Fernando Alonso was in tip-top form after taking Ferrari’s first pole position since the Singapore Grand Prix in 2010. But he said his pole position wasn’t his best lap of the afternoon.
“It took a major effort to get into Q3,” he says. “On my final lap I was behind a Toro Rosso and I couldn’t see anything. Nothing at all! I radioed the team to tell them it was impossible, but they told me I had to carry on because I needed 0.3s to make it into Q3.
“I battled through the spray, until I came across a yellow flag in the final sector. I had to slow down just enough not to get a penalty while still making it through. It was very difficult.”
Fernando’s sector three time on that lap was six-thousandths of a second off his best, so he was allowed to keep the lap and progress into Q3. That’s what you call precision.
As well as being a brilliant racing driver, Fernando also showed his compassionate side this afternoon. When being interviewed in front of some Ferrari guests, he clocked a child in a wheelchair at the front of the crowd and walked over to say a few words and he then gave his cap to the child. Everyone watching was charmed and impressed in equal measure.
Fernando won the British Grand Prix last year and today’s pole position gives him a good opportunity to repeat that success. To beat the British-based teams in their own back yard would taste particularly sweet too.
“Eight of the 12 F1 teams are based in the UK,” says Fernando, “so it would be particularly good to win here. It’s like when a football team plays an important away match; victory is that much sweeter than winning at home.”
We wish him the best of luck, but he’ll be made to work hard for it. Mark Webber starts second and a seven-time world champion starts third for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. No prizes for guessing which driver Little Eric will be supporting (he met Michael Schumacher on Wednesday); it’s sure to be a thriller!