Button tops Hungarian GP final practice

Button tops Hungarian GP final practice

BAR's Jenson Button set the fastest time in the Saturday morning practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix, clocking 1:19.556 in a last gasp flyer at the end of the second session. The Ferraris were hot on his heels and Williams was also on the pace.

BAR's Jenson Button set the fastest time in the Saturday morning practices for the Hungarian Grand Prix, clocking 1:19.556 in a last gasp flyer at the end of the second session. The Ferraris were hot on his heels and Williams was also on the pace. Michael Schumacher topped the first session after snatching the fastest time from Antonio Pizzonia right at the end.

Jenson Button.
Photo by LAT Photographic.

Air and track temperatures were around 20 degrees as the first three-quarter hour session practice, with high humidity. Minardi's local hero Zsolt Baumgartner was the first on the time sheet, 1:30.260, and he had a brief moment of glory before the Williams drivers charged in. Antonio Pizzonia clocked 1:22.443 and Juan Pablo Montoya was seven tenths behind.

Gianmaria Bruni joined the action ahead of teammate Baumgartner and the pair were nearly five seconds off the lead Williams. Jordan's Nick Heidfeld took third quickest, just over a second off Pizzonia, and Rubens Barrichello put in a 1:22.264 for the top spot, the Ferrari just under two tenths up.

Toyota's Ricardo Zonta was next to join the time sheet in fifth but then hurled it to the top, 1:21.927. Barrichello retaliated immediately with a 1:20.830 -- already faster than Kimi Raikkonen's best time on Friday, if only marginally. The second Jordan of Giorgio Pantano slotted into sixth and Olivier Panis put his Toyota fourth, then upped it one to third.

Michael Schumacher took the top time on his first proper effort, 1:20.631, and Jenson Button's BAR followed into second, a tenth down. Jarno Trulli was the first Renault out and posted fourth and teammate Fernando Alonso followed on to take the spot off him. Giancarlo Fisichella started Sauber's day with 10th and teammate Felipe Massa shot to fifth on his first run.

David Coulthard took the fifth spot for McLaren immediately afterwards and Montoya deposed Button from second. Pizzonia, who had been bumped down the order to 11th, booted the Williams to the top of the time sheet with the fastest first two sectors -- 1:20.482 and a tenth and a half up on Schumacher. Raikkonen made a quiet 10th place start in the McLaren, while Trulli improved to sixth.

Bruni made an improvement at the end to get ahead of both Jordans and Schumacher took second off Montoya. The Jaguars barely made an impression, Mark Webber and Christian Klien 14th and 15th respectively. At the end of the first session Schumacher popped in a 1:20.216 to take the lead from Pizzonia and Montoya. BAR's Takuma Sato did not set a time.

The track temperature had climbed to nearer 30 degrees for the second session and Webber was early on the time sheet, 1:22.945 to start things off. Button took over with a 1:22.773, Pizzonia and Klien behind. Alonso posted 1:22.589 for the top but was immediately deposed by Button's 1:22.067. Jenson stayed there less time than Alonso, being ousted by Raikkonen's 1:21.563.

Sato, Massa and Montoya arrived in a gang, second, third and fourth respectively, then Schumacher took over the top spot with 1:20.714. Alonso improved to fifth after a swift descent, while Fisichella and the Jordans hovered at the edge of the top ten. Trulli took fifth fastest and Raikkonen moved into second, four tenths off Schumacher.

After his initial outburst of energy, Massa came to an abrupt halt in the first sector with what looked like an engine failure. Barrichello was pottering about in 10th before winding up to second and Schumacher improved his best to 1:20.029 -- somebody breaking the 1:20 barrier was looming on the horizon.

Zonta posted a good third, although he and Barrichello were nearly a second down on Schumacher, then Trulli took the third spot. Sato demoted Barrichello from second and closed the gap to the lead Ferrari to three tenths. Montoya took over the popular third slot but was immediately ousted by Alonso.

Pizzonia returned to the top with a 1:19.913 -- the first to break the 1:20 -- for a tenth up on Schumacher. There was little activity outside the top ten; Webber, Zonta and Fisichella traded 11th while Klien mixed it with the Jordans and Minardis. Barrichello posted 1:19.768 to take over from Pizzonia and Button improved to fourth.

Klien managed to get himself up to 14th, which was quite an improvement, and Webber climbed to 13th -- which of course demoted Klien a place. Jaguar is not looking very comfortable round the Hungaroring so far. In the final minute Zonta improved to eighth and Button took over the top with a 1:19.556.

BAR looked a bit stronger this morning than on Friday, as did Renault, and Williams and Ferrari were still on the pace. McLaren ended outside the top eight but that doesn't necessarily mean much. It looks like whomever takes pole position this afternoon is going to have to fight for it. Final top eight classification: Button, Schumacher, Barrichello, Pizzonia, Trulli, Sato, Alonso, Montoya.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan