Formula 1NewsQualifying report

Mercedes claim the front row as Hamilton snatches pole – Qualifying Report

Hungarian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton capitalised on a wet qualifying session to claim a shock pole position at the Hungaroring.

Lewis Hamilton left it until the last minute to take pole position at the Hungaroring. With Q3 taking place in fully wet conditions, times continuously improved throughout the entire session. Kimi Raikkonen had taken provisional pole position after the first runs on the full Wets but, after the swap to a fresh set of the extreme tyre for the final runs, Valtteri Bottas pipped the Ferrari driver to move to the front. Moments later, Hamilton put in a 1:35.658 to take pole position by 0.260 seconds.

The two Mercedes thus start ahead of the two Ferraris, with Sebastian Vettel finished P4 in the second red car. The German driver had looked very good throughout the changeable conditions of Q1 & Q2 as he finished fastest in both sessions. He made an inspired call at the start of Q2 to head out immediately on the Intermediate tyre, despite the track appearing dry. However, with rain affecting the third sector, Vettel went quickest before the rain intensified and meant everyone else had to abort their slick tyre laps to pit for Inters. Despite this, Vettel looked a little uncertain through the final fully wet part of qualifying and had to settle for the position behind his teammate.

Carlos Sainz will start from P5, having been very competitive throughout the entirety of qualifying. He held off the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly, with both of the Honda powered cars making it into Q3. Gasly will start his race from P6, ahead of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. Neither of the Red Bulls were particularly fast, despite coming into qualifying as one of the favourites to take pole position. Daniel Ricciardo was eliminated in Q2, having missed out on an early lap on the Intermediate tyres before the full Wet was required.

Brendon Hartley starts the race from P8, having made it into Q3 for the first time. The two Haas drivers finished P9 & P10, with Magnussen just ahead of Grosjean. This shows marked improvement from the Haas car after struggles at Monaco – the most similar track on the calendar to the slow and twisty Hungaroring.

Outside the top ten, Fernando Alonso starts the race from P11 for McLaren. He was eliminated from Q2, along with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in P12. The Renault driver suffered a fuel baffle issue in Q2 which prevented him getting a final lap in in the session that might have allowed him to improve. Ricciardo starts from P13, ahead of Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber. Lance Stroll was P15, having made it into Q2. He didn’t get much further, crashing off in the worsening conditions and losing his front wing in the final sector.

Stoffel Vandoorne, running a fresh chassis for this weekend, was knocked out in Q1 for the fifth consecutive event, finishing P16. Charles Leclerc was P17 for Sauber, while it was a bad day for Force India on track as well as off it. Esteban Ocon was P18, with Sergio Perez P19 as neither car made it through Q1. Sergey Sirotkin rounds off the field and finished P20.

With qualifying taking place in the rain, the usual tyre rules don’t apply for the race. This means all the drivers will have choice of tyre to start the race on, assuming the track is dry.

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for FormulaSpy.com - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website. Also working in the Irish radio broadcasting industry. Donations: PayPal - paypal.me/thomasmaheronf1 ETH/ERC20 - 0x9d0b8071180AAcB0bD5f0c1d43281768C73e8763

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