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Kovalainen Wins First Hungarian Grand Prix

Aug 11, 2008
It was another great race weekend for the McLaren team in Hungary. Lewis Hamilton maintained his lead for the championship title and Heikki Kovalainen took the checkered flag. The McLaren drivers dominated the track during practice and qualifying. Hamilton captured the pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and his teammate was beside him in the front row to help lead the pack. Hamilton's pole setting lap was 1:20.899 with Kovalainen close behind at 1:21.140.

After top qualifying positions, Hamilton said, 'I can definitely say that right now I'm at my best.' Before the race, Hamilton told reporters, 'This is as comfortable as I have ever been, knowing where the car is and with things going on in my life.' He said he knows he has room to improve and is confident that he will continue improving.

He had several tire problems throughout the Hungarian Grand Prix and eventually lost his lead to finish in fifth position. 'I salvaged the best of the worst. What can you do when you get a puncture?' he said. Massa's near miss allowed Hamilton to maintain a five-point lead in the Formula One championship standings.

After winning his first Grand Prix, Kovalainen said, 'It's fantastic. A great moment, something I've been targeting for many years - hopefully this is the first of many.' Kovalainen is 26 years old and has been in 28 races. The win in Hungary makes him the 100th Grand Prix winner in Formula One racing history. He said, 'At the end I tried to put pressure on Massa and hoped something would happen, and it worked out that way.' Later he commented, 'There have been various incidents this season that have happened when I've been in a position to fight for a victory, so I'm very glad to get this first win.'

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa took the lead and was prepared to pop the champagne cork. After poor performance from his Ferrari in Germany, he expected more for the Hungarian Grand Prix. To his dismay, his car experienced serious engine problems and came to a halt with only three laps to go. He said, 'It was a near-perfect race, one of my best - but it's one of the most frustrating races in my career.'

Before Sunday's race, Massa said, 'It would be easy to say that McLaren are now the favorites because they have won the last two races and they are suddenly the kings. But before those two races they were not the kings and were being strongly criticized.'

Before the race, Hamilton predicted that the McLaren team and the Ferrari drivers would be fighting hard for position. He said, 'Ferrari still have a fantastic car and two very quick drivers. Every time you come to a race you are looking out for them and all your rivals - the BMWs, the Renaults are quick and the Red Bulls too. You have to focus on your job but bear in mind that they will be very quick and hunt you down.' That point was well-made fact when Kimi Raikkonen took the fastest lap of the race at 1:21.195 on lap 61. Raikkonen finished the race in third position.

Rounding out the top five winning positions were: McLaren's Haikki Kovalainen in first position, Toyota's Timo Glock in second, Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen in third, Renault driver Fernando Alonso in fourth and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in fifth. The Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes drivers have dominated several of this year's Formula One races. The next race, the European Grand Prix, takes place in Valencia at the end of August.
About the Author
More Grand Prix information can be found at Monaco travel site yourmonaco.com

As well as the Grand Prix they include information on Monaco hotels and official tickets for the Monaco Grand Prix 2009
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