Hamilton nips Vettel for pole in Hungary
It was the 7th pole for Mercedes this year but the question is whether they have the race pace to beat Sebastian Vettel.
Romain Grosjean will start third for Lotus ahead of Nico Rosberg in fourth in the other Mercedes.
He will start ahead of Fernando Alonso in fifth and Kimi Raikkonen in sixth and Felipe Massa seventh in the 2nd Ferrari.
Hamilton was surprised when the Mercedes team radioed him that he had won the pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The team was surprise as well.
"I was really surprised," he said, "I was expecting Sebastian to get the pole. And it didn't even feel it was a particularly good lap. I thought he made a mistake, but it's always down to the wire.
"It definitely helps to be on pole because it's hard to follow here. It's a long run into the first corner, but keeping the tires will be a challenge tomorrow. These guys are ridiculously fast on long runs, so it will be tougher to keep them behind."
Sebastian Vettel (2nd, 1:19.420): "There wasn't much missing in that session, so Lewis did a good job. I put a strong lap in and had two sets of new tires; I was pretty happy with both laps, maybe on the second I was losing out a bit in the middle sector and perhaps I wasn't aggressive enough, but it's no help to sit here now and say we should have done this or that. At the end of the day my lap wasn't quick enough. Mercedes have a very strong qualifying pace. Lewis did an exceptional job today, also if you look at the gap to Nico, you have to be fair and respect that. I would have loved to have been a little bit faster and be on pole, but it still puts us in a great place for tomorrow. We have a good car and good race pace. It's a shame Mark had a problem with the gears and KERS today, so he wasn't able to challenge for the front, but still we should have a good race tomorrow and I'm quite confident."
Mark Webber (10th, No Time): "That was a massively disappointing qualifying session. Obviously we had a lot of issues with the car and we left a lot of lap time in the garage, with items which weren't working on the car at their optimum. We had no KERS, and a basic gearbox setting that we couldn't get out of, which cost a lot of lap time. I was happy with how I drove, but it doesn't count in qualifying when you need everything at the absolute limit. Instead of challenging for the front row, we were challenging for the last row of Q3. We're out of position with a car that is capable of much more, but I didn't have the car today to challenge for the results I thought we could get."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "To miss out on the pole by half a tenth of a second, demonstrates how close the grid is here. Sebastian looked competitive throughout qualifying and it's positive to be starting on the front row of the grid at a track that is notoriously difficult to overtake at. Unfortunately, Mark's car had two issues, one with the gear shift and also with KERS, which was probably costing him up to 0.8 of a second per lap. He did a very impressive job to get into Q3, but at that stage, with a car that was not able to run at its full potential, we had to take a strategic approach to tomorrow's race. We therefore elected not to run in Q3, so he has a freedom of choice and fresh tires for tomorrow's race. It's going to be interesting tomorrow and strategy is going to be crucial."
Thierry Salvi, Renault: "The hot weather here brings some difficult conditions, especially for the cooling of the car. Nevertheless Sebastian did a great performance to put his car in second position on the grid. We were not too far from pole and the pace we had during the practice sessions gives us good hope for tomorrow. We are quite disappointed for Mark and his 10th position, but he had some KERS issues from Q1 onwards. We will do our best to help him to recover and score the maximum points possible."
Fernando Alonso (5th, 1:19.791): Today, we were more competitive thanks to a change of set-up and some modifications on the aero side, done more with the aim of getting consistency rather than pure performance. Traction and turn-in have improved and now we must look carefully at the start to try and make up a few places then and, on this front, the extra grip from being on the clean side should help. Here, it is hard to overtake in the race and so it's even more important to try and make up ground immediately, particularly if we want to prevent Vettel from increasing his lead. The strategy will be very open, the tires are new for everyone and the high track temperature means we need to think of a strategy that can be modified at any moment. The podium is always our target and I feel we can fight for it, even though we know it won't be easy with such strong competition ahead of us."
Felipe Massa (7th, 1:19.929): "Today's qualifying was extremely complicated and the result does not live up to our expectations: both myself and Fernando pushed to the maximum without making mistakes, but we were not able to fight for the front positions and got the maximum we could. We are well aware of the fact that Saturday is still our weak point and for that reason, we must stay focused on a race that will not be easy, because the high temperatures will impact on tire behavior, on the car and on us drivers. Overtaking is almost impossible here, unless the car ahead of you makes a mistake, but I hope I have a good enough race pace to make up some places and bring home the important points that we need."
