Alonso: Q3 pit stop was pole key
Spaniard attacked closing laps with a new set of wet tyres
Last Updated: 21/07/12 4:45pm
Fernando Alonso has credited Ferrari's decision to stop for a new set of wet tyres mid-way through Q3 as the decisive factor in his surge to his second successive wet-weather pole for the German Grand Prix.
The Spaniard, who leads the World Championship by 13 points from Mark Webber heading into Sunday's 10th round of the season, was one of the few drivers not to run all of his laps in the pole shootout consecutively once the session stated. The Spaniard instead took to the pit lane to fit a brand new set of the extreme wet tyres for the decisive closing laps.
Alonso, who believes the track conditions were still marginal throughout Q3 having earlier voiced his concerns over his car-to-pits radio, says the stop ultimately paid dividends at the end of the session when conditions were at their best as he claimed pole from Sebastian Vettel by four tenths of a second.
"I think it was still very on the limit the conditions," the Spaniard said in the post-qualifying news conference.
"As far as it's the same for everybody, I think sometimes it's good to check the circuit conditions as we did [in] Q3. Going into turn six, it was not easy and there was a lot of aquaplaning. We are at 280-290kph but everything we went for us.
"We backed off a bit in those aquaplaning moments and the rest of the lap was clean. I think also we made a good strategy call - doing a pit-stop in Q3 - and then have a very fresh tyre in the last minute when the track was in a little bit better condition and I think that helped us a lot to improve the lap time."
With rain having been a constant factor throughout the opening two days at Hockenheim, Alonso acknowledges Ferrari will have to be on their guard for more of the same on Sunday - even if the forecast currently points towards a dry race.
"It has been a strange weekend for conditions on the track. I think we had all conditions so far during the weekend: we ran with inters, extreme and dry tyres both days," he added.
"Tomorrow we'll see whether we have to repeat the same thing or a dry race, the forecast should be a little bit better for tomorrow, but let's see."
Alonso goes into the race knowing he has a big chance to increase his points advantage at the top of the Drivers' Championship with nearest challenger Webber to drop from third to eighth on the grid owing to a gearbox change.
And having set the pace in Saturday morning's dry conditions, the 30-year-old ominously added: "The car was performing well in all conditions so we are quite optimistic for tomorrow."