Saturday, August 4, 2007

A controversial Pole for Fernando Alonso - Hungarian GP - Qualifying

A hollow Pole Position for Fernando Alonso

Ron Dennis was not smiling at the end of the qualifying session despite the fact that Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton locked out the front row ahead of tomorrow’s 70-lap Hungarian Grand Prix. As if there was not enough controversy at McLaren Mercedes at the moment, the final second of qualifying would bring yet more.

Lewis Hamilton held the provisional pole position following his first run in qualifying, but heading to the pits to take his second and final set of tyres, he found team-mate Alonso sitting there in the pit box, tyres changed but not moving.

We do not know if Alonso was instructed to wait in the pits, or took his own decision to wait. The end result however was that Alonso was able to get back out and start his final flying lap, while Hamilton was unable to make it around in time... A strange situation as Alonso would complete the final flying lap and claim the Pole Position from Hamilton. The championship leader would deflect all questions regarding the issue after climbing from his car.

While talks will go on behind closed doors at McLaren, Nick Heidfeld is probably the happiest driver today in Hungary as he qualified his BMW Sauber a fine third fastest. Team-mate Robert Kubica will be relatively content with seventh, given his struggle this morning in final practice.

Kimi Raikkonen salvaged fourth position for Ferrari.
The fact is that the Italian team struggled in qualifying as the Finn was nearly two-tenths off the pace of Heidfeld’s F1.07. For Massa, the session was a disaster. He struggled with massive understeer on his F2007 and qualified just 14th with a time nearly a second slower than his practice pace.

Nico Rosberg had a strong session as he qualified his Williams Toyota in fifth position. The German seems especially well hooked-up at this circuit. Ralf Schumacher did a similarly solid job for Toyota as he qualified sixth fastest with team-mate Jarno Trulli ninth fastest. Giancarlo Fisichella set the eighth fastest time in his Renault but it remains to be seen if the Renault driver will retain his grid position after badly blocking Sakon Yamamoto early in the session.

Mark Webber qualified tenth in his Red Bull Renault just ahead of team-mate David Coulthard. Heikki Kovalainen qualified 12th in the second Renault ahead of Alex Wurz and Massa. Anthony Davidson continued to show the way to team-mate Takuma Sato and they set the 15th and 19th best times respectively, while Tonio Liuzzi did a good job to make it into the second round of qualifying in his Toro Rosso.

It was a bit of a disaster for the Honda team as expected. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were both eliminated after the first qualifying session as they qualified 17th and 18th ahead of Takuma Sato.

Sebastian Vettel had two scruffy qualifying runs in his Toro Rosso and was therefore just 20th. In fairness to Vettel, he has had no testing at all in the car ahead of his debut with the team. At the back, Adrian Sutil set the 21st time while Sakon Yamamoto may well have been closer to his Spyker team-mate were it not for some poor driving from Giancarlo Fisichella who baulked the Japanese racer on his final run.

We’re all set for a McLaren fight for supremacy tomorrow. Alonso holds the advantage for now, but Hamilton will certainly feel aggrieved over the going on this afternoon within his own team.

Source: F1-Live