Two thousandths of a second on Saturday separated second place from pole position at Hockenheim.

Two thousandths of a second on Saturday separated Fernando Alonso from pole position at Hockenheim.

The Spaniard's Ferrari car has taken a concrete step forward in Germany, and at the end of the dry Q3 session his best time was almost indistinguishable from Sebastian Vettel's in the dominant Red Bull.

A further five and sixth tenths behind are the sister Ferrari driven by Felipe Massa and then Silverstone winner Mark Webber, who abandoned his final effort after running wide in turn 1.

"My fault," said the Australian.

The other major story from qualifying was the pace of the championship leading McLarens, who went into the session fitted with the blown exhausts.

But points leader Lewis Hamilton was outqualified by his teammate Jenson Button, in just fifth place.

"It is clear now we are the third fastest team," rued Hamilton.

Added Button: "7 tenths behind? Surprising. We've definitely made a step forward with the car here but we don't have the pace, which is quite a worry, really."

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 1:15.152 1:14.249 1:13.791 22
2 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:14.808 1:14.081 1:13.793 22
3 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:15.216 1:14.478 1:14.290 24
4 6 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 1:15.334 1:14.340 1:14.347 25
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.823 1:14.716 1:14.427 23
6 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.505 1:14.488 1:14.566 20
7 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1:15.736 1:14.835 1:15.079 23
8 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:16.398 1:14.698 1:15.109 25
9 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:16.178 1:15.018 1:15.179 25
10 10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:16.387 1:14.943 1:15.339 22
11 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:16.084 1:15.026 18
12 23 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:15.951 1:15.084 12
13 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:16.521 1:15.307 17
14 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:16.220 1:15.467 16
15 22 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:16.450 1:15.550 11
16 17 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 1:16.664 1:15.588 14
17 16 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 1:16.029 1:15.974 15
18 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:17.583 12
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:18.300 11
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:18.343 6
21 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:18.592 10
22 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:18.952 3
23 20 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:19.844 11
24 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth No time 1

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