Vettel snatches pole ahead of Hamilton

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel earned his twenty-third career pole position for Red Bull Racing, denying McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton to the top spot for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The margin between Vettel and Hamilton was really close – only 0.163 seconds – with Vettel’s lap of one minute, 19.815 seconds good enough to earn the champion pole at the Hungaroring.

Competing in his two hundredth Grand Prix, Jenson Button will start in third for McLaren ahead of the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. This is the first time that Massa has out-qualified his Scuderia team-mate this season.

Last year’s winner Mark Webber could only manage the sixth quickest time, ahead of the Mercedes-powered cars of Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil and Michael Schumacher. As for Sergio Perez, the Sauber driver elated not to run in Q3 to save a set of option tyres for the race. Perez will start in tenth position.

There was a gap of almost two seconds from first to tenth with a couple of minutes of Q2 remaining, the result of which was that the top seven at that moment – led by Jenson Button – did not undertake second runs.

All of those drivers had done enough to make it into Q3, but behind them the order was constantly changing. Late laps for Sutil and Schumacher brought the Force India and Mercedes drivers into the top ten after the chequered flag had come out.

The biggest loser was Force India’s Paul di Resta, who was bumped back to P11. The Renaults of Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld were P12 and P14, split by Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber, while Rubens Barrichello and Jaime Alguersuari were next up for Williams and Toro Rosso.

The star of Q1 was Heikki Kovalainen, who put his Lotus in an impressive P19 and just over 0.1 seconds behind Sebastien Buemi.

Behind Kovalainen were his team-mate Jarno Trulli, Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock and the Hispania drivers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo.

Even though Sebastien Buemi recorded the eighteenth fastest time, he will drop five places on the grid following his collision with Nick Heidfeld at the Nürburgring last weekend.

Qualifying times from the Hungaroring:

1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m19.815s
2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m19.978s
3.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m20.024s
4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m20.350s
5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m20.365s
6.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m20.474s
7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m21.098s
8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m21.445s
9.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m21.907s
10.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       No time
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m22.256s
12.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m22.284s
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m22.435s
14.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m22.470s
15.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m22.684s
16.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m22.979s
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    No time
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m24.362s
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m24.534s
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m26.294s
21.  Vitantonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m26.323s
22.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth         1m26.479s
23.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m24.070s*
24.  Jerome D’Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m26.510s

107 per cent time: 1m27.288s

*Five-place grid penalty

10 thoughts to “Vettel snatches pole ahead of Hamilton”

  1. After taking his eighth pole position of the season, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has said his confidence is back following qualifying at the Hungaroring. has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel claims his confidence is back after securing pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.

    The world champion, who endured his worst race of the season last weekend in Germany, returned to the top spot today, as he secured his eighth pole position of the year so far.

    The Red Bull driver beat Lewis Hamilton by less than two tenths of a second, bouncing back from a difficult Friday.

    Vettel admitted he was full of confidence again.

    “I think it was a very good session for us,” said Vettel. “Yesterday I think these boys were a little bit quicker than us. It seems like we’ve done the right thing as it was much more comfortable this morning.

    “I’m very pleased with the result, we changed a lot on the car overnight. The boys were working very hard and they didn’t get much sleep. To have a result like this today is the best way to say thanks.

    “I’ve got the confidence back, today I felt much more comfortable in the car, now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

    Red Bull broke F1’s curfew limit for the first time as the team worked extra hours to make set-up changes to the car after struggling on Friday.

    Vettel admitted the decision had paid off.

    “I think they got back to the hotel around 5am,” said Vettel. “Straightaway I noticed the difference and was happier. If you are happier it is usually because car is better, and if you are confident you are also able to get more out of yourself.

    “So I think that is a good sign and very important for tomorrow’s race. If you struggle with the balance of the car here or there, you reach a certain edge and you try to work on the car, which we did and we improved it. But finally overnight we released the note and it was much better today.”

  2. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that getting the cars of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button inside the first three grid spots for the Hungarian Grand Prix was “not the result we wanted”.

    Hamilton had taken provisional pole with his first flying lap midway through Q3, despite his McLaren appearing to suffer from excessive oversteer through the final couple of corners.

