Hamilton takes pole position in wet qualifying

The reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton achieved a superb pole position in a rain-hit qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Q3 drivers used wet tyres throughout, and on the first runs Kimi Raikkonen had the advantage over Hamilton.

But after both Mercedes drivers pitted for a second set of wets with three-and-a-half minutes remaining, it turned into a battle between Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas had the advantage after the first two sectors, but Hamilton was a stunning 0.426 seconds faster in the final sector to take pole by 0.260 seconds.

Raikkonen reclaimed third place from team-mate Sebastian Vettel late on by just 0.024 seconds to make it an all-Ferrari second row.

Renault driver Carlos Sainz Jr was the only driver not to use two sets of wets in Q3 and took fifth position ahead of the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly.

Red Bull had a poor session, with Daniel Ricciardo not even reaching Q3 and Max Verstappen down in seventh place and 2.374 seconds off pole.

Brendon Hartley was a career-best eighth, ahead of Haas pairing Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

Q2 started with drivers heading out on slicks but following light rainfall – with Vettel on intermediates the only exception.

With the rain returning and intensifying, Vettel set a lap 2.1 seconds faster than everyone while the rest of the field dived back into the pits for intermediates.

Those who were able to get back in and change the quickest benefited in terms of track conditions as the circuit gradually got wetter.

Fernando Alonso, who was not one of the last to head out, ended up P11 and was unable to improve after taking on wets later in the session.

But that put him ahead of Ricciardo, one of the later drivers to set his initial time on intermediates and who ended up in P12 having marginally improved after bolting on wets.

Ricciardo was delayed by yellow flags for Lance Stroll’s off at Turn 9, although he also lost time in other parts of the lap compared to Raikkonen – who set a time over four seconds faster while running around 11 seconds behind.

Nico Hulkenberg, also among the later runners, was P13 ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson.

Williams driver Stroll made it to Q2, but spun coming out of Turn 9 and nosed into the barrier, bringing his session to an end.

McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne was the quickest of those eliminated in a frenetic wet/dry Q1 session after being shuffled back due to late improvements from the other drivers.

Initially, everyone was running the intermediate Pirellis following a downpour before the start, but even early in the session they were looking to look to slicks.

Vandoorne was out of the dropzone late on but he was one of the first to complete his final lap on a track that was getting quicker.

Ricciardo, Ericsson, Hartley and Stroll were among the drivers to make late improvements and push Vandoorne into the bottom five.

Charles Leclerc was P17 for Sauber, 0.035 seconds slower than Vandoorne but comfortably clear of the lead Force India of Esteban Ocon.

Ocon did his best lap on his final time round, but it was half-a-second away from being enough for a Q2 place as he was struggling with a lack of rear brakes.

Team-mate Sergio Perez was P19, a tenth clear of Williams driver Sergio Sirotkin, who complained about being delayed by a Ferrari in the final two corners on his quick lap.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in taking pole position. The rain certainly helped in terms of balancing out the performance as Ferrari looked so strong and fast in the earlier session. Bring on the race.

Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.658s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m35.918s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.186s
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m36.210s
5 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m36.743s
6 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1m37.591s
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m38.032s
8 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1m38.128s
9 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m39.858s
10 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m40.593s
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1m35.214s
12 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m36.442s
13 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m36.506s
14 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.075s
15 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes –
16 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1m18.782s
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1m18.817s
18 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1m19.142s
19 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m19.200s
20 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1m19.301s

8 thoughts to “Hamilton takes pole position in wet qualifying”

  1. Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by Formula1.com.

    As the rain finally arrived in Hungary, Lewis Hamilton used his famed wet weather ability to claim his 77th pole position, having struggled in dry conditions earlier in the day.

    In a session thrown into chaos by the changing conditions, Hamilton went fastest in the final moments of Q3 to lead team mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.260s as Mercedes locked out the front row for the fourth time this season.

    The Ferrari pairing of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were P3 and P4, while there were impressive performances from Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly, with the Renault and Toro Rosso drivers going fifth and sixth quickest respectively.

