Lewis Hamilton heads McLaren one-two (2008 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying)

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No pit lane problems for McLaren at the Hungaroring this year

Lewis Hamilton will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position for the second year in a row. McLaren banished memories of their disastrous performance at the same track last year by claiming the one-two they missed out on twelve months ago.

Ferrari struggled to match McLaren’s pace and though Felipe Massa took third Kimi Raikkonen could only manage sixth for the second race in a row.

Part one

Hamilton signalled his intentions with his first lap 0.6s faster than anything even his team mate could manage. The 1’19.376 was the fastest time of the weekend so far.

Ferrari’s drivers found themselves fourth and fifth behind the Toyota of Jarno Trulli – the only non-McLaren to get under 1’20 at first. But Ferrari chose to send Raikkonen and Massa out for another lap towards the end of the session – Massa improving to a 1’19.578 but Raikkonen failing to find any extra time.

The battle to escape the bottom five was between the Hondas, Force Indias and Williams. But Nick Heidfeld was struggling to stay on the pace of team mate Robert Kubica and matters took a turn for the worse when he was held up behind Sebastien Bourdais on his out-lap.

That allowed Jenson Button to snatch 15th with a 1’20.888, knocking Heidfeld out in the first round. The BMW driver joined Rubens Barrichello, Kazuki Nakajima and the two Toro Rossos on the sidelines.

Drivers eliminated in part one

16. Nick Heidfeld 1’21.045
17. Kazuki Nakajima 1’21.085
18. Rubens Barrichello 1’21.332
19. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’21.670
20. Adrian Sutil 1’22.113

Part two

Sebastien Bourdais reached Q2 but was accused of blocking Nick Heidfeld

Timo Glock headed the times early on with a 1’19.246 which was too quick even for Hamilton’s McLaren. Felipe Massa, however, beat them both with a 1’19.068 to go top.

Kovalainen and Raikkonen both did extra laps but neither were able to improve from fourth and fifth.

A late lap by Sebastian Vettel wasn’t enough to get him into the final part of qualifying as Nelson Piquet Jnr and Mark Webber relegated him to 11th. He joined team mate Bourdais and Jenson Button, who surprisingly beat David Coulthard with his final time. Nico Rosberg failed to venture out from his garage all session.

Drivers eliminated in part two

11. Sebastian Vettel 1.20.144
12. Jenson Button 1’20.332
13. David Coulthard 1’20.502
14. Sebastien Bourdais 1’20.963
15. Nico Rosberg no time

Part three

The final part saw both McLarens, Ferraris, Toyotas and Renaults plus Robert Kubica and Mark Webber.

The Toyotas went out first on the harder (prime) tyres with Glock beating Trulli by 0.6s with a 1’21.326. That time by Glock proved very competitive with only Hamilton able to better it in the first wave of laps, taking provisional pole with a 1’20.974.

His team mate Heikki Kovalainen lost 0.9s in the middle sector compared to his team mate and posted a 1’22.319 for ninth.

The Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen slotted in third and fourth, but every driver returned to the track for a final effort.

Hamilton only improved by 0.08s but his first lap had been good enough for pole position anyway. Kovalainen nailed his final lap and took second place alongside his team mate.

Massa and Kubica also managed to push Glock back but the Toyota driver kept his position above Kimi Raikkonen, who took a disappointing sixth on the grid for the second race in a row.

Alonso, Webber, Trulli, and what looked like a heavily-fuelled Piquet completed the grid.

Top ten in part three

1. Lewis Hamilton 1’20.899
2. Heikki Kovalainen 1’21.140
3. Felipe Massa 1’21.181
4. Robert Kubica 1’21.281
5. Timo Glock 1’21.326
6. Kimi Raikkonen 1’21.516
7. Fernando Alonso 1’21.698
8. Mark Webber 1.21.732
9. Jarno Trulli 1.21.767
10. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’22.371

Update: Sebastien Bourdais gets grid penalty

Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen celebrate McLaren's first front row of 2008

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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48 comments on “Lewis Hamilton heads McLaren one-two (2008 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying)”

  1. Another good write up Keith – I’m amazed at how quickly you can get this up after the race.

  2. Since their partnership began, Massa is usually faster than Raikkonen in qualifying… the thing is, since the last race, the gap is becoming bigger…

  3. Has the data come in from the practice sessions to support the idea that the Ferraris seem to be able to pull off the quick lap for qualifying but are having trouble sustaining it over multiple laps? I heard this mentioned in a blog, that the last three races have begun to show that pattern. Too much Ferrari panic? Or real issue?

