Vettel wins pole for Hungarian GP
Sebastian Vettel shattered the lap record at the Hungaroring in Budapest to win the pole position for the Hungarian GP, his 48th career F1 pole, with a lap of 1m16.276s.
Vettel's last lap was actually 2/10ths faster than his pole lap, but he lost time in the final sector and did not improve.
Kimi Raikkonen will lineup 2nd with a lap of 1m16.444s to give Ferrari a front row lockout, their first since Monaco.
This is Scuderia Ferrari’s 211th pole and the last one in Hungary came back in 2005.
"The car all day has been incredible,” said Vettel in the on-track interview.
"We did a good step forward, I like this track a lot and to have the car in the right window, the sun and people around, that’s what it’s all about.
"Front row for us is incredible and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.
"We are working hard. the last race wasn’t great for us. We are here and we try to do our best. We’re happy where we are as a team and remember where we were 12 months ago.”
"The main task comes tomorrow so nothing is won today but we’re very happy.”
Vettel then addressed those who had written off Ferrari completely following their horror show at Silverstone.
He added: "It’s great but especially after the talk after the last race, which was a bit much. We give the answer on the track.”
Valtteri Bottas was the quicker of the two Silver Arrows drivers, lapping 0.2s slower than Vettel, with Lewis Hamilton looking ragged as he came home in fourth, a couple of tenths down on his team mate.
Next up were the Red Bulls who were never quite in the mix for pole, with Max Verstappen edging Daniel Ricciardo to fifth, before a big gap to Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified his Renault seventh but will drop five places on the grid thanks to a gearbox change.
The top ten was completed by the improving McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne and Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso.
Vettel’s blistering pole lap – a new outright lap record for the Hungaroring – came on his first run in Q3, with the German initially followed by Bottas, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen as Hamilton abandoned his first run after sliding off the road at Turn 4.
Hamilton, who had been targeting a record-equaling 68th pole, had been fastest in Q2, but only after going out on a second set of supersofts was he able to move ahead of Vettel and Verstappen, who had stayed in the garage after their first runs. Hulkenberg put in a mighty lap as he went sixth, but team mate Jolyon Palmer could only manage P11 and was eliminated along with Force India’s Esteban Ocon, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, the other Force India of Sergio Perez and Haas’s Romain Grosjean.
Vettel showed his credentials by setting the pace in Q1, albeit by just 0.022s as Verstappen kept him honest. But the star of the opening segment was Williams stand-in Paul Di Resta. Called up to drive at the last moment as a replacement for the unwell Felipe Massa, the Scot – who hadn’t driven an F1 car in anger since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix – worked down to 1m 19.868s within just 11 laps.
That left him P19 – just two spots and seven tenths down on the other Williams of Lance Stroll and one place ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson. The other drivers eliminated were Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein (in P18) and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, who set the same time as Sergio Perez in P15, albeit slightly later than the Mexican who advanced to Q2.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat has been handed a three-place grid drop by the stewards in Hungary for impeding Williams’ Lance Stroll during the Q1 segment of qualifying.
Kvyat originally qualified P13, four places ahead of Stroll, but will now start just one place ahead of the Canadian in 16th having been adjudged to have 'unnecessarily impeded' the Williams at Turn 11.
"The Stewards determined that Kvyat was on an exceptionally slow lap having spun earlier and damaged his tires,” read an official statement. zzzz
"The Stewards acknowledged that he was warned by the team very late of the approach of Stroll who was on a fast lap. Further, Kvyat pulled as far to the right as he could as soon as he saw Stroll. However, the Stewards considered that these were not mitigating factors.
"Kvyat was driving exceptionally slowly and taking the racing line at the end of Q1 when other drivers were attempting to set fast laps and this led to the unnecessary impeding.”
The Russian was also awarded one penalty point on his license for the misdemeanor, bringing his total for the 12 month period to 10 points – two points short of the tally which triggers an automatic one-race ban.
