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Friday, July 30, 2010

Hungary Preview - Alonso on a mission to silence critics

Alonso-Hockenhiem 2010
Completely unmoved by the barrage of criticism that came his way after the manner in which he won the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim last weekend, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is determined to repeat the feat this time out at the Hungaroring.

The Spaniard is convinced that the circuit will suit the Ferrari F10, and believes that he can kick start his world championship challenge with a third victory of the season.

"All wins are special," he said this week. "Winning is a great feeling and that was the case in Hockenheim, especially when I think of the huge workload undertaken by everyone at Maranello to achieve this fantastic one-two finish. No one ever gave up and I know how pleased they were to see two Ferraris cross the line ahead of all our rivals. For over a month now we have been saying that we had to get back to winning at least once before the summer break and finally, we did it.

"The win does not change my approach to the rest of the season. We knew full well before Hockenheim that our car was much more competitive and that was what made me so confident. Now we must continue in this direction, starting this coming weekend in Budapest."

Despite his disappointment in Hockenheim, and what happened in Budapest just over a year ago, Felipe Massa also believes that he can have a strong race this weekend.

"In Germany we produced a great team result and if people were asking why Ferrari kept saying for several weeks before that the F10 had improved a lot, they got the answer in Hockenheim," he said.

"But that does not mean we are sitting on our hands, because there will be even more updates coming this weekend and the result last weekend is motivation for everyone in the team to keep pushing even harder to keep the momentum going, improving race by race.”

The Brazilian is also optimistic because Bridgestone are bringing their super-soft and medium compound tyres to this relatively tight, high-downforce track; it is the harder compound with which he has previously struggled this season to generate optimum operational temperatures.

"Personally, I have never had a good result at this circuit, but that has simply been down to circumstances,” Massa says. “I do enjoying driving here a lot and, in 2008 for example, the last time I actually raced here, I led for 60 laps until my engine failed. So all in all, there are many reasons why I am really looking forward to going back to Budapest. It will be a very special weekend for me, for reasons which you can all appreciate.

"My first meeting when I arrive at the Hungaroring circuit will be with all the marshals and medical staff who did such a very good job of carefully getting me out of the cockpit. I want to thank these people, with whom I now feel a special bond. I had to stay in hospital for a week after the accident and I got to know the staff, who all treated me so well. One unusual result of the whole unfortunate episode is that I know I now have a lot more fans in Hungary."Vettel Red Bull Hockenhiem 2010

While Red Bull are confident that their RB6 package has the aerodynamic excellence to wrest back the advantage from Ferrari, McLaren are being more circumspect, even though Jenson Button has won there previously (in 2006, with Honda) and Lewis Hamilton in 2007 and 2009 for them.

“While we’re under no illusions that our pace relative to our rivals waMcLaren Hamilton And Button 2010 hockenhiems lacking at Hockenheim, the MP4-25 should perform better in a more dedicated high-downforce configuration,” team principal Martin Whitmarsh says. “More encouragingly, we’ve now got one race with the blown diffuser under our belts, and this has already given us lots of data with which to take the concept forwards.”

Another close battle can be expected between Mercedes GP and Renault as they chase fourth spot in the constructors’ standings, while just behind them Force India and Williams will both be looking to get back on track after disappointing race results at Hockenheim. Scotsman Paul di Resta will be back in the car for Force India in Friday Practice One, while further down the grid at HRT, Sakon Yamamoto gets another race outing in place of Karun Chandhok.

The 4.381 kilometre (2.722 mile) Hungaroring is unchanged and the 2010 race, which begins at 1400 hours local time (two hours ahead of GMT) and will be run over 70 laps or 306.630 kilometres (190.553 miles). Initial forecasts suggest predominantly dry conditions, but with temperatures in the low to mid 30s Celsius and an associated risk of thunderstorms.

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