    However, Sebastian Vettel’s final lap gave the Red Bull driver the top spot and relegated Hamilton to the outside of the front row – and the dirty side of the track for Sunday’s race.

    Despite Button then coming through to take third spot from Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari a few seconds later, Whitmarsh said he had been hoping for more.

    “It was tight. Just disappointing,” he told BBC television. “But we’ve got both cars on front two rows so it should be an exciting race. It’s not result we wanted.

    “He [Hamilton] ran little wide at the last corner on the last lap, but neither were bad laps. It would just have been nice for him to have got pole.

    “At least we should be competitive in the race. Both drivers had good runs on Friday, and we’re not in a bad place. We’ll try to make it exciting.”

    Hamilton, who could have given McLaren its first pole since Canada last year, said he was unconcerned about being beaten by Vettel.

    “It’s still a great achievement,” he said. “We knew from the last race that we have good pace. Yesterday was good, but today they [Red Bull] picked up the pace.

    “To be on the front row is good though and we can pick up some good points from three tomorrow.”


  3. McLaren’s Jenson Button has said he is happy to regain his qualifying form. He will start his two hundredth Grand Prix in third position. has the details.

    Jenson Button was happy to return to the fight for the top spots after securing third place on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    The McLaren driver had endured a series of difficult qualifying sessions in the previous races, having started from outside the top two rows in last four grands prix.

    Button posted his best qualifying performance since Monaco today, after finishing in third, just two tenths of a second off pole position.

    “I’m pretty happy with that,” said Button. “You always, after a lap, think there was a little bit here, a little bit there, but to be fair it was a pretty good lap. I’m happy to be up in third.

    “That’s been my issue of late, and it makes it very difficult in the race to make up the time. It’s nice to be in the position we are and hopefully tomorrow we can have a pretty good fight.”

    The Briton said that overnight set-up changes and further tweaks during qualifying had made his car a lot better, allowing him to gain around half a second in his final run.

    “We made some good set-up tweaks overnight, and the car felt pretty good this morning and we played with a bit through qualifying and came good on the last run. We gained half a second on the previous lap by getting more front end on the car.

    “I am happy with where we are starting, for us – and mainly for the tyres. We’ll see what strategy we can throw at it and go for the victory.”

  4. Jarno Trulli says the new Lotus power steering system has “transformed” his car, the Italian delighted with his performance after qualifying.

    Trulli had struggled with the previous power steering, which was not giving him enough feedback to feel the car properly, and so Lotus introduced a new version for this weekend’s race.

    The Italian has been more competitive with it, and he finished less than two tenths behind team-mate Heikki Kovalainen in qualifying today, despite claiming he did not extract the best from his car.

    The Lotus driver qualified in 20th.

    “This has been a very good day, even though in qualifying I didn’t manage to get everything I could out of the car,” he said.

    “On the first run we went with the prime and the car was oversteering a little. On the second run we went onto the super softs and found more understeer than I’d had all weekend so I wasn’t really able to find the pace I’d had yesterday and this morning.

    “Despite that I am really pleased with how this weekend’s gone. The new power steering system has transformed the car for me and I’m so much happier now – it’s really like night and day, and I can’t wait to get back in tomorrow and see what we can do in the race.

    “The difference between the two tyre choices means strategy will come into play in a big way, so let’s see what we can do.”

    Kovalainen was also pleased with his day after turning his car around following difficult practice sessions.

    “After a bit of a tough weekend so far I’m really pleased with how qualy finished up,” he said. “I’ve not been able to find a balance I’m happy with all weekend and we made a couple of changes for qualifying that finally took us in the right direction.

    “On the first run I couldn’t get a clean lap together, but I was quietly optimistic we could hook it all up on the second run and that’s how it ended up. I had to work pretty hard to get it all right and it’s very pleasing to see it come good in the last minutes of Q1.

    “The updates we’ve brought here are working very well for us and it looks like we’ve made a gain relative to the guys ahead, and with Jarno clearly much more competitive here the mood is really good across the whole team.”


  5. Red Bull’s Mark Webber has commented that his Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying deficit to team-mate Sebastian Vettel is bizarre. has the story.

    Mark Webber found it “bizarre” that he was unable to qualify higher than sixth for the Hungarian Grand Prix, especially with his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel on pole position.

