling sad these days and our thoughts are with her and her family," said the Spaniard after taking his first pole position of the season and his first since the Singapore GP back in 2010.
Alonso eventually came through to top Q3 by just 0.047 seconds and he conceded had been lucky, given he almost put it in the barriers before Q2 was stopped due to torrential rain. He was also fortunate as once Q2 was re-started, he only just made it through, with a late lap lifting him to ninth.
"Pole was a surprise, because in conditions like these, you never know what can happen," he continued. "This morning, in the dry, the car was very good, but in the wet it could all be different, even if the F2012 has shown that's it's not bad in the rain, if one thinks of Malaysia and the Mugello test.
"This afternoon, one had to be in the right place at the right time on the right tyres and, to succeed in that, you also needed a bit of luck. For once it came our way, as with the spin at the start of Q2 and when I managed to get through into Q3 by a hair's breadth after the interruption: in the end, I had a car ahead of me and the visibility was really poor and then there were yellow flags at the last corner, but in the end I managed to get through to the next stage.
"Today's pole is important, even if we know it came to us in unusual conditions. We still need to get one in the dry to be able to say we have closed the gap to the best. I'm hoping for a boring race tomorrow now, given that for once I'm starting in front of everyone."
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali meanwhile emphasised that it is only on Sunday that you score points: "Obviously, we are happy today because it's been a long time, too long, that we have not had one of our drivers on pole position, but we must not get carried away now, quite the contrary," he warned.
"We must concentrate even more on our work because, once again, this afternoon, we saw how things can change literally from one minute to the next. Fernando was extraordinary and Felipe [Massa] also did a great job [to take P5 in the sister car]: it's our best qualifying of the year and we must try and make the most of it in tomorrow's race. The weather forecast is rather uncertain, so we will have to be on high alert, ready to react to the slightest change.
"So many times this year, we have seen that grid positions have not proved decisive when it comes to the final result: let's hope that, tomorrow at least, it will play an important role."