Friday, July 31, 2009

Hamilton thanks 'amazing' McLaren

It is amazing what everybody at McLaren has done. They've improved the car from a has-been to a race winner, albeit a little too late for any titles. But it shows what determination, a never give up attitude and perseverance can do. Plus money too.

From what I know of Lewis himself as a person, he has no "give up" in his vocabulary. In his mind, he only has one choice in life, and that is to win. There is no losing or give up or compromise in his mind. There is only winning. You might call that extreme but it takes an extreme mind to succeed. I'm somewhat in a transition in my life now and Lewis is such a great inspiration, I have to use some of that positive energy myself.


I did propose how interesting it would be (just for fun though ) if Michael Schumacher returned to replace Massa, didn't I? I was just fooling around, I didn't know the people involved were serious. It seems that it is coming true.

First though is that Massa is getting better and will probably race again. Maybe not this season but next year. Then again, his final condition is unknown so we'll see. He is concious now, able to sit up in bed and even taking some steps.

The funny thing about Schumacher racing again is that Ferrari have 2 test drivers who are qualified to be reserve drivers, in fact at least one of them is the official test driver but they were not considered to replace Massa. Why is that? Is Schumi more interesting? Better PR? Better driver? Sell more tickets and merchandise? One thing is for sure, a lot of people are relishing the thought of pitting Schumi against some of the best drivers from the current crop.

Talking of the current crop, Kimi should be waking up from his boozing right about now and realising that if he's not interested in F1, there's a lot of replacements out there, young or old.

BMW leaves F1

A sad day indeed for motorsport when one of its best known names has decided to leave the pinnacle of motorsports and such a great team and manufacturer at that. BMW is my favorite car, they produce one of the best drivers' cars ever which not only performs but looks good, exuding class and quality. I was hoping they'd stick around for a while because 2009 with the rule changes was only a blip on the radar, a speed bump. I'm surprised they thought this way. I do hope that somebody takes over the team and a BMW engine would still be on the grid next year, just look at Brawn.

Meanwhile, the shock announcement has shocked their own drivers as Nick Heidfeld says "BMW's decision to withdraw from Formula One came out of the blue." Not sure what Kubica had to say, he's probably losing his mind in his trailer as he could have finished 2008 nearer the top had BMW thrown their resources at last years' championship. I guess he now has to look for another job at a team that is really hungry to win.

The other manufacturers Mercedes and Toyota were quick to re-affirm their position to stay in the sport, though I'm not so sure about Toyota. They are under pressure to perform amid losses at their car division. The loudest noise is coming from Renault though, their silence is deafening. Ferrari is also quiet but we'd all expect them to stay no matter what.

The FIA and Max will be gloating as Max jumps on the "I told you so bandwagon". I hope this doesn't weaken FOTA and is another way for Max to solidify his position in the FIA even in retirement.

The ashes have not even settled yet and the small fishes have already started biting. Epsilon has revealed their interest to take over BMWs' place on the 2010 grid. Expected really after the farce that Max Mosley engineered for new teams to enter next year.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We are at the halfway point of the season where the championship takes a breather for 3 weeks. Everybody gets a chance to rest and recuperate, especially Felipe Massa after his accident at the Hungaroring last week. He is reportedly fine for now but long term damage is unknown. His personal physician reports that his eye is undamaged but whether he can race again is too early to tell. But then again, if Webber could do it, so can he.

One thing for sure is that he won't be racing for the rest of the season. The question is who will replace him? Ferrari have 2 good test drivers that could do it but isn't it more interesting if Schumacher was the one?

Another twist to the season is that Renault has been banned from the next race at Valencia (Alonso and Piquet won't miss much as that race is boring) because of the incident where Alonso's front right wheel was not attached properly during the pitstop, he was released anyway and the wheel flew off onto the track which could have killed somebody (which was what happened to Henry Surtees, son of world champion John Surtees in F2).

It seems that McLaren have caught up with the leaders and beaten them to the line. Their updates are working as Lewis and Heikki are more confident in the corners and therefore are more aggressive in qualifying and the race. It shows when the race started and when Lewis overtook. He himself said that the car is fantastic to drive.

The Red Bulls have fallen off the pace a bit but are still a formidable force at the front as shown by their qualifying results. Only Ferrari beat them to second place because of strategy and maybe KERS. Talking about strategy, Toyota seems to have a good one as they managed to get both cars in the points after a disastrous qualifying.

