Motor Racing: Hungarian Grand Prix: Prost keeps a grip while Senna spins

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The Independent Online
ALL ABOUT they were losing their grip, and Ayrton Senna followed up his spin on the dirty circuit here with an appeal to the organisers for remedial action before tomorrow's race. And yet when the dust had settled, Alain Prost was again out in front, unblemished and unruffled.

The Hungaroring is notoriously slippery off the racing line and any car coming to grief tends to throw up still more clouds of dust, compounding the problems for following drivers. So, we had the familiar sequence of unscheduled excursions in yesterday's first qualifying session, Senna being chief among the victims. The McLaren-Ford driver had to settle for fifth place on the provisional grid but does not accept that conditions need be so hazardous. The Brazilian was among a group of drivers who asked officials last year for kerbs to be repositioned and, disappointed to find them unaltered, is renewing his call.

Senna said: 'I had two spins, the first time when we were trying a lower wing. With the second, it just went wrong. The problem is that the kerbs are not properly positioned and the dust comes back on to the circuit, which means you lose grip. I'm going to speak to the organisers and see if we can do something for Sunday. It could be a major problem and there's the potential for an accident. When we discussed this last year they seemed to understand and accept our point of view. Maybe there was a misunderstanding or someone made a


Britain's Martin Brundle managed to keep his Ligier-Renault out of trouble but gave Senna vocal support. He said: 'About half a dozen of us went to see the organisers last year about this but it's just as bad. The dust is worse than oil because it's so fine, like talcum powder, you can't see it once it's on the track. Before you know anything, you're fighting the car for


There was no official response to the drivers' pleas last night, but the organisers will undoubtedly give serious consideration to them. With or without alterations, however, Prost seems capable of steering a safe course to the front of the field. The world championship leader manoeuvred his Williams-Renault half a second clear of the second-placed driver, Benetton- Ford's Michael Schumacher. Damon Hill, in the other Williams, was third, immediately ahead of Riccardo Patrese, in the second Benetton.

The continued progress of Benetton, particularly in the hands of Schumacher, is of growing concern to Hill, anxious as he is to retain his place at Williams next season. Schumacher is in bouyant mood and his first victory of this championship may be within reach.

The dust cannot obscure the fact that Benetton are now convincingly outpacing McLaren and Senna admitted: 'There is something fundamentally wrong with the concept of the car and I am not sure we can get it right before the end of the season.'

Brundle was seventh on the overnight grid, Johnny Herbert (Lotus- Ford) 13th, Mark Blundell (Ligier-Renault) 16th and Derek Warwick (Footwork-Mugen Honda) 17th.

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX (Budapest) First qualifying times: 1 A Prost (Fr) Williams-Renault 1min 15.488sec; 2 M Schumacher (Ger) Benetton-Ford 1:16.003; 3 D Hill (GB) Williams- Renault 1:16.135; 4 R Patrese (It) Benetton-Ford 1:17.755; 5 A Senna (Bra) McLaren-Ford 1:18.260; 6 P Martini (It) Minardi-Ford 1:19.129; 7 M Brundle (GB) Ligier-Renault 1:19.277; 8 G Berger (Aut) Ferrari 1:19.379; 9 J Alesi (Fr) Ferrari 1:19.438; 10 A Suzuki (Japan) Footwork-Mugen Honda 1:19.533; 11 A Zanardi (It) Lotus-Ford 1:19.673; 12 M Andretti (US) McLaren-Ford 1:20.088; 13 J Herbert (GB) Lotus-Ford 1:20.527; 14 K Wendlinger (Ger) Sauber 1:20.590; 15 R Barrichello (Bra) Jordan-Hart 1:20.658; 16 M Blundell (GB) Ligier-Renault 1:20.770; 17 D Warwick (GB) Footwork-Mugen Honda 1:20.780; 18 C Fittipaldi (Bra) Minardi-Ford 1:20.953; 19 P Alliot (Fr) Larrousse-Lamborghini 1:20.959; 20 E Comas (Fr) Larrousse-Lamborghini 1:21.049; 21 T Boutsen (Bel) Jordan-Hart 1:21.484; 22 A de Cesaris (It) Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:22.489; 23 U Katayama (Japan) Tyrrell-Yamaha 1:22.668; 24 L Badoer (It) Lola BMS-Ferrari 1:23.543; 25 M Alboreto (It) Lola BMS-Ferrari 1:23.560; 26 J J Lehto (Fin) Sauber 1:24.596.