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Alonso grabs first pole since 2007

July 25th, 2009

Fernando Alonso, Hungary, 2009In an eventful qualifying session for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso secured his first pole position since the 2007 Italian Grand Prix.

All the timing screens went blank right at the end of the third session so for a while no-one knew what position they were in.  This led to the bizarre situation of Fernando Alonso asking each of the drivers who had pulled into parc ferme what their lap time was.

It soon became apparent that Alonso had clinched pole position by less than four hundredths of a second from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.  Mark Webber will line up alongside a resurgent Lewis Hamilton on the second row with Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen on row three.

Despite being on pole, Alonso is not sounding too confident:

We will try (to win) but being honest and realistic, our target is to get some good points. After the last four races where we only scored points in the Nurburgring we need some points for the constructors’, and we know if we start very heavy we go around 8th/9th position.

So it could be that he is running light; we will know more when the car weights are published.

The biggest threat to Alonso and the two Red Bull cars are the KERS equipped McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen who have looked strong all weekend.  Vettel may be starting on the front row but he knows who is just behind him:

For sure the biggest challenge is the threat from cars behind with KERS. The KERS cars are somewhere there, it is a question of where they will pass, left or right, down into Turn One. We will see tomorrow.

The warmer temperatures in Hungary did little to help the Brawn GP cars with Jenson Button qualifying in eighth and Rubens Barrichello failing to make it through to Q3.

The session was stopped briefly after a piece of suspension flew off Rubens Barrichello’s car and struck Felipe Massa in the head causing him to go straight on into the tyre wall at turn four.  Massa escaped serious injury but the 175 mph impact caused the G-warning indicator to light up on his Ferrari and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure.

This comes just a week after an accident in the Formula Two race at Brands Hatch claimed the life of Henry Surtees, the son of former World Champion John Surtees, when he was hit in the head by a wheel that had come off another competitor’s car.

2009 Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:21.569
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:21.607
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:21.741
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.839
5 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:21.890
6 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.095
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.468
8 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:22.511
9 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:22.835
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari No time
11 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.002
12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:21.082
13 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:21.222
14 Timo Glock Toyota 1:21.242
15 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1:21.389
16 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:21.738
17 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:21.807
18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.868
19 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:21.901
20 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.359

Update: Felipe Massa will not race on Sunday so all drivers from P11 move up a place.

Image: Renault

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