Paddock Cat told you yesterday about the prevailing sense of déjà vu that enveloped the Hockenheim paddock thanks to the unseasonal Silverstone-like weather. Well, the theme continued on Saturday with qualifying blighted by torrential downpours for the second race in a row and, once again, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso emerged as the regenmeister to score his first ever pole position at a German Grand Prix.
The only downside for Fernando this weekend is that all the on-track action, media and press events have prevented him from keeping an eye of the Tour de France. The Spaniard is a keen cyclist and had been following Le Tour in the days before he left for Hockenheim. Today he revealed that were he not a racing driver, he’d have liked to have been a cyclist, albeit a track cyclist rather than a Tour rider. “I like the pursuit event where the cyclists start on opposite sides of the velodrome,” said Fernando. “I love the idea of chasing an opponent down.”
As pole-sitter, it’s more likely that Fernando will be the man being pursued in the race, and you can expect local heroes Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher to be the men hot on his heels. This race is the first time Fernando and Sebastian have started on the front row of the grid together and Vettel has admitted that it would “mean the world” to him to win at a circuit only a few miles from his home town of Heppenheim.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa will achieve a personally significant milestone on Sunday as he surpasses his hero Ayrton Senna’s number of race starts. But Massa will have to win another 30 races to match the Brazilian legend’s tally of victories. What better time to start than now?
Every evening in Hockenheim, the track stays open so that a few lucky sponsors’ guests and members of the public can enjoy a hair-raising hot lap from an F1 driver in a sporty road car. On Saturday, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was behind the wheel of a gorgeous Ferrari 458 Italia and although he owns one of his own, he revealed today that his everyday vehicle is the considerably tamer Fiat 500. And as for his team-mate Felipe Massa, he does not drive anything sportier. Ever the family man, the Brazilian’s regular vehicle is a roomy Fiat Multipla. So it seems even F1 megastars drive sensible cars from time to time!