A week on from that incredible Hockenheim race win, Max Verstappen claimed his first pole position at the Hungaroring for Red Bull Racing.
The Red Bull driver becomes the 100th different driver in Formula 1 to achieve pole. Verstappen looked in control in the very first runs in Q3 with a lap of one minute, 14.958 seconds, which put him 0.178 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
While Bottas was able to eclipse Verstappen’s time at the second attempt, Verstappen then went ever faster in a one minute, 14.572 seconds to take pole position by just 0.018 seconds thanks to his speed in the final sector.
Lewis Hamilton was two tenths off the pace in third position ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who survived spinning backwards into the barrier at the last corner during Q1 to earn fourth position.
Sebastian Vettel was half-a-second off the pace in fifth position ahead of the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, who was almost nine tenths off his teammate’s pace.
All of the top six will start Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix using medium Pirellis having used that tyre to set their time in Q2.
McLaren led the way in the battle for midfield supremacy, with Lando Norris shading Carlos Sainz by 0.052 seconds.
Romain Grosjean took eighth in the Australian Grand Prix-specification Haas, 0.028 seconds faster than the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was bumped to P11 and quickest of those eliminated in Q2 by Raikkonen’s late lap – missing out by less than half-a-tenth.
Although Hulkenberg failed to improve on his second run, that was still enough to keep him ahead of fellow non-improvers Toro Rosso pairing Alex Albon and Daniil Kvyat.
Antonio Giovinazzi was P14 for Alfa Romeo having also failed to find time at the second attempt, putting him ahead of Kevin Magnussen in the latest-specification Haas, who was unable to repeat his strong Q1 pace in Q2.
Giovinazzi also faces the threat of a grid penalty for impeding Lance Stroll’s Racing Point at Turn 5, with the race stewards investigating the incident after the qualifying session.
George Russell missed out on a first appearance in Q2 by just 0.053 seconds having been in the top 15 until the last moment in the first segment of qualifying.
Russell had made sure of clear track for his final run by making his attempt just before the rest started their laps, temporarily climbing as high as eighth.
But he was shuffled down the order as others completed their final laps, with Hulkenberg the final driver to get ahead and push him into the Q1 drop-zone.
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez did enough on his final run to jump ahead of the second Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, who had to back out of his final lap.
Ricciardo was caught in a gaggle of traffic at the last corner ahead of the start of his lap and attempted to find clear air by going around Perez before having to back out of it when the Racing Point driver was unwilling to let him go.
Stroll was P19 in the Racing Point, eight tenths faster than Williams driver Robert Kubica.
So an exciting and highly competitive qualifying session. Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen came out on top. Congratulations to Verstappen in finally claiming his first pole position. It’s been a long time coming, 93 attempts but the end result is just perfect. Bring on the race!
Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1m14.572s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m14.590s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m14.769s
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m15.043s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m15.071s
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 1m15.450s
7 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1m15.800s
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1m15.852s
9 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m16.013s
10 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m16.041s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m16.565s
12 Alex Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 1m16.687s
13 Federation Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 1m16.692s
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m16.804s
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m17.081s
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1m17.031s
17 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.109s
18 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1m17.257s
19 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1m17.542s
20 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 1m18.324s