Qualifying: Alonso claims stunning pole

Fernando Alonso claimed pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, blitzing the field with a stunning effort in final qualifying today (Saturday). Ralf Schumacher will start alongside him in second, but championship rivals Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher could only manage fourth and eighth respectively

Qualifying: Alonso claims stunning pole

The Renault star took advantage of favourable track conditions to set the fastest lap of the Hungaroring so far this weekend, a 1m21.688s. It was the second pole of his career.

"The fastest time for Jarno yesterday and pole for me today shows how good the team is here, and we hope tomorrow will be similar for us," said Alonso. "The first corner is very tight here, but hopefully our launch control will work as usual. I hope to be in first place at the first turn."

Williams-BMW ace Ralf Schumacher pushed hard, but couldn't match the Spaniard's blinding time in the final sector, and fell 0.256s short.

"On one hand it's a nice feeling to be second, we had a few difficulties this week for various reasons, but I'm not particularly happy with second," he said. "Especially because it means I start from the dirty side of the track. It's not the best place for me, but hopefully Alonso, er, Fernando will be kind and open the door for me!"

Mark Webber maintained the strong form he displayed in first qualifying yesterday, taking an excellent third position for Jaguar.

"I'm very satisfied," he said. "The lap felt on the edge, and it's not easy to do that when there's so much at stake. Big thanks to the team, and now we want to get some points tomorrow. This has gone a long way towards that."

Montoya could only manage fourth, but was the first of the major championship contenders.

"The car feels really good and I'm confident in it for the race," said Montoya. "But I feel I could have gone a bit quicker in qualifying."

Rubens Barrichello was the top Ferrari driver and Bridgestone runner in fifth, and actaully matched Montoya's time to the thousandth. He finished ahead of Friday's pacesetter Jarno Trulli (Renault), who had a messy lap that included three big moments. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) qualified seventh, but world champion Michael Schumacher could only manage the eighth fastest time in his Ferrari.

Of the British contingent, David Coulthard (McLaren) was ninth, Justin Wilson (Jaguar) 12th and Jenson Button (BAR) 14th. Meanwhile, Wilson earned the wrath of Raikkonen in the pre-qualifying warm-up session after an on-track clash.

Olivier Panis was only 10th fastest for Toyota, his Friday morning pace remaining one of those great unsolved mysteries, with Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) next up. Giancarlo Fisichella was 13th fastest for Jordan, while Cristiano da Matta (Toyota), who spun off in the warm-up, was the slowest of the Michelin runners.

Jacques Villeneuve (BAR), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber) and Jos Verstappen (Minardi) filled the spots from 16th to 18th. Zsolt Baumgartner qualified 19th for his first grand prix, having replaced Ralph Firman at Jordan after the Briton's huge crash in practice this morning. Nicolas Kiesa (Minardi) will start last.

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Alonso Takes Second Pole of the Season - Hungary

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