During the first qualifying session for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Sebastien Bourdais appeared to baulk Nick Heidfeld on a fast lap. As a result of Heidfeld’s complaint and poor qualifying run, the marshals at the Hungaroring investigated the matter, the result of which is a five grid-slot penalty for the French driver. This penalty puts Bourdais back in nineteenth, promoting Giancarlo Fischella, Rubens Barrichello, Kazuki Nakajima, Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg up one place each.
The incident occurred at the very end of the first qualifying session, and Heidfeld was struggling with his BMW and was under-impressing around the tight and twisty circuit. As the German driver approached the final right-hander that leads onto the start/finish straight, he caught Bourdais in the Scuderia Toro Rosso. From the camera view atop Heidfeld’s F1.08, it didn’t look as though he was too close to the STR, but Heidfeld raised his hand in anger as the pair crossed over the timing beacon.
I’m totally disappointed. It looked quite good at the end of yesterday’s practice and also this morning. But on my last lap in Q1 I had four cars in my way. Most of them at least tried to give me room, but it still cost me time.
Towards the end of the lap I had one car in front which was on an out lap. He saw me and accelerated.
He then overtook Sebastien Bourdais before the last corner, and then Sebastien was right in my way. I was hoping it was so obvious he would be penalised right away and I could still get into Q2. Nick Heidfeld.
During the Live Blog, most felt that Bourdais was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he could do little to get out of the way. I share this opinion as it appeared that Heidfeld only really caught the ChampCar champion mid-corner. What was Bourdais supposed to do? I personally find the penalty unfair on Bourdais’s part and put the incident down to a simple
racing qualifying incident. As Heidfeld said, he had four cars in front of him during his last-ditch attempt to improve, so maybe BMW should improve their qualifying strategy and allow their drivers some more time during the sessions to set laps. And maybe Heidfeld should sort out his one-lap issues so he isn’t fighting just to get out of Q1.
Sour grapes, I say…