Pat Fry: "A difference of over a second between the performance of the two tires made the choice for the three qualifying sessions relatively simple. The Mediums would not have ensured getting into Q2 and using only the Softs was the most sensible choice, as it also saved the harder compound for the race. Looking at the gap of around five tenths to pole, we can say that, on a high downforce track like this one, we have returned to the situation we had got used to at the start of the season. Tomorrow, we can expect a very hot and demanding race. It will not be easy to make up ground and the tires will be put under a great strain by the track temperature, which is predicted to be over fifty degrees. Therefore we must be ready to tackle any unforeseen situation. Let's hope that starting from the clean side of the track can give us a chance to make up a few places, on a track which is notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities."
Sergio Perez (9th, 1:22.398): "First of all, I want to thank all the guys on the team ‚ they did an amazing job to get the car turned around between FP3 and Q1 this afternoon. It was quite a big shunt but we still didn't lose any track-time ‚ that was really impressive, so thanks guys. At the beginning of Q1, I still felt a little bit uncomfortable with the car, which is why I only just made it through to Q2. However, my Q2 lap was quite good ‚ we'd made a lot of changes to the car overnight ‚ so I'm hopeful that we may have a better car for the race than we've had for some time. Given our pace ‚ we knew we weren't going to qualify in the top five ‚ we opted to run the Prime in Q3. That tire choice ought to give us a better strategy for the race tomorrow. We'll be the first car starting on Primes, so I think we're in a reasonable position for tomorrow."
Jenson Button (13th, 1:20.777): "When we run fresh rubber, I can't get enough front-end in the car ‚ we're maxed out ‚ so I'm struggling. In a way, that's a positive ‚ because it means we've introduced downforce to the rear of the car. And hopefully that situation will change for the race, when you can play around with things in the cockpit a little more, and there's generally less rear grip for everyone. I'm a little disappointed as I'd hoped for a bit more here. I think that's because it's been difficult to balance the car ‚ but, hopefully, we'll show a little bit more pace in the race. I'm sure we can still have fun tomorrow."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Clearly, although you want track position around a circuit such as this, the two days of practice have shown us that the Option tire won't last for too long in the race tomorrow ‚ so, unless they can get clear of the traffic, the Option runners might encounter some problems. Checo did a good job ‚ he'll be the first of the Prime runners. We knew the Prime would probably be about a second and a half slower [than the Option], so Checo qualified in about the position we'd expected. I must also add that the mechanics did an absolutely magnificent job to get Checo's car turned around ahead of qualifying. His accident in the dying seconds of FP3 could hardly have come at a less opportune juncture, yet they threw themselves into the job ‚ in difficult, hot and sweaty conditions ‚ and pulled through with a few minutes to spare. Indeed, Checo lost not even a second of track time, as our strategy for both cars had always been to head out towards the latter half of Q1. For Jenson, P13 wasn't quite what he'd expected ‚ and his Q2 lap wasn't quite enough to get him through to Q3. Still, both he and Checo are strong and determined racers and they'll be giving it their all tomorrow. As usual, the Hungarian Grand Prix will be a long, stiflingly hot and very difficult affair ‚ given the two-hour duration of the race, and the difficult, circuitous nature of the track, much can happen tomorrow. I'm therefore looking forward to an exciting race that will doubtless unravel in all manner of unpredictable ways ‚ which will be great for drivers, teams, media and fans alike."
Romain Grosjean (3rd, 1:19.595): "It's been a good weekend so far with the car consistently showing strong pace. Setting the fastest time in practice this morning was a good sign, and the car was handling really well throughout each qualifying session. Lewis set a very quick time, but we're not too far from Sebastian [Vettel] and anything could happen in the race depending on the tires. I think tomorrow will be very open and a lot will depend on strategy, traffic and things like that, so if we can put everything together there's the strong possibility for a good result."
