Verstappen achieves maiden pole position

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

6 thoughts to “Verstappen achieves maiden pole position”

  1. Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    “Better late than never,” said Max Verstappen’s engineer as the Dutchman secured the first pole position of his career, at his 93rd attempt, with a scintillating performance in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix to become Formula 1’s 100th pole-sitter…

    Verstappen has looked mighty all weekend, but recent history has suggested that the Honda-powered RB15 hasn’t quite had the power to fight with Mercedes and Ferrari on a Saturday afternoon. But that was certainly not the case at the Hungaroring.

    Verstappen set a commanding benchmark with his Q3 first lap and then improved by a couple of tenths on his second run to put pole position out of reach of any of his rivals. Valtteri Bottas, who has appeared to struggle all weekend, was second for Mercedes, 0.018s off the pace.

    That was Red Bull’s third pole in the hybrid era, coming after Monaco 2016, Monaco 2018 and Mexico 2018 – all taken by Daniel Ricciardo, and Honda’s first since Australia 2006.

    Championship leader Lewis Hamilton didn’t quite have the pace to challenge for the front row, but he’ll line up third, having comfortably beaten the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque had a stressful start to the session when he clattered the barrier, breaking his rear wing. But fortunately the damage was not so severe, allowing him to continue.

    Team mate Sebastian Vettel was just 0.028s adrift in fifth, with Pierre Gasly taking sixth in the second Red Bull. Lando Norris was the best of the rest, the McLaren driver having the edge over team mate Carlos Sainz all weekend and beating him by half a tenth in qualifying.

    Haas’s Romain Grosjean and Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 10, while Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo made a shock Q1 exit and George Russell delivered Williams’ best performance of the season with a brilliant 16th, just a fraction away from reaching Q2 for the first time in his career.

    Q1 – Leclerc gets through but clatters the barrier

    Hopes were high of an exciting qualifying session after three different teams occupied the top three places in FP3, separated by just 0.082s – and the early signs were good. Verstappen set a blistering pace, ending three-tenths quicker than anyone else, with Bottas his nearest challenger, the Finn doing a couple of flying laps to get his best lap time.

    Leclerc looked pretty handy in the Ferrari and set a time that would have comfortably been good enough to get through to Q2, but he opted to go again. A purple middle sector suggested he would go top of the pops, but then he spun at the final corner, hitting the barrier rear wing-first and reasonably hard.

    He retreated to the pits, with Ferrari mechanics engulfing the car as they began assessing the damage. Out on track, Russell was flying, the Williams driver looking set to make a shock first maiden appearance in Q2 with a flurry of consistently quick laps as the team appeared closer to the field than at any other point this year.

    But Nico Hulkenberg got him at the death, sneaking ahead by less than a tenth of a second for Renault. Nonetheless it was a tremendous performance from the Briton, a shot in the arm for Williams as he out-qualified Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and his team mate Robert Kubica.

    Replays showed Ricciardo caught traffic on his final flier, the Australian squabbling for clear air with Perez, while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi is under investigation for impeding Stroll.

    Knocked out: Russell, Perez, Ricciardo, Stroll, Kubica

    Q2 – Hamilton and Verstappen tightly-matched.

    Medium tyres were the compound of choice for the frontrunners in the second part of qualifying, with Hamilton setting the early pace as Mercedes appeared to have turned their engines up given their more impressive speed in the quick first sector that Ferrari have owned so far this weekend.

    Verstappen put Red Bull second, only a few thousandths adrift, with Bottas less than a tenth further back. Leclerc slotted into fourth, his Ferrari team changing his damaged rear wing and sending him back out, with team mate Vettel a fraction adrift in fifth. Norris, who looked mighty in final practice, outpaced Red Bull’s Gasly to go sixth on the soft tyres.

    Red Bull sent Gasly back out on another set of medium tyres, but he only improved fractionally and was jumped by both Sainz and Grosjean. Fortunately, he scraped through in ninth. While Grosjean looked strong, his team mate Kevin Magnussen, running the updated spec, was down in 15th.

    Knocked out: Hulkenberg, Albon, Kvyat, Giovinazzi and Magnussen
    Q3 – Verstappen finally gets his first pole position

    Bottas, who had very little running after an engine issue in first practice, sprung a surprise as he pipped Hamilton after the first runs to go top of the pile, but then Verstappen’s loyal fans erupted when the Red Bull driver went quickest by nearly two-tenths.

    There was tension in the closing stages as Leclerc lit up the timesheets and was up on Verstappen’s leading time after the first two sectors. But as has happened all weekend, the Scuderia lost bags of time in the low-speed final sector.

    It was largely irrelevant, though, because Verstappen was absolutely on it behind him and was not to be denied as he went even quicker, crossing the line to become the first Dutchman in F1’s history to take pole on a track where he had never previously started in the top three.

    Bottas pushed him hard but just missed out with team mate Hamilton failing to make the front row for only the second time this season. Leclerc’s fourth place meant he out-qualified Vettel for the fifth race in a row, while Gasly ended up 0.878s slower than team mate Verstappen in sixth.

    Norris secured his fifth top-eight start in six races with both McLarens making it into the top eight for only the second time this year, while it’s a second consecutive top 10 start for Grosjean.

    But the day belonged to Verstappen – the fourth youngest pole-sitter in history – and Red Bull, who would have marked Hungary’s tight and twisty Hungaroring out as one of the circuits they had a strong chance of winning ahead of the season.

    Given their recent run of form – Verstappen has won two of the last three races – it’s going to take a mighty performance from Mercedes and Ferrari to stop them converting. But given how unpredictable the last three Grands Prix have been, anything can happen…

  2. Sergio Perez says Formula 1 rival Daniel Ricciardo was being “very disrespectful” by trying to overtake him ahead of their final flying laps in the first segment of Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.

    Ricciardo and Perez were caught in a queue of cars backing up at the final corner ahead of their final Q1 runs before the Renault driver tried to get ahead on the outside line.

    Perez responded by jumping back in front on the inside as they ran onto the start/finish line, but both were compromised and missed the cut at the end of their subsequent final flying laps.

    “You see the car ahead, and everyone is just opening gaps,” Perez told Sky F1. “I think what Daniel tried there was very disrespectful, he screwed up his lap and my lap.

    “I ended up starting my lap very close to [Lando] Norris, I think Daniel was very close to me, so it was just a very bad say for us.

    “I was having to push because it was the final corner, otherwise you start too close to him, and that meant I was too close to Norris.”

    Ricciardo, who qualified a place behidn Perez in 18th, felt he and the Mexican “just screwed each other” as he reflected that “it is certainly the most upset I’ve been in a while”.

    “It actually felt okay but obviously the last run, that’s when you have to do it,” Ricciardo said to Sky F1. “But it was a bit of mess basically, opening the lap.

    “We put ourselves in traffic, and at that point I felt like we could have known what would happen better, coming up the last corner, if I needed to create space earlier.

    “So I wasn’t creating space, and then we got to last corner and everyone’s backed up.

    “What do you do? You try and pass them, and keep your tyre temperature there, or do you hang back and start the lap with cold tyres? I tried to go and then Perez and the others weren’t going to have that.

    “I felt like Perez and I just screwed each other – just too late trying to make something happen, and then the lap’s compromised.

    “Tomorrow’s another day, we’ll see what happens. Right now, it is certainly the most upset I’ve been in a while.”

    Perez felt that a “perfect Q1 would have meant Q2”, as he and his Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll failed to make it out of the first phase of qualifying.

    “[But] it didn’t happen today, it’s a bit of a struggle,” he added.


  3. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen admitted this Hungarian Grand Prix pole was the result of pushing Honda engine to the limit. has the news story.

    Max Verstappen believes scoring his first Formula 1 pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix is reward for Red Bull and Honda working to get more from its engine.

    Verstappen’s breakthrough pole is Red Bull’s first with new-for-2019 engine partner Honda and the Japanese manufacturer’s first since 2006.

    Qualifying has been outlined as Honda’s key remaining weakness compared to F1’s leading engine manufacturers.

    When asked by what message had been sent by a merited pole position, Verstappen said: “We know if you can start more up front it makes it a bit easier to control the race.

    “We worked really hard to improve the engine, to get a bit more out of it in qualifying, that showed again today that we were able to push it a bit more – but within the limits of not blowing up.

    “We keep improving, there are positive things coming in the upcoming races.

    “Of course I’m very happy to get my first pole position but also [happy] as a team, how quickly we turned things around from the beginning of the year where we were clearly lacking.

    “Now we are definitely closing up and this weekend we were there.”

    Verstappen’s became the fourth-youngest poleman in F1 history at his 93rd qualifying attempt.

    He joked that the main benefit to claiming his first pole is that “people will stop asking me that question!”.

    “For me it never really mattered,” Verstappen added. “I knew it was a matter of time, you need a bit of luck sometimes, of course I made mistakes myself to miss a pole position shot, and today we got it.”

    Red Bull showed Mercedes-challenging pace throughout practice at the Hungaroring but Verstappen admitted there was still “a bit of a question mark” for qualifying given the team’s enduring weakness at full power.

    He said: “I think the whole weekend already the car was very competitive. It is always a bit of a question mark how it will work out in qualifying when we know they can turn up a bit more power.

    “We seemed to hang in there, and car got better and better throughout qualifying. I was very happy, very pleased, it was really enjoyable through drive.

    “I didn’t really have any comments, I said just ‘Keep the car going, give me new tyres’, and that is exactly what we did.

    “To get your first pole is very nice, but it is of course on Sunday what counts.”

