Hamilton takes 90th career pole

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton achieved his 90th career pole position in Formula 1 with a dominant display at the Hungaroring.

The Mercedes driver, the winner of the previous race in Austria, set a new lap record with a time of one minute, 13.446 seconds to beat his teammate Valtteri Bottas by over a tenth of a second.

Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez secured third and fourth on the grid in the Racing Points, but they were nearly a second off the pace set by Hamilton.

The Mercedes-powered cars will start the Hungarian Grand Prix in 1-2-3-4 positions. As for the rest, over a full second adrift from the flying Black Arrows.

Sebastian Vettel was the fastest Ferrari driver in fifth, ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc, as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had to settle for a disappointing seventh position.

It is the first time in 2020 that both Scuderia have made it through to Q3.

Verstappen ended up seventh, almost 1.5 seconds down on Hamilton’s best time, after complaining about the handling of his RB16 in the medium-speed corners.

McLaren duo Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz took eighth and ninth, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly rounding out the top ten.

Gasly, who missed all of FP1 with an engine issue, complained of power problems in both of the opening segments, but did not set a time in Q3 after suggesting his power unit would not be able to go further in qualifying as he completed his final run in Q2.

Daniel Ricciardo qualified P11, unable to beat his first run in Q2 set on the mediums after he switched to the softs, but the Renault driver will nevertheless have free choice of starting Pirelli for the race.

George Russell was delighted to make it in Q2 for the second race in a row and he equalled his best qualifying result with P12 – the same place he qualified at last weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix – ahead of Alex Albon’s Red Bull.

After complaining about the balance of his car throughout practice and qualifying, Albon ended up in P13, 0.207 seconds behind Gasly’s cutoff time in the second segment, and criticising his team after encountering traffic on his final Q2 lap.

Like Ricciardo, Esteban Ocon tried the mediums early on Q2 and although he improved his personal best after switching to the softs he will start P14 and ahead of Nicholas Latifi.

In Q1, Latifi had made it through to make it two Williams cars into the second stage of qualifying for the first time since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, as Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat could not improve enough in the final laps, which were characterised by significant track evolution and tumbling times that meant all drivers went for a final effort.

Haas driver Magnussen ended up P16, with the AlphaTauri just behind, while Romain Grosjean qualified P18 in the other Haas car.

The Alfa Romeo drivers will start last – with all four Ferrari customer cars knocked out in Q1 – with Antonio Giovinazzi ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Giovinazzi lost a time early in Q1 – which was topped by Perez and Stroll – for a track limits infraction at Turn 4, the fast left-hand kink at the start of the second sector.

So congratulations to Lewis Hamilton with his seventh pole position at the Hungaroring and his 90th in the sport. Impressive qualifying performance. The Mercedes-powered cars are looking strong and it will be interesting to see how well the rivals can fight back.

Qualifying positions, Hungarian Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:13.447
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:13.554
3 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 1:14.377
4 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 1:14.545
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:14.774
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:14.817
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:14.849
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 1:14.966
9 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 1:15.027
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda –
11 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1:15.661
12 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:15.698
13 Alex Albon Red Bull-Honda 1:15.715
14 Esteban Ocon Renault 1:15.742
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:16.544
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1:16.152
17 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri-Honda 1:16.204
18 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1:16.407
19 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:16.506
20 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:16.614

5 thoughts to “Hamilton takes 90th career pole”

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

    Every time you think you’ve seen the best of Lewis Hamilton, the reigning world champion steps it to another level. The Briton was in imperious form at the Hungaroring – a place he could call his backyard so successful has he been at the Hungarian Grand Prix – as he took a breath-taking pole position for Mercedes.

    The predicted rain never materialised, with Mercedes looking super comfortable from the off, easing through the opening segment of qualifying and then cruising into Q3 – on the medium tyres no less. And when it came down to the fight for pole, the Silver Arrows turned their power units up and stretched their legs.