Valtteri Bottas (3rd, 1:16.530): "I had to give it everything today. In my first run, the lap was already quite good. Then on the second run in Q3, I was fast in sector one and two but then the tires overheated and I lost time in sector three. Overall I don't think there was much more in it for us today. I was surprised by the pace of Ferrari. Yesterday we were hoping that it going to be a really tight fight for the pole. It was but they had the advantage. Now we need to focus on tomorrow. It will be really close on race pace between the top three teams. Starting from third is not too bad. I need a good start and hopefully we can nail the strategy tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton (4th, 1:16.693): "This hasn't been the easiest weekend for us. The car didn't feel completely underneath me during practice but we made some changes into qualifying and the feeling started to improve. We knew Ferrari would be quick after seeing their pace this morning, so considering that fact I think we did pretty well to lock out row two. My laps in qualifying were generally good but I made a mistake in Turn 4 on the first run in Q3, so after that it was all about getting in a banker lap to make sure I set a time. Looking to the race, maybe strategy or the tires will come into play in a bigger way. Ferrari seems to have the upper hand this weekend and this race is usually a procession on a circuit where it is hard to follow, so there aren't many opportunities to gain positions. But we will be giving it everything we can."
James Allison, Technical Director: "We made some good steps forward with the car after third practice but they were not sufficient to beat a fast pair of Ferraris today. We can be happy that we are now extracting consistent performance from the SuperSoft compound, which was a concern for us earlier in the weekend, but now all our focus shifts to the Grand Prix - and we had pretty solid pace during the runs in race trim on Friday."
Toto Wolff: "The biggest positive point we can take from today was the step forward we made with the car between FP3 and qualifying. After a difficult morning, this put us back in the hunt for pole, but in the end we didn't have enough at this circuit against Ferrari. Valtteri only missed out on a place on the front row by a small fraction of a second - but this also means he will start from the clean side of the grid. For Lewis, the car has been on a bit of a knife edge all weekend and, after he ran wide on his first lap in Q3, that put him on the back foot for the final run. When you only have one lap that counts, it's hard to pull everything out of the car - and we knew we needed to squeeze every last drop of performance today if we were to get close to pole. Of course, starting behind two red cars doesn't make life any easier but it's a long run to turn one - and this is a circuit where the unexpected can happen. The strategy options look pretty straightforward, so we will need to do our racing out on track not in the pits. It will be an exciting but tough afternoon tomorrow."
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Max Verstappen (5th, 1:16.797): "For me it was actually a very positive Qualifying. The whole weekend I have been struggling a lot with the car and I just couldn't really get the balance right but we managed to turn it around and the car was feeling good in Qualifying when it matters. Q1 and Q2 were actually very good but in Q3 it's always harder for us to step up by four or five tenths like Ferrari and Mercedes as we don't have that extra engine mode. I think fourth was definitely possible but I changed the front wing on my final run and it seems that I got too much oversteer from that, but we can still be pleased. We have made a good step forward and we are heading in the right direction for sure. It is difficult to say how tomorrow will go and it's always hard to overtake here but with a good start and maybe an undercut there are many possibilities. It will be an interesting race and I'm actually quite confident for tomorrow."
Daniel Ricciardo (6th, 1:16.818): "When you miss out on track time in any session it has a knock-on effect and the time we lost this morning in FP3 definitely cost us in Qualifying. We had to guess what the track would be like this afternoon and make set-up changes based on that. In Q1we had quite a different car to yesterday but even so we thought higher than sixth was possible. We are in the top three teams so to qualify sixth is basically last for us. My quick lap wasn't as clean as I would have liked so it's partially the car and partially me but come tomorrow I think we can still get stuck in and challenge the other guys. A podium is possible in my mind. I am surprised by the pace of the Ferraris, we knew they would be stronger today but we also thought we would be closer. With the updates we have had here I'm looking forward to tomorrow, the car is in good shape to race so I think it will be fun and we can move forward."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "Qualifying fifth and sixth today seem to be our de facto grid position for this season, however both drivers got very close to out-qualifying Lewis on the final run. The third row of the grid offers some opportunity tomorrow, and it's going to be very interesting strategic race. The Hungaroring has one of the longest runs down to Turn 1 of the season which almost guarantees plenty of action so it should be a fascinating grand prix."
Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:16.276): Today has been a great day” said a radiant Sebastian Vettel, after scoring his second pole this year. “The car and the whole session were fantastic! I am really happy. We brought some new parts here and we tested them yesterday. Then obviously, we talked about it a lot and I think we got the car in better shape this morning. We are working very hard to get everything right. The guys have worked so hard and they love what they do. So, it is good to get back into the car and do our job. We love racing and this weekend has been very good so far. We know we have a strong car, no matter where we go, and that’s the great thing about this year. Now we have to move forward and focus. Qualifying is done, so we now concentrate on the race. There’s a lot of hard work to do and we need to take it one step at a time. Now, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Thank you all!
