Alonso takes pole in British GP qualifying, Nico 9th fastest
Alonso, who won here last year, will start Sunday's race ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber. Michael Schumacher was third fastest in his Mercedes.
Hulkenberg was penalised for a gearbox change while his Force India teammate Paul di Resta was 11th fastest in the qualifying which was red-flagged in the second session due to a heavy downpour.
"It was a very long session with the delay, but I think I made the most of the conditions in Q1 and Q2. It was definitely the right call to stop the session when the rain got really heavy because there was too much standing water on the circuit and the car was beginning to aquaplane," said Hulkenberg.
"I don't understand where the pace went in Q3 when I was on the intermediates because the car felt more tricky to drive and the lap time didn't come so easy. I was actually hoping for a better position in Q3 than P9, especially with the penalty I have for tomorrow."
Di Resta said: "We actually took a bit of gamble on the qualifying session being dry and that the direction we took with the set-up, but it made driving very difficult in today's wet conditions."
"I think some other cars went more aggressive with a full wet set-up. So hopefully my gamble will come back to me tomorrow in the race. Of course, I would like to be starting further towards the front, but we are going into the race with a lot of unknowns in terms of set-up data and tyre performance. Anything is possible in the race and we won't give up."