The most worried team must be Brawn GP as they have fallen off the pace. Maybe they can't spend their way to the front any more. I have a feeling that the Brawn cars are gonna be stuck in the midfield for the rest of the season and their world championship hopes will dry up. Shame as they burst on the scene with such freshness of the ultimate underdog.

What do you think? Which team and which driver will become champion? Will Brawn find enough performance or money to make it to the end?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hungarian GP Report: Hamilton Returns To The Top

Sunday 26th July 2009

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first grand prix victory of the season in Hungary as McLaren put their early season woes behind them to return to winning ways.

Starting from fourth on the grid, the defending World Champion put his KERS to good use, easily sliding his way past his rivals and up into second place by the end of the first lap.

From there it was just a case of chasing down Fernando Alonso, which he easily did, taking the lead as the Spaniard pitted.

Alonso's pit stop, though, proved to be the Renault driver's downfall as his front right wasn't secured properly and came off on his out-lap.

With the wheel hurtling across the track, F1 proved for the second time this weekend that its safety standards still need to be improved. The damage from driving back to the pits on three wheels resulted in Alonso retiring on the next lap.

Meanwhile, with Hamilton pulling away from the chasing pack, it was left to Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber to settle the podium with the Ferrari driver taking second place off the Australia.

However, in yet another strange occurrence of the weekend, Raikkonen could lose his eight points as he will be investigated by the race stewards after the race for his incident with Sebastian Vettel at the very start of the race. So what were the stewards doing for 69 3/4 laps?

Nico Rosberg put in yet another solid performance for Williams, coming home in fourth place ahead of Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock. Jenson Button could only manage seventh place with Jarno Trulli completing the points.

Full report to follow...

01 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:38:23.876
02 K. Räikkönen Ferrari + 11.529
03 M. Webber Red Bull + 16.886
04 N. Rosberg Williams + 26.967
05 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 34.392
06 T. Glock Toyota + 35.237
07 J. Button Brawn GP + 55.088
08 J. Trulli Toyota + 1:08.172
09 K. Nakajima Williams + 1:08.774
10 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 1:09.256
11 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:10.600
12 N.Piquet Renault + 1:11.500
13 R. Kubica BMW + 1:14.000
14 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 1 laps
15 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
Did not finish
17 S. Vettel Red Bull + 41 laps
18 F. Alonso Renault + 55 laps
19 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 69 laps

Source : Planet F1


Finally, a race worth watching. And what a race. The supposedly boring Hungarian GP turned otherwise. Alonso who was on pole and looked to have at least been on the podium ended up DNF because of a loose wheel which came off flying in a dramatic way.

Sebastien Vettel also retired due to a problem with his car and Mark Webber really didn't have the pace although he did end up 3rd. Rosberg quietly finished in 4th and Kovalainnen got some more points for McLaren in 5th. He really is no match for Lewis even with the same car.

The 2 Toyotas were surprising finishing 6th and 8th after a poor practice and qualifying. The Brawns seems to have lost some steam with Button 7th and Barrichello 10th. Looks like Rubens won't be racing next year.

The race was watchable, I'd definitely watch it again. The start was nail biting, there were some overtaking moments and McLaren are back.

Weights reveal Alonso's light, very light

Saturday 25th July 2009

Fernando Alonso may have claimed pole position for Sunday's Hungarian GP but he did it with a very, very light car.

Alonso took the coveted grid slot on Saturday, afterward hinting that he could be running light compared to the others in the top ten. And that proved to be a fact when the weights for revealed.

While Alonso came in at just 637.5kgs, second placed Sebastian Vettel almost 20kgs heavier while third placed Mark Webber is on a similar strategy to Vettel.

Lewis Hamilton, who qualified fourth for the Budapest race, is slightly lighter than the Red Bulls and given that he also has KERS should have an advantage off the line.

Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen are on similar strategies while the man behind them on the grid, Kimi Raikkonen, is marginally lighter.

As for Jenson Button, the Brawn GP is the heaviest of the top eight which could play into his favour as the race progresses.

01. Alonso Renault 637.5
02. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 655.0
03. Webber Red Bull-Renault 652.0
04. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 650.5
05. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 654.0
06. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 655.5
07. Raikkonen Ferrari 651.5
08. Button Brawn-Mercedes 664.5
09. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 658.0
10. Massa Ferrari
11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 671.5
12. Trulli Toyota 671.3
13. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 689.0
14. Glock Toyota 679.2
15. Piquet Renault 667.7
16. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 658.0
17. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 680.5
18. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 683.5
19. Kubica BMW-Sauber 666.0
20. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 675.5

Source : Planet F1

Qualy: Alonso Takes Pole As Massa Crashes

Saturday 25th July 2009

Mass confusion reigned at the end of Hungarian qualifying as the live timing went down in the final minutes with the general consensus being that Fernando Alonso was in pole position.

Only nine drivers competed in the pole position shoot-out after Felipe Massa crashed heavily in the final few seconds of the previous session. The Brazilian appeared to be hit by a piece of flying debris from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car, which resulted a huge impact into the Turn 4 barriers.

The final qualifying segment was delayed while marshals fixed the tyre barrier but once underway it was Alonso who had the measure of his rivals taking his first pole position of the 2009 campaign with a 1:21.567.

Red Bull racers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were next in line while Lewis Hamilton completed the second row.

However, none of this was known immediately after qualifying as the track's live timing went down, leaving everyone in the dark and Alonso's pole uncelebrated.

Qualifying 1
The much-talked about track temperatures were up to 41C as Q1 started under bright sunshine and with high winds raking across the circuit. The winds were set to disrupt many of the Q1 laps as cars lost and gained downforce going into it and away from it.

Toro Rosso debutant, Jaime Alguesuari, having put in 102 laps in the three practice sessions, would make his first attempt at getting into Q2, the youngest ever F1 driver. Sebastien Bourdais had managed it twice in nine attempts, so there were no high expectations of getting there, just for keeping it safe and sensible.

Team-mate Sebastien Buemi set the first significant P1 time with a 1:22.380 which he reduced to 1:21.813 on the next lap. Everyone had fuelled for a number of laps and with the green-walled super-soft tyres lasting for three or four laps with little fall-off in performance, most drivers opted for three- or four-lap runs.

Kimi Raikkonen took the time down to 1:21.602 on his third hot lap, Sebastian Vettel took it from him with a 1:21.590 and then Mark Webber stopped the clocks also at exactly 1:21.590. Raikkonen wasn't finished, though and on his fourth lap put in a 1:21.500 to take the P1 position.

The high wind on the early runs and the effects of the track rubbering in made it difficult to be confident that any time would be good enough. Into the last four minutes and the most obvious danger positions were: 11.Button 12.Alonso 13.Fisichella 14.Piquet 15.Nakajima 16.Kovalainen 17.Glock 18.Alguesuari 19.Trulli 20.Sutil

However no-one was going to take a chance and all 20 runners took to the track. Again the cars had been fuelled for multiple laps, so all was not lost. Kovalainen jumped to P7, Nakajima took P9, Trulli - who had been close to last - jumped to P11 with the fastest final sector. Button who had been pushed down to P15 bounced back up to P9. Hamilton roared up to P4

Toro Rosso's new boy then developed hydraulic problems and had to park up at the penultimate corner. This brought out the yellow flags and meant that it would be difficult for drivers to improve their time while marshals got the car out of the way.

When the yellow flags were cleared Button jumped up to P2, Vettel claimed P2, Alonso stayed P15 while the Force India garage ere elated to see Fisi grab P11. Kubica maintained his P16 before Glock jumped up to P11 and then both Renaults came from out of the drop zone. Alonso took P6, but it was under-threat Nelson Piquet Junior who took P5.

It was a frantic end to the session, the Top 15 had been covered by 0.9 of a second and the McLaren of Hamilton was P2 yet Kovalainen squeezed through in P15. Out went: 16.Heidfeld

It was another dreadful qualifying session for the BMW team after Nick Heidfeld had got up to P2 in morning practice.

Another frantic session lay in store as the cars came out for Q2 and Kimi Raikkonen set a hopeless benchmark of 1:24.552 which was put in perspective by Mark Webber's lap of 1:21.067 a few seconds later. This was edged down to 1:20.964 by Vettel, 1:20.895 by Nico Rosberg and 1:20.885 by Fernando Alonso who then showed that he could go even quicker reducing P1 to 1:20.826.

After the first group of runs the danger positions, with five minutes left, were: 6.Button 7.Barrichello 8.Nakajima 9.Massa 10.Kovalainen 11.Piquet 12.Buemi 13.Glock 14.Raikkonen 15.Trulli.

