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Hungarian GP 2009

JULY 25, 2009

Qualifying Report - Alonso on pole amid timing chaos

Fernando Alonso, Hungarian GP 2009
© The Cahier Archive

Fernando Alonso took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, but the final Q3 session was completely ruined by a failure of the timing system. When the system came back to life it said that the Renault was pole, a most unusual result. The Spaniard said that he did not expect to win, suggesting that his fuel load was a small one. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were second and third, which was what was expected but Brawn GP was surprisingly off the pace, although it will be interesting to see what fuel load Button is using. He was listed as eighth on the grid. The two Red Bull drivers said that they were worried about the KERS cars behind them, notably the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, which had been quick all weekend. Hamilton was fourth and it will be interesting to see how heavy the car is. The same can be said of Nico Rosberg's Williams, which was fifth fastest ahead of the second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari. The Finn had a major save in the final minutes of the session and lost time.

With Button eighth and Kazuki Nakajima ninth the top 10 was completed (in theory at least) by Felipe Massa, but the Brazilian went off in the final seconds of the Q2 session and had a fairly large impact with the tyre barrier. It was an odd accident. The Ferrari clearly hit some debris on the run up to the fast fourth corner. The car seemed not to respond to steering and went off on the left side of the track, across the grass and back across the track and then straight over the run-off area, with the brakes clearly on most of the time. The angle of impact was acute and it appears that Massa's helmet hit the steering wheel. The extent of his injuries is still not clear, but he is not believed to be in any danger. He is now in hospital in Budapest undergoing checks to make sure that all is well. It is not likely that he will take part in any further racing this weekend.

It was a surprise to see Sebastien Buemi in 11th place in his Toro Rosso, although the team had been waiting for a big upgrade. It was a big disappointment for Toyota to have Jarno Trulli in 12th and Timo Glock 14th, but there was even worse for Brawn with Rubens Barrichello 13th.

Nelson Piquet was 15th in the second Renault, amid renewed rumours that he will be out of the drive after the summer break.

There was bad news too for BMW Sauber with Nick Heidfeld 16th and Robert Kubica 19th, the pair split by the Force Indias of Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil. The new boy Jamie Alguersuari was last, four-tenths of the pace but went off in the final moment of the Q1 session.