    Hamilton set a new track record with his first effort, and despite a few drops of rain in the air, he improved by over a tenth on his second and final run. The Mercedes W10 looked glued to the track as he danced it around the tight and twisty Hungaroring to take his 90th career pole and seventh in Hungary.

    His team mate and championship leader Valtteri Bottas didn’t make it easy for him, mind, the Finn improving on his second run but just missing out by 0.107s, as world champions Mercedes locked out the front row.

    Racing Point have been raising eyebrows since pre-season testing, not only because they looked tantalisingly quick but also for the similarities the RP20 shares with last year’s all-conquering Mercedes W10.

    In Hungary, they have emerged as Mercedes’ greatest threat, and the only other team quick and brave enough to qualify in Q2 on the medium tyres. It’s a sensational feat, given they have not started higher than 16th in Hungary in either of the last two years.

    Lance Stroll was the most impressive, taking third for only his second career top-eight start, with Sergio Perez taking fourth in his first Q3 appearance in Hungary since 2013.

    Ferrari showed a renewed turn of form after the misery of Austria, with Sebastian Vettel taking fifth – the team’s best performance of the season – around half a tenth quicker than team mate Charles Leclerc as both red cars made it into Q3 for the first time in 2020.

    There was less joy over at Red Bull, with Max Verstappen – who will have had high hopes of challenging for victory coming into this weekend – down in seventh – his worst performance in Q3 since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix. His team mate Alex Albon didn’t even make the pole position shoot-out, after having his final run ruined by traffic.

    Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz proved McLaren made good gains overnight with both making it into Q3, as they slotted into eighth and ninth respectively, with Pierre Gasly completing the top 10, having opted not to set a lap time after engine troubles in the session.

    Q1 – Williams get both cars through, as Racing Point set the pace

    There was a queue to get out of the pit lane at the start of the session, thanks to the lingering rain clouds above the track. Mercedes comfortably set the early pace, with Hamilton beating team mate Bottas and the two Racing Points lining up third and fourth.

    Red Bull, who broke curfew to make set-up changes overnight, appeared to struggle out there with Albon lamenting on team radio that he had no stability in low speed turns. Their sister team AlphaTauri were having a tough time, too, with Gasly reporting he had a big problem with the power unit.

    The pecking order to be set as the session headed into the closing stages, only for the track evolution to ramp up dramatically – with George Russell taking advantage to go a sensational fifth, which became ninth at the chequered flag.

    He was joined by team mate Nicholas Latifi as Williams got both cars out of Q1 for the first time this year. Mercedes sent both their cars out again albeit on used tyres, so quick was the track evolving, but they were ultimately safe – as the two Racing Points ended the first part of qualifying first and second.

    Ferrari’s customers really struggled, the lack of power evident, with both Haas and Alfa Romeo cars getting the chop, along with AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat. This was another woeful session for Raikkonen, who was eliminated in Q1 in four successive races for the first time since this uqalifying format was adopted in 2006.

    Knocked out: Magnussen, Kvyat, Grosjean, Giovinazzi and Raikkonen

    Q2 – Racing Point roll dice with medium tyre strategy

    Racing Point are renowned as a slick racing operation and they proved it once again in the second segment of qualifying, boldly choosing to run the medium tyres – so they could start the race on that rubber – which is 0.5s slower per lap than the soft.

    It was a risk, but both Perez and Stroll made the strategy work to progress into Q3, with Mercedes the only other team who managed to achieve the feat. Everyone else who got through was on the softs.

    Elsewhere, there was a stunning job from Gasly, who complained about an engine issue but was told unfortunately he just had to do his best with what he had as they couldn’t fix it. He duly did just that, and it was enough to take him through to Q3.

    Red Bull had mixed fortunes, with Verstappen comfortably making it through while his team mate Albon was released into traffic on his final run and failed to improve, forcing him out of qualifying in 13th, one place behind the very impressive Russell in the Williams.

    Both Renaults also failed to make the cut, Ricciardo getting out of shape out of the last corner, along with the second Williams of Latifi.

