Alonso takes pole in chaotic session

Fernando Alonso claimed Renault's first pole position since 2006 in a Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying session delayed by a frightening accident for Felipe Massa

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber took second and third for Red Bull, with Jenson Button only eighth, as the session came to a completely bizarre end as a timing system failure left the drivers initially totally unaware of where they had qualified.

But the results and the chaotic end were both overshadowed by Massa's crash. The Ferrari went straight on at the high-speed Turn 4 late in Q2, ploughing deep into the tyre barrier at the end of the run-off area.

Replays suggested that the Brazilian was struck by debris on the approach to the corner, with Rubens Barrichello reporting that a component had come adrift from the rear end of his Brawn GP car just beforehand.

The start of Q3 was delayed while Massa was extracted from the car and taken to the medical centre before being flown to hospital by helicopter. Initial reports described his condition as stable.

When Q3 eventually got underway, Alonso immediately took provisional pole before being beaten by Williams's Nico Rosberg.

But just as the timing screens went blank, the double world champion fought back and reclaimed pole with a 1m21.569s, to claim his first qualifying top spot since rejoining Renault.

After several minutes of total confusion as drivers, teams and fans waited for the timing system to be revived, it was revealed that Vettel and Webber had come through to take second and third ahead of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, with Rosberg pushed back to fifth.

Last year's winner Heikki Kovalainen escaped some scares earlier in the session when he was nearly knocked out of Q1 and Q2 to take sixth on the grid in the second McLaren.

Button managed just one run in Q3 and will line up eighth, between Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari and Kazuki Nakajima's Williams.

Barrichello's suspension issues left him only 13th on the grid, while Massa had made the Q3 cut before his accident, so is classified 10th on the grid.

Sebastien Buemi hinted that Toro Rosso will be making big strides with its new upgrades by taking 11th on the grid, ahead of the Toyotas, which were split by Barrichello. The under-pressure Nelson Piquet was only 15th in the second Renault.

BMW suffered another disaster, with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica both eliminated in Q1, where they were 16th and 19th, sandwiching the Force Indias.

The latter team just managed to get Adrian Sutil's car repaired in time for the final runs of Q1 following his practice crash but he could only manage 18th, while his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella got as high as 11th in the closing seconds of the first segment before other drivers' gains shuffled him down to 17th.

Jaime Alguersuari became the youngest man to qualify for a world championship grand prix, although the throttle problem that stranded his Toro Rosso at the trackside late in Q1 means he will start his maiden Formula 1 race from last position.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3     
 1.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:21.313  1:20.826  1:21.569
 2.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:21.178  1:20.604  1:21.607
 3.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:20.964  1:20.358  1:21.741
 4.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:20.842  1:20.465  1:21.839
 5.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:20.793  1:20.862  1:21.890
 6.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:21.659  1:20.807  1:22.095
 7.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:21.500  1:20.647  1:22.468
 8.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:21.471  1:20.707  1:22.511
 9.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:21.407  1:20.570  1:22.835
10.  Massa        Ferrari               (B)  1:21.420  1:20.823
11.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:21.571  1:21.002
12.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:21.416  1:21.082
13.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:21.558  1:21.222
14.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:21.584  1:21.242
15.  Piquet       Renault               (B)  1:21.278  1:21.389
16.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:21.738
17.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:21.807
18.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:21.868
19.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:21.901
20.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:22.359

All Timing Unofficial

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