Kimi Raikkonen (6th, 1:19.851): "It hasn't been the easiest weekend for me so far. Maybe the new tires are a bit different ‚ especially on the front ‚ so it's been hard to find a good setup. We're getting there little by little and the car was definitely better in qualifying than at any other point this weekend. Obviously P6 is not ideal, but it's better than we have seen sometimes so we'll try and see what we can do tomorrow. It's not so easy to overtake here, but we have seen in past years that if you can run with the tires well you can make a lot of places, so let's see what we can do."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "We're reasonably happy but ‚ of course ‚ we always want more. Everything went pretty much as we expected. For Romain, his single lap and long run pace has been strong and Kimi is much more on top of his car than yesterday. From third and sixth there's no reason why we can't have a strong race with both drivers. We see Sebastian Vettel as our main challenger in the race. The Mercedes did go well in Monaco on a tight and twisty circuit ‚ in the race as well as in qualifying ‚ but here tire degradation should be more of a factor. This should help us in our fight for a good result. It happened a couple of times and certainly makes for nice slow motion television. He has complained of the rear sliding which has been something we've focused on eliminating through setup tweaks. Third is actually almost as good as second here as you start on the clean side of the grid and it's a very dusty circuit. Lewis [Hamilton] and Sebastian were just too strong for us in qualifying, but there's potential for us to have a very good race tomorrow."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:19.388): "I was really surprised when the guys told me over the radio that I was on pole today. It was a good lap but I thought Sebastian had done enough. So it's fantastic - and also to get three pole positions in a row. It's great to start from the front but, like we know, the race is where we score the points. Looking to tomorrow, this is a tough circuit to overtake on but it's also a long run down to the first corner, and both Seb and the Lotus cars will be really quick. We have a good car but the race will come down to how we use the tires. We are working hard to improve in that area and we had some reasonable long runs yesterday. We'll have to see how it goes because it's going to be tough in these high temperatures. I would love to have a real race with the guys around me, a proper battle, and the goal has to be to collect as many points as we can."
Nico Rosberg (4th, 1:19.720): "Our speed was a bit of a surprise today as the car set-up work was focused on good race pace this weekend. But it worked quite well in the hot temperatures. It's great for the team to be starting from fourth and pole position. I hope we can have a good start even though I'm on the dirtier side of the grid. Qualifying did not go perfectly for me at the end, it didn't help that my brake balance adjuster got stuck, so I couldn't change it around the lap. That cost me a little, but the pole wasn't possible today. Now we look forward to tomorrow and I'm confident that we look better in the hot conditions than in the previous race."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "First of all, I want to compliment the engineers, the drivers and our technicians back at the factory for the job they have done so far this weekend. We had a lot of work to do here in order to understand the tires and we have made progress through every session, improving our understanding with every lap. We are still on a good upward slope of progress and hopefully there will be more room to improve tomorrow. Lewis put in an exceptional lap at the end of Qualifying, it was a really impressive performance. Nico did a good job too - all the more so considering he had a small car problem halfway through the lap - and the great thing about our driver pairing is how they consistently push each other to new heights. We know that we have a challenging race ahead of us tomorrow, with record temperatures forecast, and that will be the opportunity to see exactly what progress we have made."
Toto Wolff, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "We prepared well for the race during the practice sessions, collecting the information we needed, and managed to perform well in Qualifying in spite of the very high temperatures. So we have a good basis for tomorrow with first and fourth positions representing a very strong team result. Lewis delivered a lap that seemed about perfect while Nico had a small car problem that certainly cost him some lap time. Now we need to wait and see tomorrow just how well we have prepared for the race and how we cope on these new tires in the hot conditions."
Nico Hulkenberg (12th, 1:20.580): "It was just eight hundredths of a second to P8, so even less to P10. The midfield is very tight at the moment. But I'm not disappointed, because I did a very good lap and this was pretty much the maximum I was able to get out of the car. I think we can be fairly happy with P12, as realistically that's where we are, and we can certainly race from there. Tomorrow I'll have to get a good start and can hopefully battle for one or two points."
Esteban Gutierrez (17th, 1:21.724): "Today didn't go the way we wanted it to. It has been quite challenging with the loss of track time we had this morning. This is obviously not ideal, but I thought it wasn't going to be that much of a problem, so it is quite disappointing to come into qualifying and have this kind of result. I expected to be closer to the front and to get into Q2. We had the pace, for sure. However, the track conditions changed massively from yesterday to today and it was very hard to adapt to that in just one lap. Tomorrow is going to be a long race. I have to get a good start and from then on try to move up the field."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We came to Hungary with a couple of modifications and the results on track confirmed our expectations. The whole field is very close together. For Nico it was extremely tight with just eight hundredths of a second missing to P8. He will now start 12th and aim at a points finish. Of course, Esteban suffered in qualifying from the track time he lost this morning in FP3. It will be a difficult race for him tomorrow, and he simply has to approach the situation as best as he can."
