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Sebastian Vettel wins tense pole battle for Hungarian Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Jul 2011   |  2:11 pm GMT  |  84 comments

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

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Expecting Vettel to do his usual swerve off the start line in a desperate attempt to cut off the enxt driver at the first bend……sensing a likely collsion on the first bend if this tactic is attempted on Hamilton!


It looks like as if it is going to rain during the race, so anything can happen. I would assume that if it is wet, than there is no real difference between starting from the clean and dirty side of the track.

In that case, both Hamilton and Button could do very well…maybe Alonso too. Anything can happen, so let’s see.


It appears to come from a site called

You know them?


Sorry – its


The real travesty here is that no-one cares what is going on on-track at present. With approx a thousand posts on the BBC decision in the last three posts on this site, and about 60 on this, the real focus in peoples minds at present is on the crummy deal all the loyal fans (worldwide) feel they have gotten from Mr. E & Co.

I just can’t get into what’s going on in the races at present, maybe my emotions will die down, but the prospect of a disjointed F1 season next year, where I can’t see the dramas unravel in real time, is very upsetting.

I CAN afford a subscription to Sky. But I won’t pay them a penny and would rather get into watching baseball, because deep down I know that paying Sky would be unethical.


Surely there will be changes at turn one…….and so the story goes….

Another good race ahead for sure!

Gosh, what’s been going on at McLaren camp, the drivers racing suits look awful with the flowers. They had some bad ones this year but this is the worst.


I think that over one lap (ultimate speed), Red Bull still have the fastest car, but the tide is starting to turn. I can see McLaren having the fastest car in terms of ultimate speed at most of the remaining rounds. Look out Red Bull, Lewis is coming FAST!!!!


AFAIK no one mentioned this anywhere:

Jensen was 0.046 sec. slower then Lewis !

Well done, good luck and speed for his 200th

F1 race,



Hi james!

Would like to know what do you think about the gap between rosberg and schumi? I am a diehard schumi fan but this is getting rather painfull can you shed alight on this? Does michael still have it or has he lost the magic?

Btw loved your book about schumi great writing James!


Newey’s cars are perfect when they’re just right and running in clean air.

Prediction: unless Vettel gets out well in front on the first 2-3 laps he will become dinner for the McLarens. Also watch the RBR7’s for KERS/DRS problems; there’s something wrong if the mechanics were working till 3.30am…that isn’t a minor set-up change.

F12010 to kill time until March

James, do you know what kind of problems Mercedes are having? Seems like there is still something wrong(by birth) with this year`s car too, and they havent really improved that much compared to the other top teams.

Are they pushing for in-season testing?


Nothing to do with this thread but we could do with some levity this dark weekend, so I thought I’d share this:

While sorting out our loft this week (Mrs Werewolf insisted!) I found some old motor sport magazines, including the Motoring News edition of 2 June 1994. Aside from an interview with an absurdly young David Coulthard on the eve of his F1 debut, it contains on page 4 a feature article on Max Mosley’s then battles with the teams. The headline must be one of the most wonderfully prophetic in journalistic history: “Meetings and beatings”!


Had lewis not made a mistake on the last corner, he would taken pole easy. I think he will blitz Seb to the corner, if not I see LH overtaking Seb in the race, remember LH has an extra set of Super softs… It’s going to go down to the wire I feel.

Watch out for a bullet start from Fernando as well.


The start is going to be immense! Vettel in a Mclaren sandwich into turn 1!


Vettel is a sitting duck. After the tricky start with Mclaren lurking he’s then got to deal with their DRS.

If he manages to win this, it’ll be a huge result for his WDC campaign.

I’m really interested to see what Alonso does. He’s in Do or Die mode so he’ll be pushing hard.


I agree completely.

Not only start and DRS, you also have like 3 pit stops and 2 McLarens to cover. And McLaren will be faster car again.

Hope Vettel does it, though 🙂


Hi James,

about the work that Red Bull made during night, i believe that there is a rule this year about curfew, that can only be broken 4 times.

Any information James of who and how many times broke the curfew, or where we can see it?

About this session i thought it wouldn’t be that close, i liked the long run pace of Ferrari and Mclaren but seeing last year and event earlier this year, i was expecting the last lap of Vettel (and maybe Webber) to take all by at the usual 0.500 sec, but i felt that both Hamilton and Alonso, with a good last run could have nailed it.


McLaren looks like the faster car here. This sets up another glorious race. I have a sneaky suspicion that Jenson will win this.


Go Vettel.

Go Red Bull.

Hamilton, cracking under the pressure. He can’t hack it.


I’m not sure that we’ve ever seen Hamilton crack under pressure, have we?

On the other hand Vettel doesn’t fight hard once he falls back. He needs to be at the front to do well and his only chance of making up places is by clever RB team strategy at the pit stops.


The red bull is comfortably the fastest qualy car due to DRS, I’m surprised the gap wasn’t bigger. Webber matched Vettel’s second half of the lap despite the fact that he didnt have DRS today and Vettel did, so clearly not a great lap from Seb.

Should be a good race though!


just when all the kids are getting very excited Vettel goes and shoves all the toys back in the box and slams it shut!! Plainly we’re looking at a double wdc here.

I’m tipping Rosberg to shine in the race. that may be way over-optimistic but I’m predicting his best finish of 2011….


How cool us webber. No whinging excuses just a clear statement of facts post quali. This line up will make for an intense first corner.


