Hamilton wins in Hungary
Lewis Hamilton finally got his 2009 world championship defence back into top gear by claiming a first victory of the year for McLaren with a crushing display in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Already buoyed by his performance leading up to the opening lap in Germany a fortnight ago, and again by McLaren sweeping free practice in Budapest, the Briton made the most of his KERS system to move into an early second place, and then be best placed to capitalise on polewinner Fernando Alonso's problem with a loose wheel.
The Spaniard led through to his early pit-stop, but lost his right-front wheel on the subsequent out-lap and, despite taking on a replacement, was forced to retire shortly afterwards. Having got around Mark Webber on lap four, Hamilton assumed the lead and, with his McLaren able to use its tyres better than the majority of its rivals, was able to cruise to victory, coming home eleven seconds clear of the field.
Kimi Raikkonen likewise moved into second spot, surviving an opening lap brush with both the world champion and Sebastian Vettel to claim Ferrari's best result of the season, while Webber emerged as the leading Red Bull driver, having got ahead of Vettel on the opening lap and then made the most of the German's suspension-induced retirement.
Once Timo Glock had made a late single stop, Nico Rosberg claimed another fourth place for Williams, coming home ahead of 2008 race winner Heikki Kovalainen - who confirmed McLaren's improvement in fifth. Glock slotted back into sixth, ahead of championship leader Jenson Button - who struggled with tyre woes all day - and the second Toyota of Jarno Trulli.
Hungarian Grand Prix – Race results
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 70 laps 1hr 38m 23.876s
2. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 11.5s
3. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 16.8s
4. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +00m 26.9s
5. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +00m 34.3s
6. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota +00m 35.2s
7. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes +00m 55.0s
8. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +01m 08.1s
9. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +01m 08.7s
10. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes +01m 09.2s
11 Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +01m 10.6s
12. Nelson Piquet Jr Brazil Renault-Renault +01m 11.5s
13. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +01m 14.0s
14. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
15. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
16. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
Rtd Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 29 laps completed
Rtd Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 15 laps completed
Rtd Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1 lap completed
Dns Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari qualifying accident
Alonso grabs pole but Massa takes a knock in Hungary
The qualifying session for the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix will likely go down as one of the oddest in recent memory, with an accident for Felipe Massa caused by an errant piece of rear suspension from the Brawn GP of Rubens Barrichello hitting the Ferrari star on the helmet – and a first pole position in 32 races for double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, though due to a timing failure, the man himself didn't actually realise he had done it.
In cooler conditions than the previous day during practice, and with strong winds blowing, the all-important top ten shoot-out got underway without Massa, still in the Hungaroring's medical centre following his blow to the head and hefty impact with the circuit's tyre barriers [see separate story – click here].
The men on the move to begin with were Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton – seeking a consecutive hat-trick of Hungarian poles – and the in-form Red Bull Racing pairing of German Grand Prix winner Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, but with the lap times continually tumbling, it could have gone one of a number of ways.
Confusion then swiftly set in, however, as F1's official timing system went down, leaving drivers, teams, spectators and commentators alike all in the dark as to who was going quickly and who wasn't. With chaos reigning in parc fermé afterwards, the drivers knew what times they personally had done – but not how fast any of their rivals had been. Alonso approached every one of his Q3 competitors to enquire about their lap times, and even as he stood on the scales to be weighed the Spaniard still seemed unsure that he had clinched the top spot.
Delayed celebrations they may have been for the Oviedo native and his Renault crew, but celebrations they nonetheless were, as the news was confirmed amidst a farcical ending to a qualifying hour that had endured for almost an hour-and-a-half. Alongside Alonso on the front row of the grid will be Vettel, with the sport's youngest-ever grand prix-winner ably backed up by team-mate Webber in third, though the Australian arguably has the better position for the start, being on the grippier inside line.
The top ten was completed by Hamilton, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen – who spoiled his initial effort with a scrappy end to the lap – Jenson Button, the improving Kazuki Nakajima for the third time in the last five races and the luckless Massa, though whether the latter will be able to take the start of the race remains unclear. The world championship leader only ventured out for a single run towards the end of the ten-minute segment, following suspension checks to his Mercedes-powered BGP 001 in an effort to ensure that he would encounter no similar failure to that of Barrichello.
The Red Bulls had swiftly proven to be on the pace in Q2, and Webber would wind up in P1 at the end of the 15-minute session, with Hamilton and the impressive Nakajima separating the New South Wales ace from the sister RB5 of Vettel in fourth. The reigning world champion, indeed, survived an off-track moment at turn four en route, but there would be far greater dramas in the same corner later on for Massa, who was hit on the helmet by a piece of flying debris, shot off-piste and embedded his Ferrari firmly in the tyre barriers. Though the Brazilian was eighth-quickest, behind team-mate Raikkonen, Button and Kovalainen, it took some time to extract the concussed São Paulista from his car, and the 28-year-old would take no further part in the action.
Alonso and early pace-setter Rosberg completed the Q3 graduates, with Sébastien Buemi narrowly missing out in the upgraded Scuderia Toro Rosso STR4, and Toyota duo Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock similarly falling at the second hurdle. There they were accompanied by birthday boy Nelsinho Piquet – confessing to having pushed a bit too hard in the upgraded Renault R29 for the first time – and, most surprisingly of all, Barrichello, the nine-time grand prix-winner blaming his broken rear suspension for not making it into the top ten for the first time all year. Brawn GP, indeed, looked to be far from the force they had been earlier on in the campaign, with Button only hauling himself to safety in sixth right at the end.
Raikkonen, too, at one stage appeared to be in perilous waters, with both of Maranello's drivers struggling for grip throughout and enduring a number of grassy moments, whilst Kovalainen's expected form was not overly apparent, with the defending race-winner making it through to the top ten shoot-out – but only just.
Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying times
1. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 1m 21.569s
2. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 21.607s
3. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 21.741s
4. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 21.839s
5. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1m 21.890s
6. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1m 22.095s
7. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 22.468s
8. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 1m 22.511s
9. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1m 22.835s
10. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari no time Q3
11. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 21.002s
12. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota 1m 21.082s
13. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 1m 21.222s
14. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota 1m 21.242s
15 Nelson Piquet Jr Brazil Renault-Renault 1m 21.389s
16. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1m 21.738s
17. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 21.807s
18. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 21.868s
19. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1m 21.901s
20. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 22.359s
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Webber wins German GP
Mark Webber finally opened his Formula One victory account by winning the German Grand Prix in dramatic fashion at the Nurburgring.
Despite starting from pole, the Australian was beaten into the first turn by Rubens Barrichello and had to chase the Brazilian through the early laps before then being given a drive-thru' penalty for an aggressive defensive move on the Brawn that had resulted in contact on the run to the opening corner.
The Red Bull team kept its driver out until the leader pitted for fuel and tyres, and the move kept Webber in contention despite having to make his own stop several laps later. When everything had shaken out, the Australian was still in second place but was able to cruise up to the back of Barrichello and, when the Brazilian pitted for the second of three scheduled stops, he assumed a lead he would only lose during his own second stop.
Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel was largely anonyous all afternoon, but also took advantage of Brawn's need for three stops to come through and claim second, finishing ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa, while Nico Rosberg also got ahead of Button and Barrichello - whose positions were swapped at their final stops - leaving Button fifth and Barrichello fending off a fired-up Fernando Alonso for sixth.
Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock scrapped over the final point, the German having one-stopped after starting from pit-lane, before the Finn finally secured a point for McLaren.
The hopes of both Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil were dashed by contact, the Briton with Webber's front wing at the opening corner and Sutil with Kimi Raikkonen at the same point mid-race. Hamilton finished a lap down, having ahd to pit for repairs, while Sutil came home 15th after needing a new front wing while running in the points.
