F1 Winter Break
Hamilton takes Hungarian GP pole with something to spare
McLaren Honda
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Jul 2012   |  4:22 pm GMT  |  136 comments

Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying in Hungary, setting the pace in all three sessions with two laps fast enough for pole position. His margin over second place was more than four tenths, while he had six tenths in hand over his team mate Button in 4th place.

It was Hamilton’s 22nd career pole and the 150th for McLaren. He is joined on the front row by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean in his highest ever starting position after an entertaining session. Sebastian Vettel had to use up sets of soft tyres just to make it into Q3 and his challenge was blunted as a result.

Hamilton was the man to beat on Friday and although he lost out to Mark Webber in FP3, it was largely because he didn’t get the most on new soft tyres. His pace on mediums has been blistering throughout.

“It has been a really positive weekend so far, finally we see the upgrades working this weekend, being able to put car in places I previously wasn’t able to,” said Hamilton.

“I am always striving for the perfect lap, and to get that is intense and exciting and if you get it right it is incredibly empowering. This weekend we have obviously had pace, we knew it was possible but it was just a case of doing it.

“Considering we have had pace all weekend, [missing pole] would have been disappointing, so I am happy I have done it.”

But he will need to be on his mettle tomorrow, particularly with the threat from Grosjean. The Lotus has had race pace to match any team lately but has just lacked qualifying speed. From this front row platform, with potentially better tyre wear, Grosjean could win the race.

Hamilton has scored just four points in the last three races (while Alonso has scored 68) and he has to get a win tomorrow, ideally with Alonso off the podium, to start closing the gap. The McLaren is clearly much improved, but there are threats everywhere.

Hamilton proved his speed early on with a time set on the medium compound tyre that could not be matched by any of those on the soft. He was able to save an extra set of the soft tyres for the final phase of qualifying.

This weekend saw the first fully dry qualifying session in the last three races where McLaren had hoped to put their raft of upgrades to good use. The track temperatures were erratic today; the session started at 46 degrees then fell to 39 then rose to 45 again.

Alongside Button on the second row is Sebastian Vettel, who scraped his way through Q1 in 17th position. Vettel looked like he might be on for pole position earlier in the shoot out until a mistake in the final sector cost him that chance and allowed Grosjean to steal second at the flag.

Red Bull has been under scrutiny again, this time over a ride height control question, with the FIA asking them to remove an item on the suspension which they found on the car in Montreal. For qualifying today an FIA inspector conspicuously put FIA stickers on the side of the Red Bull chassis, underlining how the team is under the microscope at the moment.

The third row is filled by two former World Champions with Kimi Raikkonen having the bragging rights over championship leader Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen completed another strong showing for Lotus who are gaining more consistency and pushing towards their first GP victory.

Alonso had a relatively understated session compared to recent races; the warm conditions proving that his comments this week regarding their lack of pace to other top teams are true.

Felipe Massa will be more satisfied than his Ferrari team mate, ending the session in 7th place and just 0.05 slower than Alonso.

The Williams pairing of Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna are joined by Nico Hulkenberg to complete the top 10. Senna has shown impressive pace all weekend and this is the first time in 2012 that he has made it to the top 10 shoot out.

As qualifying began, the majority of cars headed out on the medium compound tyre as the track became very busy with all 24 runners trying to set an early lap. Hamilton set the initial benchmark in Q1 as he set a 1:21.794; half a second faster than anyone else could manage on the prime tyre.

When the remainder of the field used a set of the option tyres Hamilton’s time remained unbeaten with the softer compound bringing less of an advantage than the half a second that was previously suggested. The top 17 drivers were covered by 1.2 seconds and Vettel was the man under pressure as he just made the cut in to Q2 after aborting his soft tyre run.

Q2 saw every car take the option tyres and Hamilton proved that the option tyre was, in-fact, substantially faster than the prime, at least on his car as he went 9/10ths faster than his medium tyre run and over half a second ahead of team mate Jenson Button when they both used the soft compound.

As many other cars took an early run on their Q1 rubber Hamilton needed just one lap to set a blistering pace of 1:21.0 and 4/10ths of a second faster than Vettel in second place. Mark Webber was unable to match the pace of his Red Bull team mate and found himself in 11th position and out of qualifying, although only 3/10ths off Vettel. Webber was joined in the drop-zone by the two Mercedes who continued with their tyre warming struggles to leave Rosberg and Schumacher  in 13th and 17th places respectively.

