Alonso sets the pace on Hungarian GP Friday

Alonso sets the pace on Hungarian GP Friday

McLaren's Fernando Alonso finished Friday practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix as the quickest man of the day, clocking 1:20.919 in the afternoon session. He was nearly a second and a half faster than BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica's best time in...

McLaren's Fernando Alonso finished Friday practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix as the quickest man of the day, clocking 1:20.919 in the afternoon session. He was nearly a second and a half faster than BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica's best time in the morning. Alonso's teammate Lewis Hamilton was third in the afternoon, despite brining out the yellow flags late on when the McLaren spun into the gravel.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"Today was good and I am happy with the how the car feels so far," said Alonso. "We spent the morning working on the set-up and limited the number of tyres we used. The track here improves as the weekend goes on so we chose to do all the Bridgestone Potenza tyre evaluation in the afternoon session. I think we are in a good position and I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend where we should continue to be strong."

Hamilton commented: "Today went smoothly, apart from my spin towards the end of the second session, which meant that I missed out on my last run, so maybe I could have gone faster. The spin happened as I was catching Yamamoto on a flying lap and I was probably a little too fast going into the corner. Despite this we were able to make some positive steps and I am confident with our performance so far at this track."

It was the turn of Renault's Heikki Kovlainen to tussle with the front runners in this session, second fastest and three and a half tenths off Alonso. The rookie Finn traded the top spot with Alonso early on and finished nearly half a second up on Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian was eighth quickest, just under eight tenths down on the lead McLaren.

"We ran a slightly unusual programme today, and it seemed to work well for us," said Kovalainen. "I felt confident and comfortable in the car straight away, and the balance was quite neutral through both sessions. I got good quick laps on both types of tyre, and we understand the differences in their behaviour. I think that compared to recent races, this was a much better start to the weekend, and we are on the right track with the set-up."

Williams' Nico Rosberg had a good day, seventh in morning and fourth in the afternoon. Alex Wurz was again quite a few places behind his young teammate, 12th and half a second adrift. Nick Heidfeld was the lead BMW Sauber in fifth and after his morning efforts Kubica was 10th and just under a second down on Alonso.

The Ferraris occupied the sixth and seventh spots, Kimi Raikkonen leading Felipe Massa. There were just a few hundredths between the scarlet cars and they were around seven tenths behind Alonso. Jarno Trulli edged Toyota into the top 10 with ninth and teammate Ralf Schumacher occupied 11th, the last man to be within a second of the lead McLaren, although Wurz in 12th was only just outside.

The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and David Coulthard were 13th and 14th respectively and Anthony Davidson was again the lead Super Aguri in 15th. Takuma Sato wasn't far behind in 17th and Honda won't be too pleased to be headed by its 'junior' team on the time sheet. Jenson Button was 16th and Rubens Barrichello 18th, so Davidson was the leader of the Japanese manufacturer contingent.

Toro Rosso toiled along towards the back, Tonio Liuzzi 19th and Sebastian Vettel 20th. They were over two seconds off the pace, as was Spyker's Adrian Sutil, 21st and 2.75 adrift. The second Spyker of Sakon Yamamoto was over five seconds off in 22nd. Okay, he hasn't been in an F1 car for a while but he's not a rookie so that can't really be called an encouraging performance.

Fridays don't really tell us a great deal about competitiveness and this track is prone to be dusty, which produces a fair amount of tyre graining. Added to that this afternoon there were light rain showers in the last half hour. However, outside the top three teams Renault appeared to be the best of the rest. Final top eight classification: Alonso, Kovalainen, Hamilton, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Massa, Fisichella.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Anthony Davidson , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Robert Kubica , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams