2009 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

David Coulthard in the pits at the 2007 Italian GP
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Qualifying today was the usual buggers’ muddle from the FIA. As I write I am not entirely sure of the final grid positions for the race. It looks like Fernando Alonso has taken pole, with both Red Bulls behind, followed by Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren.

Getting in front off the start if the key to this twisting and turning circuit – “one long corner” as Jensen Button described it today on the BBC.

Contributing to the muddle was the accident involving Felipe Massa, who was struck by a flying part from Barrichello’s Brawn car in Q2. Flown to hospital for checks, the Ferrari driver is reported as fine but no word yet on whether he will take his 10th position on the grid tomorrow. A nasty strike on the helmet which was replayed on the closing coverage, Massa was very lucky. Fair play, then, to the FIA for taking it seriously and checking closely the circuit and the Brawn car before permitting Q3 to proceed.

Legard’s limping contribution for the BBC was bolstered by his pre-session VT of a Heikki Kovalainnen interview – the Finn at play back home. Confirming the McLaren driver as a thoroughly nice chap whose car and team are making a welcome return to form. Still, Brundle was not much in evidence in the coverage and its about time the Beeb woke up to Legard’s poor performance as a pundit. Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard are great assets, with Eddie’s inside tips keeping the BBC audience ahead of the pack in terms of Massa’ situation and other little titbits.

There is no way anyone can call tomorrow’s race. Alonso is back with a superb pole. McLaren are warming up the field but can Lewis keep it together to make the start worthwhile ? Red Bull continue to be the form team, with Brawn having mixed results as Jensen sits on 8th and Rubens at 13th. For sure, the difference between machines is almost non-existent – tactics, tactics, tactics will win the day.

STOP PRESS: As reported on BBC News this evening, Felipe Massa is in intensive care following today’s incident. No further news as yet but it is hoped that the surgey for his skull fractures caused by the flying debris has been successful. Best wishes, Felipe.

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