Trulli jumped to P6, Kovalainen restored his P10 position, Raikkonen claimed P6, Glock couldn't improve, Massa jumped up to P8, Glock managed just P12, Piquet a sad P14 (considering his team-mate was P1), at which point Mark Webber set the P1 time at 1:20.358.

Hamilton edged past Alonso's time in P2, Button leapt up to P6, Kovalainen took P5, Massa improved to P6, Rosberg made it safe with a P3 - at which point Jenson Button was down to P10 again and Barrichello had slipped to P13. Jenson then restored the heartbeat of the Brawn engineers with a P6, but Rubens couldn't improve.

As the session came to an end cameras flashed to the Ferrari of Felipe Massa that had been planted in the barriers at Turn 4. From the tyre marks it looked like the Brazilian had some kind of problem and gone straight on.

As the difficult process of extracting him got underway, Rubens Barrichello revealed that the reason he couldn't improve on his final lap was because something had fallen off the car, maybe a torsion bar.

Replays showed a small object bouncing along the track and striking the side of Massa's helmet before he went off and hit the barriers in an accident that had eerie similarities to the one that killed Henry Surtees just six days earlier.

Out of the session went:

There was a long delay while Massa was taken to the medical centre, and he looked mainly to be concussed, the G-warning light having been illuminated on his crashed F60. The fact that he was able to apply the brakes as he went into the barrier alleviated any immediate concern that he had been unconscious at the time of impact.

Qualifying 3
While the Brawn team checked over Button's suspension, Nico Rosberg set the first provisional pole time of 1:23.620, beaten by Kovalainen with a 1:23.547 and then comprehensively shattered by Alonso with a 1:22.717. Rosberg's second lap was quicker and he retook P1 with a 1:22.386. Not for long, as Lewis Hamilton claimed the spot with a 1:22.286 and then he was deposed on top by Mark Webber with a 1:22.021.

Everyone, it seemed, was going for pole except Button and Nakajima.

So after the first runs it was Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Nakajima, Button (not started) and Massa receiving treatment.

As the cars went out for the second timed laps farce and confusion reigned with a massive timing failure losing the graphics for all timing, rendering the last three minutes a guessing game.

Button finally went out with 3.26 on the clock and put in a couple of steady laps but looked noticeably slower than most. The session ended, cars came in and all the drivers looked around at each other in parc ferme, asking each other what time they had done. "I did a 21.5" Alonso said to Button, "flipping heck," said JB, "I did a 22.5". "I did a 21.8" Lewis told Fernando as he tried to find someone with a better time. Slowly realising that he'd done it.

Following the Brazilian GP of 2008 no-one wanted to celebrate too early, but yes, Fernando had got pole with the two Red Bulls in P2 and P3. Only the weights will reveal the true situation at the front of the grid, but with Lewis Hamilton equipped with KERS sitting in P4, it could well be a McLaren in the mix going into Turn 1 tomorrow.

Button either had a poor lap or is banking on the Brawn's superior tyre wear to run longer into the first stint, rather than risk getting stuck behind a Mclaren or a Ferrari. It will be a tactical battle on the large scale in Budapest tomorrow.


01 F. Alonso Renault 1:21.569
02 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:21.607
03 M. Webber Red Bull 1:21.741
04 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:21.839
05 N. Rosberg Williams 1:21.890
06 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:22.095
07 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:22.468
08 J. Button Brawn GP 1:22.511
09 K. Nakajima Williams 1:22.835
10 F. Massa Ferrari no time
11 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:21.002
12 J. Trulli Toyota 1:21.082
13 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:21.222
14 T. Glock Toyota 1:21.242
15 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:21.389
16 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:21.738
17 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:21.807
18 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:21.868
19 R. Kubica BMW 1:21.901
20 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:22.359

Source : Planet F1

Ferrari: Massa remains stable, no further complications

Sunday 26th July 2009

Ferrari have given an encouraging update on the condition of their driver Felipe Massa, reporting that the Brazilian remains 'stable' as he recovers from his horrible crash in qualifying for the Hungarian GP.

In a statement, the team were able to report that Massa had suffered "no further complications" overnight after undergoing emergency surgery on his fractured skull on Saturday night.

