Lewis Hamilton put in a spectacular lap to put Mercedes on pole for the Hungarian GP. And teammate Valtteri Bottas made it a front row lock qualifying in 2nd. Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will start from the 2nd row.
Hamilton extended his record of most pole positions in F1 to 101 with a masterclass of a lap to set a 1:15.419 in Q3. It was Verstappen who led Q1 and Q2 and there was a sense that Mercedes would not be able to match the Red Bull’s pace. But Hamilton saved the best for the last, going almost half a second faster than his title rival.
The fans were booing for the 7-time World Champion during the post-qualification interview, but that did not bother him at all. “Honestly, I’ve never actually felt so great with the booing. If anything it just fuels me”, said Hamilton.
There was some finger pointing towards Hamilton who took a very slow out lap with less than a minute of Q3 left. He tried to hold back the Red Bull’s of Verstappen and Perez to prevent them from getting a flying lap before the session could end. Verstappen managed to cross the line in time but Perez missed out. Verstappen improved his lap time but was not able to qualify higher.
The rest of the pack
Ferrari were having a good qualifying session with Charles and Carlos both able to finish in the top 10 in Q1. But a crash for Carlos in Q2 ended his qualifying and he will start the race in 15th place. Charles managed to make it to Q3 and qualified in 7th.
McLaren who have been struggling all weekend with their pace were able to improve during qualifying. Lando was able to qualify in 6th but it was back to the struggles for Daniel who qualified in 11th. They are still over a second of the pace from the leaders so the deficit will be significant during the race.
The stand out performer was Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly who qualified in 5th. The Frenchman was consistent throughout the qualifying sessions and he looks back to his fiery best after a disappointing weekend in Silverstone.
Alpine were able to convert their form in the practice sessions to a good qualifying. Esteban Ocon qualified in 8th and Fernando Alonso in 9th. They look well set up to collect a double-point finish.
Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel seems to have found some pace with his car as he was able to stay in the top 10 throughout qualifying. William’s George Russell was not able to continue his brilliant qualifying form. Mr. Saturday could not make it out of Q1 and will start in 17th place.
There was some rain during the support races earlier in the day and it could mean that the track could be cooler. But tyre strategy will be critical to a good race. Besides Hamilton and Valtteri who will be on medium compounds, the rest of the top 10 will start on soft compounds.
The race looks well set for a good battle between the title and constructor rivals to open some sort of gap before the summer break. But so far it looks like Hamilton will take win number 100.