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: "Esteban unfortunately lost FP3 due to an engine problem, and that is particularly costly when the margins are so small. Nico was happy with the car in qualifying, and to miss out on Q3 by just three hundredths of a second is always frustrating. Both drivers have plenty of new tires left for the race tomorrow, and our aim will be to make the most of that."
Adrian Sutil (11th, 1:20.569): "The first part of qualifying was quite tricky and it was difficult to deliver the pace we expected. I had a good feeling with the car, but we were not especially quick and I was only P15 by the end of Q1. I did not really know where we were losing out, but the team made some adjustments and that improved things for Q2. My lap times were much better and for a while it looked like I was going to make the top ten, but then I got pushed down to P11 at the last moment. I'm happy with my lap and that was the limit for me today. P11 is a good place to start because it leaves us with more of a choice about the tire strategy. The goal tomorrow is to push forward and try to score some points."
Paul di Resta (18th, 1:22.043): "A tough session and I am a bit confused as to why we struggled so much on the soft tire. Throughout all the sessions we've looked more competitive on the softs, but in Q1 they just didn't switch on. We've given ourselves a lot of work to do tomorrow, but we will go away and come back refreshed and ready to fight. We need to move forward so we will think hard tonight about the strategy, but at least we have plenty of new tires available. I think the main puzzle we need to solve is what happened to our performance today so that we can bounce back tomorrow."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "Finding the sweet spot with both cars has proved difficult this weekend and I think we saw the result of that in today's qualifying performance. Adrian squeezed through to Q2 and set a time good enough to put him on the cusp of the top ten. That's about where we expected our performance level to be and hopefully he can score points tomorrow. The changes made to Paul's car ahead of qualifying certainly helped our performance on the medium tires, but he struggled for speed on the softs. That's something we will try to understand tonight because we expected him to be much higher up the grid. It's a tough track for overtaking, but we will do all we can to give Paul a strategy to bring him into the points."
Pastor Maldonado (15th, 1:21.133): "Over the weekend we have been improving quite a lot and the car is more competitive. We didn't get it quite right this afternoon though but the car does feel better so hopefully tomorrow we can make up some positions."
Valtteri Bottas (16th, 1:21.219): "Q1 looked alright for us and I was happy with the car balance. I think the other teams had more in reserve than we did for Q2 though, which is why we ended in the position we did today. There are always things you could have done better and I wasn't as happy with the car balance in the Q2, as in Q1 it felt better. In the last race we were close to finishing in the points though, so that is still the goal for tomorrow."
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: "We made progress with the car during FP3 this morning so we had good expectations for qualifying today. We started the afternoon strong with both cars looking competitive in Q1. In Q2 however, both drivers were slower on their second option tire runs than their first runs, so we need to look at that as we felt we should have been closer to the top ten. Despite this, our race pace is looking better so we can still have a strong race from our grid positions."
Daniel Ricciardo (8th, 1:20.641): "It was good to get into Q3 again. We seem to make a habit of finding a little bit extra for qualifying, although ideally, I'd like to be on the pace right from Friday and chip away at the lap times within the top ten. We made some set-up changes overnight and they seem to have worked, although we had a bit of work to do to get to Q3 today. I think we got the most out of the car this afternoon. I was happy with the way I drove and I am pleased with my form at the moment. But now comes the bit of the weekend that counts and we will try to get it right, beginning with making a good start. I am not too concerned about starting on the "dirty" side of the grid and with all the various support races before the Grand Prix, I am sure it will be fine."
Jean-Eric Vergne (14th, 1:21.029): "I'm not really sure how I ended up several tenths slower than my team-mate in Q2, so I am keen to see what we can learn from the data. We did not have too many actual problems, apart from the fact that since Friday I appear to lack downforce on my car. Tomorrow will be very difficult in these conditions, especially for the Soft tires and so, getting the strategy right will make all the difference. The car has improved since Friday, so given all the uncertainties we can face tomorrow, I am still in a reasonably optimistic frame of mind and hope to get myself into a position where I can fight for some points. My state of mind with all the paddock gossip? It has absolutely no effect on what I have to do this weekend."