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, Hungaroring, Qualifying

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m20.953s
2. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m21.366s + 0.413 secs
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m21.416s + 0.463
4. Jenson Button McLaren 1m21.583s + 0.630
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m21.730s + 0.777
6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.844s + 0.891
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.900s + 0.947
8. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m21.939s + 0.986
9. Bruno Senna Williams 1m22.343s + 1.390
10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m22.847s + 1.894

11. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m21.715s + 0.655
12. Paul di Resta Force India 1m21.813s + 0.753
13. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.895s + 0.835
14. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m21.895s + 0.835
15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m22.300s + 1.240
16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m22.380s + 1.320
17. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m22.723s + 1.663

18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m23.250s + 1.456
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m23.576s + 1.782
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m24.167s + 2.373
21. Charles Pic Marussia 1m25.244s + 3.450
22. Timo Glock Marussia 1m25.476s + 3.682
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m25.916s + 4.122
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m26.178s + 4.384

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This qualifying session proves two things:

1. Ferrari is still far from being the fastest car, with at least 3 cars clearly faster in dry conditions. Therefore, although some still don’t want to admit, what Alonso has done in the first part of the season is absolutely brilliant.

2. The championship fight is still wide open.


0.9 with the first McLaren and 0.45 with the first RB. Ok Ferrari, its time to panic.


Panic?!?! Why? There are so many unknowns going into this race. Very few teams, if any, have done any long runs on the option or prime tires so no one really knows how many laps each tired can do.

Also, McLaren are always hard on their rare tires. This season, if you qualify well, you usually don't race well. When Hamilton and Button pit, Fernando Alonso will put in 3 or 4 very faster laps because the F2012 tires are usually great at the end of a stint.

Third and most importantly, theorecast is for rain during the race. The Mclarens are terrible in the rain. They have a hard time getting heat into the front tires in the rain. Same with Lotus. The F2012 loves the rain. Fernando Alonso is the best driver in the rain.

My prediction is Vettel will win the race with Alonso second and Kimi third.


I have some good hopes on this race thanks to rain, i know how good the Ferrari is and how bad the McLaren is, but you can't expect rain every weekend, at some point Ferrari will have to do a big step forward or they will be caught fast.


Obviously not news as FA has been saying exactly this...and the gap has actually been much bigger in previous races this year. Over-taking is difficult here, so that is one thing that will help. The most worrying thing as I see it is FA starting on the dirty side...

Panic? Why? Ferrari has a certain El Magico. Hopefully will cope with this situation as he has done for last 3 years 😉


I think its raining there right now(actually looks like a storm from what is shown in F1.com)

...no clean or dirty side....but cause of that rain ,mclarn can struggle while vettle escapes the misery of driving with old tyres.


That sounds good, thanks for the info! I am hoping for a wet start & dry finish.


Yes, he has no championships to show, a situation we all pray continues 🙂

Maybe you should look up the meaning of Magic, it is all about deception....


"Yes, he has no championships to show, a situation we all pray continues"

wrong and wrong, sir!


Hungaro Ring has never been Ferrari turf.

They have performed very poorly most of the times.

I even remember Michael Schumacher and Barrichello being lapped at this track.

If he does nothing clumsy, Lewis may win this race.

The question is: can he keep it together the whole race?


Beeing lapped... by Fernando Alonso. He has always been great here, and while he has said the lap could have been better, the difference with Lewis is HUGE.


I wonder if this is a case of Mclarens car being very quick in qualy and then not having such a big margin come race day. Maybe theyre able to switch the tyres on quicker by getting more temp into them.... which could hurt over a race stint. Lewis' starts have been pretty poor recently so if that trend continues, he may get mugged. Both Lotus's should go well off the line as should Alonso, but he is on the dirty side. Not sure how much of a difference this would make considering the rain....

Which will play a big factor if it comes tomorrow. IF it is dry, I expect it to be between Hamilton, Grosjean and Kimi if he can get a good start and pass a couple of cars. Maybe Vettel could get in the mix.

However, IF its wet which seems likely, I expect the Mclarens and Lotus' to go backwards and Alonso and the Bulls will come to the fore. The timing of the rain could prove crucial too. For if it ends wet, its advantage Ferrari and RB. If it starts to dry, things could turn.

It'll be interesting.... for sure 😉


I expect to see Hamilton continue his recent trend of moving straight across to cover the man behind him (Vettel), then worrying about Grosjeaun later in the race.

Though catching the Lotus might not be so easy.


Hamilton has not had the best of starts lately so that is a worry. I just have a feeling that if Grosjean can get past Lap 2/3 it may be his day. He will certainly put pressure on Hamilton. If it rains then all bets are off!


Great observations! My feeling exactly

val from montreal

My only enjoyment as a Schumacher fan nowadays is for anybody to win BUT Alonso ....I could'nt care less who becomes WDC just as long that it's not Montezemelo and Santander-Alonso ....

Schumacher and Mercedes need a bit of rain for the race ...

Go Michael !


What is it Alonso does not have that Schumacher does?

