Vettel targets seventh heaven

Vettel targets seventh heaven

Sebastian Vettel has a seventh pole this year in his sights after proving to be in a class of his own in second practice for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Vettel and Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber blew away their rivals in the first 90-minute session at the Hungaroring, with the duo a second quicker than any other driver.

But in the afternoon run Vettel pulled away from even Webber, who had to settle for the third best time at the end of the day, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso sandwiched between them half a second down.

In the morning Vettel had posted a lap of one minute 20.976secs for a track that is regularly described as tight and twisty.

But the 23-year-old German, who has been on pole at the last three grands prix, shaved a further nine tenths of a second off that time later on to leave the rest of the field in his wake.

Even with tomorrow's final practice session still to run, Vettel is now a hot favourite to make it four poles in a row, his seventh of the season, and what would be the team's 11th in 12 races.

Yet despite such dominance in qualifying, it is McLaren who lead the way in both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

However, the Woking-based marque again face another late night if they are to find any pace in comparison to Red Bull and Ferrari as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were sixth and ninth overall, trailing by 1.221secs and 1.643secs respectively.

Felipe Massa, on his first day back at the track where just over a year ago he was involved in a near-fatal accident, was a creditable fourth, 0.899secs off Vettel.

As if Massa did not have enough to contend with following the fall out from Hockenheim, the Brazilian has also had to cope with the emotion of heading into this weekend.

Yesterday Massa spoke with a number of the personnel at the medical centre at the circuit who helped save his life following his smash in qualifying for last season's race.

The 29-year-old was struck over his left eye by a spring that broke off a Brawn GP car then driven by friend and compatriot Rubens Barrichello.

Massa sustained a fractured skull and spent three days at the local AEK hospital in an induced coma as the medical team fought to save him.

Massa made a remarkable recovery, leaving the hospital after nine days, although later required further surgery to have a metal plate inserted to protect his skull.

Massa took to the track today admitting to having no memory of the accident, other than images he had seen on television, and confident the incident would play no part in his thinking.

That certainly appeared to be the case as he completed the Red Bull, Ferrari line-up at the top of the timesheet.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov was a strong fifth, but over a second back, underlining the superiority in terms of pace of the two leading teams at present.

Behind Hamilton and ahead of Button were Robert Kubica in his Renault in seventh followed by the Williams of Nico Hulkenberg, with Mercedes' Michael Schumacher completing the top 10.

At the bottom of the standings, over 7.5secs down, albeit due to a technical issue that limited his running to five laps was Lotus Racing's Heikki Kovalainen.

More on this topic

W Series to stage races alongside F1 in USA and MexicoW Series to stage races alongside F1 in USA and Mexico

Max Verstappen signs new Red Bull deal to 2023Max Verstappen signs new Red Bull deal to 2023

Ferrari reward Charles Leclerc with new dealFerrari reward Charles Leclerc with new deal

Ferrari chief admits Lewis Hamilton has discussed joining themFerrari chief admits Lewis Hamilton has discussed joining them

More in this Section

Ladies football: Flying high brings new challenges to newly-promoted WaterfordLadies football: Flying high brings new challenges to newly-promoted Waterford

Kerry’s youngest club looking for another big step in CrokerKerry’s youngest club looking for another big step in Croker

Graham adds to Scotland woes after Russell exclusionGraham adds to Scotland woes after Russell exclusion

Achilles injury halts Okunbor's AFL progressAchilles injury halts Okunbor's AFL progress


Lifestyle

IT IS movie award season and Irish designers and their luxury creations were the stars of the silver screen this week.From red carpet to luxe rugs: Ireland's designers get movie-star treatment

Falsies don’t have to be fiddly, says Katie Wright.5 common myths about false lashes

Hiring professional designers to guide you through a home revamp can get you what you want, which doesn’t necessarily have to be what TV home improvement shows tell us, writes Carol O’Callaghan.What a professional interior designer can do for you when planning a home revamp

Kya deLongchamps turns the spotlight on countertop stars to look out for in the last throes of the January sales.Counter culture: Some star kitchen appliance buys

More From The Irish Examiner