  4. I heard today that one explanation might be that Ferrari is rushing to develop the car at the same vigorous pace as McLaren, but they can’t adapt their car setups to the development. That makes sense since, to my eyes, Ferrari doesn’t look slow, just unconfident on track.

  5. Kimi seems to be in big trouble with His red one. In Hockenheim there was oversteering and here it seems to be understeering. Why can´t He manage to setup car at least little better??
    Jyrki Järvilehto said that there can be something big wrong in car. Monocock could be broken or something like that which had not been noticed between races. Also admitted that if there´s this big troubles, there needs to be done something critical changes. Never know, Jyrki didn´t manage good in F1=)
    Gap is too big comparing to Felipe!! Mclaren is faster car,but felipe SHOULD not be faster driver with same equipment! Can´t get it……..where His speed has gone?

  6. Kevin,

    I think it’s pretty obvious that the reds are considerably behind the silver cars at the moment. I don’t think the issue is set-up adaptation. McLaren was probably already quicker in France, but it didn’t show due to their penalties and strategy errors there and in Montreal. I think McLaren is making a statement that they can develop an F1 car faster/better than Ferrari and they don’t need to know the reds’ design secrets to do it. And the 100M Euro fine needs to be made up somehow, and winning both championships this year will surely help them a lot.

    Lewis is going to walk the Hungaroring tomorrow and the only possible threat can come from Heiki.

  7. The other threat is obviously a safety car.

  8. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 17:06

    The Ferrari’s are definitely slower in qualy trim… and it looks like Macca have a quicker car full stop….

    It’s only as time goes by and they get heat into the tyres and moreover don’t wear them out that Ferrari come into their own…

    In working hard to try to get a few tenths they have taken the car down a route leading to understeer which hurts Kimi a lot…

    I am almost wanting to skip watching the Lewis Hamilton show tomorrow….

  9. diseased rat
    2nd August 2008, 17:37

    It would be very annoying if they focus on Hamilton exclusively tomorrow, there is likely to be a lot of very watchable action going on elsewhere in the field.

  10. Lady Snowcat,

    just like in previous races, by the time Ferrari get their tires workning (in theory, they should, but then again what happened in Germany ?), Lewis (and possibly Heiki also) will be long gone. Just look at the practice-time data Keith posted y’day. The silver cars appear to be **at least** 3 tenths quicker per lap over at least a dozen laps. By the time the first stops come, around lap 19 for Lewis, he should be at least 7 secs clear of Massa. Heiki is likely heavier by one lap, but it is clear that he is no match for Lewis over a race distance.

    And (this is for Internet), Hungary is not a place that accidents happen, hence the likelihood of a safety car is very low. And even if there is one, the pace of the silver cars is simply too much for anyone else to handle.

  11. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 17:44

    I don’t disagree…

    In fact that’s why my money, but not my heart, has been on a Macca 1:2 this weekend… since I was at Hockenheim in fact….

    I reckon that if Lewis doesn’t win he’ll be a fool…

    That car is built for him and fits him like a glove…

    Lucky boy….

  12. I think Fferrari for some reason built the car more towards Massa’s style?!?

  13. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 18:31

    I think that the attempt to find quick fixes has sent it more that way…

  14. I fear a Massa banzai charge in the opening lap that may take either Heikki or Lewis as well as himself off track.

    He has shown excessive exuberance in the past when running from behind.

    Any chance of rain tomorrow??

  15. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 18:41


    Excessive exuberance from behind?…


    But taking out Lewis and Heikki on the first corner sounds great…

  16. How does Alonso or Glock taking out Kimi sound? :)

  17. MacademiaNut
    2nd August 2008, 19:25


    It is interesting that a few of your headlines are really picked up by F1 website as well. Good going! :)

  18. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 19:25

    That would sound like a Snowcat crying….

