SPORT

Ferrari takes first row

BUDAPEST (HUNGARY), AUG. 14. Michael Schumacher claimed the pole for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix with Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello alongside on the first row.

Saturday's qualifying marked the fourth time this season that Ferrari will start from both front row spots on the grid and, for Schumacher it was his seventh pole in 2004 as he shoots for a record-12th season victory on Sunday.

BAR-Honda took both places on the second row with Japanese Takuma Sato qualifying in 1:19.693, just ahead of English teammate Jenson Button (1:19.700). Renault's Fernando Alonso was fifth (1:19.996) with BMW Williams driver Antonio Pizzonia in sixth (1:20.170).

The next four spots went to: Juan Pablo Montoya of Williams (1:20.199), Giancarlo Fisichella of Sauber (1:20.324), Jarno Trulli of Renault (1:20.411) and Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren (1:20.570).

Few would bet against Schumacher winning his 12th of 13 races this season. The only race he failed to win was in Monaco. There he was leading when he was knocked out in a freakish accident while a safety car was on the track.

He has won in Hungary three times, although he was eighth here a year ago — one of his worst finishes of the season.

"Compared to last year, it's definitely better," Schumacher said. Asked if he was surprised by the shape of the grid, Schumacher shrugged.

"No, not really," he said. If he wins on Sunday, he would become the first in F1 to take 12 races in one season. He's already the first to have won 11, and he's done that twice.

To be honest, Formula One needs someone besides Schumacher to win a race. Although, mathematically he can't clinch his seventh drivers' title on Sunday — this is likely to come in two weeks in Belgium — Ferrari can win the team title if Renault fails to garner at least 10 more team points than Ferrari. Five more races remain after Sunday.

Ferrari has 184 points to lead the constructors' race with Renault 99 behind.

In the drivers' championship, Schumacher has 110 points in 12 races with Barrichello on 74. Button is next (61) followed by Trulli (46) and Alonso (39).

Although the weather on Saturday was overcast with a hint of showers, Sunday's weather is expected to be in the high 70s (25C) with clear skies. — AP

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