F1 » German Grand Prix – Race result
1. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 60 laps 1hr 36m 43.310s
2. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 09.2s
3. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 15.9s
4. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota +00m 21.0s
5. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes +00m 23.6s
6. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes +00m 24.4s
7. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault +00m 24.8s
8. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes +00m 58.6s
9. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota +01m 01.4s
10 Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber +01m 01.9s
11. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Mercedes +01m 02.3s
12. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota +01m 02.8s
13. Nelson Piquet Jr Brazil Renault-Renault +01m 08.3s
14. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber +01m 09.5s
15. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +01m 11.9s
16. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari +01m 20.2s
17. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota +01m 30.9s
18. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
Rtd Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 34 laps completed
Rtd Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 18 laps completed
F1 » Webber: First F1 pole makes this 'a very special day'
It may have taken him 132 attempts to do it, but Mark Webber confessed that the wait only made his maiden F1 pole position for this weekend's German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring all-the-more 'special' – as he lauded Red Bull Racing for the part they played in helping him to achieve it, and vowed to do his best to reward them with his breakthrough victory on Sunday to-boot.
The Australian paced FP1 on Friday morning, and has been a consistent front-runner from thereon in around the Eifel Mountains circuit – one where he notched up his first rostrum finish for Red Bull back in 2007, in similarly unpredictable wet/dry conditions.
Having been defeated by team-mate Sebastian Vettel three weeks ago at Silverstone – paying the price on race day for a patchy qualifying effort – it was quickly clear that the 32-year-old was in no mood to make the same mistake again on the German's home turf. After leading the way in Q1, in Q2 he was at one stage almost four seconds clear of any of his rivals, before finishing the job off with a flawless final run in the Q3 top ten shoot-out, getting the better of Brawn GP pairing Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button as well as the fans' favourite to make his own little piece of F1 history.
“This is a very special day for me,” underlined the New South Wales native. “I've been close to getting pole a few times in the past. Today we're here and the team has done a great job. We've been quick all weekend and all the teams and drivers got really tested in that session. It was very, very chaotic and to deliver the lap time when it absolutely counted was very important to me. Getting the best time is fantastic.
“The car is working very well here and I was talking to my engineer Ciaran all the time, asking him what we were doing, because the track conditions were so hard; it looked quite dry, but the slicks just wouldn't take it at all. In Q2, it was really hard to read what we needed for the last ten minutes. In the end, the key for me was three clean sectors – and that's what got me pole.
“I called on my experience, and I have a great team of people – the guys on the pit wall – making the right calls for me. They can see what the other drivers are doing. We're the best drivers in the world, and we know when people are making mistakes that it's down to the wrong tyres – so we stick to the decisions we make and believe in them and go out and do the best we can, because we know everyone's in a bit of trouble in those conditions.
“A huge thanks to all the team, both here and in the factory, and I hope that it can be my first win tomorrow. We're in a fantastic position to do it. Obviously these guys (Barrichello and Button) have had a very strong season and will push us, but we're looking forward to a fight. I'm up for trying to take my first race win tomorrow if I can.”
Webber's performance drew warm words of praise from the energy drinks-backed outfit's team principal Christian Horner and Fabrice Lom, principal track support engineer for engine-supplier Renault – both content in the knowledge that with RBR seemingly in the ascendancy over Brawn as the season heads into its second half, they have two drivers capable of taking points away from runaway world championship leader Button, not just one.
“Despite the very tricky conditions, it was great for Mark to secure his first Formula 1 career pole and it puts him in an ideal place to start tomorrow's race,” remarked Horner.
“I'm so, so happy for Mark,” added Lom. “He really deserves it – he's a good guy and a good driver. We owe him this pole position; he missed it by almost nothing at Silverstone, but here he has got it. We are very happy within Renault to be able to offer him this first pole position.”
F1 » German Grand Prix – Qualifying times
1. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 32.230s
2. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 1m 32.357s
3. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 1m 32.473s
4. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 32.480s
5. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 32.616s
6. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1m 33.859s
7. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 34.316s
8. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 34.574s
9. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 34.710s
10 Nelson Piquet Jr Brazil Renault-Renault 1m 34.803s
11. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1m 42.310s
12. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault-Renault 1m 42.318s
13. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1m 42.500s
14. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota-Toyota 1m 42.771s
15. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1m 42.859s
16. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1m 32.190s
17. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 32.251s
18. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Mercedes 1m 32.402s
19. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 33.559s
20. Timo Glock Germany Toyota-Toyota 1m 32.423s