Lewis Hamilton took pole position for tomorrows Hungarian Grand Prix, half a second ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg who starts from the second position gridslot ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel.
Rosberg was complaining about “big understeer” throughout the Qualifying hour in his Mercedes, with early signs of his pace compared to Hamilton’s coming through after the first runs in Q1, when he was nine tenths down on the two-time World Champions time.
As it turned out lack of grip plagued the drivers – as it has done all weekend – for the session, with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean looking like he was driving a rally car on occasions. His first run on the Medium tyre was 8.6 seconds off the pace, however a switch to the Soft tyres allowed him to salvage the time he was losing, sliding around on the Primes.
Valterri Bottas also switched to the Soft tyre and went five tenths faster than Hamilton’s initial run, which prompted many other drivers to follow suit apart from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished P12 in Q1 after setting just one lap on the Medium tyres.
A late improvement from Alonso put him in P14, but unfortunately teammate Jenson Button failed to make it though after his ERS didn’t deploy on the pit straight, costing him a second and ultimately putting him in the drop zone along with Nasr, Ericsson, Merhi, and Stevens.
Alonso’s improvement to put him out of the drop zone was short lived though, after the McLaren driver brought out the Red Flag with 7 minutes left in Q2 due a problem with his car. The rather comical scenes of him attempting to push the car back to the pits after he stopped on the exit of turn 13 emerged, after it looked like the team might have been able to get him back out again. But to add insult to injury, the stewards told the team he was not allowed to go back out due him receiving outside assistance and not making it back to his garage under his own power.
As that happened the initial runs from Hamilton and Rosberg were being timed, with latter just getting across the line before the stoppage. Hamilton however, on a new set of Softs effectively wasted his lap as he was halfway through when the Red Flag came out. When we restarted the pair both went back out on a new set of Softs, effectively meaning they only had one brand new set left for Q3.
At the end of that session Hulkenberg, Sainz, Perez, Maldonado, and Alonso were all knocked out.
When we started the top ten shootout, Hamilton was fastest in the initial runs, going three tenths faster than Rosberg on a 1:22.408, followed closely by Vettel who was a further five and a half tenths behind. Ricciardo was also right in the mix, setting a lap time just six tenths off in P4 having saved that set of Softs in Q2.
In the final runs, for a moment it looked like Rosberg might snatch pole by the smallest of margins, however Hamilton matched him in sector one and sector two, with Vettel going quickest in sector two, before he lost time in the final sector and settled his fate.