Lewis Hamilton has stamped his authority on the Hungaroring to take his breath-taking 90th career pole position and seventh in Hungary as Mercedes locked out the front row for tomorrow’s third round of the world championship.
Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas unlocked some pace on his final Q3 run, but a new lap record by Hamilton with a 1.13.447 meant the Brit was never headed.
“It felt great, just in general, qualifying all together felt really solid,” said Hamilton. “We were just constantly pushing the bar higher. To get to drive a car like this around here is just awesome. Turn 11 was nearly flat for us today which is quite insane, the speeds we go through there.
“It’s impressive to see how far the technology has advanced. Valtteri did a great job today, applying a lot of pressure. Hungary has always been a good hunting ground for me, but also I’m aware that there’s a long run down to Turn 1.”
Racing Point have appeared to be Mercedes closest rivals all weekend and will lock out the second row with Lance Stroll edging out teammate Sergio Perez to be the fastest qualifier behind the Mercedes duo, albeit nine-tenths down on Hamilton.
However, both Mercedes and Racing Point cruised into Q3 on the slower medium tyres, setting up a one-stop strategy for tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
The leading driver to start on the soft tyres will be Sebastian Vettel after Ferrari enjoyed a welcome turn of pace to qualify fifth, five-hundredths quicker that Charles Leclerc in the sister car as both Ferraris made Q3 for the first time this year.
Max Verstappen will line-up in seventh in his worst Q3 performance since 2018. Red Bull experiencing an uncharacteristically woeful day in Hungary which saw Alex Albon miss out on the final segment of qualifying to start 13th while Verstappen languished behind the two Ferraris.
McLaren pairing Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz once again will both start inside the top ten with the British driver edging home his teammate to end up eighth and ninth, while AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was the largest beneficiary of Albon’s traffic woes in Q2 to finish tenth.
Daniel Ricciardo will be the leading driver to start on a fresh set of tyres in 11th. The Renault pilot was en route to making the pole-position shootout but a mistake at the final corner ruined his best lap time.
The Australian will start ahead of a highly impressive George Russell in 12th. The Williams driver was the largest surprise in qualifying, running as high as fifth in Q1 as the circuit continued to dry after a shower of rain earlier in the day.
The Hungarian Grand Prix will be round three of the Formula 1 world championship and gets underway from 1.10 am NZT July 20.
|10||P. Gasly||No Time|