    Max Verstappen was seventh for Red Bull, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Brendon Hartley – enjoying his first ever Q3 appearance in Formula 1 – while the two Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were line astern on row five of the grid, winding up ninth and 10th.

    Right, umbrellas up and let’s see how qualifying went down…

    t was a nervy Q1 for all the teams as a malicious looking group of clouds threatened to spill their contents on the Hungaroring. But with only light rain having fallen just before qualifying started, the drivers all headed out on intermediate tyres.

    However, as they dried the track and the rain held off, it quickly became clear that dry tyres would be the way to go. The drivers all ducked back into the pits for ultrasofts – except Daniel Ricciardo, the sole driver to use soft tyres in the session. That gamble came within 0.242s of not paying off, with Ricciardo only just scraping through the session in P12.

    Although it looked like there could be some big name upsets as drivers struggled to string a clean lap together on dry tyres, there were few real shocks to be had as the session ended. Q1 victims were McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, Sauber’s Charles Leclerc, both Force Indias of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez – with Ocon reporting that he lost the use of his front brakes during the session – with a frustrated Sergey Sirotkin at the very back for Williams.

    At the front of the field, Vettel headed Max Verstappen by 0.274s, ahead of the two Mercedes of Bottas and Hamilton.

    Remember those malicious looking clouds in Q1? Well they finally let loose in Q2, casting the session into disarray.

    With the rain still holding off when the track went green, all the drivers initially filed out on ultrasofts. All, that is, apart from Sebastian Vettel, with the Ferrari engineers making the perfect call to put their man on intermediates from the get-go.

    That allowed Vettel to shore up his place in Q3 early doors, as he again led the session and could watch on happily as the conditions worsened. Once the others had realised their mistake and switched onto inters, Sainz managed to finish P2, ahead of Verstappen, Hamilton and Gasly, with both Toro Rossos making it through into Q3 for the first time this year (Hartley going P7).

    The big casualty of the session was Ricciardo. Coming out at the back of the queue as the weather deteriorated, he was unable to put in a competitive time – even chucking on a set of full wets to see if he could improve, along with a handful of the other runners – and ended up P12. Out with Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso was 11th in the McLaren, while Nico Hulkenberg was another Q2 shock, ending up in P13 for Renault. Marcus Ericsson was P14 in the Sauber, outqualifying his headline-grabbing team mate, while Lance Stroll wiped his Williams’ front wing off after a spin, and failed to post a time, ending up P15.

    We were now clearly in full wet territory as the drivers headed out on track for the final time on Saturday. Raikkonen was P1 for much of the session and it briefly looked like the Finn might be on course to take his first pole position since Monaco 2017. But as the clocked ticked down to the final minutes and the drivers dived back into the pits for new wets, Bottas pipped Raikkonen, before Hamilton emerged through the spray, his W09 looking alive in his hands, to claim the 77th pole position of his career.

    Mercedes will have been especially overjoyed to claim a one-two in Hungary, with the team having struggled to find a balance on their cars in both Friday and Saturday’s dry practice running. Raikkonen ended up third ahead of Vettel, the Finn outqualifying a team mate at the track for the first time since 2007 – incidentally, the last time Vettel was outqualified by a team mate at the Hungaroring too. He was just 0.024s away from Raikkonen, however, while Sainz was impressive to go fifth for Renault, half a second down on Vettel but nearly one second ahead of Gasly in sixth.

    Red Bull will be left ruing their luck, with Verstappen finishing in seventh, sandwiched in between the Toro Rossos, with Hartley in eighth heading the Haas pairing of Magnussen and Grosjean. More could be yet to come for Verstappen too, after he was called to the stewards for allegedly impeding Grosjean during the final part of qualifying…

    A properly breathless session, then, but perfect conditions for Mercedes, who hold the upper hand heading into Sunday’s race.

  2. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admitted that he was “shocked” to grab pole after trailing Ferrari in the practice sessions. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Lewis Hamilton says his Hungarian Grand Prix pole position came as a “shock” after his Mercedes team was outpaced by Ferrari in practice.

    Sebastian Vettel, who had led the way for the Scuderia during the weekend, was quicker than the highest-placed Mercedes car in all three of the practice sessions in the dry, and headed into qualifying as favourite for pole position.

