Hockenheim, Germany – Championship leader Fernando Alonso secured his second consecutive pole position on Saturday when he outpaced his rivals in qualifying for Sunday's German Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion drove his Ferrari with supreme judgement and great elan to prove he is the man to catch and beat in this year's title race as he goes in pursuit of his third drivers' title.
The Spaniard was four-tenths of a second fastest ahead of nearest rival and defending double champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany and his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber of Australia.
German local hero and seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, 43, was fourth fastest in front of a big crowd of his dedicated fans, with another German, Nico Hulkenberg, taking fifth place on the grid for the Force India team.
Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado of Williams was sixth ahead of the McLaren pair of Britons Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, whose bright promise in dry conditions in practice on Friday was not converted into grid positions in the rain.
Button's relative success in taking seventh place was the first time this year that he has outpaced Hamilton in qualifying.
Another Briton, Paul Di Resta, was ninth in the second Force India, ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus.
1st row: Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull-Renault)
2nd row: Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes-AMG), Nico Huelkenberg (GER/Force India-Mercedes)
3rd row: Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams-Renault), Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)
4th row: Lewis Hamilton (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes), Mark Webber (AUS/Red Bull-Renault)
5th row: Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India-Mercedes), Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus-Renault)
6th row: Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Toro Rosso-Ferrari), Sergio Perez (MEX/Sauber-Ferrari)
7th row: Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber-Ferrari), Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari)
8th row: Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault), Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams-Renault)
9th row: Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes-AMG), Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso-Ferrari)
10th row: Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Caterham-Renault), Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Caterham-Renault)
11th row: Charles Pic (FRA/Marussia-Cosworth), Timo Glock (GER/Marussia-Cosworth)
12th row: Pedro de la Rosa (ESP/HRT-Cosworth), Narain Karthikeyan (IND/HRT-Cosworth) – Sapa-AFP