AT&T Williams driver Nico Hulkenberg achieved a sensational pole position using Bridgestone's super soft Potenza tyres to set a lap time of 1min 14.470secs on a drying Interlagos circuit for tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 23 year-old rookie took pole by an incredible
margin of over a second from Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel. It was the first Cosworth-powered pole position since Rubens Barrichello
's for Stewart Ford in the 1999 French Grand Prix, also using Bridgestone Potenza tyres.
Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) qualified in third and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton will start alongside him in fourth place. Renault F1 Team driver Robert Kubica set the fastest time in the morning practice, using the intermediate tyre for a 1min 19.191secs time.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about today's running? "We had a very exciting qualifying session, congratulations Nico Hulkenberg for your superb first pole position! Conditions were at the crossover point between using the intermediate or dry tyre, making the choice of which to use very difficult. Some drivers experienced graining on their intermediates, but not everyone so car, setup and driving style were factors. Even at the end of the session, it was too wet in places for the dry tyre so Nico's pole lap by such a margin was sensational."
What are the tyre strategy considerations for the race? "If it is dry tomorrow, nine of the top ten will have to start with the super soft option tyre. It will be interesting to see the durability of this tyre on what will be a green surface after all the rain we have experienced. Petrov, who set his fastest Q3 time with the intermediate, and those outside the top ten can start on the more durable prime so there is potential for a good mix of strategies. If conditions are damp tomorrow, some drivers might regret using so many sets of their intermediate tyres today, and other drivers could benefit from having more new sets of intermediate tyres than the cars ahead."