Sebastian Vettel secured his fourth consecutive pole position (the seventh this season) as Red Bull Racing continued to dominate the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
The speed advantage from the RB6 was highly impressive and that flexible front wing fitted to the Renault-powered car has caused many rivals – in particular McLaren – to complain.
Vettel’s pole lap around the 2.722-mile Hungaroring was one minute, 18.773 seconds, a superb performance as it breaks the previous lap record held by Michael Schumacher. Mark Webber lines up alongside his team-mate on the front row, but with a margin of 0.419 seconds.
But when compared to its nearest challenger, the Ferraris, the advantage was highly significant. A full second slower to the flying Red Bulls!
Controversial German Grand Prix winner Fernando Alonso qualified in third ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa. The Spaniard’s best lap in Q3 made him the only non-Red Bull driver to dip below the one minute, 20 seconds target all weekend.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes were next up with Vitaly Petrov producing his best-ever qualifying result with seventh. In doing so, the Russian out-qualified his Renault team-mate Robert Kubica by a single position.
Another impressive performance was Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa with Nico Hulkenberg in the Williams completing the top ten.
As for the current world champion Jenson Button, the McLaren driver will start in a disappointed P11. Yet again, he complained about the loss of grip despite the MP4-25 was quite reasonable in the final practice session leading up to qualifying.
At least Button is ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. The pair had a difficult session although the seven-time world champion suffered the most with only P14 for Mercedes GP.
Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi will start the Hungarian Grand Prix down in P18 after being baulked by Bruno Senna’s Hispania at Turn 14 on his final qualifying lap. After entering the pitlane, Kobayashi appeared to have ignored an instruction to stop at scrutineering, although the Japanese driver denied he had done anything wrong.
In the battle of the new Formula One teams, Timo Glock achieved Virgin Racing’s third ‘pole position’ against Hispania and Lotus. The German will start the race in P19, while Sakon Yamamoto had his most convincing performance since returning to Formula One. Even though he qualified last (P24), he was just five hundredths of a second slower than his Hispania team-mate Bruno Senna.
Qualifying times from the Hungaroring:
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:18.773
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:19.184
3. Alonso Ferrari 1:19.987
4. Massa Ferrari 1:20.331
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.499
6. Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.082
7. Petrov Renault 1:21.229
8. Kubica Renault 1:21.328
9. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.411
10. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:21.710
11. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.292
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:21.331
13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.517
14. Schumacher Mercedes 1:21.630
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.897
16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:21.927
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.998
18. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.222
19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:24.050
20. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.120
21. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:24.199
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:25.118
23. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:26.391
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:26.453