  4. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton commented that his pace “plateaued” in qualifying “struggle”. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton reckons his chance of challenging Max Verstappen for pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix faded when his car “plateaued” with its pace in qualifying.

    Having topped the morning’s final free practice session, Hamilton had looked on course to be able to take the fight to Verstappen for the top spot on the grid at the Hungaroring.

    But in the end, Verstappen grabbed his maiden pole position by 0.018 seconds from Valtteri Bottas, with Hamilton almost two tenths adrift in third spot.

    Reflecting on what happened, Hamilton said this his Mercedes had not made the normally expected gains between practice and qualifying.

    “For me it was a difficult qualifying session,” said the world championship leader. “Practice was going quite well. We knew the Red Bulls were quick, they are always quick here, but when we got to qualifying, the car wasn’t the same as it was in P3.

    “It was just a bit of a struggle from the beginning and it kind of plateaued there and it didn’t get any better.

    “We will look into it, but nonetheless we are still there in the fight. Hopefully for the race we have better race pace than in qualifying.”

    Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas said that he had little cause to be too upset at missing out on the top spot by such a close margin, considering his lack of running so far this weekend thanks to an engine problem in first practice.

    “It has been not the easiest of weekends so far,” he said. “We missed the whole practice one and very limited running in practice two, so this morning it was really important to find a rhythm and it was getting better and better.

    “I was getting confidence in the car and luckily there was no big set-up issues. In qualifying [I was] just learning more and more, and starting to feel very nice in Q3.

    “It is a shame to miss the pole by such a small margin as always, but congratulations to Max. They have been really strong all weekend. Considering how the weekend started, in that sense, I am happy with that but I would be a lot happier [with pole].”

  5. Antonio Giovinazzi has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the Hungarian Grand Prix for impeding Lance Stroll in Saturday’s Formula 1 qualifying session.

    Stroll was knocked out of the opening segment of qualifying at the Hungaroring, where he encountered Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo at Turn 5.

    Giovinazzi progressed to Q2 and eventually qualified 14th fastest, but will start 17th – two places ahead of Stroll – after the stewards deemed he unnecessarily impeded the Canadian.

    The stewards noted that Alfa incorrectly told Giovinazzi he and Stroll were both on slow laps, when Stroll was actually on a flying lap.

    However, their report stated that when on an in-lap it is the driver’s responsibly to make “all reasonable endeavours” to watch for following cars and avoid impeding them.

    Giovinazzi was shown a blue flashing light halfway between Turn 3 and Turn 4, the long run uphill that ends the first sector.

    The stewards noted that Stroll lost “considerable time” through that part of the track as a result.

    They deemed Giovinazzi “could, and should, have moved from the racing line” before the Turn 4 right-hander.

    Giovinazzi was handed a grid penalty as a result, and one licence penalty point that takes his total for the 12-month period to four.


  6. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc commented that his Q1 crash was “unnecessary” and “not forgivable”. has the full story.

    Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc has described his Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying crash as “unnecessary” and “not forgivable”, and admitted he was lucky it didn’t ruin his session.

    Running behind teammate Sebastian Vettel on the road in the opening qualifying segment, Leclerc spun off at the final corner while chasing an improved laptime, hitting the outside barriers at speed with the rear end of his SF90.

    He brought the damaged car back into the pits – and, having progressed into Q2 on the strength of his earlier laptime, was able to rejoin the track in the second segment after repairs.

    Speaking to media afterwards, Leclerc took full responsibility for the accident, describing it as “quite a big mistake” and “stupid” – especially in the aftermath of his German Grand Prix crash.

    “The mistake in Q1 is just unnecessary,” he said. “That’s two errors in two grands prix, the first one is forgivable, this one definitely not.

    “So, I need to look into these things and for them to not happen again. I’ve been very lucky to finish the session.”

    However, Leclerc felt that he’d made amends with his performance in the final qualifying segment, as he outpaced teammate Vettel to claim fourth on the grid.

    “I think the lap in Q3, with accidents or no accidents, I’d struggle to find any more time in this lap, I was very happy with the lap,” Leclerc said.

    “Obviously I took a bit more caution in the last sector after my mistake but, yeah, overall [it] was a good lap, so I don’t think it [the crash] has affected the end result.”

    Leclerc said Red Bull and Mercedes had proven “way too quick” for the corner speed-limited SF90 in Hungary, and Vettel offered a similar view.

    “Today I think we more or less got the maximum. I’m not entirely happy, I had a bit maybe in hand, but not enough to really tackle the top three,” Vettel said.

    “We need to be realistic – we are lacking pace in the corners, not in the straights, that’s why sector one is pretty good but then I think we struggle to keep the tyres alive and we struggle for grip in the last couple of corners, that’s where we lose most.

    “Tricky session for us but in a way a confirmation of the picture that we’ve been drawing the last couple of weeks and months. Our car is very good down the straights, but not the best in the corners.”

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