Lewis Hamilton secured his third pole position of the year, and the seventh overall for Mercedes AMG, today during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Brit, who admitted that though it is always good to start from the front what really matters is where you finish on race day, lapped the Hungaroring in 1:19.388 to lock down P1 for the race. Afterwards Hamilton stated that Mercedes would need a lot of luck to win tomorrow, and that is a pretty accurate statement considering that the team has often stumbled on race day and that Sebastian Vettel will be sharing the front row with Hamilton.
Behind Vettel in P3 will be Romain Grosjean who surprised some people by besting his Lotus F1 Team partner Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying. Raikkonen, who has had plenty of success in Budapest in years past, will start P6. Grosjean’s starting spot was in question after his car failed a post-qualifying inspection due to the front floor deflection of the vehicle. The Frenchman dodged a penalty though as the race stewards determined that the altered deflection was due to an impact with a kurb during the qualifying session.
Nico Rosberg starts P4, giving Mercedes a double-top-five start, and Scuderia Ferrari slipped into the top-five on the strength of a 1:19.791 lap from Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen follows Alonso in P6, a result that Kimi says is due to his inability to master Pirelli’s new tires thus far.
P7 belongs to Felipe Massa, who desperately needs a solid finish after a pair of DNFs and a slew of crashes in his past four races. Daniel Ricciardo continued to make his case for a 2014 race seat with Red Bull Racing as he found P8 in qualifying, and Sergio Perez gave McLaren Mercedes something to smile about in a year filled with disappointment by landing a P9 qualification.
Mark Webber was the final driver to make Q3 and will start in P10 despite encountering problems with his KERS system and having difficulty shifting during the session.
Vettel has to be the favorite to win the race since he is starting P2 and since Mercedes has struggled on race day for most of the season. However, Lotus has been fast all weekend so don’t rule out Grosjean stepping up and grabbing a dark horse win from P3 if he runs a flawless race and has a fantastic start when the lights go out. Alonso and Raikkonen should also be expected to challenge, though given the nature of the track winning from P5 or P6 is a long shot.
HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING:
P1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG – 1:19.388
P2) Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing – 1:19.426
P3) Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 Team – 1:19.595
P4) Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG – 1:19.720
P5) Fernando Alonso, Scuderia Ferrari – 1:19.791
P6) Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus F1 Team – 1:19.851
P7) Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari – 1:19.929
P8) Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso – 1:20.641
P9) Sergio Perez, McLaren Mercedes, – 1:22.398
P10) Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing – No Time
P11) Adrian Sutil, Force India – 1:20.569
P12) Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber F1 Team – 1:20.580
P13) Jenson Button, McLaren Mercedes – 1:20.777
P14) Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso – 1:21.029
P15) Pastor Maldonado, Williams F1 Team – 1:21.133
P16) Valtteri Bottas, Williams F1 Team – 1:21.219
P17) Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber F1 Team – 1:21.724
P18) Paul di Resta, Force India – 1:22.043
P19) Charles Pic, Caterham F1 Team – 1:23.007
P20) Giedo van der Garde, Caterham F1 Team – 1:23.333
P21) Jules Bianchi, Marussia F1 Team – 1:23.787
P22) Max Chilton, Marussia F1 Team – 1:23.997