A marginal title resulting from deliberately making Damon Hill crash at last race in season? A disqualification from trying to win another title by doing the same thing to Villeneuve?

Parking his Ferrari at end of lap in Monaco qualy to prevent the same Alonso from taking pole, almost risking Barichellos life during overtake in Hungary I think not many years ago...

I see your point, the list with differences between the too can become veery long indeed and that is one of the reasons why i adore Alonso.


"What is it Alonso does not have that Schumacher does?"

5 extra titles...


how can you not admire Alonso/Ferrari, just sour grapes


I think it's to do with the Schumacher fans belief, that Ferrari were arrogant enough to think they were bigger than MSC and signed Kimi for 2007.

I have found many fans of MSC have re-written history to their view.

"The great and mighty MSC" took exception to Kimi's arrival and decided to retire for Massa's career.

Yet he remained an advisor to Ferrari from 2007 to 2009. He tested the F1 cars during winter testing to help the team, conducted on track testing of Ferrari road cars and was in training hard for a call up to Ferrari after Massa had his accident.

MSC understood, perfectly well, that this is business, and any true Ferrari fan loves the success we had with Michael.

He may not be loved, as Alonso is, but he certainly is respected.

Bear in mind, this selfless sporting legend was being paid around $25 to $30 million a year for a decade and through a very astute manager had agreed with Ferrari to use their iconic shield on his merchandising products. Something that earnt him many millions more over his wages.

This sporting legend was playing football on a "broken" leg whilst Ferrari were trying to win the championships in 1999.

His selflessness even extended as far as choosing which races he would let Barrichello win for his good behavior.

It's one thing training a dog to follow your command, but if you need to control another human being, something is unhealthy.

History can be written in so many ways, depending on your views and feelings.


Well I'm a Hamilton fan but if he doesn't make the cut this year there's nobody I'd rather see than Alonso.

I'm kind of dreading the possibility a last round where it's only Alonso and Hamilton left in it - because I think they *both* deserve another championship! 🙂


Agree with your first point..Alonso is by far, going on the first half of the season, the only one who deserves 'another'. Whilst I can understand your opinion (being a supporter of Hamilton), i can't see why he deserves 'another one' going on the last 18 months or so. Webber would be deserving however i cannot see it happening at RB.

I have a feeling that this season will throw up a few more 'curve balls'.


I don't really see how you can apply your logic of Hamilton not being deserving based on the last 18 months, then go on to say Webber would be deserving where, apart from the odd race, he has been trounced by his team mate! In 2010 I would have agreed with you.

Anyway if we take 12 out of the last 18 months and concentrate on this year, Hamilton has clearly matured and not only is he driving fantastically well, he's dealt remarkably well with an awful lot of team foul ups and general bad luck.


Well, Alonso is doing miracles in that car right now . We are witnessing something exceptional. Their crazy innovations start to pay off … hopefully this will inspire the Mercedes Dream Team to be bold for their 2013 challenger as well. They need to re-sign Schumacher for two years. I want to see him in the mix with Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton!

Bring Back Murray

I'd like him to stay for two more years also. I can just feel that he's still got some real speed in there somewhere and for whatever reason he hasn't been quite able to show it yet.

Can Alonso keep the title challenge going if we get a few races in a row run under relatively normal conditions... I think he deserves it this year although I hope Hamilton can work his way back into it somehow.


Brawn has stated that driver continuity into 2014 (engine change) is definitly a factor in the Schumacher decision.

My feeling is that Schumacher will stay for another 2 years. There is no way back for him after he retires the second time, and besides, he's still improving. It would be a shame if after all the setbacks, the critisims, calls to quit, etc he were to leave just when he's found his form again.


I share the same sentiment with you being a Schumacher fan though I do have a new found respect for Alonso as a driver.


Fantastic performance from Lewis, he really was on it from the get go -- I guess he must have taken the Olympic spirit to heart. Well done

Also good job by Grosjean for pulling a rabbit out the hat and worryingly for Kimi, it's now 7-4 in Grosjean's favour.

Not too surprised to see the Ferraris P6 & P7 but sure was surprised to see Massa this close to his teammate & more so he beat him by 6 tenths on the medium tyre plus beat him in Q2

Anyway, with Alonso's famous electric starts off the grid (since his Renault days), he might as well have qualified P2.

As for Williams their pace is encouraging seeing as Senna too made it to Q3 though it's worrying times for Mercedes.

On the other end of the scope, it's a darn shame but the Catheham upgrades seem to not have worked.


Given your general support for Lewis, I'm surprised that you regard this as a form rise for him. There have been very few "Lewis moments" where he has overworked his tyres or risk too much wheel-to-wheel. Without a Vettel in the other car is difficult to critice his pace in qualifying or the race relative to Button.

The McLaren design engineers possibly got into the olympic spirit back in June getting this upgrade together.


Wasn't it you who said winning this Grand Prix statistically doesn't bode well for the championship?

Anyway as alonso said, Webber is behind him..


Maybe he's changed his tune since I educated him on the laws of averages! 🙂


🙂 Somebody had to, thankyou lol



During the qualifying coverage over here in the U.S., the commentators were talking about a fresh RBR controversy, implying that they may have a driver-operated ride height control, linked to a third damper at each wheel. If true, this would contravene the sporting regulations.

Do you have any info on this?


I find it interesting how Horner always denies everything.


"How are you certain that I mis-quoted him? You can’t be, just as I can’t prove he said words to that effect."

It's a little principle I like to live my life by, it's known as innocent until proven guilty!


I try to do that too. As I'm sure you know, it's easy to say and hard to do. We all have our pre-set opinons on guilt / innocence. It would seem we both have them on this issue. However, what do they matter other than to ourselves? They don't, and mine really does't matter to me very much.

Thanks for an interesting exchange. I'm done.



I'm not a Red Bull fan. I'm a fan of Formula 1 first, McLaren second. But misquoting Horner as saying that Vettel never left the track is hardly fair!


How are you certain that I mis-quoted him? You can't be, just as I can't prove he said words to that effect. As far as fair goes, it certainly has little to do with F-1. The teams are always trying to figure a way to get an edge over the competition, even if it means taking advantage of a lack of clarity in the rules leading them to believe that what they've done or are doing will be seen as legal---if they they are 'called' on it. I understand that it's very rare that the officials use 'the spirit of the rules' to nay-say something. I understand that has been the nature of F-1 since 'day one' and it no doubt continue to be so. After all, F-1 is about innovation.


Ok well that's not the same as saying that Vettel never left the track.


No, it isn't. I couldn't find a reference that had that. Still, it was a denial and certainly not justified. In my opinion, Red Bull and Horner are out to get away with anything they can. To my mind, that's not sporting. However, I certainly don't look down at those who are Red Bull / Horner / Vettel / Webber fans. My opinion is just that: opinion, and nothing more.



Can you find a source?

William Wilgus

Further, if he was "clearly ahead", how could Button run him out wide?

"He goes to the outside. Gets clearly ahead and then Jenson runs him out wide and over the kerb."

William Wilgus


“He goes to the outside. Gets clearly ahead and then Jenson runs him out wide and over the kerb. So I think it is unfair to say he got an unfair advantage from that, it was a racing incident,” Horner said.

“If you slow the camera down to the point that Sebastian leave the track you will see clearly that he is ahead.

“Jenson is actually wheel spinning out of the corner, he has no grip. Sebastian has jinked around him. I think it would be very harsh to penalise him.”


"but I was especially thinking of the 4 wheels off the track bit: something like ‘He never left the track’ comes to mind."

Did he really say that? I don't think he did!

William Wilgus

Vettel admitted going off the track but claimed he had to because he wasn't sure where Button was. If I remember correctly, Horner did claim he never left the track; I'm quite sure of it.


Well he's hardly likely to come out and say "yes, that's exactly what we've been doing", is he?

William Wilgus

True, true . . . but I was especially thinking of the 4 wheels off the track bit: something like 'He never left the track' comes to mind. I can't help wondering that if he never left the track, why does the video show him doing so? Horner said he didn't, and therefore that must be so. ;^)



What sporting regulations??


See my reply to franed above

What really bothers me about this one is that the teams take great pains to save every gram of weight. A system which allows actuation of the ride height via a hand operated system must weigh more than one requiring an externally applied tool.

Other than the obvious purpose of circumventing the parc ferme rules, what possible value could such a system have?


Thanks jeff, but I was only being sarcastic. According to the team representatives themselfs, the sporting regulations are "spirit-less" these days.

Regarding being able to change the ride height from within the car. The advantages are obvious (a lower car at qualy and later stints in race, than other teams) and I wonder for how long time RB has been doing this. Such a system could explain the extreme dominance that RB have had during qualification in recent years, expecially 2011.

Movable aerodynamic devices are illegal no?


Actually I don't think it's driver operated - merely something that engineers can tweak by hand (rather than using a tool) so they could do it slyly even when the car is in park ferme, between qualifying and race.


Yes, it relates to the Canadian GP and the FIA has put stickers over the holes where they believe the mechanics would insert a tool to raise or lower the car.


But it is quite legal to change the height. Just not while the car is in motion or with any powered device.

Tech regs 10.2.2 and 10.2.3

Have the rules changed?


According to the BBC website, article 34.5 of the sporting regulations states "In order that the scrutineers may be completely satisfied that no alterations have been made to the suspension systems or aerodynamic configuration of the car (with the exception of the front wing) whilst in post qualifying parc ferme, it must be clear from physical inspection that changes cannot be made without the use of tools."

Apparently, RBR can do it without tools via some lever assembly. The obvious question it raises is 'If they don't have some nefarious purpose, why would they carry the extra weight of such a linkage?'


If it relates to the Canadian GP, why have the FIA been so slow in acting? The business of the mapping was dealt with in three or four DAYS, but this has taken several weeks to come up.

Would it not be better for the FIA technical boys to have a Red Bull to see what else they can find?

Last years flexi front wing wasn't really resolved properly IMO.


We do not know for how long FIA did know about engine map and holes in floor, before they acted on them and we got to know about them (via media)...do we? So 3/4 days may not be the case


The US commentators were implying that the ride height could theoretically be changed by the driver from inside the car, possibly during the race, allowing them to drop the ride height as fuel burns off. This could have been a significant qualification and race advantage.

Is this a true statement of the nature of RBR's system?


Whenever Grosjean starts up the front end of the grid he always seems to crash in the first couple of laps. Hopefully it will be different this time.


Meanwhile, it's odd that 7 out of 10 drivers that made it to Q3 didn't improve their times matter of fact, 6 of those drivers did post times that wouldn't have made the Q2 cut off time.

Anyway some fun facts

a) The last driver to win from pole here is none other than Lewis himself

b) However the last time Lewis won from pole -- Canada 2010.

c) The dirty side in Hungary is usually dirty and thus Grosjean risks getting jumped at the start.

d) Lotus has never won the Hungary Grand Prix with only Renault having one win with Alonso in 2013.


And none of this makes any difference if that track is wet at start time. Depending on standing water, it may well prove to be a safety car start.


So Alonso is moving to newly reminted Renault next year? 😉


Also, its been confirmed that 'the dirty side in hungary is usually dirty' and for some reason only Grosjean will be at risk of geting 'jumped'. I just hope they find the clean side in time and Roman keeps his wallet


haha 🙂


I tried that, & was slapped down for calling it a Renault-rebadged.

I think the fella was a Toleman fan or something.


@ AuraF1

Hahaha you never know!


Lewis seemed to be on it all through out, upgrades working for him but not Jenson. I feel the grid is well balanced for an interesting race. Im tired of the rain but at the same time I prefer it as it adds a nice hint of excitement to the ace.


I think jenson has never been much on Saturday's it's only Sunday's he really proves his worth since he's a smarter driver than many(but clearly not a faster one). Still I think the upgrades worked for jenson given he wasn't out down in 10th or something, being a few renege behind Lewis on quali is about normal for jenson when Lewis is on form, when he was dropping to about a second behind Lewis you knew the car wasn't working for jenson at all - despite what the button haters say, he isn't that much slower than Lewis.

It was interesting to hear jenson complain of understeer though. Normally he loves an understeering tendency and it's overstate he's always trying to dial out - I guess they went so far the other way this time it was too much.

Lewis on the other hand looked like mclaren found a less stiff set up for him as the car genuinely flexed in the few faster corners this time and it suited Lewis perfectly.


"It was interesting to hear jenson complain of understeer though."

Um... he complains about it pretty much every race! "I've got masssssive understeer" is becoming a bit of a Jenson MeMe around F1 sites across the globe!


As much as I like both drivers, it's very evident Jenson is very vocal about understeer, lets see what he does with it in the race as he seems to fair well on a sunday. I looked at a few weather radars and it's predicted but some show low probabilities of precipitation. A varying range between 30% - 70%. Nonetheless it all adds to the excitment.


whats the chances of rain tommorow?


BBC website said 45% chance of thunder storms and showers..

I hope it does rain, but not from the start. I want the rain to add more excitment to what we currently have.

Having Alonso and webber starting in 6th and 11th and Schumi in 17th should make the race really interesting.

Bring Back Murray

Hopefully we'll have a shower somewhere in the middle of the race, then it'll be one of those races where as it starts to dry out some dude will stick on a pair of slicks and go 10 seconds faster than anyone else!


Speed TV said 100%!


Well, there you go. Speed TV, known for their weather forecasts!


There's been a lot of talk of 'all 4 wheels over the white lines' lately. Vettel qualified by going over those lines - was there any talk of investigation or protest? I'm getting a bit tired of the lack of consistency with the rules, it's about time they got tough and spelled them out to the drivers and stuck to them.


I gave up on consistency from officials years ago. Nothing changes.


All that needs to be done is increase the intrinsic (penalties experienced directly from the action) penalty for going off track. Meaning that it must not be beneficial to a driver's time if he runs wide. More astro-turf, slippery corrugated curbing or even bring back gravel traps for some places.

These features will mean reduced traction or minor car damage to driver's leaving the bounds of the circuit. By having adequate intrinsic penalties, extrinsic penalties (penalties awarded by the stewards) will not be required for this type of driving infringement.

But easier still, as it is the same for everyone, these incidents could simply just be ignored. Like with the exit of Ascari at Monza where it is acceptable for drivers to run wide, outside of the defined track.


Alonso had all 4 wheels off the track last week in qualifying, especially his pole lap, with no hint of a penalty???

C'mon guys let's be fair...


He was off the track at least 3 times in his Q3 lap, which was his fastest, so you would think he should get a penalty. Hope he doesn't though, and keeps Alonso behind him, helping Hamilton to close the gap


I thought the same thing Davexxx! I was sure his time wouldn't stand, and he would have to do another lap, but he just went and parked his car and got 3rd place. Maldonado did the same thing too.

His time should not stand. He went off the track on the last corner.

I guess we'll have to go back to gravel traps because as soon as you make them pavement to give the drivers some safety margin, they abuse it.

Just a week ago, we finally got the correct ruling on a driver abusing the safety features of the track, and then a week later he does the same thing and NO ONE even mentions it in the media.


So let me get this straight; Red Bull will once again be penalized for something obviously illegal and found outside the spirit of the rules. Oh yes, and Sebastian Vettel is only capable of doing well if his car is the fastest.


So, have we figured out the amount of time the engine mapping has cost RBR?


It depends what you think it does. If the mapping is to enhance driveability and hence reduce tyre wear, then the impact would be greatest at the end of the stints. If the Red Bulls are stuck behind slower cars then this could have virtually no effect.

If you believe it gives a fraction increase in downforce for a given torque demand from the driver mid corner, then the greatest advantage would be in qualifying and it would be eroded in the race with increased tyre degradation from increased heat. In that context you'd expect the Red Bulls to come back at the McLarens at the end of the stint even more so than Vettel did on Button in Germany.




It will show in the race tomorrow, It's got to be a fraction every lap and that will show over a race distance.


I feel the effect will be more pronounced if it is a wet race.

I am not coming down harsh on Vettel, but with RBR trying every trick to fool FIA, sometimes I feel they are racing with aids (auto braking, no damage, traction control etc like on video games).

For this reason, I feel Vettel should come out of his comfort zone in RBR and prove he is a capable driver in a new team too to be considered among the greats in F1. The man's got speed, does he have the guile and race craft? we will know that only when he is proving it like Alonso in a inferior car defending against opponents in much superior cars.

I hope the qualifying made it clear to the people who were in denial that Ferrari didn't have the fastest car. There are 3 teams with cars faster than them in F1 currently.


Hopefully grosjean does it for Lotus ..long overdue for a mid tier team ...somehow JV;s comment that 2 new drivers may have hurted Lotus's chances...maybe in the hands of Alonso..the Lotus team may have been championship leader ... has Kimi lost the edge or does it take time to settle into F1 and hence the drop of performance


is it just me, or do I hear a wee bit of chatter from those at the sharp end of the grid intimating that there could be a bit of a problem with the consistency of the tires from 1 set to another??

I think I have a basic understanding of the extraordinary difficulty in manufacturing/storing/mounting/using such a large number of hand-made tires every event has to be...

but IF a quality driver/Team even thinks they can measure the difference (as in "we need to find why we could not..."), it could be totally devastating for the sport...


TitanRacer I have been saying this all season. I have put it to JAllen on more than one occasion with no response. If the operating window of a tyre can be so slim and so dependant on so many variables working within the same slim window how can you manufacture a tyre to be consistent race by race and team by team.


I think that tyre variations have existed throughout the time that I've been following F1 since the 1985.

There are so many variables, from getting the tyre pressures exactly the same, the initial heating of the tyres (the time spent in the blankets) and by the driver (energy put in given different track conditions), to ambient and track conditions and fuel load, that it is very difficult to isolate why the performance on a tyre set might not be quite right.

I don't see total devastation. No lives were lost due to Renault's alternator problems in Valencia. As the teams have a free choice of six sets in a race, several would need to be dodgy for say Red Bull to sue Pirelli so that the fellow Italians at Ferrari could win. Otherwise it woud come down to chance as the bad tyre might not even be picked.

If the tyres are randomly bad, then it could be argued that Pirelli could have its reputation damaged, and no other supplier would want to come in. At that point you might need a tyre war to ensure there are tyres to use.


impossible NOT to have variations. always have been - always will be. seems natural that at the pinnacle of racing, the variations would be expected to be VERY minimal.

it just seems that some drivers/Teams are beginning to hint there may be performance variation issues beyond what they feel comfortable with...


