Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, charging his McLaren around the Hungaroring in style and beating his team mate by 0.241s. Heikki Kovalainen locked out the front row for the Woking team with impressive style. McLaren appear to beack on pace now and Ferrari are struggling slightly. Felipe Massa managed to get third and didn’t look too off-pace, but Kimi Raikkonen once again had a troubled qualifying and only managed sixth in his F2008. Conversely, Toyota have discovered a sweet-spot on their car and both Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli are using it well. Glock impressed throughout the three sessions and ended up in fifth, while Jarno Trulli – a qualifying expert – got into ninth.
The BMWs appeared to flounder all weekend, and during qualifying it wasn’t until a last blast from Robert Kubica that the form remained unchanged. Nick Heidfeld, who has apparently sorted out his one-lap woes, went out in the first session and will start in sixteenth. Kubica struggled as well but on his final tour managed to get his F1.08 into fourth. Red Bull Racing also suffered a mixed afternoon with David Coulthard finishing in thirteenth (and behind Jenson Button’s Honda) while Mark Webber got into Q3 and went eighth.
Renault were looking good during free practice on Friday, but on Saturday afternoon they could only get into seventh for Fernando Alonso and tenth for Nelson Piquet Jr. While it is a superb effort to once again get both drivers in Q3, I imagine the Enstone team will be slightly annoyed by the lack of pace-continuation from yesterday. Scuderia Toro Rosso showed a little consistency between drivers, and Sebastian Vettel lines up eleventh, just missing ou ton Q3 by 0.01s. Sebastien Bourdais finished in fourteenth but is apparently under investigation for possibly baulking Nick Heidfeld in Q1.
As the French STR driver went into the final corner, Heidfeld closed up in the BMW on a ‘hot’ lap and waved his hand in anger. From the camera view it looked as though there was just about enough gap for Heidfeld to have not been slowed, and my opinion is that even if Heidfeld had to get out of the throttle, Bourdais had little opportunity to get out of the way in time.
Williams had a terrible afternoon and a problem with Nico Rosberg’s FW30 meant he could not set a lap in Q2. Kazuki Nakajima went out in the first session and will start in seventeenth. Rubens Barrichello ended up in eighteenth while the Force Indias, running a seamless shift gearbox for the first time, hogged the back row, albeit only 0.3s shy of Barrichello’s Honda.