Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rookie Jaime Proves the Critics Wrong in Hungary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rookie Jaime Proves the Critics Wrong in Hungary

Article excerpt

Byline: David Smith Sports Correspondent

JAIME ALGUERSUARI today made a safe, steady start to his Formula One career even though he finished last of the 20 drivers competing in the opening practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Spanish rookie, set to become the youngest driver ever to start a world championship race at the age of 19 years and 126 days, took a sensible approach amid claims that he was too young to drive in Formula One and was just 1.95secs off the pace set by McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen.

And in 42 laps, the most posted during the morning session at the technically difficult Hungaroring circuit, Alguersuari did not put a wheel wrong.

World championship leader Jenson Button and Ferrari's Felipe Massa thought he might be out of his depth after being drafted in by the Toro Rosso team to replace uncompetitive Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais.

But Alguersuari, the British Formula Three title winner, received significant backing from countryman Fernando Alonso, who in 2005 became the youngest world champion at the age of 24 years and 58 days, a record subsequently broken by Britain's Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso, ninth fastest today in his Renault, insisted Alguersuari was right to grab the chance of joining the Formula One elite. He said: "When you have the opportunity to drive a Formula One car, how can you say no? It is not possible. It is a big opportunity, the opportunity of your life, and you need to take it.

"Also, the Fridays of the last two championships have effectively been test sessions. We have more or less free engines, four sets of tyres, so we can do a lot of laps on Fridays. Obviously he will not arrive 100 per cent for this race, but it is a great opportunity and hopefully in a very short time he will be 100 per cent."

Alonso also backed Jenson Button to go on and claim a maiden world championship even though the British star's Brawn GP has been outclassed in the last two races by the Red Bulls of Germany's Sebastian Vettel and Australian Mark Webber. …

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