Saturday, 25 July 2009

F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Hamilton Fastest in Second Practice

The McLaren revival appears to be continuing. Green shoots of recovery or a false dawn? Only time will tell but hopefully the former.

Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest lap time in second practice today at the Hungaroring closely shading his team mate Heikki Kovalainen who had been fastest in the morning session.

Williams were also having a good day. Nico Rosberg was third fastest and Nakajima fifth. German Grand Prix winner Mark Webber was fastest of the Championship front runners in fourth with Vettel sixth.

What about the Brawns? Barrichello was seventh fastest whilst Button appears to be on the back foot so far in (unlucky?) thirteenth. The Ferraris were also having an off day with Raikkonen in eleventh and Massa languishing a lowly eighteenth fastest.

As expected, the new nineteen year old Spanish "wonder kid" Jaime Alguersuari of Toro Rosso (STR) was slowest approximately two seconds off Hamilton's pace and about .7 seconds slower than his team mate Buemi.

According to reports in the British press today, a number of the leading drivers have expressed concerns about Alguersuari's lack of experience in an F1 car due to the current testing ban and worry that he could impede the leading runners or even cause an accident.

It is too early to judge. The step up from F3 or another junior series to F1 is enormous and many have tried and failed in the past. On the other hand there have been several occasions when rookie's have scored points in their first Grand Prix - e.g. Vettel (the real wonder kid!) or Buemi.

STR are definitely taking a risk putting him behind the wheel in favour of Sebastian Bourdais who was recently fired from the team.

Do they seriously expect that a nineteen year old rookie with no F1 testing under his belt will perform any better than a former US champ car Champion?

My gut feeling is that Alguersuari has been appointed for his marketing potential. Unfortunately for him, Bourdais has the look of a school teacher or librarian rather than a pretty boy!

Several other names have been touted round as long(er) term replacements for Bourdais including Jacques Villeneuve and Sebastian Loeb.

I think the chances of Villeneuve landing a seat with STR are minimal but Loeb behind the wheel... now that would be interesting to see!

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