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Page last updated at 13:05 GMT, Saturday, 2 August 2008 14:05 UK
Hungarian Grand Prix
Hungaroring, 1-3 August, 2008



Race: Sunday 1300 BST. Live on BBC Radio 5 Live and Text commentary BBC Sport website


McLaren duo Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton (right) and Kovalainen locked out the front row for McLaren

Lewis Hamilton boosted his chances of claiming a third successive race victory by capturing pole in Hungary.

The McLaren driver clocked one minute 20.899 seconds to secure his fourth pole of the season as team-mate Heikki Kovalainen joined him on the front row.

Felipe Massa led Ferrari's challenge and will start in third while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen could only manage sixth.

Massa lines up alongside BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica with Toyota's Timo Glock sharing the fourth row with Raikkonen.

Renault's Fernando Alonso claimed seventh spot ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber, with Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Renault's Nelson Piquet completing the top 10.

After dominating the practice sessions at the Hungaroring, Hamilton's pole had an air of inevitability about it.

The only variable under Budapest's clear skies was the scorching temperature, with the trackside thermometer reaching 42C and forcing all the teams to make a choice about their tyre selection.

Warm conditions mean tyres are more susceptible to graining where tiny pieces of rubber are torn off or distorted affecting the tyre's grip.

Hamilton opted for the harder tyres and effortlessly converted his practice pace into the 10th pole of his career.

"We made the right choice [of tyres] in the end," said world championship leader Hamilton. "We had planned to use the soft tyre for the third part of qualifying but it was the safer option to use the hard.

606: DEBATE
The Grand Baron

"The pace of the car is great and I've still got a little bit of time in the bag.

"It's a great day to have me and Heikki one-two - it's about time we did that for the team."

Kovalainen, who this week was confirmed as a McLaren driver for 2009, continued his improving form to join Hamilton on the second row.

The Finn said: "We've been improving our package all weekend so it was just a matter of nailing it in qualifying.

"It should be an interesting race as we should see the circuit evolving towards the end of the race."

Hamilton is aiming to become the first British driver since Damon Hill in 1996 to claim a hat-trick of straight wins.

And the 23-year-old's cool warning to his rivals suggested he is in the mood to match Hill's feat.

"I can definitely say that right now I'm at my best," said Hamilton.

"This is as comfortable as I have ever been, knowing where the car is and with things going on in my life.

"I feel pretty much on top of things, but I have no doubts I have room toimprove, and I will carry on doing that."

They can fight here as long as they don't get egg on their faces and emerge from the first corner in first and second

McLaren boss Ron Dennis on his drivers

The one-two for Hamilton and Kovalainen in Hungary is in stark contrast to the simmering tension in the McLaren camp this time last season.

Hamilton's former team-mate Alonso had taken pole only to be demoted after being found guilty of deliberating holding up Hamilton in the pit lane.

McLaren team boss Ron Dennis wryly reflected on the dramatic events of 2007, but was determined to turn his attention to this weekend when, he insists, he will allow his drivers to race each other.

"There was a lot of activity here last year, all of it unpleasant," Dennis said.

"But I'm focused on this year and it's good for us to be on the front row. Heikki isn't there to support, he's here to win the race.

"They can fight here as long as they emerge from the first corner in first and second and don't get egg on their faces."

While all appears to be well in the McLaren camp, Ferrari again found themselves lagging behind McLaren.

Massa, who is four points behind Hamilton in the drivers' standings, did set the fastest lap during qualifying of 1:19.068 but it came in the second session of qualifying when Hamilton admitted to losing time when he locked his wheel.

"We are still pretty strong," insisted Massa. "I have a feeling I can push these cars on Sunday."

Raikkonen was not feeling so confident as he appeared to be tussling with his car again and was out-of-sorts down in sixth place.

"I'm not happy, and starting from the third row, my race will be an uphill struggle," said the defending world champion.

"We are just going through a bit of a difficult time, but we must not give up."

Nick Heidfeld
Heidfeld keeps a low profile in Hungary after his worst qualifying performance for two years
It was also a disappointing day for Nick Heidfeld, who failed to get through the first session of qualifying.

The BMW Sauber driver got caught up behind the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Bourdais, who was handed a five-place grid penalty by race stewards for impeding Heidfeld.

The German will now start in 15th with Bourdais dropping back to 19th.

Heidfeld said: "From 16th to 15th makes little difference, and I'm totally disappointed.

"I was hoping it was so obvious he would be penalised right away and I could still get into Q2."

Williams driver Nico Rosberg will start just ahead of Heidfeld in 14th on the grid after he retired from the second session with a hydraulics problem.

Jenson Button conjured his best qualifying performance for five races, on a track where he won two years ago, and is 12th on the grid in his Honda.

Fellow Briton David Coulthard is 13th for Red Bull.


Qualifying results for the Hungarian Grand Prix:

1. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 1 min 20.899 secs

2. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.140

3. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:21.191

4. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:21.281

5. Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:21.326

6. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:21.516

7. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:21.698

8. Mark Webber (Aus) RedBull - Renault 1:21.732

9. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:21.767

10. Nelson Piquet (Brz) Renault 1:22.371

11. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:20.144

12. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1:20.332

13. David Coulthard (GB) RedBull - Renault 1:20.502

14. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams - Toyota

15. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:21.045

16. Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams - Toyota 1:21.085

17. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda 1:21.332

18. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India - Ferrari 1:21.670

19. Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:20.963 *

20. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India - Ferrari 1:22.113

* demoted five grid places for impeding



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see also
Massa expects Ferrari improvement
31 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton to keep attacking style
30 Jul 08 |  Formula One
McLaren keep Kovalainen for 2009
31 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hill backs Hamilton title claims
27 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton fights back for victory
20 Jul 08 |  Formula One


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