  19. @Lady Snowcat & Internet,
    Lets put it this way..Massa taking Lewis and/or Kovi and Glock taking KIMI.. ;)
    And finnaly a technical problem with BMW taking Kubica leaving Alonso-Webber-Truli/Heidfield on podium!!!!
    Sounds great!!!! :)

  20. …freak safety car period at Hungary,Massa hits a sandy spot and spins around three times and gets clipped moments later by Piquet…but,Heidfeld hits the pits moments before the accident and therefore is ahead of the pack when the entire field pits after the safety car period is HANDED his podium position that he was robbed of last race…..aahh!!..justice.

  21. Paul Sainsbury
    2nd August 2008, 20:50

    Lady Snowcat:

    ‘I reckon that if Lewis doesn’t win he’ll be a fool…

    That car is built for him and fits him like a glove…

    Lucky boy….’

    Yes, lucky lucky Lewis, having that car built JUST for him. He also must have had ‘custom made’ vehicles in cadet karts, junior Yamaha karts, Formula A karts, Formula Renault, Formula three, and GP2. AND, that radio controlled car he raced when he was six.

    Yep, LUCKY LUCKY Lewis Hamilton.

  22. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 20:54

    It’s always great to have a team built around you…

    Ask Michael…

    But he worked for it and turned a less than brilliant team into WCCs…

    Lewis joined in his first season a team already capable of winning WDCs and WCCs who had already invested millions in him….

    Lucky guy…

    You do have to be good but it helps to be lucky too…

  23. Paul Sainsbury
    2nd August 2008, 21:06

    Point taken, but the fact remains that he has been exceptional since way before the days he could ever have been described as having a team ‘built around him’

    If they were all in identical cars, I think, deep down, we all know who would win, and yep, it would be Lewis.

  24. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 21:38

    No it wouldn’t be Lewis…

    If Kimi had stayed at Macca it would have been Kimi….

    Lewis was in top machinery in all but one of his car years (89 car races pre F1 to 23 for Kimi) and in the only year in less than the best he didn’t win… despite having Ron’s backing then…

    Ron insisted he repeat that year albeit now in the top team… and that’s when Lewis and Daddy went behind Ron’s back and tried to get Williams /BMW support but Frank wouldn’t match Ron’s money….

    The guy is good I agree… and an excellent PR vehicle too … but a better natural driver than Kimi… no way…

    When he takes a less than top car and drives it up the grid… or starts 17th and ends up 1st then I may start to think he’s in the same league… but he hasn’t done that yet…

  25. If Kimi had stayed at Macca they would have had to adapt the car to run on an alternative fuel – Voddy :)

  26. Paul Sainsbury
    2nd August 2008, 21:51

    Lady Snowcat:

    Have a look at these on youtube:


    I think you will find pretty much all the evidence you need here.

    By the way, I also love Kimi, and was delighted that he won the title last year, even though I was rooting for Lewis. I think he has really gone off the boil lately though, with Massa making him look pretty ordinary.

  27. LOL, let’s not starting to compare Kimi with Lewis, I mean look at him, he’s driving a Ferrari and can’t beat a Toyota 2 races in a row, (not to mention is teammate) He drove from 17th to 1st? I’m starting to think it’s all car…

  28. Ofcourse Kimi is a very talented driver, all Formula 1 drivers are. But still, he has only managed to win the championship once and he has been driving “top machinery” for six seasons previous to this one.

  29. Lady Snowcat
    2nd August 2008, 22:24

    I think you’ll find that the Macca was not always top machinery…

    He was within two points of Michael in 2003 even when they outlawed the Michelins halfway through the season..

    If you count the number of times the engine blew or the car broke in 2005 you’ll see that Macca let him down big time…

    Sorry but Lewis has never driven anything but a championship winning car….

  30. I love to watch Kimi drive but,I think we all know that Kimi is not as focused as the rest of the top drivers in the sport.It is not a lot of fun to watch Kimi scrambling to the front of the pack hap-hazardly when you know he has the talent to qualify better and be up there in the first place.He has the talent and has the car but,he is throwing all away.That was Michael’s magic,he completely submerged himself in the team and built it around him,Kimi does not have that quality in him and never will.I hope he can get it together and show us what he can actually do if he applies himself 100% but,I don’t think that will happen with the comments that he has made about all the things that he does not like about the sport.(meetings,adverts,PR work in general)These are things that weigh on his mind and give him his negative attitude toward the sport.

    Anyway,that’s my 2 cents.