    Knocked out: Ricciardo, Russell, Albon, Ocon, Latifi

    Q3 – Mercedes pull well clear, as Ferrari save blushes

    Ferrari have had a dreadful start to 2020, but they received a boost in Hungary with a car that was upgraded for Austria performing well enough to allow them to lock out the third row, with Vettel having the edge over his younger team mate Leclerc.

    But in terms of pole position, the fight was exclusively a battle between Hamilton and Bottas, with the former having the edge early on. He then went one step better next time around to clock a track record, with Bottas slotting into second to give Mercedes a 65th front row lockout.

  2. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas left feeling ‘frustrated’ after believing he had shot at pole position against his teammate. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Valtteri Bottas felt some frustration after losing out to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Hungary qualifying, initially believing that his final lap gave him a shot at pole position.Mercedes dominated Saturday’s Formula 1 qualifying session at the Hungaroring as Hamilton led a front row lock-out for the team, edging out Bottas in the final moments of Q3.

    Bottas finished over eight-tenths clear of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in third place, but his lap was not enough to deny Hamilton pole, who went 0.107 seconds quicker.

    Bottas explained after qualifying that he thought his final lap could be good enough for pole after recovering from some struggles earlier in the session.

    Asked if he felt a little bit of frustration losing pole by such a small margin, Bottas replied: “Yeah, for sure.

    “I saw in practice that it was going to be a close battle between us at least in qualifying, and Free Practice 3 didn’t feel too bad.

    “In the beginning of the qualifying, until the very end of Q3, I was struggling a bit in the first sector mainly, Turn 1 braking wasn’t so comfortable there, so I was losing a bit of time.

    “[At] Turn 2 [I] also struggled a bit with the snappiness of the rear end of the car, but I think when the track improved, the car was starting to come together.

    “At the end, I have to say the lap was pretty good actually. I thought I might have a chance really with that lap, but Lewis was just a tenth quicker.

    “He did ultimately a better job today in qualifying, that’s why he is on pole.”

    Bottas will head into Sunday’s race looking to defend his six-point lead in the F1 drivers’ championship over Hamilton, but has not finished on the podium in Hungary since 2017.

    Mercedes appears to hold a clear advantage over the rest of the field this weekend, with Bottas speaking about his confidence in the long-run pace of the W11 car despite losing Friday’s second practice session to rain.

    “It’s pretty strong from the small amount of data that we managed to gather in practice one,” Bottas said.

    “Of course we missed a lot of the running in practice two, so some question marks there, but overall the package we have should be good in the race as well.”

  3. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez felt “dizzy” during Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Sergio Perez says he was left struggling with some dizzy spells during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, as he helped lock out the second row of the grid for Racing Point.

    While teammate Lance Stroll grabbed third spot behind the dominant Mercedes team, Perez had a scrappy Q3 session to set the fourth quickest time.

    He had his first Q3 time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 4, before managing to pull together a decent lap on his second effort.

    But speaking straight after qualifying, the Mexican revealed he had started feeling unwell as the session went on.

    “It was a good result for the team but from my side a lot of things happened,” he said.

    “During qualifying I wasn’t feeling 100% physically. For some reason I started to feel dizzy during the session.”

    Asked what specifically his problems were, he said: “I don’t know. I’m a bit sore on the neck from yesterday.

    “It happened suddenly. My neck hurts a bit but I suddenly started to feel dizzy in some parts of the circuit. Even so, with all that, to be fourth is a good result for tomorrow.”

    Perez does not think his qualifying problems will affect him on Sunday, as he said he was looking forward to helping Racing Point grab a good points haul – especially starting on the medium tyre.

    “I think it is a great result for the team,” he said. “We looked good all the way through. Yes, I’m happy with the team results. And hopefully tomorrow we can put it together in the race and score a lot of points for the team.

    “We have a good pace. We are starting with the medium compound so I think that can benefit us tomorrow. We believe that the softer tyre can struggle during the first stint.”