    Webber won last year’s Hungaroring race and had been on pole for the previous two grands prix in 2011, but the Australian’s best effort in Q3 was a full 0.659 seconds adrift of Vettel’s pole time.

    Afterwards, Webber said that he believed that not working his tyres correctly could have been the trigger for his worst starting spot of the year and the gap to his team-mate.

    “[There was] no way I could do that [Vettel’s] laptime, absolutely no way,” he said.

    “We had a few KERS issues in the middle of the session but we had it back for the last run in, but in the end the 1m19s is a different zone to me so… It’s strange, really bizarre.

    “Fernando [Alonso, who qualified fifth] didn’t have the best day either. We see how sensitive the tyres are and today we didn’t extract enough out of them to be further up the grid.”

    Webber said that while there was no one reason for his being so far off the pace, a number of smaller factors had contributed to an overall lack of grip.

    “It felt okay,” he added. “If you have a gap of six tenths its just overall grip. I need to look through it obviously, but it’s a big step compared to the last few races so I need to analyse it. I need to do my best tomorrow.”

  6. Pastor Maldonado is hoping his decision to not run in the second qualifying segment will pay off in tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

    The Venezuelan took the unusual decision to not run in Q2, a move usually reserved for the final part of qualifying.

    Maldonado will start from 17th position and the Williams driver is hoping to benefit from saving so many super soft tyres.

    “We decided not to run in Q2 to save a set of options,” said Maldonado. “It is essential we get the best result we can from the race and so for our strategy it was important to save some tyres today.

    “I think there will be a big fight tomorrow with the cars starting around us, but we have one more set of super softs. I am looking forward to seeing what we can do now.”

    Team-mate Rubens Barrichello qualified in 15th place after suffering problems with his KERS.

    “Everything was running so well and we had a promising strategy in place, but I couldn’t engage KERS in sector one of my last lap, and that compromised my time,” he said.

    “I still had a pretty good lap, but I’m disappointed because we had a competitive run earlier on with the primes and so were thinking that 11th or 12th was possible on the option. Still, we’ve saved enough tyres and with a solid strategy we can have a better race tomorrow.”


  7. Renault’s Nick Heidfeld was disappointed with his qualifying pace at the Hungaroring. He will start the race in P14. has the story.

    Nick Heidfeld conceded Renault is not where it wants to be after another disappointing qualifying in Hungary.

    The German driver will start from 14th position, claiming he found it very hard to extract anything else from his car.

    Heidfeld is hopeful his race pace will be stronger, however, and says he will attack right from the start.

    “Today was again not what we would have hoped for; P14 is not in our line of thinking when we step into the garage for qualifying, though perhaps it’s an indication of where we stand right now,” said Heidfeld.

    “At the moment, we are finding it tough to extract more from the car. We’ll still be going into tomorrow absolutely fighting for higher positions; gaining some places in the race is very achievable.

    “For this to happen, we will need a good start and the right strategy, so we’ll be grafting to make both those happen when we line up here tomorrow afternoon.”

    Team-mate Vitaly Petrov struggled with tyre warm-up during the session, finishing in 12th position.

    The Russian conceded Renault has to take a step forward as soon as possible.

    “The difficulty we had was warming up the tyres because the weather was so changeable,” he said. “I also encountered quite a lot of understeer, especially in turn nine, which cost me two-tenths and practically put an end to my chance of getting in Q3.

    “It is this, combined with traction problems that have been our main problems so far this weekend. Sauber is looking increasingly competitive with us now so we need to understand where the problems lie and rectify them because qualifying where we have been recently is not enough; we are more ambitious than that, so the focus will turn to how we make the best out of the situation tomorrow.”

  8. Adrian Sutil was a delighted man after securing eighth place on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the second time in succession the German has qualified there.

    “I’m very pleased with my qualifying and it feels great to be starting from eighth for the second race in a row,” said the Force India driver, who scored his best result of the season in last weekend’s German Grand Prix with a sixth place finish.

    “This morning in final practice things did not look so good because I was struggling with a general lack of grip.

    “We changed quite a few things for qualifying – obviously the right things – and this afternoon the car felt really good and I found the lap times we felt were possible.

