HUNGARIAN GP - SATURDAY - QUALIFYING SESSION 1 REPORT
Clouds have silver lining
In surprisingly cool and overcast conditions in Hungary, Kimi Raikkonen took his second pole position in a week for McLaren. And with Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher both getting penalties for driving errors, the Finn looked to be in a strong position to win the team's first victory of the year.
The other man with a huge opportunity was Felipe Massa, second on the grid in his Ferrari. Rubens Barrichello was third on the grid but his team mate Jenson Button set the fourth fastest time but tumbled down the order to 14th on the grid because of an engine failure in the morning. This meant that Pedro de la Rosa was fourth on the grid in his McLaren ahead of Mark Webber, who was again strong in his Williams. The top 10 were completed by Ralf Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella (hopefully with a lot of fuel in his Renault), Jarno Trulli and F1 debutant Robert Kubica, who outran his much more experienced BMW team mate Nick Heidfeld. With Button falling down the order, the tenth position on the grid went to Heidfeld.
Michael Schumacher was quick but with his two second penalty in each qualifying session the best he could manage was 11th on the grid ahead of David Coulthard and his Red Bull team mate Christian Klien. Button slotted into 14th ahead of Alonso (who had a similar penalty to Schumacher) and then came Tiago Monteiro in 16th ahead of Tonio Liuzzi (Toro Rosso), a lacklustre Nico Rosberg, Scott Speed, Takuma Sato and Christijan Albers, although the Dutchman also had a penalty for an engine problem which dropped him to the back on the grid behind Sakon Yamamoto.
The qualifying is of vital importance normally in Hungary and it is going to be tough for the two World Championship contenders to score points. There is the chance of an incident at the first couple of corners. After that overtaking is going to be very tough - even for the best.
The other point of importance is the importance of being on the clean side of the track. This gives Raikkonen a big advantage with Barrichello, Webber and Fisichella the top four men on the good line and Massa, de la Rosa, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli likely to be the men who suffer.
At the end of qualifying Raikkonen was delighted.
"We have a strong car and we can win tomorrow," he said.
The Finn had little sympathy for his usual rivals Alonso and Michael Schumacher.
"There are rules and if you don't respect them then there are penalties," he said.
It was clear from Massa's face that he was not happy with second and he blamed this on tyre temperature.
"I had a bit of a warm-up problem before my last try," he said. "I had Ralf in front and I backed off a bit and my tyres lost of bit of time. These things happen, especially at this kind of track. Hopefully we can run a strong race."
Barrichello was happy to finally be on the right track with Honda.
"There has been a lot of pressure on the team," he said. They have made a hell of an effort to put the car where it is right now. We are expecting a great race."