    But the skies opened up ahead of the pole shootout, and Hamilton took advantage, outpacing his rivals with a last-gasp effort on full wets to claim pole.

    His teammate Valtteri Bottas wrapped up a Mercedes 1-2, while Ferrari had to be content with a second-row lockout.

    “It’s quite a shock, really,” Hamilton admitted. “I was not expecting to be here [on pole], so very grateful for today.

    “To get a 1-2, particularly when we knew that we were not going to be getting pole here in the dry conditions – the Ferraris were just too fast.

    “But we all just focused on trying to do the best job we could, and maybe lock out the second row.

    “So for the heavens to open and for us to be in this position, it’s such a blessing for us.”

    Speaking to Sky Sports after the session, team boss Toto Wolff echoed Hamilton’s sentiments.

    He said: “This is one [where] we haven’t expected to be in the hunt for the win.”

    Ferrari was on provisional pole, courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen, when the chequered flag flew, before Bottas and then Hamilton lowered the benchmark with their final efforts.

    “As I went into the last lap, I knew I had to put together each sector and really pull something special out for us to overtake the Ferraris,” Hamilton said.

    “Collectively I think it was a very good lap, particularly I would say the last sector. I don’t know how it is on the sector times, but that’s where I felt I really made the difference.”

    Bottas, who was 0.260s slower than his teammate, said he came up short of grip in the final corners of his decisive effort.

    The Finn added: “Felt a very good lap for me, especially sector one, two, felt pretty nice.

    “I think in these kind of conditions, when you go out, you have one lap, that track condition from each lap is different to another. So for sure if you can do the lap again, you can find some things.

    “So, I must say I left something on the table, and obviously Lewis was on pole with a similar car – so I look forward to investigating from the data what I could’ve done better.”

  3. Championship challenger Sebastian Vettel commented that Ferrari are not as strong as Mercedes in the wet conditions. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel feels Ferrari’s Formula 1 car is just not as competitive in the wet as Mercedes’, after only qualifying fourth for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    Ferrari had been on top in dry practice at the Hungaroring, but ended up on row two of the grid when it rained heavily in qualifying.

    Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas filled the front row for Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen third ahead of Vettel – the Ferraris both half a second off the pace.

    “Probably we are not as competitive in the wet as we are in the dry, but you know in these conditions anything can happen and obviously, you can see that the gaps were quite big at times,” Vettel said.

    “I think in the end it came down to the final lap. I pushed quite hard and tried everything.

    “Maybe it wasn’t the tidiest lap, but it also wasn’t awful, so I’m pretty OK with the result.

    “Obviously, we would have liked to have been further up, but that’s what we have now.”

    Asked why the high-downforce advantage Ferrari has appeared to have over Mercedes in normal conditions did not translate to a wet session, Vettel replied: “Well, it’s not always that straightforward.

    “I see where you’re coming from, but we’ve not had much running in the wet this year so far. The little bit we had, we have some work still to do.

    “I don’t think today was awful, so it’s not a disaster to start third and fourth and the gap wasn’t huge.

    “Certainly we wanted to be ahead and in the dry it could have been a different outcome.

    “It wasn’t dry, so we need to make sure that also in the wet we are there. There’s still work to do.”

    Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes his team was faster on wet tyres than Ferrari, but that there would have been little to choose had Q3 taken place on intermediates.

    Though Vettel had led Q2, the picture was skewed in that situation by him being the only driver to start the session on inters – with the track wetter by the time everyone else had swapped from slicks.

    Vettel hopes Ferrari can now start better than Mercedes in Sunday’s race.

    “The start is always about getting everything right. We have been a bit more consistent, I think we had starts where it was very similar but probably they had some where they underperformed compared to everybody else,” he said.

    “We’ll see. A good start always helps no matter where you start from.

    “It’s also quite a long way to Turn 1 so if we have a good one, maybe we can do something there.”

  4. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was not happy with the traffic and it cost the shot in securing a “comfortable” pole position. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Kimi Raikkonen believes traffic cost him a chance to be “comfortably” on pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix after being surprised by his Ferrari Formula 1 car in wet conditions.