It's a complicated business. But, basically if you are ahead in the driver standings (that's the drivers listed in order of championship points gained) then you have LESS not more worry !


pardon me, this is in ref to No 7 "Goferet".


Great front end on hamiltons mclaren in the last sector. In a different league to alonso's Ferrari through turns 12 13 and 14.


Ferrari, as expected. McLaren, as expected. Do you guys remember the fact that all drivers were warned not to use the off track areas as they will be penalized? Mny people posted vettel going outside the track with 4 wheels...do you think FIA noticed?



Vettel did put all the four wheels across the white line...James can use ask FIA or stewards to look at Vettel`s Q3 lap...this is not good for Formula 1...how much Redbull are going to cheat FIA and Formula 1...


was VERY surprised at the showing Bruno Senna has done all weekend so far.

also pleased to see the results of Charles Pic at Marussia again.

sorry, but after almost 3 years, I still ain't buying into the recent hype over Caterham / Kovy.

good to see the Hulk finally making his presence known in the Team.

so very pleased that Toro Rosso is atill reeling after dumping Scott Speed... what they have done to virtually EVERY driver is simply unconscionable...


Hi James,

Why did FIA count the lap that Vettel set during Q3 when he ran with four wheels over the white line...why did they haven`t given any penalty to Vettel...where most of the other drivers lap were discarded..even hamilton thrown his lap once due to the same mistake...



He should have been penalized with no second thoughts. I'm really getting fed up with Red Bull***t.

And since they are so fond of conspiracy theories, here's one for them:

Ricciardo didn't improve his time because Vettel didn't have time nor tires to afford any more runs to improve his time in Q1.


Why did Ricciardo pit on his last flying lap? Oh yes so as not to take out his teams number one driver - Vettel!


I find the big gap LH has to basically everyone else, including his team mate, very surprising. Does he have new parts that are not on Buttons car? Or is it that his car setup is more aggressive, optimized more towards qualifying than race? I suspect LH will be suffering from tyre wear/deg much more than everyone else tomorrow.


If it stays dry and hot then I think you are likely to be right. The McLaren might be a bit softer in its springs now, but high aerodynamic loads will generate more heat and therefore more degradation. The car has not gone well at the two hot races in Bahrain and Valencia, so that isn't a great sign.


It's entirely normal for Lewis to blow Jenson away in quali when he's on form.

If it's dry, only a Lotus will stand a chance of catching Lewis tomorrow.


Can we please let it be known to the FIA that we do not like the new podium interview format. The old format is much better.

Bring Back Murray

They aren't planning to do that every race are they from now on? I thought that was something they did just as a one off. Agreed, it was so random and unprofesional wasn't it.

If it ain't broke...


older was more dignified, and also tradition is important



With all due respect to one of my heroes, Sir Jackie...


+1, feels unprofessional. Australian TV only shows this interview but it's the professional journalists we want to see asking questions


Yes it's awfully tacky. I guess it's good for those who actually go an see the race live, to be able to see the drivers' reactions. But I'd rather they just did an open-air press conference than be interrupted on the podium.


I agree. James, do you know any way the FIA can gauge public opinion on this? If the majority are for it then let it stay, but I (for one) am not sold on it yet.


Well, it could be better if they sent someone up there with decent questions lined up for the drivers.


I agree. Think it is possibly the worst ever idea from the fia


Well it just goes to show what a lottery racing is on these Pirelli tyres, to be honest it is quite ridiculous and a farce. That said Lewis and McLaren deserved pole this weekend as they produced some scintilating laps, but getting cars to consistently work properly with these tyres is too complex and variable a study for racing conditions. I would support a move back to durable tyres next season as what we are seeing is unrepresentative of what a racing car and driver can produce in ideal circumstances.


It's no good telling the drivers to "imagine" there's a wall at the edge of the circuit they just need to actually put in the walls or some other means to slow/take out a driver,a la Monaco, if they venture off the circuit. Either that or have 3 warnings= a drive through. Any how Vettel and Red Bull do seem good at cheating. I just can't get to liking them as team for some reason


Mercedes as always are just falling back as the season progresses. James do you think theres a chance Schumacher could leave and go to Ferrari for a year before retiring?


Mercedes - how long before they pull the plug?

Whether it be 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 they will never produce a top 5 or race winning car, never.

There is simply no improvement in 3 years. Its laughable.

Why would Schumacher want to resign to come 7, or 8th or worse. risk his life to come last. Surely his wife would say "Michael, this is madness."


Im guessing you didn't watch China this year? Cause Nico won, in a Mercedes...

Bring Back Murray

Buzz of driving a car at 320 kph I guess!


Hell yes!!! 100% chance of rain for the race. Fernando Alonso gets his 31st win on his 31st birthday.

