Hungarian GP: Thoughts on the start

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton eyes a second win from pole in the Hungarian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton eyes a second win from pole in the Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton starts from his tenth career pole position at the Hungaroring and has an excellent chance of extending his championship advantage.

Behind him the dusty condition of the right-hand side of the track could play a major role in deciding who takes up the chase of Hamilton – and whether Felipe Massa can challenge for victory.

Hamilton will not want a repeat of Romain Grosjean’s start from pole position in yesterday’s GP2 feature race. The driver for Hamilton’s former team ART was sixth by turn two.

Unless Hamilton repeats the error he made at the start at Bahrain that doesn’t look very likely. But on past form Heikki Kovalainen is going to have a difficult job holding onto second.

The off-line, even-numbered side of the grid is particularly dirty and dusty at the Hockenheimring. As Mark Webber (eighth) admits:

I’m disappointed I’m on the wrong side of the grid, an odd number is always better, but we definitely have a chance to get something from where we are, so we’ll see how we go tomorrow.

Last year Kimi Raikkonen, who started third, had no difficulty whatsoever in picking off Nick Heidfeld, who started second (and picked up an award for it, surprisingly). But just as Kovalaien will have to watch out for third-placed Felipe Massa at the start, so Raikkonen (sixth) will be worried about Fernando Alonso (seventh) especially as the Renault is not likely to have good race pace.

Timo Glock starts a career-best fifth – but how heavily fuelled is the Toyota? Regardless, Raikkonen will be desperate for an opportunity to pounce on the rookie on the first lap and not spend a stint stuck behind him.

Nick Heidfeld, however, faces a long slog from 15th on the grid. Felipe Massa started 14th last year and only gained one place in the whole race. Can Heidfeld do better?

2008 Hungarian Grand Prix grid

1. Lewis Hamilton 1?σΤιΌ??20.899
2. Heikki Kovalainen 1?σΤιΌ??21.140
3. Felipe Massa 1?σΤιΌ??21.181
4. Robert Kubica 1?σΤιΌ??21.281
5. Timo Glock 1?σΤιΌ??21.326
6. Kimi Raikkonen 1?σΤιΌ??21.516
7. Fernando Alonso 1?σΤιΌ??21.698
8. Mark Webber 1.21.732
9. Jarno Trulli 1.21.767
10. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1?σΤιΌ??22.371
11. Sebastian Vettel 1.20.144
12. Jenson Button 1?σΤιΌ??20.332
13. David Coulthard 1?σΤιΌ??20.502
14. Nico Rosberg no time
15. Nick Heidfeld 1?σΤιΌ??21.045
16. Kazuki Nakajima 1?σΤιΌ??21.085
17. Rubens Barrichello 1?σΤιΌ??21.332
18. Giancarlo Fisichella 1?σΤιΌ??21.670
19. Sebastien Bourdais 1?σΤιΌ??20.963*
20. Adrian Sutil 1?σΤιΌ??22.113

*five place penalty

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Kimi Raikkonen was ahead of Nick Heidfeld before turn one in last year\'s race
Kimi Raikkonen was ahead of Nick Heidfeld before turn one in last year's race