Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel went fastest at the Hungarian Grand Prix to take pole position for tomorrow’s race.
The German championship leader set a new lap record of 1.16.276 for the Hungaroring track as the Scuderia locked out the front row with Kimi Raikkonen stealing second on his final run. The two Mercedes follow on the second row with Bottas ahead of Hamilton who had a tricky session going off the track at turn four on his first Q3 run. The Brit was also heard on the radio complaining about the tyres and vibrations before the first Q3 run as well. The fourth place start also means Hamilton has to wait a bit longer before he can matched Michael Schumacher’s pole record as well.
The big news before the session was from Williams as reserve driver Paul Di Resta was drafted into replace Felipe Massa who has taken unwell and will not compete for the rest of the weekend. The Brazilian has the same illness that befell Martin Brundle a few weeks ago, viral labrinthitis, and it now the tenth reported case within the F1 Paddock. For Di Resta it was a baptism of fire as this was his first ever run in the Williams FW40 having only driven the car in the simulator. Given this huge disadvantage, and having to use set up more in line with Massa’s driving style, the Scot finished in P19, only eight tenths down on his team mate Lance Stroll in his first F1 outing competitively since 2013 with Force India.
It was a good session for McLaren who got both cars into Q3 for the first time with Alonso ahead of Vandoorne in seventh. Nico Hulkenburg continued his good form by qualifying seventh originally but a five place gear box penalty sees him start P12 instead and promote the Mclaren’s up. Friday practice had been a torrid time for the second Renault of Joylon Palmer but he would take P11 which is a net P10 after his team mate penalty to recover from the first day mishaps.
After the hype around practice when Daniel Ricciardo topped both Friday sessions for Red Bull Saturday was a bit of reality for the team with fifth and sixth but only half a second down on pole meaning a six car battle for the win is still a possibility tomorrow. Verstappen out qualified his Australian team mate in fifth. Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, subject to some attention recently about his future, will start ninth while team mate Danii Kvyat lines up P13 with both Force India’s for company while Marcus Ericsson will start last for Sauber.
“Front row for us is incredible and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.” commented Vettel after his pole lap.
“We are working hard. the last race wasn’t great for us. We are here and we try to do our best. We’re happy where we are as a team and remember where we were 12 months ago.
“The main task comes tomorrow so nothing is won today but we’re very happy.”
The race tomorrow sees lights out at 1pm UK time (2pm CET) and check local listings for start times in your part of the world. Will it be Ferrari striking back or will Mercedes pull the rabbit out the bag? And what about Red Bull, sitting in the back ground ready to pounce? We shall see tomorrow before the teams head for the summer break.
Photo Credit: reuters