    “In the past the Hungaroring has not been a track where we have been very strong because it’s a maximum downforce track, so it feels great to show once again that our car is competitive everywhere. The race tomorrow will be all about getting the strategy spot on, but we’re starting in a good place and I’m looking forward to it,” added the German.

    Team-mate Paul di Resta qualified in 11th place, the Scot admitting he was hoping for a better result.

    Di Resta said nonetheless that he was optimistic of a strong race given his pace during practice.

    “Starting in eleventh place is not too bad, but I was hoping to be a little bit higher up,” he said. “I’m still in a good position to score some points tomorrow and it’s nice to be starting from the cleaner side of the grid.

    “We had a bit of a messy run in Q1 on the supersoft tyre, but other than that our prime run was very good and I was happy with the car. It’s just my final lap in Q2 wasn’t quite there so maybe I should have been a bit more adventurous.

    “In practice we’ve shown that we can be competitive over longs runs and I’m optimistic that we can carry that through to the race.”


  9. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has said that he wasn’t feeling too disappointed with fifth position on the grid. has the story.

    Fernando Alonso says he is not disappointed with his performance in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, despite failing to reach the first two rows of the grid.

    The Ferrari driver, the man who has scored the most points in the last three races, will start tomorrow’s event from fifth position after finishing over half a second off the pace of pole position.

    Alonso admitted third place could have been possible had he managed a perfect lap, but said his position did not come as a surprise.

    “It’s the same result as a week ago, so yet again today, we’re neither surprised nor disappointed,” said Alonso. “It’s true I did not do a perfect lap in Q3 and I’m happy to admit that, but I don’t think I could have made it to the front row.

    “Third place was within our grasp and it would have been a great place from which to start the race, but others did better than us, including my team-mate who drove a nice lap: it’s important that both our cars are in positions from which we can fight for a place on the podium.

    “All the same, better fifth than fourth as it means at least I start from the clean side of the track. It seems that when it’s time for Q3, Red Bull has a magic button that suddenly makes them go faster, but then it seems the button switches off in the race.”

    The Spaniard believes the race is still very open, but predicted overtaking will be very hard, even with DRS.

    “It’s always very difficult to overtake here and I don’t think DRS will change that much: maybe a good tow and a gust of wind will be of more use,” he said.

    “We will try and move up a few places tomorrow: we will need to maintain a good pace, doing a perfect job at the pitstops, of which I think there will be a lot, maybe three or four, because tyre degradation is significant.

    “It will also be important to get the timing of the stops right. I reckon anything could still happen: it will be a very open race.”

    Alonso was outqualified by team-mate Felipe Massa for the first time this season, the Brazilian finishing in fourth.

    Massa is hopeful his Ferrari will be stronger in race trim after also finishing half a second off the pace today.

    “Usually our rivals find something extra for qualifying and we make a step forward in the race: we will see tomorrow if this unwritten rule will also be confirmed at this track,” Massa said. “I hope I have a car that is competitive, as it was in the final part of qualifying.”

  10. Mark Webber blamed having no DRS and cold tyres for his disappointing qualifying performance ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    The Australian will start from sixth position, his worst qualifying since the Chinese Grand Prix, after finishing over six tenths off the pace in the final shootout.

    Webber explained after qualifying that he had done the main straight of his final Q3 run without DRS enabled because of an error when activating it.

    He had also been held up for Jenson Button during his out-lap, which means his tyres were not at the perfect temperature.

    The Red Bull driver said his times after Turn 5 had been the same as team-mate’s Sebastian Vettel, on pole today.

    “It wasn’t the smoothest session,” said Webber. “Basically if you look at the last lap, which is the most important one I was very optimistic about doing a pretty good job.

    “The problem really started on the out-lap because the McLarens were too slow. We need more pace than that and I couldn’t go any quicker because Jenson wouldn’t let me pass, which is fair enough. It’s all fair game and I would do the same thing.

    “Because it was my first lap onto the start/finish with KERS and DRS, it looks like I tried to activate the DRS a bit early and it didn’t respond, so I did the whole straight without the DRS and I didn’t notice because I used the KERS.

    “That, in combination with Jenson, meant my first sector was a complete disaster. And from Turn 5 until the end of the lap it was identical to Sebastian.”


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