Red Bull’s stranglehold on pole position this season was maintained but under intense pressure from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel peaked at the perfect moment to shade Lewis Hamilton. Jenson Button was third.
It was Vettel’s eighth pole of the season and the 23rd of his career.
“It was a good session for us after yesterday when the others were faster than us. I’m very pleased with the result, we changed a lot on the car. I have the confidence back and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Lewis Hamilton was second after failing to improve in his second run in Q3, while Felipe Massa outqualified team mate Fernando Alonso for the first time this season. Mark Webber was only 6th, 6/10ths slower and admitting candidly that he couldn’t possibly have done a lap in the 1m19s as Vettel did.
Adrian Sutil outqualified Michael Schumacher, 8th to Schumacher’s 9th.
Getting the time proved tricky for many drivers in the final runs, but Vettel put it all together once again.
It was one of the most closely fought qualifying sessions of the season so far, with Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull hard to separate as Q3 began.
Starting on the dirty side of the grid carries one of the largest penalties of the season on this notoriously dusty track.
In Q1 Sebastien Buemi was the driver who dropped out with the new teams, Toro Rosso again the car which doesn’t find the speed. Anyway Buemi also has a five place grid drop from the accident he caused in Germany.
But in that new team competition there were some good battles – Liuzzi beat Ricciardo by a tenth, but both of them were ahead of D’Ambrosio in the Virgin.
At Lotus Trulli pushed Kovalainen very hard with his new power steering system and this drove the pair of them on. Kovalainen did a superb job, only three tenths slower than Buemi.
In Q2 we had a battle royal between Sauber, Force India and Renault to get cars through into the Top Ten shootout.
Sutil and Perez did an outstanding job to get through, just behind the Mercedes. Renault slipped to 12th and 14th as they slide deeper into the midfield battle. Paul di Resta again could not match his team mate Sutil.
Hamilton got through using only a set of soft tyres, saving a set of supersofts, a smart bit of tactical thinking.
He was fastest after the first runs in Q3, ahead of Vettel, Alonso, Button, Massa and Webber, but it wasn’t to be.
HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, Budapest, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m19.815s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m19.978s + 0.163
3. Jenson Button McLaren 1m20.024s + 0.209
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.350s + 0.535
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.365s + 0.550
6. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m20.474s + 0.659
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.098s + 1.283
8. Adrian Sutil Force India1m21.445s + 1.630
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.907s + 2.092
10. Sergio Perez Sauber No time
11. Paul di Resta Force India1m22.256s + 1.994
12. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.284s + 2.022
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m22.435s + 2.173
14. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m22.470s + 2.208
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m22.684s + 2.422
16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m22.979s + 2.717
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams No time
18. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m24.070s + 2.492
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m24.362s + 2.784
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m24.534s + 2.956
21. Timo Glock Virgin 1m26.294s + 4.716
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT 1m26.323s + 4.745
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1m26.479s + 4.901
24. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1m26.510s + 4.932