A roundup of the late news from Saturday as drivers and teams look forward to Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
- Webber – ‘We look stupid’
- Hamilton – ‘Winning would be a miracle’
- Alonso – ‘This is a positive result’
- Grosjean – Escapes post-qualifying penalty
Mark Webber has claimed he and his Red Bull team look ‘stupid’, after KERS woes brought his qualifying to a premature end just minutes into Q3. The Australian has experienced recurring issues with his KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) since the device was reintroduced to Formula One in 2011, while front-row starting team mate Sebastian Vettel has had comparatively little trouble with the boost system.
“Massively frustrating. We look stupid, it’s embarrassing and it’s a brutal circuit to be out of position on,” Webber said.
“We should be challenging for the front row and we’re 10th.”
Winning the Hungarian Grand Prix ‘will be a miracle’ Lewis Hamilton has claimed, despite taking his 30th career pole in qualifying. The Mercedes driver sounded a note of caution to fans, citing previous dire race performances and problems with Pirelli’s near-notorious tyres as reason for his low expectations.
“We are in a good position but I don’t envisage it being a win. We’ve got a good car so if we didn’t have the tyre issues we’d be able to compete with these guys in the race.” he said.
Meanwhile Fernando Alonso was more upbeat after qualifying 5th, the Spaniard saying his weekend so far has ‘been very positive’ after disappointing qualifying performances at Silverstone and the Nurburgring.
“Here we are a little happier, especially as we were worried we would not be competitive at all.” said the 2005 and 2006 World Champion.
“I don’t know if we are in a position to win. We will try to do a good race. The long-run pace we saw [in Free Practice] was a little bit worse than we are used to, normally it is our strongest point. So we made some changes to the car; hopefully they work tomorrow. It will be an interesting race – we have not seen 50C track temperature in F1 for three or four years so it will be a challenging race for all of us.”
And finally, Lotus’ star qualifying performer Romain Grosjean experienced a last-minute fright on Saturday afternoon when the FIA found his car to have failed a floor test soon after the session finished. The Frenchman faced potential exclusion and starting the race from the back of the grid when the discrepancy was discovered, but Lotus’ plea that accident damage had caused the failure was upheld when stewards were shown telemetry and video supporting the claim Grosjean had run wide on a kerb at turn 11, which damaged his car’s underside.
As a result, the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix podium finisher will retain his 3rd place on the start grid.