The McLarens struggle in the rain because they can't get heat into the front tires.

Same with the Lotus.

Since the FIA deemed their flexing front wing illegal, their front wheel hub illegal, their hole in the floor illegal, their engine mapping illegal, their ride height front suspension adjustable from inside the cockpit illegal, Red Bull will also struggle in the rain.

Come on Fernando!!!

Tornillo Amarillo

McLaren has got momentum now, great speed in dry conditions, podium in Germany, historic unlapping, pole in Hungary, record pitstops ever...

I think if they do some negative times in the pitstops(-2 or -3 seconds) they can easily win the race.


Tall poppy syndrome at its best! Whenever red bull is exploring the boundaries, its called Cheating, when its Maclaren or Ferrari, its called ingenuity???

When Alonso qualifies in Germany with his whole car off the track, and also during the race regularly off the track in the same corner, its called a supreme performance. Vettel does it during this qualifying and everyone calls him a cheat???

We all have our favourite teams/drivers, but let's try and be unbiased and consistent in our judgement


Many, many posters on here regard McL as cheats, mainly without justifiable reason.

The $100m fine for spygate is used & probably will be until those posters are six feet under.

McL have been careful not to contravene any regs witout having it checked first (F duct) as they have been tageted for a long time.

Now the focus is on Red Bull.


Vettel did it on the dry on Q3. Alonso did it on the wet (almost everyone did), and in the race. 1 10th of a second isnt much in race, but in qualifying is a lot, Vettel should get a warning at least.


James, what is your prediction for podium finishers today? I'm guessing Lewis Grosjean then Kimi. Does this result not also prove that the Ferrari is clearly not the fastest car still, by a country mile.


It's wet then it could be anyone's game. Dry and I see Grosjean giving Hamilton a hard time


Considering the weather forecast that rain will fall, the order will change which can be interesting on the narrow tight Hungary track.

Should it be a dry race Grojean could be the winner although I'd love to see Kimi on the top steps. Also hoping Hamilton tyre management can hold as he's in the front knowing his aggressive driving style.

As for Alonso we all know anything can happen, usually on a positive. Ferrari was rather draggy in quaili.

Red Bull has been in the suspicious mode from FIA with stickers plastered on the suspension area. Looks like they've dropped their pace with change to their engine mapping.

But most of all I like is being not sure of what will happen from the weather changes if it does occur. But then again it might be 45 degrees track temp all the way.

The 3 weeks break after Hungary sure helps as the Olympics will be over by then.


If Hamilton gets a decent start he's won it end of story ! . If not then The Lotus & Red Bull will come into play. For those of you still counting Qualifying performances as your driver preference -I remind you it counts for nothing on Sunday and those same drivers quite often get passed by their team mates on Sunday ! I really hope Romain goes well this time and gives Lewis a real headache but I cannot get over how people still knock Kimis performance after two years out - he is still fighting 4th place in the drivers ! Well ahead of his team mate. I still reckon he is more likely to make a mistake during the race.


Why did not Riccardio make another run in Q1, when it was obvious that:

1. the car was capable of going at least .5 s faster, judging from the time of his team mate (that he usually have had no problems beating in qualy thus far in season)

2. his current time was not going to be enough to make it to Q2

As a direct consequence, mr Vettel made it to Q2, and was able to save tyres.

What does it mean to have a "sister team"?? Another "grey area", that RB are using to have the advantage of running with 4 cars instead of 2?


They'd planned just one run on softs.

Missing Ascanelli in my view, but then again Vergne has failed to make the cut plenty of times in the past



In the press conference, you sounded like you did the 'quickest time' up the stairs. Or were you just happy to be there?

On a more serious note, if Grosjean can get pass Lap2/3 without hitting anything i can see him being a real threat. Has there been any talk around the inner circles about Grosjean and his early laps in a GP. Is he highly strung by nature and takes time to settle since it cannot be all bad luck? Wonder what a heart monitor on him would produce. I would like to see him do well and i think it may be this race. He needs to start converting quali into good points.


I had to run from the comm box which is at far end of grandstand, to the other end of the stand, down stairs, across a bridge, down some more stairs, then the full length of the paddock and up some more stairs. In 31 degrees heat..

So that's why..


Is that all?!?!?? LUXURY!!! 🙂


Now, where are you people that often state "I am growing tired of hearing Ferrari has a much slower car than Mclaren/RB", especially when Alonso manages to delivere an extraordinary performance to put the car higher up than what it deserves.

Are you seeing the point now? Will you remember it in case Alonso goes on to win the race today in some way? Probably not.


Makes my £363 a year sky subscription look like a waste when this happens...


I couldn't agree with your more... I respect him as a driver but find him intolerable as a person

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