Alonso back on top with Renault in Hungary
Qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix came to a confusing conclusion this afternoon as the front-runners climbed from their race cars only to ask each other who actually had the pole position courtesy of a complete timing system
failure at the circuit. Fernando Alonso
however got the job done and the Renault star claimed what is arguably the most important pole position of the season on the day that saw Felipe Massa airlifted to hospital after being struck by debris.
The final ten minute pole position shoot-out was largely overshadowed by the accident suffered by Massa who had made it into the final round of qualifying based on his time. However the Brazilian suffered a heavy off late in the second round of qualifying after being struck by suspension debris dropped from Rubens Barrichello
’s Brawn Mercedes.
Massa was on his final hot lap of the second session when he was struck by the component on the left hand side of his crash helmet. Massa was able to apply the brakes – either voluntarily or involuntarily - but the F60 continued on at high speed and nosed heavily into the tyre barriers on the outside of turn four. Massa was removed from the Ferrari and later airlifted to hospital for what seemed at the time to be for purely precautionary measures. It later emerged that the Ferrari star would undergo surgery as a result of head injuries.
Qualifying resumed after a lengthy delay with Alonso claiming the pole position in his Renault, his first since his time at McLaren in 2007, from the Red Bull Renault duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Red Bull has been strong all weekend and are chasing their third straight Grand Prix success as they look to further close down the advantage held by rivals Brawn Mercedes. However, with passing all but impossible at this circuit, the fastest three will be keeping a keen eye on their mirrors for the top KERS-equipped runner as the lights go green tomorrow afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton has been on the pace all weekend in his much-improved McLaren Mercedes. His fourth position on the grid should enable him to use KERS to his advantage at the start of the race and challenge those ahead as he chases his first podium position of the season. Team-mate Heikki Kovalainen starts sixth in the sister MP4-24 with Nico Rosberg slotting in between in his Toyota-powered Williams. Kimi Raikkonen
starts seventh in his Ferrari ahead of Jenson Button
who completed just one run in the final round of qualifying. The Brawn team opted to hold the car in the pits to ensure that the BGP 001 challenger was not suffering from similar problems encountered by Barrichello’s car. From eighth position on the grid, Button faces a very tough task with championship rivals Red Bull way ahead of him on the grid. Kazuki Nakajima qualified the second Williams ninth and Massa was classified tenth having not taken part in the final round of qualifying.
Sebastien Buemi made best of the raft of updates to the Toro Rosso Ferrari introduced this weekend to qualify a fine 11th ahead of Jarno Trulli
in the leading Toyota, Barrichello, Timo Glock in the second Toyota and Nelson Piquet - who may have taken part in his final qualifying session for Renault - if the ongoing rumours are to be believed.
BMW Sauber flattered only to deceive in the morning practice session but when it counted the team had a dismal afternoon with Nick Heidfeld
and Robert Kubica 16th and 19th respectively and eliminated in the first round of qualifying. From there, the team has no hope of salvaging anything from the race weekend.
Force India Mercedes split the BMW duo with Giancarlo Fisichella
17th and Adrian Sutil getting just one run following his morning crash to set the 18th fastest time. At the back, Jaime Alguersuari’s first qualifying session saw his challenge come to a premature conclusion as his Toro Rosso ground to a halt with a mechanical problem. His task Sunday for his first Grand Prix is to gain experience and nothing more.
We do not know the qualifying fuel loads as yet, but speculation suggests that Alonso has gone light on fuel to claim the pole position and should this be confirmed, it places Red Bull Renault right in the driving seat to try and claim their third win from three races. Bad news for Brawn GP and championship leader Jenson Button
Meanwhile, all thoughts are with the injured Felipe Massa.