Championship leader Alonso takes pole at rain-hit Silverstone
July 7, 2012 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Fernando Alonso (right) celebrates his pole at Silverstone with third-fastest Michael Schumacher
- Fernando Alonso takes pole for British Grand Prix at Silverstone
- Alonso edges out Mark Webber of Red Bull in rain-hit qualifying
- Session delayed by nearly two hours after heavy shower hits circuit
- Michael Schumacher takes a fine third in his Mercedes
(CNN) -- Championship leader Fernando Alonso took pole position for the British Grand Prix after a rain delayed final qualifying session Saturday.
The Silverstone track in central England was hit by a deluge during the second part of qualifying and the session was held up for nearly two hours.
When the action resumed, Ferrari's Alonso showed his undoubted class with a one minute 51.746 seconds clocking, edging out Red Bull's Mark Webber for first place on the grid.
Seven-time champion Michael Schumacher reveled in the conditions in his Mercedes and took third fastest ahead of reigning double champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany in his Red Bull.
It will be Spaniard Alonso's first pole since the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix, but he took his home race in Valencia a fortnight ago to become the first man to achieve two wins in an unpredictable season.
"It was not easy. To complete a lap with no huge mistakes is not easy in these conditions," he told the official press conference.
"I'm happy to be on pole after nearly two years. In these conditions the qualifying is probably the least important of the year but obviously for visibility it is always better to be on pole."
Stirling Moss: A history of Silverstone
Designing Formula One tires
Designing a Formula One car
In the pits with Lotus F1 Team
His teammate Felipe Massa also backed him up with an improved performance to take a competitive fifth, his best in qualifying this season.
Massa has faced questions about his future with the team after only gaining 11 points to date in 2012, but the Brazilian has told CNN that he is confident he will get a new deal with Ferrari.
"It's not the first time this thing happened to me at the end of the contract and we renew it," he said.
"Personally I didn't have the start to the season I wanted but I'm much stronger now, much better now, and I'm sure we can be competitive race-by-race now until the end of the year," he added.
Former world champion Kimi Raikkonen was sixth for Lotus-Renault with young Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado in seventh for Williams-Renault.
Home hope Lewis Hamilton was fastest in his McLaren after Q2, but struggled to find grip when it really mattered and was a frustrated eighth fastest.
His teammate Jenson Button also endured another miserable afternoon and failed to make the cut for Q2, ending only 18th best.
Part of complete coverage on
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 0108 GMT (0908 HKT)
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
The Williams team welcomes the biggest rule changes to Formula One cars for a generation.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1916 GMT (0316 HKT)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Formula One is taking another step in its techno evolution this season, which could be more unpredictable than it has been for a long time.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 2255 GMT (0655 HKT)
Despite being a sport well into its seventh decade, only two women have ever driven in Formula 1 but Susie Wolff hopes to become the third.
February 24, 2014 -- Updated 1736 GMT (0136 HKT)
Jann Mardenborough on the similarities and differences between driving a race on a video game and driving a real F1 car.
February 22, 2014 -- Updated 1226 GMT (2026 HKT)
How Russian president Vladimir Putin helped turn a muddy hole in the ground into a $400 million futuristic grand prix track in Sochi.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 0013 GMT (0813 HKT)
Vilified by the the international community for his government's attitude on gay rights, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found an ally.
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 1217 GMT (2017 HKT)
CNN's Rosie Tomkins speaks to Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes on the team's driver line-up for 2014.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
He is Formula One's undisputed No. 1, and next season Sebastian Vettel will have proof of that fact emblazoned on his Red Bull.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
Today's five most popular stories