Sat, Aug 04, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Kubica sets pace for Hungarian GP


Brazilian Ferrari F1 driver Felipe Massa leaves the pit during the first training session at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest, Hungary, yesterday. The Hungarian Grand Prix will take place tomorrow.


Poland's Robert Kubica returned to the site of his Formula One debut and posted the fastest time in yesterday's first free practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Kubica timed 1 minute 22.390 seconds in his BMW-Sauber on the twisting 4.381km Hungaroring circuit to lead Ferrari duo Felipe Massa, second at 1:22.519, and Kimi Raikkonen, with 1:22.540.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton of McLaren were third and fourth at 1:22.585 and 1:22.854, respectively.

Kubica started the race here last year in place of Canadian Jacques Villeneuve for BMW-Sauber. He finished seventh but was later disqualified for driving an underweight car.

This season, Kubica crashed heavily in the Canadian GP and missed the United States GP. Still, he is sixth in the season standings behind the Ferrari and McLaren drivers and BMW teammate Nick Heidfeld, who was sixth in qualifying at 1:22.891.

Ferrari and McLaren have won all 10 races this season, with Alonso and Raikkonen having three wins apiece, and Hamilton and Massa getting two each.

Alonso is hoping to use tomorrow's race to overtake Lewis for first place in the season standings. Alonso is two points behind Hamilton, 70-68, after his victory at the European Grand Prix on July 22 in Germany, where Hamilton finished ninth after crashing in qualifying.

Massa has 59 points for third place, with Raikkonen in fourth with 52 points.

McLaren leads the constructor standings with 138 points to 111 for Ferrari.

Besides their season-long on-track duel, McLaren and Ferrari are also embroiled in a legal dispute concerning leaked information and sabotage.

The bickering was renewed on Thursday, after McLaren boss Ron Dennis attacked Ferrari for continuing the dispute over leaked confidential information and accused the Italian team of having an "illegal competitive advantage" at the Australian Grand Prix earlier this season.

Dennis said in a five-page letter to Luigi Macaluso, head of the Italian automobile association, which represents Ferrari, that Raikkonen may have won the season-opening race in March in a car using an illegal floor attachment mechanism.

The main dispute began when a 780-page technical dossier on Ferrari cars was found at the home of McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan, who has since been suspended. The documents were allegedly supplied by Ferrari mechanic Nigel Stepney, who was fired.

There are more free practice sessions this morning with qualifying this afternoon, before tomorrow's 70-lap race.

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