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Page last updated at 13:42 GMT, Saturday, 25 July 2009 14:42 UK

Alonso grabs shock Hungary pole

Venue: Hungaroring Dates: 24-26 July 2009 Coverage: Live coverage of Friday's practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race - which starts at 1300 BST - across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find full listings here

Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Alonso claims Hungary pole

By Sean Chaney

Fernando Alonso grabbed pole for Renault in a chaotic qualifying session that was delayed when Felipe Massa crashed head on into a tyre wall.

The session ended in confusion after a computer timing system failed leaving drivers unsure of their final places.

Eventually it emerged that Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber would start second and third in Budapest.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton qualified in a season's best fourth position while Brawn's Jenson Button was eighth.

Massa's condition has been described as "serious but stable" following emergency surgery after he suffered skull damage and concussion.

The Brazilian hit a tyre wall after a spring from Rubens Barrichello's car flew up and hit Massa's helmet.

The Associated Press news agency quoted a hospital spokesman as saying Massa's condition was "life-threatening".

But Ferrari denied the reports, insisting the operation was "positive".

The accident had a direct impact on Barrichello's team-mate Button who missed most of the third qualifying session as his pit crew removed the same part from his car.

"It was difficult, we did not know if we would get one or two timed laps in," said Button whose eighth place finish was his worst qualifying performance of the season.

"Because I didn't get to do my first run in final qualifying we had way too much much fuel on board and the balance of the car was not very good.

"In one way it is good because I have got a lot of fuel on board, but we are a long way back on the grid and also on the dirty side.

BBC SPORT'S FUEL-ADJUSTED GRID (with projected race first pit stops*)
1 Vettel (lap 20)
2 Webber +0.242 (lap 19)
3 Rosberg +0.319 (lap 18)
4 Hamilton +0.394 (lap 18)
5 Kovalainen +0.470 (lap 20)
6 Button +0.562 (lap 25)
7 Alonso +0.592 (lap 13)
8 Raikkonen +0.987 (lap 18)
9 Nakajima +1.120 (lap 20)
* Calculated on the weight of fuel left in cars after qualifying had finished

"I don't think we would have got pole, I think that was way out of our reach, but we would have been amongst it."

Fuel weights confirmed that Button would move two places up on the grid if the weight of fuel he was carrying had been taken into account.

But the Brawn man is still over half a second off the pace of Red Bull's fuel adjusted pole-sitter Vettel.

Alonso drops down to seventh fastest when the extra weight being carried by the cars behind him is taken into account.

There were chaotic scenes at the end of the final qualifying session as drivers swapped lap times with one another in parc ferme, the enclosure where they leave their cars to be weighed and assessed.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh described the failure of the timing screens as a "disaster".

"It was quite a stressful qualifying to be honest," added Alonso.

"The times were not working at the end and we were in parc ferme chatting between ourselves to ask what times we did to see who was on pole position.

"It is nice to start on pole anywhere, but here it is particularly good. It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow, we are more competitive, but we are not as quick as the Red Bulls.

"We will try to win, but being honest and realistic our target is to get some good points. We were aggressive this time and got what we wanted - or maybe even better than we wanted."

Red Bull's Vettel was pleased with his team's response after having problems with grip on Friday.

"We took a good step forward overnight and are very confident for the race, we should be good tomorrow," said Vettel.

"Our biggest challenge is the threat of the Kers (kinetic energy recovery system) cars behind us, we will see what happens on the run down to the first corner."


Vettel's Red Bull team-mate Webber was equally bullish about his team's chance as the Milton Keynes-based team look to close a 19.5 point gap on rivals Brawn in the constructors championship.

"Well done, Fernando for getting pole, but Sebastian and I are in a position to capitalise and make some good points on the Brawns," said Webber.

Williams's Nico Rosberg was fifth fastest at the Hungaroring ahead of Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen who was sixth.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen will start Sunday's Grand Prix on the fourth row of the grid with Brawn's championship leader Button.

Williams' Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso make up the fifth row, after Massa who qualified 10th, was ruled out of Sunday's race.

Torro Rosso rookie Jaime Alguersuari goes from the back of the grid in 19th, after suffering technical problems in the first qualifying round.

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see also
Alonso grabs shock Hungary pole
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Highlights - Alonso claims Hungary pole
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Massa set to fly home to Brazil
31 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Hungarian GP qualifying photos
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Hungary GP qualifying as it happened
25 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton top as McLaren set pace
24 Jul 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton lauds McLaren progress
24 Jul 09 |  Formula 1

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