    Raikkonen was on provisional pole until the final round of flying laps at a soggy Hungaroring, when Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas dumped him to third.

    He claimed that catching a Haas spoiled his efforts to improve on new tyres at the end.

    “I was a bit unlucky, I changed to new tyres and [there was] not a lot of grip, but we got behind the Haas and with the spray it was impossible to see and improve,” said Raikkonen on the grid after the session.

    “There was definitely the chance in these conditions today to be comfortably on pole but it didn’t happen.”

    Raikkonen explained that he “couldn’t really slow down an awful lot more” to create space between himself and the car in front because he was worried about running out of time to start a flying lap.

    He praised Ferrari for its decision-making in a tricky session, which he said was good other than suffering an unfortunate piece of positioning at the end.

    Answering a question from Motorsport.com about failing to find time on his final run, Raikkonen added: “On used tyres, when I did the lap it was pretty decent.

    “There were places improve, and when we swapped to new tyres it dried a bit and you could feel straight away there was a lot more grip.

    “[But] we never really got the chance to put the lap in because of being a bit unlucky [with] the position we ended up [on track].”

    Raikkonen’s Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel had looked the favourite for pole after the trio of dry practice sessions, with Raikkonen less competitive than the German.

    However, after the rain arrived for qualifying Raikkonen was able to edge out the four-time world champion, which the Finn suggested was a surprise in the rain.

    “We had the speed today [to be on pole] and I was pleasantly surprised how nice the car was on wets,” said Raikkonen.

    “It definitely hasn’t been our strongest point, so that was great.”

    He added: “What is the most important, and nice, thing is the car was driveable and enjoyable in the wet.”

  5. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo blames bad luck for early qualifying exit. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Daniel Ricciardo thinks it was just pure bad luck that led to his shock early exit from Q2 at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver had been hoping to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari at the front, but in the end will line up just 12th after being caught out by the weather and a spinning Lance Stroll.

    Having just scraped through Q1, Ricciardo was out of luck in the second session after being slowed by yellow flags brought out for Stroll, before deteriorating weather conditions meant there was no chance to improve.

    Speaking about what happened, Ricciardo told TV crews: “The rain came, the first guy on track was getting the best track and then it got worse and worse, not only to be further in the pack but you also needed to get that first lap in.

    “Stroll spun in front of me, I had to abort that lap and the following lap was too wet for the inter. The last sector was just trying to survive.

    “So we had to put the extreme on and the track was nowhere near what it was at the beginning. The first lap had to count and we had the guy in front so I was just unlucky.”

    Although Ricciardo managed to get through Q1 with a late effort, he admitted that it had been too close a call in opting for softs on a drying track.

    “We took a risk in Q1 to use the soft,” he said. “In hindsight for sure we would go on the ultra and just be safe because that was too close.

    “We did have a soft to use for Q1 in dry conditions. It was in the plan, but if it wasn’t against the plan then it was closer than we wanted it to be.”

    Pole position man Lewis Hamilton said he understood Ricciardo’s frustrations because the ever-changing weather conditions meant anyone could have suffered a similar fate.

    “It could’ve gone wrong for all of us,” he said. “I don’t know what their scenario was, if it was done due to timing. I think our team did an exceptional job today, they brought their A-game in these conditions.

    “I guess that’s why you hear Bono’s voice afterwards, because it was so nerve-wracking for them. They’re always trying to do their best, all the teams are.”

  6. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has been called up to see the FIA stewards after appearing to impede Haas driver Romain Grosjean in the final segment of Formula 1 qualifying in Hungary.

    Verstappen was warned about the approach of the Haas driver on team radio, and the Frenchman subsequently made his feelings clear with an expletive-laden message to his own pit wall.

    “F**k, f**k, f**k, the Red Bull completely f**ked me,” Grosjean radioed.

    “That is not on, I was on a push lap, then I had massive spray on the next lap.”

    The FIA noted an “alleged breach of Article 31.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, by
    car 33 [Verstappen] on car 8 [Grosjean] at 15:59 in turn 14, unnecessarily impeding another driver.”