  4. Ferrari are “much closer” to the cars around us according to Sebastian Vettel. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel says that the Ferrari Formula 1 team showed a “much better” performance in Hungary with the aero update package despite a significant gap to the pace-setting Mercedes.

    Vettel and teammate Charles Leclerc qualified fifth and sixth in Hungary after both men reached Q3 for the first time in three attempts in 2020.

    Vettel acknowledged that the lack of straights relative to Austria had played in the team’s favour, and allowed it to showed improved competitiveness against everyone bar Mercedes, with pole man Lewis Hamilton 1.3s clear of the German’s own best lap.

    The Ferraris are the leading cars starting on the soft tyres, with both Mercedes and both Racing Point drivers ahead on the medium.

    Ferrari didn’t get a proper read on the update package that was introduced for the Styrian GP because of the rain on Saturday and the double early retirement after a first lap collision.

    “I think it is much better than the previous weekend,” said Vettel. “For the first time we have both cars in Q3, so I think we know that Austria didn’t really suit us and we lost a lot of time in the straights, and here I think there are a lot more corners to make up for it.

    “The car felt better balanced as well, so I think we are much closer compared to the people around us, let’s say Racing Point, Red Bull and even McLaren, so that is positive.

    “And we need to make sure we keep that up, and now all that matters is to prepare for the race tomorrow. We start on the soft, people ahead of us are on the medium, people behind us on the soft again, so it is a lot of work for us tomorrow, and we will see what we can do.”

    Asked if he was hopeful of a good race, he said: “You can always hope, the question is whether your hope is realistic, but I am here to race, we are here to race and here to win.

    “So at the moment it is not like we have the pace to dominate and win on our own, but we will see what happens tomorrow. I think as I mentioned tyres will be crucial as we are on a different strategy as we had to go on the softs to make Q3.

    “We take it from there, so I think it will be an interesting race tomorrow. And I don’t know, the weather could play a role, so we need to make sure that we are sharp and we do our job.”

    Leclerc agreed that the team has made progress.

    “Yes, it feels much better, fifth and sixth,” said the Monegasque driver. “And I think our race pace is a bit better than our qualy pace, so hopefully we can score some good points for the team tomorrow.

    “It was a difficult session on my side as I struggled a bit with the driving in Q1 and Q2 but got better in Q3.”

  5. Max Verstappen concedes Red Bull is still struggling to find a comfortable car balance as he qualified down in seventh place for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    Red Bull had been tipped as Mercedes’ nearest challengers coming into the third round of the 2020 Formula 1 season at the Hungaroring, but Verstappen could only manage the fourth row in qualifying behind the Mercedes, Racing Point and Ferrari drivers and over 1.4 seconds off polesitter Lewis Hamilton.

    Having admitted Red Bull had “a lot of work to do” after Friday practice, with Red Bull breaking curfew to work on the team’s RB16 cars last night, Verstappen has called the team’s qualifying performance “disappointing”.

    “I don’t know why but clearly something is not working compared to, let’s say, also last year when I think we had a really good balance here,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1. “But the whole weekend has been really tricky and it is hard to understand.

    “We tried a lot of things but it still doesn’t really work so of course it was a disappointing qualifying. The pace is all very close [between the teams] so we have to wait and we are also not starting on the best tyre for the race but it is what it is.

    “I will try to do the best that I can and see where we end up but it is quite tricky to overtake here anyway.”

    Verstappen’s teammate Albon appeared to be suffer even worse for car balance in qualifying, as he dropped out in Q2 in 13th place, having complained about possible front wing damage in the second session of qualifying.

    Albon says his problems weren’t from one specific area and wants to speak to his Red Bull team to unpick the issues.

    “It was a bit of everything, obviously I didn’t do a great lap as well, but we had another lap to try to fix it but it is a few things to be honest,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We just need to sit with the team and discuss it to be better prepared for next time.

    “It was [better] in FP3, not so much in qualifying, so I need to figure it out a bit better.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

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