Hamilton Takes “Surprise” Pole Position To edge out Vettel in Hungary
Mercedes
Posted By:   |  27 Jul 2013   |  2:49 pm GMT  |  282 comments

Lewis Hamilton surprised both himself and his Mercedes team as he took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix with a sensational lap to beat pre-qualifying favourite Sebastian Vettel.

It is Hamilton’s third consecutive pole position – the first time he has managed that – and the 30th of his career.

Having stated that missing out on last week’s Young Driver Test at Silverstone, where their rivals tested the new Pirelli tyres, had hampered their chances of a strong result this weekend, Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg showed themselves as pole contenders from the outset of qualifying. The German was fastest in both Q1 and Q2. Rosberg had not been outqualified by a team mate here since his debut season 2006, but Hamilton put clear daylight between himself and Rosberg when the talking stopped at the end of Q3.

After the first runs of the top ten shoot-out Vettel seemed to have one hand on pole as he lapped 3/10ths faster than we had seen so far this weekend, and set a challenge to the Mercedes pair and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

And Hamilton duly obliged – setting a stunning first sector – as he took 3/10ths off Vettel’s time and waited for the German to complete his final lap.

Vettel improved upon his personal best but ended the session 4/100ths away from Hamilton’s pace.

After topping the final Free Practice session this morning Grosjean emerged as Lotus’ best chance for pole position and was on the pace throughout. Growing from his strong showing in Germany in the previous race, the young Frenchman claimed third position, putting himself in with a very good chance of at least a podium tomorrow. However his car failed a floor deflection test and he was sent to the stewards, but they let him off as Lotus was able to prove that the floor had been damaged.

The sister Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen did not have such joy as the Finn struggled to hustle his car through the lap in the way that his team-mate had. Grosjean set the fastest time in the long second sector, where as Raikkonen was 4/10ths off in that section alone.

Nevertheless, Raikkonen still starts the race in sixth position and his cars kindness to its tyres along with his supreme consistency should see him move up the field.

Between the Lotus pair is Rosberg and the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Rosberg had been in touch with Hamilton in the opening stages of qualifying but could not pull the most out of the car when it mattered.

Keeping Alonso and Raikkonen at bay is key for his team’s Constructors’ Championship as Ferrari and Lotus sit close behind Mercedes, who are second.

Alonso continued his run of putting the Ferrari in its strongest possible position as they continue to lack the single lap pace of the Mercedes and Red Bull. His team-mate, Felipe Massa, will start seventh after a good showing.

The final three place in the top ten are filled by a trio who will have differing levels of satisfaction.

Daniel Ricciardo made it four consecutive races in which he has qualified in the top ten, once again beating his team-mate and improving his chances of a Red Bull seat in 2014.

And the man who’s seat he desires had a less successful afternoon. Mark Webber suffered an electrical issue in Q1, losing KERS in the process and opting to sit out of Q3 to give himself a free tyre choice for tomorrow.

That pair sandwich Sergio Perez in a repaired McLaren. The Mexican crashed in the final moments of FP3 and did not enter qualifying until the closing minutes of Q1. However, he out-qualified Jenson Button and rewarded his mechanics for their work.

Vettel’s long runs on both tyres have been very strong all weekend, however there is a question over the rear brakes overheating; all cars will be right on the edge for cooling tomorrow and we could well see a number struggling.

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, Budapest, Qualifying

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m19.388s
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m19.426s +0.038s
3. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m19.595s +0.207s
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m19.720s +0.332s
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m19.791s +0.403s
6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m19.851s +0.463s
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m19.929s +0.541s
8. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m20.641s +1.253s
9. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m22.398s +3.010s
10. Mark Webber Red Bull no time set
11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m20.569s +0.791s
12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m20.580s +0.802s
13. Jenson Button McLaren 1m20.777s +0.999s
14. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m21.029s +1.251s
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m21.133s +1.355s
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams- 1m21.219s +1.441s
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m21.724s +1.374s
18. Paul di Resta Force India 1m22.043s +1.693s
19. Charles Pic Caterham 1m23.007s +2.657s
20. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m23.333s +2.983s
21. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m23.787s +3.437s
22. Max Chilton Marussia 1m23.997s +3.647s

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1

hamilton shows why he is the best f1 driver to have stepped foot in the sport.

he refused to change his diff settings while rosberg changed his towards the end of the race, adviced by his engineers. rosberg blew his engine and hamilton finished the race in front!

hamilton is also technically superior!

2

Hungary is usually the most affected track for grip difference off the start line from odd side to even side.

Vettel on the dirty side of the grid = best hope for an exciting race! Nothing against Seb, but I hope he doesn’t get the lead at the start or he’ll be gone.

Grosjean into the first corner from third on the clean side of the grid will be interesting!

3

A notable lack of FIA pit-lane tabards on the few seconds of tv we are allowed in the UK.

http://www.fia.com/news/pit-lane-access-during-free-practice-sessions

Neither Suzi nor Gary were wearing them.

I hope the R5Live engineer has got his/her plugs switches and faders sorted for the race, since we lost James for several periods while either another station or other reporters were faded up in his place. When we get no live tv we rely on R5Live (SE?)

Unfortunately Susy Wolff’s soft Scottish tones are difficult to hear when compared to Alan McNish’s somewhat harder tones. So please ask her to speak up.

4

Apologies for that. Somehow the line routed out of London got mixed with some OB from Leeds which no one was across.

5

Vettel and Hamilton are the kings of pole positions.

Sunday’s race will be interesting with the so called improved tires. Gotta observe live timing for the drop off point for the softs and mediums with the heavy fuel loads.

If Vettel wins at Hungary, Alonso can kiss goodbye for the title fight. I hope not as it will become a bore fest for the remaining races. I know we can watch the fight for the runner up and so on, but it’s kinda different. Nothing like watching the top contenders battling for the WDC.

Grosjean could be the dark horse? He’s back to third on the grid after the floor board clarification.

6

Alonso says that Ferrari have improved, so let’s hope so – I want to see a car with speed challenge the Red Bull. Still, Vettel should walk away with this race, like he did in Bahrain in the heat. People talk about Ferrari or Lotus, but Red Bull’s tyre management is pretty good also!

7

James,

One doubt and confusion. Was Vettel’s Q2 time of 1:19.9 on new tyres or the tyres he used in Q1??

The team press release says Vettel had 2 new sets of soft tyres for Q3.

RBR are very clever in Q1. They don’t push the tyres to the limits at all (his time was only 1:20:6) and appear to use the same tyre in Q2 as well. Whereas all other teams needed to use new tyres in Q2 as well.

8

Vettel used the same set in Q2 so he had 2 sets for Q3 yes

We called that as it happened on 5Live

9

Oh James. Just found that we can access bbc radio in India too. Thanks a ton. Looking forward to ur commentary later in the race. Cheers.

10

Cool, hope you enjoyed it!

11

Can anybody honestly believe anything that comes out of Lewis’ mouth anymore?? Either he tries to play himself up by saying the car is nowhere or else he actually has no idea how to gauge his car’s performance. Saying “we have no chance” every weekend and then sticking it on pole is getting boring. If you’re as good as we all hope you are then say it and stick it to Vettel!!

12

Every race he goes to he says “this is the best fans” he just tries to win fans. Would you believe him.

13
Tornillo Amarillo

Maybe will be Grosjean day, hopefully, I wanna see Vettel defending P2 from Grosjean while Lewis build a 1+ second gap to prevent Vettel using DRS.

14

Mr Allen do see any possibility for Monaco repeat i.e. Hamilton deliberately setting a very slow pace to save tries. This track is very hard to overtake, isn’t it?

15

At Monaco it is extremely difficult to pass, although not impossible. Here passing is easier than Monaco, but still difficult overall. The start is where most overtaking will be done although many will try for the undercut at the pit stops.

16

The safety car in Monaco allowed the Merc to stay in front at the pit stop. That is not likely to happen here and will make Merc vulnerable at the pit stops.

17

The safety car almost cost Merc the win in Monaco, and very likely cost them a 1-2 there.

18

Would not have cost them the win as the safety car had to pick up the race leader, Rosberg, Hamilton lost second thru’ his own error as he readily admitted.

19

With Monaco there were a few differences. The tyres were more wear limited rather than degradation affected, so there wasn’t as large a difference between the cars. Here the tyres are more likely to heat degrade, which is more like Barcelona. Also being a two or three stop race, it gives the teams many more options to pass via the pit stops as there are more options to stop earlier than the car ahead can contemplate.

20

Harder to keep people behind you here!

21

So is Barcelona and we all seen how easy the Mercs were to pass there.

22

Interesting line up for tomorrow in the first 3 rows,more inriguing who has their thinking cap on come race day? Cars as we know start on tyres used in qualifying and the Hungaroring is tricky to pass even with DRS,Hamilton i fear chose the latter hoping he can keep others at bay during the opening laps,downside is he’s probably destroyed the tyres by claiming pole so how many laps before he has to come in? Mercedes have not so far got on top of the tyre issue and i can see the car slipping back very early. RBR,Ferrari and Lotus will pounce come race day,no points for pole but it was a great lap from Hamilton.

23

While these tyres create pit stops they also create an unevenly competitive grid, and it must be utterly soul destroying when drivers are forced to conserve rather than being able to push. If a driver is in a Red Bull then no problem, but any other team is disadvantaged to a lesser or greater extent depending on whether the conditions suit the way a particular car interacts with the tyres. It’s an utter farce and Vettel is simply going to stroll to another championship this year precisely for that reason. – He has little competition just needs to avoid mistakes, be conmsistent and hay ho he’s there again.

24

Richard, are you reporting from the 2014 season? I’d love to hear more about it. You surely cannot be talking about 2013, where Red Bull are amongst the teams that have struggled with tyre wear, at least compared to Lotus and Ferrari.

25

Since 2014 has not happened yet how could I? I did not mention tyre wear, simply the cars interaction with the tyres with regard to thermal degradation. Red Bull have the best compromise now. They struggle a bit at the beginning but Newey and co have got on top of it some time back or didn’t you notice that? Not that I think the 2013 tyres were any good I don’t, and I’d sooner be shot of high degradation tyres full stop so that we could then start racing properly again. Red Bull have a distinct advantage in design excellence, and a very well run team.

26

Sorry Idon’t know what your point is.

Vettel, (not a fan), is leading the championship despite the tyres. Had the cars been able to push to the limit Red Bull would be celebrating the double by now.

27

You have to understand what’s going on. Vettel as well as having the most agile car also has a car with the best compromise in the way it interacts with the tyres while other drivers are at a disadvantage for one reason or another. Being a top driver he would find it quite difficult not to win. Bring back durable tyres that the teams can really push on rather than continue the current farce.

28

@Jake “Had the cars been able to push to the limit Red Bull would be celebrating the double by now.”

Have to say I disagree there matey. ATM the RB and the Mercs are pretty even pace wise. The Mercs just can’t handle on high fuel loads and overheat it’s tyres.

So if we had more durable tyres then I think Lewis would edge it. I think Lewis even said this recently.

29

No question Merc have closed the gab but I still think the Bulls are the best all round package.

30

i am a lewis fan for two reasons he has the ability to make a not so good car perform at the front and sense he came into f1 the races got more interesting , before we had DRS he was the one with the most overtakes each year,when he is not in the race doing his normal fighting style the race is dull just a bunch of cars following each other.

bravo lewis great job

tuff luck mark again !!! i’m sure you will make up lots of position tomorrow

31

While LH did a great lap, so did NR in the other Mercedes despite being hampered with a brake balance issue in Q3.

Without that issue it would have been a close Mercedes 1, 2. Would NR have been quicker than LH as he was in Q1 and Q2, we will never know. But to praise LH to high heaven in the fastest Qualifying car and putting NR down at the same time is being a little disingenuous FAN-boys.

32

Praise where praise is due. If Seb had put his best sectors together in one lap he would be on pole. There goes your fastest car theory at this track on this day. Lewis just had a better lap when it mattered. I am not seeing any negative comment re Nico, in fact it is the Hamilton haters that talk up the rivalry as opposed to Hamilton fans.

33

if all goes well for Romain tmorrow then I feel it will 1. Romain 2. Vettel 3. Alonso (or lewis) on podium.

34
Thread the Needle

Going by practice on Friday hamilton has little chance of the win, lucky if he can even get a podium, probably another vettel win

Hopefully next year with these new cars and decent Pirelli tyres, it will produce some excitement

35

Is it just me or is Kimi mumbling more than usual? I didn’t understand a word of his post-quali interview on BBC.

36

You are just not used to him speaking.. 😉

37

any news on whether grosjean/ lotus passed scrutineering?

38

Did the damaged floor stay that allowed the floor to flex give him any speed advantage that would explain the gap to Kimi?

39

Yep, all good. The floor was damaged on a kerb in Q2. That makes it ‘damage’ which is ok.

40
Robert Gunning

Yes. It was force majeure (damage).

41

Romain Grosjean and Lotus will keep third on the Hungarian Grand Prix after stewards accepted that damage caused the floor infringement.

42

He is ok

43

Skysports have just tweeted – he’s ok because the stewards said it was the result of an impact with the T11 kerb

44

it’s seems every year there are some people that’s in awe of lewis hamilton performance , and the other people just have something crazy to say it’s like mate where do they get this stuff from?? his performance has always been the same race after race year after year he pushing for pole and pushing for the win. there has not been a driver since ayrton senna that would push to get all he can from a car even if the car performance can’t match the others . now look at mclaren they knew all the time who was the best driver now they looking at a chance of a winless season since 2006 a year before lewis hamilton started his rookie year !! if mercedes can get the car to match lewis hamilton performance there is no reason why he shouldn’t be formula one world champion this year!!

45

Not to be offensive at all but your post makes no sense. If Hamilton was just THAT much better than his teammates he’d have destroyed Button on points at Mclaren (they were about even and he lost to Button in one year – which is hardly dominating) and this year he has zero wins to Rosbergs two and he’s only just gone one ahead in the pole battle.

Hamilton is brilliantly talented but just lionising him against the facts is not entirely sensible.