    An impeding offence typical earns a drop of three grid positions. Verstappen qualified seventh, so such a penalty would benefit Brendon Hartley, Kevin Magnussen and Grosjean himself.

    Source: Motorsport.com

  7. UPDATE: Max Verstappen escapes grid penalty for Romain Grosjean run-in during qualifying. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Max Verstappen has avoided a grid penalty after the FIA stewards investigated him for potentially impeding Romain Grosjean in qualifying for Formula 1’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

    Verstappen, who qualified in seventh, drew the ire of Haas driver Grosjean late on in Q3, as the Frenchman felt he was significantly hampered by the Red Bull.

    Grosjean radioed to his team that Verstappen “f**ked” him and told media afterwards: “It cost me the last two laps. I lost 1.6 seconds on the lap I caught him and I tried to open a bit of a gap and start the next lap.

    “I was so close and there was so much spray I couldn’t see a thing.”

    However, after summoning Verstappen, Grosjean and representatives of their respective teams, and reviewing evidence, the stewards opted to take no further action.

    Their decision was based on the fact that Verstappen was slowing to create a gap to the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly up the road, and that the distance between the cars involved changed dramatically in a short amount of time in conditions with “limited visibility”.

    “Verstappen was on a fast lap but then caught Gasly early in the lap,” the stewards’ explanation read. “He then aborted the lap. Grosjean who was on a fast lap, was catching Verstappen. He was six seconds behind at Turn 11 and four seconds behind at Turn 13.

    “Verstappen was close to Gasly going into Turn 13. At this point Gasly set up for his flying lap and Verstappen in turn slowed to get a gap. Grosjean caught Verstappen between Turn 13 and Turn 14, which impeded Grosjean.

    “While Verstappen was given reasonable, if slightly delayed information by his team, the Stewards took into account that with the very wet conditions, there was limited visibility ahead, and no visibility behind the drivers.

    “The gaps between Gasly, Verstappen and Grosjean changed over a very short section of the track, and under the conditions the Stewards determined that the impeding was not, as the rule states, ‘unnecessary impeding’ and therefore take no further action.”

    The decision means that Verstappen keeps seventh on the grid and will line up three places ahead of Grosjean, who was last in Q3.

  8. Fernando Alonso says he doesn’t understand what Formula 1’s “problem” is, after saying he is annoyed that once again his animated radio conversations have got singled out.

    The Spaniard’s intense conversation with his team about which tyre to pick for the final minutes of Q2 in Hungary were picked out on the international television feed, as he expressed frustration about a tyre call.

    But Alonso said he was far from happy that FOM had again picked out what he felt was a conversation that every driver would be having with their team.

    “The FOM is quite annoying already with my radio,” said the McLaren driver, who ended up qualifying 11th.

    “I don’t know what problem they have to put my radio always, and I don’t know what was not normal about the conversation when the track is getting worse.

    “You cannot improve any more the times, you chat about which tyres to put and if it’s worth doing another run or not. It’s their favourite hobby, so good luck to them.”

    Alonso’s radio message came at the end of Q2 when, although an improvement could have got him to Q3, a downpour meant quick lap times were not possible.

    Here is what was said:

    PITWALL: Fernando. Do you think we should do a new set of inters or wets? New inters or wets?

    FERNANDO: I think we should go to the garage and see the conditions. With the wets we can go out but if we are 25 seconds slower then it is just running for nothing. We need to improve the P11.

    PIT WALL: Okay Fernando. If we did that we would just have time…it would be only for one timed lap at the end. It would be one at the end.

    FERNANDO: I don’t know, mate. Put whatever tyre you want. The last sector is impossible so even if you put on a rocketship we would be 11th.

    Although sounding a bit frustrated on the radio, Alonso said that qualifying had gone better than expected because of the wet weather.

    “It was a good qualifying any way, I’m happy,” he said. “The conditions were very difficult, you need to get a bit of luck and be in the right time on track.

    “In Q1, on dry conditions, we were concerned already on Q1 and now thanks to the rain we are P11, close to the points. So I think it was a lucky Saturday. We need something more on Sunday.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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