Championship leader Fernando Alonso on Saturday grabbed the pole position for Sunday’s German Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver managed a time of one minute 40.621 seconds for the 4,574 kilometre-long Hockenheim course, to beat defending champion Sebastian Vettel into second place.

Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber had the third-fastest time, but will start five place back after receiving a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

The second row on the grid belongs to Germans Michael Schumacher in a Mercedes and Force India’s Nico Huelkenberg.

Pouring rain made the session very difficult and most drivers only managed to post their fastest time towards the end of the 10 minute session once they had gotten used to conditions.

Schumacher said early on that it was very tough to drive in the rain. “It will be a very difficult thing to stay on the track,” he said over the team radio.

The top ten are completed by Williams’ Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button in a McLaren, who are in the third row, while the other McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and Webber are on the fourth row.

Paul di Resta in the second Force India and Kimi Raikkonen in a Lotus are ninth and tenth on the grid.

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