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd, 1:16.444): First and second position is a very good result for team”, Kimi added. “We kind of expected that this circuit would fit us better for certain reasons, but of course you cannot ever take it for granted. Today I really felt I had the speed, but I made a rather stupid mistake at the chicane, I put the left wheels on the kerb under braking, got sideways and lost time. I’m a bit disappointed with what I did, because I had the chance to be one place up, but I ‘m happy because I still managed to take second place. It’s been quite close between three teams so far, so tomorrow it all will depend on what happens in the first ten laps; it’s not going to be an easy race for anyone. There’s no way to plan things for the first two corners. The one who makes the best start has the better chances. Tomorrow we’ll have a long way to go to replicate today’s result!
Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal:
Esteban Ocon (12th, 1:18.495): "We were hoping to be higher up today, but it's not our strongest track and we were just missing the pace to make the top ten. I still have a good feeling in the car and our race pace will be more competitive. It looks as though I will gain a place because of the grid penalty for Nico [Hulkenberg] and I still believe a strong points finish is achievable tomorrow."
Sergio Perez (14th, 1:18.639): "It was my most difficult qualifying session of the year. I haven't yet managed to feel comfortable with the front end of the car: we made a lot of changes from yesterday, even between third practice and qualifying, but we couldn't solve the issues. In Q2, my first lap was pretty poor and that threw my reference points for the second attempt. In the end, I couldn't put together a good enough lap and we didn't' maximize our potential. We are starting 14th and it's not ideal on a track where overtaking is really tough, but I hope tomorrow we can be strong. The strategy options are quite limited, but if we can make a good start, we can fight for points."
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal: "We've been on the fringes of the top ten, but ultimately Q3 was just out of reach today. It's not a track that plays to our strengths so we've just got to make the most of the race tomorrow and take the opportunities that arise. The speed of the car has looked more competitive during the long runs so we remain optimistic that we can be in the fight for some points. It's a difficult track for overtaking and strategy options are fairly limited so a strong opening lap is going to be especially important tomorrow."
Lance Stroll (17th, 1:19.102): "It was not the best qualifying in terms of position, but we knew it would be difficult for us, and in the end we just have to be more competitive. We were only a tenth or so off Q2, and it is frustrating as I think there were a couple of things on my lap where I could have made up a tenth, but you can always say that afterwards. It is just simply tough for us this weekend, we are not as quick as we want to be and, although there are a couple of other things, it is pretty much down to sheer lack of downforce. We need to keep pushing to see what happens for tomorrow's race."
Paul di Resta (19th, 1:19.868): "It's been a busy 18 hours, getting prepared to drive in case it did happen but unsure if it was going to. I was nervous and anxious. You're unsure of how your ability is going to be when you get out there. I was ironing my shirt at 11 o'clock this morning preparing to be presenting on TV. But honestly, I quickly felt quite comfortable in the car. There was nothing that took me by surprise, it's just the more laps you can do, the better it is. Getting thrown straight into qualifying is the deepest of the deep ends. To do it in four laps is a big ask, but honestly I didn't expect to be so close straight away. I've carried on everything Felipe has done up until this session like the brake settings, the set-up and the steering wheel switches are all his, so of course it could be more optimized. But there is more ability to progress in me, gaining the speed and confidence in the car. These cars are the most special thing you'll ever drive. It's a tough ask to go straight into qualifying, but that's what it's about and you take these opportunities. Thank you to Williams for the opportunity, thank you to Claire and Sir Frank. To get the opportunity to get in the car and do it, with the team having the faith in my ability, I will hopefully be able to repay that. The team have been great. I've been here a year and a half waiting for this, so it's a good job I've been attending all the meetings and paying attention! Today has been very special. I felt back at home in a Formula One car, and the team prepared me as best they could. We go into tomorrow with a long and difficult day ahead, but at the same time one that I'm very much looking forward to challenge and to see how it goes."
