Verstappen beats Merc to Hungarian GP Pole

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Friday and Saturday’s Free Practices sessions seemed to imply that Ferrari and Red Bull might have some pace around this short track in order to give Mercedes a bit of bother for pole position. Lewis Hamilton rebounded in FP3 to lead the timesheets but still, could Ferrari’ straight-line pacemaker advantage of such a short circuit and upset the normal operating procedure?

Regardless of what would happen or who would claim pole, the Hungaroring was packed with fans including Finnish fans for Kimi and the Dutch biomass for Max Verstappen. A great sight to see such outstanding support for this race.

Q1

Initial laps from Williams were confirming that the gains they had made in correlation data and upgrades may be seriously working and that’s terrific news. Alex Albon eclipsed Robert Kubica’s Williams but the Toro Rosso driver then fell pray to his own teammate, Daniil Kvyat, and Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

As Ferrari made their first laps, it was Charles Leclerc leading Sebastian Vettel and, in doing so, leading the timesheets. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas split the Ferrari’s slotting second quickest just ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton. It was the pace-leading lap of Max Verstappen who took top slot that caught the attention of everyone in the paddock as he set a lap record.

With six minutes left, Leclerc had to limp back to the garage to repair damage he created by spinning and clouting the wall damaging his rear wing. It was another unforced error from the young driver and an incident that was going to take Ferrari some time to fix. George Russel was 16th fastest and a good sign for Williams even though they didn’t advance.

Out in Q1- Kubica, Stroll, Perez, Ricciardo, Russel

Q2

The session started with Ferrari immediately out of the garage and that was good news as the team were able to repair Leclerc’s car in order to continue in qualifying. Mercedes were also out quickly and it was a case of Mercedes fastest through sector two and three and Ferrari quickest through sector one. Lewis led the timesheet on initial run followed by Verstappen and Bottas with both Ferrari’s languishing down in 4th and 5th with Leclerc leading Vettel. All were on Medium compounds.

The midfield runners were battling it out on Soft tires with Lando Norris jumping up to 6th as best-of-the-rest aspirations and things looked good as he was leading Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly. Romain Grosjean’s old-spec Haas F1 car was running in 8th after his run while his teammate, Kevin Magnussen in the newer spec, was in the elimination zone in 14th. Perhaps the team could use some of the diesel emissions product their new sponsor, Blue Def, makes?

With just 3 minutes left, the cars came out for their final runs and were all trying elbow out enough room for a hot lap. Red Bull sent Max out on Softs but he backed off in order to not set the quickest time on these tires. Both Toro Rosso’s were out after such a great race in Germany.

Out in Q2- Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Albon, Giovinazzi

Q3

The session started with Lewis trying to equal a pole position record at Hungary but if Max could take pole, he would the 100th different pole-sitter in F1. Ferrari didn’t care about either of those records and were looking for pole period.

Lewis set a provisional pole time of 1:15.146s but Bottas eclipsed him. It was then Verstappen clawing up to pole with a 1:14.958s which was a track record. With Vettel and Leclerc in 4th and 5th respectively, it appeared that being quickest in one of three sectors isn’t enough for pole position in Hungary. It also exposed Pierre Gasly’s lack of pace as his Red Bull languished in 6th while his teammate was on provisional pole.

With 2:22s left, the top runners came out for their final laps. Red Bull leading Mercedes on a track that was calling and favoring the last person to set a hot lap. It was Leclerc, Verstappen, Hamilton, Bottas and Vettel in that order.

Improving on his time, Max Verstappen set pole position with a 1:14.572s followed by Bottas and Hamilton with Leclerc leading Vettel for 4th and 5th. Pierre Gasly floating down in 6th. Max is 100th different pole-sitter in F1 history.

POSDRIVERCARGAP
1Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda1m14.572s
2Valtteri BottasMercedes0.018s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes0.197s
4Charles LeclercFerrari0.471s
5Sebastian VettelFerrari0.499s
6Pierre GaslyRed Bull/Honda0.878s
7Lando NorrisMcLaren/Renault1.228s
8Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren/Renault1.280s
9Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1.441s
10Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo/Ferrari1.469s
11Nico HulkenbergRenault1.993s
12Alexander AlbonToro Rosso/Honda2.115s
13Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Honda2.120s
14Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari2.509s
15George RussellWilliams/Mercedes2.459s
16Sergio PerezRacing Point/Mercedes2.537s
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo/Ferrari2.232s
18Daniel RicciardoRenault2.685s
19Lance StrollRacing Point/Mercedes2.970s
20Robert KubicaWilliams/Mercedes3.752s
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