James Key, Technical Director: "It's great to get a fifth consecutive Q3 result, dating back to Jean-Eric's tenth place in Monaco. We have a lot of new aero parts here which needed validating and we worked on that very hard overnight. Despite a difficult Friday, we realized looking at the data, that they were working pretty much as planned, so everything we brought has stayed on the car. We looked carefully at where we most needed to improve. Part of the reason we struggled on the first day is that we need to tune the car to suit the new tires. Everyone did a great job to find a new direction for the drivers for this morning and both of them were much happier with the balance of the car today. The car was not 100% in FP3 but we made some minor tweaks before qualifying and they helped to get nearer the sweet spot on the car. As for Jev, he also improved and Q2 was very close so he ended up in P14, but certainly we can do well from there and knowing that he is a good racer, we will obviously be targeting a points finish for him too. We know it will be a very tough race in this heat tomorrow and we must wait and see how long the tires last and it's going to be quite exhausting for the drivers."
Charles Pic (19th, 1:23.007): "FP3 was another good session for me. We made a few changes to the car overnight and those, and the track temperatures on Saturday, worked in our favor. The session went well but on my quickest lap on the softs at in the performance run there were double yellows in turn 11 which meant I had to back off, but I was still relatively happy with how we went into quali. In Q1 our goal was to finish ahead of Marussia and we've achieved that with both cars, actually with a bigger gap than we've seen for a while, so I'm pleased with how the session went. Our deg levels have been pretty good on the mediums and we've already seen that we can push a couple of cars ahead in race conditions, so, even though the gap to the midfield is there, I'm already looking forward to a strong race tomorrow."
Giedo van der Garde (20th, 1:23.333): "After having understeer dominate both FP1 and FP2 for me we made a lot of changes to the car overnight and it was immediately better in FP3. We tried another mechanical change on the second run, looking at what we'd be doing on Sunday, but that didn't give us any improvement, so we went back to how we started the session and when we did the performance run the car was performing ok. In quali I wasn't really able to get a clean quick lap on either run so I don't think my final time was really the best I could have had today. Unfortunately I had traffic in sector one on the quick lap on my second run and that definitely cost me a few tenths, but despite that we finished well clear of our nearest rivals and that was the main target today. We've definitely put a bit more time between us and them and I've always gone well here in Hungary and we have the race pace to fight a few cars ahead tomorrow. With a clean start and good strategy I think we can have a decent Sunday."
Jules Bianchi (21st, 1:23.787): "We are not where we need to be at this stage of the weekend and I think we face a tough battle in the race tomorrow at a track which is already quite challenging anyway. Even though I made a mistake in the final corner on my quick lap and lost a couple of tenths, it would not have been enough to leapfrog the Caterhams today. We have made some improvements during the weekend for sure, but we needed to find more from the car and we haven't been able to do that. Tomorrow will be a tough experience for the drivers and the Team, so we have to have faith in our strategy to help us find the right reward for our efforts here."
Max Chilton (22nd, 1:23.997): "It has been quite a tough weekend for us here so far and we have had to fight to get every bit of the extra performance we have found in the car. Unfortunately it is not enough to line up ahead of the Caterhams tomorrow. What I do feel positive about today is my pace relative to my team-mate, especially as we had a mistake that lost me time on my quick lap. My objective has been to try to improve on my qualifying pace and it is nice to see all the hard work paying off there. Although tomorrow will be a challenging race, I'm confident that we can make up some of the ground we have lost with a good strategy and our normally improved race pace."
John Booth, Team Principal: "It is fair to say that we aren't happy to be in the position we are in but then we didn't arrive at this track with high expectations. The combination of the downforce requirements here, aligned with the need to deal with the high ambient temperatures, always meant that we would be disadvantaged with our current package. However, that's not to say we haven't worked hard to improve the car as much as possible in order to try and catch up. Neither driver got a clean lap in qualifying, but still we are a little shy of our usual pace. Tomorrow will bring further demands on the whole team, especially the drivers with the expected high ambient temperatures. What I am sure of is that everyone will give 100% ahead of the summer break to get the best result possible."
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