"After undergoing an operation yesterday afternoon, Felipe Massa's condition remains stable and there were no further complications through the night," said the Ferrari statement.

"He will be given another CT scan today, which will provide more precise information."

Source : Planet F1

Hungary GP: Car Weights

Alonso secures pole on fumes.


By Race Number

No Driver Car Weight
1 Hamilton McLaren 650.5
2 Kovalainen McLaren 655.5
3 Massa Ferrari -
4 Raikkonen Ferrari 651.5
5 Kubica BMW 660
6 Heidfeld BMW 658
7 Alonso Renault 637.5
8 Piquet Renault 667.7
9 Trulli Toyota 671.3
10 Glock Toyota 679.2
11 Alguersuari Toro Rosso 675.5
12 Buemi Toro Rosso 671.5
14 Webber Red Bull 652
15 Vettel Red Bull 655
16 Rosberg Williams 654
17 Nakajima Williams 658
18 Sutil Force India 683.5
19 Fisichella Force India 680.5
20 Button Brawn GP 664.5
21 Barrichello Brawn GP 689

By Grid Position

Pos Driver Car Weight
1 Alonso Renault 637.5
2 Vettel Red Bull 655
3 Webber Red Bull 652
4 Hamilton McLaren 650.5
5 Rosberg Williams 654
6 Kovalainen McLaren 655.5
7 Raikkonen Ferrari 651.5
8 Button Brawn GP 664.5
9 Nakajima Williams 658
10 Massa Ferrari -
11 Buemi Toro Rosso 671.5
12 Trulli Toyota 671.3
13 Barrichello Brawn GP 689
14 Glock Toyota 679.2
15 Piquet Renault 667.7
16 Heidfeld BMW 658
17 Fisichella Force India 680.5
18 Sutil Force India 683.5
19 Kubica BMW 660
20 Alguersuari Toro Rosso 675.5

By Fuel Load

Pos Driver Car Weight
1 Alonso Renault 637.5
4 Hamilton McLaren 650.5
7 Raikkonen Ferrari 651.5
3 Webber Red Bull 652
5 Rosberg Williams 654
2 Vettel Red Bull 655
6 Kovalainen McLaren 655.5
9 Nakajima Williams 658
16 Heidfeld BMW 658
19 Kubica BMW 660
8 Button Brawn GP 664.5
15 Piquet Renault 667.7
12 Trulli Toyota 671.3
11 Buemi Toro Rosso 671.5
20 Alguersuari Toro Rosso 675.5
14 Glock Toyota 679.2
17 Fisichella Force India 680.5
18 Sutil Force India 683.5
13 Barrichello Brawn GP 689
  • To check out our Hungaroring qualifying gallery, click here

  • Article from Pitpass (

    Published: 25/07/2009
    Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2009. All rights reserved.

    Hungary GP: Qualifying - Times


    Pos Driver Team Time Gap
    1 Alonso Renault 1:21.569 120.147 mph
    2 Vettel Red Bull 1:21.607 0.038
    3 Webber Red Bull 1:21.741 0.172
    4 Hamilton McLaren 1:21.839 0.270
    5 Rosberg Williams 1:21.890 0.321
    6 Kovalainen McLaren 1:22.095 0.526
    7 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.468 0.899
    8 Button Brawn GP 1:22.511 0.942
    9 Nakajima Williams 1:22.835 1.266
    10 Massa Ferrari No Time -
    11 Buemi Toro Rosso 1:21.002 -
    12 Trulli Toyota 1:21.082 -
    13 Barrichello Brawn GP 1:21.222 -
    14 Glock Toyota 1:21.242 -
    15 Piquet Renault 1:21.389 -
    16 Heidfeld BMW 1:21.738 -
    17 Fisichella Force India 1:21.807 -
    18 Sutil Force India 1:21.868 -
    19 Kubica BMW 1:21.901 -
    20 Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:22.359 -
  • To check out our Hungaroring qualifying gallery, click here

  • Article from Pitpass (

    Published: 25/07/2009
    Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2009. All rights reserved.

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Hamilton heads McLaren 1-2 in second session


    Ahead of today's second practice session, the air temperature is 28 degrees C, while the track temperature is 45 degrees. It remains bright and sunny and very, very warm.

    We didn't see the super-softs this morning, however, we can sure that we'll be seeing them this afternoon.

    The lights go green and first out is Heidfeld, followed by Trulli, Glock, Rosberg and Alguersuari.

