Ferrari's Felipe Massa led the way in the last practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, his best time on Saturday morning at the Hungaroring a 1:20.183 and the fastest of the weekend so far. The McLarens weren't far behind, Fernando Alonso...
Ferrari's Felipe Massa led the way in the last practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, his best time on Saturday morning at the Hungaroring a 1:20.183 and the fastest of the weekend so far. The McLarens weren't far behind, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton second and third respectively and around two and a half tenths off Massa.
It was a fine morning with the track temperature at 40 degrees as cars went out for installation laps. It was a short-lived appearance, as usual, and the Ferraris didn't bother, which left Spyker's Sakon Yamamoto and Adrian Sutil to potter about on their own. Yamamoto started with a 1:26.625, well over five seconds off the top time of Alonso on Friday.
Sutil was even slower, but then picked up to manage a 1:24.627 and Yamamoto's next was 1.8 down. Sutil improved by a couple of tenths and 15 minutes into the session other drivers started to venture back out. The Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli got to work, did the Super Aguris of Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson and the Toro Rossos of Tonio Liuzzi and Sebastian Vettel.
Rubens Barrichello was the first Honda back out and he clocked 1:23.868 but was shunted down to fourth by the Toyotas and Davidson in quick succession. Trulli took the top with a 1:21.996 and Sato slotted into third behind Schumacher. The Toyota duo traded fastest times, just hundredths between them, while Liuzzi posted third and Vettel seventh.
Jenson Button's Honda arrived in fifth and Trulli was back at the top, 1:21.549. Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber took sixth on his first flier and Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari went straight to the top, 1:21.257 for three tenths up on Trulli. Alex Wurz was the first Williams on the time sheet, fourth, and Raikkonen improved to 1:20.862, about a tenth quicker than Alonso's best on Friday.
Nico Rosberg's Williams posted 10th and the second BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica eighth, then Rosberg jumped up to fourth. The McLarens were on track and trading fastest sectors -- Alonso was only three hundredths off Raikkonen but Hamilton just edged ahead and took the top of the list with a 1:20.764, a tenth up on the Finn. Massa clocked fifth on his first effort.
The Renaults started slowly, Heikki Kovalainen 14th and Giancarlo Fisichella 18th, while the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and David Coulthard were 14th and 20th respectively. Fisichella improved to 12th and Massa to fourth so at the half way point it was the McLarens and Ferraris leading the way with the Toyotas next in line. Rosberg and Kovalainen were then seventh and eighth with Wurz and Heidfeld rounding out the top 10.
There was a lull in activity, only a few drivers on the circuit and no major changes on the time sheet for a while. Heidfeld climbed to sixth and Sato and Davidson to 10th and 13th respectively after being shuffled down the order. Raikkonen returned to the top with a 1:20.741, just a couple of hundredths up on Hamilton and with 20 minutes to go more cars began to head back out on track again.
The McLarens were storming around in tandem and Alonso clocked 1:20.414 for three tenths up on Raikkonen. Hamilton also went ahead of the Finn, a tenth and a half off Alonso. Schumacher improved to fourth and Massa had a flying middle sector to clock 1:20.183, just over two tenths up on the lead McLaren.
Down at the back Barrichello in 19th and Coulthard behind him were three seconds off the pace and the Spykers even further adrift. Barrichello picked up slightly to be 2.4 off but stayed 19th. Meanwhile, Davidson had gone up to seventh and Webber to 10th but it was fairly quiet towards the end. Rosberg improved to fifth, the Williams youngster looking quite competitive so far this weekend, and Webber moved again for seventh.
In the closing minutes the McLarens put in a couple of quick first sectors but didn't change position, while Heidfeld managed to sneak ahead of Raikkonen for fourth. Coulthard finally moved up and took 13th and that was just about it. The top nine were covered by a second, give or take -- Webber in ninth was a couple of hundredths over -- and at the back the Spykers were more than three seconds off the pace.
Yamamoto was only a few tenths off Sutil, though, which is a vast improvement from Friday. Both Hondas were over two seconds down on Massa's top time and will struggle to get into the second qualifying session with pace like that. Final top eight classification: Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Trulli, Schumacher.