  31. And what exactly had Kimi done to deserve a seat at McLaren apart from getting beaten by Heidfeld at Sauber? Kimi is the one who is lucky to get a drive in a top team. And if he doesn’t win the WDC this year, then he will be considered a fluke.

  32. Man… I really can´t understand this point about Lewis drive a dog of car to show that his is good enough…

    I think someone is missing the point here.

    A young driver must to drive a dog of car in a little team early because he has the potential but not the maturity and talent enough to be maximized in a top car. Lewis, when kick the ass of a double champ and now leads the championship, shows that he HAS this maturity and gift already to drive his top car, his “glove”. He has more experience as winner driver in junior Formulae than Kimi who almost jump to go karts to F1.

    Looking back to the past you will see that great drivers, Senna, Prost, Schumacher, more mature than Lewis, made as silly mistakes as Lewis did in his only 29 races.

    Mr “natural driver” can’t beat consistently his team mate who seems to be “exuberant” ballet dancer in a wet track. In the same race that Lewis destroyed the entire field, Kimi was made a fun duo with Felipe, spinning in the middle of the straight twice. That was very NATURAL…

  33. Exactly,

    No race seat is for free, you have to deserve it through previous performances.

  34. Fergus Gallas
    3rd August 2008, 1:09

    Marvelous comments Lady Snowcat. Signed, sealed and delivered..i’m yours. As Mr.Wonder once said.

  35. Lewis is fast enough, he doesn’t need to prove it by going in a slower car.

    But let’s face it.

    Without Ron Dennis, what car would he be driving now? Would he even get noticed in the lower formulae and be allowed to drive in F1? Also, given the way McLaren “prepared” Lewis for F1, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he is this fast.

    The question is, how much of Lewis’ pace is down to his talent and how much of it is down to what his team did for him?

  36. Journeyer: “The question is, how much of Lewis’ pace is down to his talent and how much of it is down to what his team did for him?”

    Not sure it matters. Hamilton IS the fastest guy, in the fastest car. Quite sure that Alonso is damn quick too. But Hamilton is leading the world championship in his second season, that having managed to edge his team mate, the two time reigning world champ who we all hope will get that Ferrari seat sooner rather than later.

    I have relished Kimi’s best, but that really isn’t now. Off to the 4WD’s for him I say and hope he gets more pleasure from the sport there than he is in F1 now.

    Hamilton really is VERY good. As Becken mentioned, only 29 F1 races. And people hate him already? He must be VERY VERY good.


    ps.is it too soon to use the term Schumacheresque ;o)

  37. Salty,

    Lewis Hamilton’s career could evolve into one similar like one of these guys:

    1. Michael Schumacher – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I think Lewis may be headed to his type of dominance.
    2. Fernando Alonso – Like the Spaniard, Lewis has loads of talent. But if a young upstart manages to beat him, can his ego take it?
    3. Jacques Villeneuve – Brilliant as a rookie, world champion the year after… and that’s it. Lewis could end up a fluke like Jacques if he isn’t careful.

  38. Yet again, Ferrari’s hopes lay with Felipe Massa and not Kimi Raikkonen this weekend. Together with Monaco, the Hungarian Grands Prix is one of the most important qualifying sessions of the year.
    The only thing that can effect McLaren tomorrow is either a breakdown or a gaffe in the pits. From Ferrari’s perspective, Massa has to jump Kovalainen at the start, has to.
    If the McLaren’s scamper off then that will be it. Kovalainen’s job as far as McLaren will be concerned will be to hold Massa up so that Hamilton can build up a comfortable lead on the field.
    As for Raikkonen, he would appear to be in all sorts of problems. The pressure must really be on him now within Ferrari, and I am fascinated to see his true ‘race pace’ tomorrow, and how ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ his Ferrari is at the start of the race.
    Looking at the top ten, not a bad result for Renault getting both their drivers up at the grittier end of the grid.
    Also, a great performance from Timo Glock, outpacing one of the fastest one lap drivers, Jarno Trulli, his team mate.