    As ever, the track was very green this morning, with a number of drivers having problems, particularly at Turn 7, however, the track will improve this afternoon and throughout the weekend.

    There's none of the messing about we had this morning - and every Friday morning - and right from the outset drivers are going for it. Within a couple of minutes of the session getting underway there are eleven names on the timesheets, with Piquet leading the way.

    The Brazilian youngster really needs a result, and soon, if he is to keep his seat for the remainder of 2009 let alone 2010.

    Fisichella, Hamilton, Heidfeld and Nakajima all go quicker than Piquet as Raikkonen and Buemi run wide.

    Massa goes wide and takes a trip through the gravel trap at Turn 9, the Ferrari driver really struggling for grip.

    Hamilton gets all crossed up at Turn 13, as Piquet re-takes the top spot ahead of Vettel, Nakajima and Alonso.

    "I'm still losing the front end," complains Button, the Englishman currently down in ninth. Elsewhere, Kovalainen goes quickest in the first sector. The Finn crosses the line at 23.396 to take the top spot.

    A 23.116 sees Rosberg go quickest, Williams having recently said that they've given up on their practice of running on fumes on Fridays in order to top the timesheets.

    Vettel, on super-softs, goes quickest with a 23.013, the German looking much more settled than he did in Germany. Moments later however, he is demoted to second by his Red Bull teammate who posts 22.918.

    Fisichella (super-softs) consolidates his position at the right end of the timesheets, posting a 23.029 to go third.

    2008 winner, and this morning's pace-setter, Kovalainen goes quickest, the Finn now running all the same updates as his teammate. Meanwhile, Button improves to third.

    Alguersuari gives some impressive feedback to his team, telling them what's happening and where. Veteran technical man Giorgio Ascanelli looks suitably impressed.

    Kovalainen consolidates the top spot with a 22.126, the Finn really pushing his car to the limit. Button goes second with a 22.811.

    Raikkonen goes fourth with a 22.991, ahead of Vettel and Fisichella. Both Toyotas at the wrong end of the timesheets along with Kubica and Alonso.

    Sutil improves to eleventh with a 23.411, the Force Indias continuing to look good.

    Glock posts 22.778 to go second, as Kubica complains that he doesn't "feel comfortable" with the handling of his F1.06.

    At half-time, it's: Kovalainen, Glock, Button, Webber, Raikkonen, Vettel, Fisichella, Rosberg, Massa and Kubica.

    Massa goes wide at Turn 7, the Brazilian still struggling with the Ferrari. Moments later Barrichello spins, but is able to continue, as Trulli appears to have a problem, the Toyota crawling back to the pits. However, whatever the problem is, it gets worse and the Italian is forced to pull off track at Turn 8.

    Webber (super-softs) goes second though he remains 0.243s off Kovalainen's pace.

    Barrichello has slipped down to seventeenth on the timesheets, just behind Piquet. Moments later however, the Brawn driver goes third with a 22.695.

    With just over twenty minutes remaining, a number of drivers are still struggling for grip, Hamilton demonstrating the fact by cutting the chicane.

    Button (softs) complains of "understeer" as Nakajima improves to fourth, just ahead of Barrichello. Elsewhere, yet another off for Massa who is having a torrid time of it this afternoon.

    Webber heads back to the pits very slowly, his car clearly has a problem.

    With ten minutes remaining, it's Kovalainen, Rosberg, Webber, Nakajima, Barrichello, Trulli, Glock, Raikkonen, Alonso and Button.

    Rosberg has done the most laps thus far (40), however, a lot of the drivers are in the thirties as they prepare for the race, long runs on heavy loads.

    As the drivers come out for their final runs, most of them on super-softs, Webber is out of his car which appears to have a hydraulics problem.

    Hamilton gets it wrong at the Chicane, but goes on to go quickest in the first sector of his next lap. However, a spin in the final sector (Turn 12) means the World Champion fails to improve.

    Less than three minutes remaining and Vettel goes fifth, as all but Webber are on track.

    Once again Hamilton goes quickest in the first sector, but this time he maintains the pace and there are no problems, he takes the top spot with a 22.079. Third time lucky.

    The session ends with Hamilton quickest, ahead of Kovalainen, Rosberg, Webber, Nakajima, Vettel, Barrichello, Trulli, Heidfeld and Glock.

    Raikkonen finished eleventh, ahead of Alonso, Button, Kubica, Piquet, Sutil, Fisichella, Massa, Buemi and Alguersuari.

    Rosberg completes 47 laps, ahead of Buemi and Glock (45) and Heidfeld (43).

    An interesting session, with some massive mileage, however, it is far too early to draw any real conclusions.

    Article from Pitpass (

    Published: 24/07/2009
    Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2009. All rights reserved.

    Prac One: Late charge puts Kovalainen on top

    Friday 24th July 2009

    Heikki Kovalainen put in a late charge to pick up where he left off in Hungary last year, sitting right at the very front of the pack.

    The 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix winner clocked a 1:22.278 after the fall of the chequered flag to beat Nico Rosberg, another late charger, to the P1 slot.

    Third place went to Lewis Hamilton as McLaren were quick out of the blocks in Budapest, an encouraging sign for the team who appear to have turned a corner on their early season woes.

    Report: Bright skies and a warm track greeted the drivers on Friday morning as F1 rookie Jaime Alguersuari, who is making his debut this weekend, made his way out onto the track for his installation lap, which just so happens to be his first ever lap in a Formula One car. He was soon joined by other drivers all checking the conditions and their cars before heading back to the pits.

    Alguersuari heads out to record his first time as a F1 driver, a 1:34.716. He takes three seconds off his time on the following lap as the Spaniard has the track all to himself before dropping to a 1:29.313 on his first flying lap. Team-mate Seb Buemi joins the action, bettering the Spaniard's time only for Alguersuari to come back at him. Buemi returned to the top before Alguersuari again got the jump on him only to then be beaten by the Swiss driver as the two Toro Rosso men had the track to themselves.

    With the Toro Rosso duo back in the pits, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock put in their first timed laps with just an hour remaining on the clock. They went third and fourth before Trulli improved to first place with a 1:24.983. Kimi Raikkonen took fifth place on his first attempt, moving up one place on his second lap out. His team-mate Felipe Massa joined the fray, taking fourth place ahead of Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso went second before being overhauled by Massa. Nico Rosberg improved to fourth place.

    At the halfway point in the session, Massa led the way, followed by Trulli, Alonso, Seb Vettel, Rosberg, Glock, Buemi and Raikkonen.

    Vettel was the next to take control as the German clocked a 1:23.713 while Rosberg moved up to third place and Robert Kubica went fourth. Heikki Kovalainen took seventh place for McLaren before Rosberg overhauled the field, going quickest with a 1:23.268. Alonso went second and Mark Webber fourth. Kazuki Nakajima joined his team-mate Rosberg at the front of the pack, just 0.239s off the German's pace.

    The Williams duo, though, were soon split as Lewis Hamilton went second before being dropped as Kubica put his BMW up into the P1 slot with a 1:23.219. The Polish driver's reign was short-lived as Webber went quickest, setting two fastest sector times on his way to a 1:22.615. Hamilton moved up behind Webber while Jenson Button went from 20th to ninth, slotting in between Vettel and Massa.

    Raikkonen returned to the track, moving from 20th to 13th to seventh to third before being dropped by Rosberg and then Alonso. Massa moved up to fourth place before he was passed by the Williams drivers with Nakajima taking fourth ahead of Rosberg. Trulli improved to second place behind Webber before they were both dropped by Hamilton's 1:22.554.

    A flurry of activity in the final ten minutes ended with Kovalainen quickest, having crossed the line with a 1:22.278, with Rosberg, Hamilton and Webber right behind him. As for Alguersuari, he finished P20, 1.950s off the pace.

    01 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:22.278 21 laps
    02 N. Rosberg Williams 1:22.337 27 laps
    03 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:22.554 20 laps
    04 M. Webber Red Bull 1:22.615 21 laps
    05 K. Nakajima Williams 1:22.619 25 laps
    06 J. Trulli Toyota 1:22.705 17 laps
    07 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:22.796 23 laps
    08 F. Massa Ferrari 1:22.855 25 laps
    09 F. Alonso Renault 1:23.001 28 laps
    10 J. Button Brawn GP 1:23.130 25 laps
    11 R. Kubica BMW 1:23.146 24 laps
    12 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:23.154 23 laps
    13 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:23.209 24 laps
    14 T. Glock Toyota 1:23.234 30 laps
    15 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:23.283 25 laps
    16 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:23.484 20 laps
    17 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:23.678 22 laps
    18 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:23.845 18 laps
    19 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:23.998 37 laps
    20 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:24.228 42 laps

    Source : Planet F1

    Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

    Thursday 23rd July 2009

    The Hungarian Grand Prix is about as interesting and rewarding as cycling round your bathroom.

