The German crowd were delighted this afternoon as Sebastian Vettel took his 3rd consecutive pole position. He had a big fight on his hand but it wasn't from usual suspect Mark Webber as the Australian had a poor Q3 with a scruffy first lap and then running wide at turn 1 on his final lap. He will start 4th. Instead it was Fernando Alonso who was just two thousandths of a second away from Ferrari's first pole position since the final race of 2008. Felipe Massa, who took that pole, will line up 3rd though he was half a second off his Spanish team mate. McLaren were not in the hunt, Jenson Button edging out Lewis Hamilton by a tenth and both men will occupy the third row of the grid. Robert Kubica was 7th, impressive as the Renault still has no F-Duct. Rubens Barrichello was 8th and is still beaming after his exploits on the TV show Top Gear. Nico Hulkenberg joins Nico Rosberg on row 5 with Michael Schumacher 11th after missing Q3 by 8 thousandths of a second
It was a bad day for Force India. After early promise this weekend, it was a Saturday that started badly and got worse. Adrian Sutil needed a new gearbox after a driveshaft problem in morning practice so was already on the backfoot with no qualifying setup work and a five place penalty. This showed as the local driver struggled with rear end stability and he will start 19th. Vitantonio Liuzzi didn't even make Q2 after a crash early on. He was wide out of the final corner and the astroturf was quite wet and he was spun across the track and into the pitwall. A strategic option open to the Italian tomorrow is to do what Fernando Alonso did in Monaco. Start on the soft tyre, hope there is an early safety car and pit for the harder tyre. He is considering the other main option though, which is do what Kamui Kobayashi did in Valencia. Start on the hard tyre and make one stop near the end and attack on fresh tyres.
This could work as the field may get rid of the soft tyres early. If Liuzzi can get good track position then the field spread could help him get in the points. A badly timed safety car could scupper this though. Strategy is interesting as the soft tyres are holding up better than expected and the lack of heat has meant the hard tyres are taking a few laps to get up to full performance. So i think the front drivers will want to stay on the soft tyres until they are really going quite badly off as the hard tyre may leave them vulnerable on their out lap. It could well be warmer tomorrow though with the chance of rain low. The top ten will also have put their tyres through at least 3 laps already. It's a short run to turn 1 so expect little change. Further back it could get messy. The McLarens will be a threat on the run to the hairpin as they were the fastest cars in a straight line today. Mark Webber may have to be on the defensive.
A word for Jarno Trulli today. The Italian has had so many car problems at Lotus this season but really shone today, qualifying within a second of Jaime Alguersuari. Bruno Senna was only two tenths from the Virgin of Timo Glock though he had gearbox issues and has taken a penalty for a new one. Still impressive when you consider that the HRT car has had only two updates all season. Lucas di Grassi failed to set a time in qualifying, also suffering with gearbox issues.
So it promises to be another fascinating race tomorrow. Red Bull have the pole position slot again but Ferrari and McLaren may well have the race pace to make it a real contest for the victory. Tyre management could be crucial and this is something that Alonso has been good at so he will be looking for a second victory of the season to boost his championship chances. We've seen many punctures recently from small contact so everyone will be desperate to avoid those as well. It's a good track though so we should see plenty of action. Look out for the Force India drivers making their way through the field. Race start is 1pm BST and i'll be tweeting my thoughts during the race. Who do you think will win? Vote or comment