  39. To put a different perspective on the Michael Schumacher/Lewis Hamilton comparison. We all know that Schumacher dominated at Ferrari, but that factor alone did not win him five world championships with the team.
    It was his ability to dominate Formula One, as a whole, behind the scenes, that gave him an edge over his rivals. How many times, during his fifteen year career, did we see big decisions go Schumacher’s way?
    How many times, when the drivers were discussing safety during one of their meetings, was Schumacher at the head of the pack, demanding changes?
    If a circuit had a bump in it, at a certain corner, the bump would be removed, as it had been Schumacher that had brought the subject up.
    He knew every angle, every avenue, of Formula One politics he could exploit in order to gain an advantage. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the guy for it.
    His hunger, and desire to win are incomparible with anyone else, even Tiger Woods.
    Lewis Hamilton is hugely talented, in a team that is as strong as they come, however, some aspects of that go against him. From a political stand point, and sadly, that is important in modern F1, certain people within McLaren are not exactly on good relations with the ‘powers at be’.
    That was always Schumacher’s, and Ferrari’s, greatest strength. I always remember the aftermath of Austria 2002, and thought that if Ferrari and Schumacher got away with it then they were politically unstoppable.
    They were, it was one of the most strongest partnerships in motorsport history, and will never be matched.
    Schumacher’s brains, and of the select few he brought with him from Benetton, made Ferrari from a midfield team into the allconquering.

  40. Methinks some people here are going absolutely crazy over Hamilton comparing him with Schumacher. No doubt he is a very talented racer, but will he be able to do the same thing he is doing in MCLs with a Toyota or even a BMW? I am afraid to believe that he will not.
    And as for Schumacher, he first gave Benetton consecutive titles and then 5 in a row with Ferrari before Alonso concquered with Renault. Let Lewis win a WDC first at least!

  41. The limit, you bring up a good point about Schumacher looking for the so-called “unfair advantage” (as Peter Windsor put it last year). But we have to remember that Schumacher wasn’t favored by the FIA in the early part of his career, esp. 1994, where he encountered all sorts of penalties, allowing Damon Hill to catch right up to him in the championship. It was only his ruthlessness that stopped him from losing altogether.

    But I guess Lewis isn’t that politically aggressive off-track compared to Schumi. He isn’t even a GPDA member, from what I recall.

  42. Apologies if this sounds all sycophantic and gooey but @ Journeyer, Salty, the limit and Nirupam: I have to say that you’ve all made fantastically insightful and well written comments here, and the way you guys have bounced off each other positively is great. To me, this is what makes this site great. Knowledgeable people offering their opinions and then often upon hearing the opinions of others, finding a synthesis between the two or three or four. Most of all, your comments were all UNBIASED!! Certain comments I read on this site have their credibility tainted because it oozes favouritism towards a particular driver or a particular team (or disliking thereof), even if said comment has validity.

    So well done guys.

  43. Paul Sainsbury
    3rd August 2008, 10:06


    ‘Methinks some people here are going absolutely crazy over Hamilton comparing him with Schumacher. No doubt he is a very talented racer, but will he be able to do the same thing he is doing in MCLs with a Toyota or even a BMW? I am afraid to believe that he will not.’

    Now would anyone else, so this is irrelevent. remember Schuee in an umcompetitive car in ’05, Nowhere……

  44. Did you see ‘Grand Pix Gold’ in this weeks Autosport in 1986 Hungary Grand Prix Senna took pole at 1:29.450 in those turbo monsters. This year Massa did a 1:19.068, 10 secs faster. Both cars would have been light on fuel. Those turbos were using 1000+bhp engines for qually. Just shows you how new aero packages and technology has progressed.

  45. Nice piece of info there Derek!!….how times have changed

  46. @Paul
    Firstly 2005 season results were mainly dependable upon the tyre suppliers. Only Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi were using Bridgestone and the rest Michelin. And refarding this Schumi himself said at the halfway that season: “I don’t think I can count myself in this battle any more. It was like trying to fight with a blunted weapon…. If your weapons are weak you don’t have a chance.”

    Even with that, in San Marino, he started 13th and finished only 0.2 seconds behind Alonso.

  47. Paul Sainsbury
    3rd August 2008, 11:30

    That is totally my point though. Even MS with an umcompetitive car was, by and large, uncompetitive.

    This is why I am sick of people saying Lewis wouldn’t achieve the same results in a red Bull or a Toyota. Of course he wouldn’t and neither would anyone else.

  48. Fergus Gallas
    3rd August 2008, 11:58

    17 rounds. Gloves on…. no KO so far. Call the doctors someone please.

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