Hamilton will take Vettel into the first corner as sure as eggs is eggs as he has the inside line. Just need Button the go round the outside of the boy wonder and that will be it.


Inside line is disadvantage in this case, not enough turning angle to turn one. Better off on the outside line you can sweep the turn at higher speed than the inside guy. Besides, starting on the dirty side on this tract is bad news, I’d say Hamilton needs to focus on the start try not to lose too much ground at the start. Personally i think he’ll take the first corner at P3 or P4 behind Janson and he can start building his race from there. He’ll probably have pressure from Alonso whom I think will jump Massa on start (Massa is also on the dirty side) and we know how superb Ferrari is on start. But let’s see… that’s just me thinking loud…


Shame vettel snuck it again. What the hell did they do to that car overnight?

Nice to see Jenson man up his quali performance for his 200th GP. Was a surprise seeing him in the post quali interview – not seen him there much this year! He generally races well so if he can finally start bridging the qualifying gap to Lewis he can pose a threat again next year and maybe pick up some confidence in his weakest area this year.

Also just good fun to see Massa nab it ahead of alonso. Though expect to see Alonso take that place back like a school ground bully at turn one 😉

Also liked MBs comment about ‘which drivers will be joining us on the unemployment line?’ I think he just meant retired but the pause from DC suggested he may have done a cheeky reference to being ditched out of their BBC contract next year – apart from that the great editorial silence on the whole matter – sure the BBC crew there aren’t to blame and wanted to appear professional. Thought EJ could have been relied on to blurt something though…

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Vettel seemed thrilled to bits with the prospect that he might not have to overtake anyone tomorrow….maybe “that’s what he’s talking about”.

Expect Hamilton and Alonso to make mincemeat of him early on in the race.

simon mitchell

it looks like an interesting result for tomorrow but am i the only one who feels so deflated because of what the sport the bbc and sky have done that i just didnt get excited by it im not even sure im going to watch the race for the first time in 25 years i just feel so let down.


No, you’re not the only one. I missed large chunks of the action and commentary because my mind was wandering and I’m still annoyed. To be honest, the reason I opened JA on F1 now was because I couldn’t remember the outcome.


So Hamilton saves a set of super softs for tomorrow which could be the key. I fancy him for the win tomorrow. Vettel seems to have no chance. I think Alonso blew it, he may not have gotten pole but atleast he could have have 3rd. His first run was ruined because he caught Webber in the final sector and couldn’t put together a clean lap on his last try.

Really think Ferrari have lost it, they could have saved one set of super softs with Alonso for tomorrow very easily but they sent him out with softs when they didn’t need to.

Massa put a nice clean lap and Alonso put two messy laps but still were separated by 0.015, that speaks volumes. I’m sure Alonso is up there with Hamilton in raw speed.


I am at Hungaroring this weekend, watching othe race live…I have met a lot of fans and most of them are negatively surprised at how bad the organization is. Security guys almost want to kill you and you definitely do not feel welcomed. Anyways, as a Ferrari fan, I am obviously not happy with results. I thought they could do better…

Just a quesiton to folks who to go see races live…why do yoy do it? It is so much better to see it in front of TV, you pay huge money and see nothing.

Best way to watch races it at home at HD, with live timings on and read the blog of JA. Going to races is useless and a waste of money,


Yes you do follow the race better on HDTV and with the live timing from the ‘net on your computer, but you can’t make up for the roar of the engines, the smell, the atmosphere, the excitement of the crowd (at least here in Montreal). . . Why do you go to hear live music? The sound is always better from your sound system in the comfort of your home.


I was in Monza before and it worth every cent that I paid for the ticket, but in Hungary it is a complete disaster. Never again in my life! I came back an even better F1 from Monza and in contrary completely lost my interest after the weekend at Hungaroring.

Came early for the pit lane walk to see drivers and did not see anybody. In Monza you could get super close to the box and in here…you were like 15 meters with guards all over the place.

Worst ever experience….from now on, only HDTV, Live Timing and good atmosphere at home.


Melbourne is always good fun at the track. Yes you pay big money but you get 4 days of motorsport. All day every day. Lots of drinking and partying and you can stay within Walking distance.


Better still, why not become a recluse, let your finger & toenails grow very long indeed, gaze into a computer monitor 24/7 while other people are out there having fun?


Yeah but you can’t replace the thrill of being there and the roar of those engines, with a little culture thrown in! Canada was just a fantastic experience, we definitely felt welcome there, Montreal is one of the most beautiful and sophisticated cities on the planet, and the food…ah the food!! I sat there shivering in the rain for 2 hours and it was well worth it. I’ll do it again too although next time I’ll bring a rain poncho. Having said that thanks for the heads up on Hungary. I’ll make sure to avoid that race.


James, since your at the track can you tell us how much of a disadvantage the even numbered grid slots are, from looking at gp2 etc?

Also would teams be allowed to go and sweep and clean that side of the track overnight, and posssibly lay some rubber down using other types of machinery, or is that against the rules?

Many thanks


Hamilton’s run in Q2 on the harder tyres was damned impressive, I thought. Pity he couldn’t reproduce quite the same heroics on his final run in Q3. An even greater shame he wound up on the dirty side of the grid as a result. I’ll be hoping Vettel bogs down off the start, or that Hamilton just manages to get a blinding start and leads into the first corner. If he does that, I reckon he’ll be on for the win again.

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