    Now technically that description is the one applied to the Monaco Grand Prix, but if it stays dry, then the Hungarian GP will closely resemble Monaco's level of overtaking. Without the compensating hazard of Armco just centimetres away from the racing line.

    If it becomes wet then it can be an epic race - as we saw in 2006 - but then again most tracks produce great races in the wet. Forecasts for the weekend have it dry most of the time with a downpour some time on Saturday night.

    Jenson Button will have fond memories of that 2006 race because it was his first race victory for Honda - and up until February this year it looked like it was going to be his one and only career victory.

    With ambient temperatures predicted around 33 and 34C the Brawn GP cars should be in contention for race victory again. The extra heat will produce track temperatures of 40C or more, the way they were in Monaco when Brawn scored an emphatic victory and the Red Bulls faded badly because of excess tyre wear.

    At the Nurburgring last time out Button was reduced to weaving on the straights to get some heat into his tyres. That won't happen at Budapest. The race at the Hungaroring could prove to be an important watershed for the Brawn boys. Were the Red Bull team able to show they have improved the car enough to compete in hot races, then Brawn will be forced to start implementing "team orders".

    Not officially, obviously, but on the basis that "everybody knows what's best for the team" wink wink. By now Ross Brawn and Jock Clear will have given Rubens his "blah blah blah blah" known by its technical name as the post-race technical debrief. Hungary is going to be an important race for him.

    It's also going to be a critical race for the Red Bull team, because if it's a repeat of the Monaco result, then it really is going to be an uphill battle from now on. There's a certain amount of disharmony between the drivers heading into the race on account of the youngest ever F1 debutant, Jaime Alguesuari.

    Though he's a member of the 'Red Bull family' Mark Webber has never been keen on racing with 'bloody kids'. "I've never been a big fan of Formula 1 being a learning school but it seems like it is these days," said Webber. "I don't think Formula 1 is a learning school. When you arrive in F1 you should be ready. It's not a place to learn."

    Team-mate Vettel, who was the 'bloody kid' who robbed Webber of a chance of his first F1 victory in 2007 believes it is the fault of F1's rules to limit testing that the young spaniard has had so little mileage before being thrust into F1.

    "I heard Mark was not so pleased about the fact that Jaime is driving this weekend," said Vettel. "I think in the end if there is anything to criticise then I think it is the rules."

    Is it bollards, Sebastian, it's the fault of Toro Rosso who sacked a reasonably good F1 driver in Sebastien Bourdais halfway through the season. They knew any replacement would have had no time in the car. Should Alguesuari mess up this weekend then it is Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost who will have some serious questions to answer.

    But there's an old saying, if you're good enough, you're old enough. The same accusations were levelled at Kimi Raikkonen because he jumped F3000 to go straight into an F1 car - and he turned out all right.

    Raikkonen fancies his chances this weekend at what might be Ferrari's last hurrah before they get down to serious work on the 2010 car (that he's rumoured not to be driving). Kimi qualified in P2 in Monaco and had a strong race, which bodes well for the tight and twisty Hungaoring. The only problem is that there has been so much development on all the other cars since May that each race brings a new re-assessment.

    Lewis Hamilton is playing down his chances of a win in Hungary after the McLaren team improved their car by 0.7 in one major quantum leap forward in Germany. Team boss Martin Whitmarsh thinks it is their biggest chance of a win, but having endured a season of disappointment, Hamilton won't be drawn into predictions.

    Both McLaren and Ferraris will be able to use their KERS advantage to good effect in Hungary, an advantage they couldn't exploit in Monaco. The start/finish straight is long enough to give them a good jump off the line. If the cars can follow closer round the final tight corner, then there's more than enough tarmac to use the boost during the race as well.

    For this reason, the Brawns and the Red Bulls might be forced to fuel skinny to avoid getting stuck behind them.

    So if it stays dry, don't expect a belter of an overtaking fest in Buadpest, but from a strategic and tactical point of view, it could be quite a battle. For one 19-year-old Spaniard it will be enough just to stay out of trouble.

    Source : Planet F1