Fernando Alonso took his first pole position since Monza 2007 today in a chaotic session at the Hungaroring in Budapest.
The timing systems failed in the closing laps, which meant that no-one knew who was on pole and what the top ten grid positions were as the drivers assembled in parc ferme. It emerged that it was Fernando Alonso, who was surprised to find that he had taken his 18th career pole. Renault have improved the car a lot in the last couple of races, with a variety of experimental front wings available for Alonso this weekend.
The Spaniard only just made it through Q1 after they gambled on the soft tyre for early runs and then on his first run on supersoft he had a yellow flag, so had to do everything on his final run.
“It was quite stressful and on the limit,” said Fernando.
Last season Renault started badly and found pace as the year went on and Alonso scored more points than anyone in the second half of the season. It seems that they are having a Groundhog Day.
Sebastian Vettel did a great job in the final part of qualifying, having trailed team mate Mark Webber in practice and the early part of qualifying by two tenths. But he pulled out a very fast Q3 lap to beat his team mate. Webber, who was third, was forced to admit that Vettel had done a better job, after he made a small mistake in the middle sector of his lap.
The timing screens briefly burst into life after the session to reveal that Lewis Hamilton was fourth, and if confirmed, it will be bad news for the top three as the KERS system is worth 18 metres at the start, so Hamilton is likely to pass both Red Bulls and maybe even Alonso before Turn 1.
Also to be confirmed at the time of writing is that Jenson Button will start 8th after another troubled day for Brawn. Team mate Rubens Barrichello starts 13th, having lost part of his rear suspension in the closing stages of Q2. It appears that a spring or torsion bar hit Felipe Massa, who was following, causing him to crash head-on into the tyre barriers at around 175mph. The impact was enough to set off the G force meter light in the cockpit which meant a mandatory visit to hospital, but early reports are that Massa is fine and well.