Championship leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his 47th career pole position in Formula 1 with a commanding performance at the Hungering. Fastest in every session to take his fifth P1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg struggled to match his rival’s pace and had to settle with second position. But half a second adrift is a major defeat.
Rosberg complained about the handling of his car throughout the different stages of qualifying and couldn’t recover sufficiently to put up much of a fight.
Hamilton and Rosberg were separated by 0.358 seconds after the first runs in Q3, and the German ended up over half a second adrift of Hamilton, who set the fastest lap of the weekend so far on his final effort to claim his fifth career pole in Hungary.
The expected close fight for best of the rest behind Mercedes materialised, as less than half a second covered Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams in Q2.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended up taking third on the grid, but was just 0.035 seconds clear of his former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.
Kimi Raikkonen finished up 0.246 seconds further back in fifth, while Valtteri Bottas took sixth for Williams.
Daniil Kvyat lines up on row four with Felipe Massa, just ahead of Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso, which only made one run in Q3.
Romain Grosjean’s Lotus rounded out the top ten, over half a second adrift of the next fastest car.
Neither Force India made it through to the top ten shootout, along with Carlos Sainz and Pastor Maldonado.
Hulkenberg and Sainz were less than a tenth away from Grosjean’s tenth position Lotus in Q2, while Perez was almost six tenths further back in P13.
McLaren headed into qualifying hoping to challenge for a place in the top ten, but could do no better than P15 and P16 after both drivers encountered technical trouble.
Fernando Alonso made it through to Q2, but stopped at the entry to the pitlane during his first run, bringing out the red flags and ending his session early.
As for his team-mate Jenson Button, an issue with the ERS deployment meant the McLaren driver missing out on the Q2 cut by lapping just over a tenth of a second shy of Sainz’s Toro Rosso.
Button estimated his problem cost him 0.3 seconds on his final flying lap.
The 2009 world champion joined the Saubers and Manors in dropping out during the first phase of qualifying.
Felipe Nasr felt he “lost it in the last two corners” and finished up 0.154 seconds adrift of Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who felt he drove a good final flying lap in the C34.
Roberto Merhi comfortably out-qualified his team-mate Will Stevens by 0.533 seconds, as the Manor cars filled their usual place on the final row of the grid.
So another front row lock-out for Mercedes. Five pole positions in a row from Lewis Hamilton at this twisty, tight circuit. The championship leader is super fast around the Hungaroring and is the favourite to take victory come race day.
Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m22.020s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m22.595s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m22.739s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m22.774s
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m23.020s
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m23.222s
7 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1m23.332s
8 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m23.537s
9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1m23.679s
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1m24.181s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m23.826s
12 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Renault 1m23.869s
13 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m24.461s
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1m24.609s
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1m24.563s
16 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1m24.739s
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.843s
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1m24.997s
19 Roberto Merhi Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.416s
20 Will Stevens Marussia-Ferrari 1m27.949s