Lewis Hamilton won his 101st first pole position in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas finished second and thus locked the first starting line for Mercedes. The second row was occupied by Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, and in addition to the direct fight of the leading teams on the track, we will also have a strategic fight because Mercedes starts on medium and the Red Bulls on soft.
Q1 Probably the biggest surprise of the first qualifying round was George Russell. Mr. Saturday for the first time this season did not justify the nickname because so far in all qualifications he managed to pass to the second round.
Today he failed to go beyond 17th place. While Pierre Gasly’s first AlphaTauri was fifth, Yuki Tsunoda failed a better 16th place, just under two-tenths to a pass. For the Japanese, this is their sixth relegation in the first round.
Nicholas Latifi was 18th, a tenth behind Russell, while Haas ’only driver to perform, Nikita Mazepin, finished 19th, almost a second behind Latifi. Mick Schumacher spent the qualifiers in the garage due to damage to the car caused during his collision in the third practice.
The fastest in the first round was Max Verstappen, two tenths ahead of Lewis Hamilton. All drivers set the time on the soft.
The second qualifying round was marked by Carlos Sainz’s twist. The Spaniard lost control of his Ferrari in the last turn and ended up in the wall.
Six minutes and 40 seconds before the end, a red flag was shown. The fastest in the first attempt was Hamilton, the second was Leclerc, and Verstappen was third. Alonso and Vettel pushed into fourth and fifth place, noting that Mercedes and Red Bulls were on medium tires - Bottas was seventh and Perez eighth.
Red Bull refused to gamble in the second attempt and sent drivers on soft. Hamilton also came out on soft but didn’t fix the time until the end, while Bottas went with the medium again. Verstappen finished the round again as the fastest, seven-tenths ahead of Norris and Gasly, but he set the time on soft.
Perez was fourth, Alonso fifth, and Hamilton and Bottas - as the only ones to start in the top 10 tomorrow in the medium - sixth and eighth. Leclerc was seventh, and in Q3 Ocon and Vettel still passed. For the fifth time this season, Daniel Ricciardo finished his qualifying performance in Q2, and Stroll, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, and Sainz, who did not even set a time, also dropped out.
Q3 The first part of the Q3 was good for the Mercedes side. Hamilton drove 1: 15.419, three tenths faster than Bottas and even half a second faster than Verstappen. Perez was another half a second late, and Leclerc was fifth ahead of Ocon, Gasly, Vettel, Alonso and Norris.
On the second outing on the track, we also saw games between Hamilton and Verstappen, with Hamilton driving very slowly on the way out of the box, just ahead of the Dutchman. Because of those games, Verstappen entered the last fast lap just seconds before the end, and his teammate Perez didn’t make it at all.
There was no change at the top, and behind them, a great lap was driven by Pierre Gasly and he qualified for fifth place. Next to him will start Norris, and in the fourth row will be Leclerc and Ocon. The fifth starting row will be the championship because it was filled by Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. The race at the Hungaroring starts tomorrow at 3 p.m.