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: "It wasn't a very regular day for us. In fact, it was the first time in my experience having to swap a driver out during a race weekend. First of all, I'm very sorry for Felipe that he's not well enough to compete. He made a great effort to come through it, and did what he felt he needed to as a member of the team. But it's absolutely the right thing to pull out, and we hope he can make a rapid recovery and that we'll see him back in the car in Belgium. Paul has been our Reserve Driver for a year and a half, and he probably realistically never expected to get called up. However, he was ready to go the moment we took the decision and it was very brave of him to go out for his first time in the 2017 generation of F1 cars, along with the new tires and aero package, to be thrown straight into a competitive session. He's got to be my driver of the day to achieve what he did today. He only got to do four timed laps, so that's a terrific job when unfortunately the car is not as competitive around this track as it really ought to be. So we look forward to seeing what he can do in the race. Lance, meanwhile, had a pretty good qualifying session, and only narrowly missed getting into Q2. It's just the car is not where it should be, and we've got a lot of work to do to come back and compete as we should at these high downforce circuits. We'll see what we can do tomorrow from these positions on the grid."
Fernando Alonso (8th, 1:17.549):
Stoffel Vandoorne (9th, 1:17.894):
Eric Boullier, Racing Director:
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda:
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault
Carlos Sainz (10th, 1:18.311) We can be extremely happy with today’s result. It’s been a very tough weekend up until now, especially after this morning’s FP3, where we saw that we were lacking a bit of pace compared to our direct competitors. So qualifying was looking like a difficult session for us, but I got into a good rhythm, managed to put a very good lap together and got into Q3 – something I wasn’t expecting this morning! We can be proud about it; it wasn’t easy at all! Hopefully tomorrow we can do a good job, hold on to this position and fight for points!
Daniil Kvyat (STR12-04, Car 26) Daniil will serve a three position grid penalty tomorrow. Unfortunately, I’ve been penalised with a three position grid penalty for tomorrow’s race, so I will now be starting from P16. There was a bit of a miss-communication, so I didn’t know that anyone was coming behind and we’ve now got a penalty for blocking another car… It’s a shame, because today had been quite a good day: our overall performance and my feeling with the car was okay, even if the balance changed a bit throughout the qualifying session. I just missed out on Q3 by a couple of tenths but we ended up more or less where we expected to be. My feeling with the car is quite good and now all I can hope for is a different type of race, an eventful one, otherwise it will be difficult to overtake here. We will obviously try and do our best, make our tyres last and see where we end up.
Romain Grosjean (15th, 1:18.771): "I guess it's the best we could do. We both had to overdrive the car in Q1 and I managed to get through to Q2 where I tried really, really hard on the last lap. I couldn't quite get better than 15th. When we lose all of Friday with one car - actually we can say we lost all of Friday with my car as well - we just had too many problems. Things were going up and down and we couldn't really get anything, so it's very, very difficult. We need to improve as a team and get the car better from the first lap in FP1. If we're getting decent lap times there we can move forward. Here, we've just been struggling. I crashed on the first lap in FP1, so we've been in a very difficult position. I thought this would be the same as Austria and we'd be generating temperature in the tires. It's all related to tires and we're just not working them properly. What is the key? I don't know, but it's something that's not quite working."
Kevin Magnussen (16th, 1:19.095): "We haven't been competitive this weekend, for some reason. We were expecting to be okay here. We knew it wasn't going to be the best because of the slow corners, but at least it's a short, twisty track without big straights. We shouldn't be too bad in theory, but we haven't had the pace. On top of that, it's been a difficult weekend not doing Friday. Well, I did four laps on Friday and a few more this morning. It's not good preparation to go into qualifying. I made the most of it. I was only one hundredth of a second from Romain and I had the same lap time as Perez who was P15, so Q2 was right there. So with that little running, I'm quite happy with that."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "Not ideal starting positions. I think after yesterday we've turned a little bit around. We couldn't get the full lost day from yesterday back, but everybody regrouped. We're 15th and 16th. We'd liked to have been further up, but we rescued what we could rescue over a short period of time. Tomorrow we'll try to move forward. I think this was one of our worst race weekends of last year and it looks like we're repeating it this season. Nevertheless, everybody is trying to get points."
Nico Hulkenberg (7th, 1:17.468):
Jolyon Palmer (11th, 1:18.415):
Alan Permane, Sporting Director:
Nick Chester, Technical Director:
Pascal Wehrlein (18th, 1:19.839):
Marcus Ericsson (20th, 1:19.972):
* to take a 5 place grid penalty
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