46

mate remember button was just riding around track until Mercedes team boss ross brawn made him a star and if button was so much better why not go after him instead of Lewis Hamilton because button is only a number two driver. and for Rosberg and his two wins he is still behind Hamilton in championship points…

47

[mod] Hamilton is a brilliant driver but if he by far and away the best ever he doesn’t have the results to show it. It’s like saying webber is better than vettel but he’s had more failures. It’s just statistics.

48

I’m sure you will change your mind when you consider all factors in the cold light of day. Especially 2012.

49

Hamilton has had a number of problems on race day over the years, some of them of his own doing certainly, but more due to equipment failure which led to forced retirement whilst enjoying a commanding lead (I don’t quite have the stats but I remember at least 2 occasions last year). Whereas this obviously does not contribute to your points tally, it definitely builds your stature as a driver which is why many fans are surprised that Button’s points tally was actually close to Hamilton’s.

50

I just saw former F1 driver, Christian Danner commenting, he said: “Vettel was outqualified by Lewis because the temperature got colder by 5 degrees. Go and watch the Video on Sport.de, if you understand German. Danner is often Hamilton-biased, why is that?

51

Sami recall it it dropped by 5 deg earlier and by end of Q3 it was back to 48/49

52

It occurs to me that if the Hamilton fans really and truly believed that he was “the fastest driver on the grid”, they would not constantly act so startled and amazed every time he does a good qualifying time in what has consistently proven to be the fastest car over a single lap this season. Instead they’d act the same way they do when Vettel takes pole position – with a shrug and a “What else did you expect?”

53

I think you’re confusing being ecstatic with surprise mate

54
Tornillo Amarillo

Vettel could try to do poles in the future with another team to be fair.

55

Which Team?

56

Any other team in F1 would do.

As a matter of interest, do you know that Ricciardo was faster than Vettel on the same fuel in the just concluded Young Drivers Test? That’s according to figures released by Red Bull. It just goes to prove the point the majority make, that the man is fast only because his car is a class act.

57

Kimi and Vettel will start from the dirty side of the track. It is going to be interesting tomorrow … Grosjean is Hamilton’s real threat.

You gotta feel for Webber. On top of that, he will start from the dirty side as well.

58

I always knew Lewis would be the won to beat at the Hungaroring. Regardless of P3. What blew me away was the speed of these new tyres . Everyone was more than a full second up from last year and in some cases 2 !

Im really surprised how Kimi was fighting his car a bit -normally he’s captain smooth- perhaps theyve gone for more race set up.I actually never thought I would be happy to see Romain out qualify Kimi – but Im really pleased he’s got his season back on track and could fight for the win. But it will be a real endurance battle and both Lotus will hopefully pull off their magic tomorrow.

I see the potential for chaos with Fernando and Kimi both having Vettel in sight and Grosjean wedged right in between. I would also be pleased if Lewis held position and took the win he’s just about due I would say following my predictions last year that he would be out qualifying the terrific Nico and ahead by mid season.

Can’t wait 20hrs now !

59

Christian Horner reports that Webbers car issues (KERs and Gearbox) was worth up to 0.8 sec in quali. It really would be so frustrating that for the last 3 years he had the majority of issues in qualifying ( not alone the race) with kers…..his fortitude is unbelievable. ……but he did keep signing on!

60

BTW: great lap Lewy! You are trending towards one of the greatest qualifiers of all time!

61

New knickname for Lewis? Really? 😉

62

Vettel: 111 starts, 39 poles, 55 front row starts.

Hamilton: 120 starts, 30 poles, 55 front row starts.

Conclusion – “Hamilton is one of the greatest qualifiers of all time. Seb has the fastest car on the grid.”

I’m not turned of by F1, but I am starting to lose patience with “F1 fans”.

63

SteveS, your comment is interesting, but why not include race wins, in your stats; I suspect that they may be very relevant.

What is exactly, your point about the racers?

What exactly, is your point about the fans?

64

[mod] Hamilton. He has beaten all of his team mates in qualifying from his first race, Alonso, Kovalainen, Button and now Rosberg. He is clearly very fast in qualifying and always has been throughout the lower formulas.

Why are you even trying to argue?

65

Beats me!

66

You are right – some of Hamilton’s car were real pigs.

67

How come Vettel has 111 starts and Lewis 120? Very strange when you consider that Vettel has actually been in F1 longer than Lewis. Eh?

68

Was that meant to be a serious question? Hamilton has “been in F1” longer than Vettel by about half a season. Consult wikipedia if you don’t know the details.

69

Well, not in a race seat he hasn’t. He was 3rd driver for BMW Sauber in 2006, after Kubica replaced Villeneuve midway through the year. He got decent running that year, as lower teams were allowed to run 3 cars in free practice.

Vettel’s first race was USA 2007 with BMW-Sauber, then he replaced Scott Speed at STR for the last 7 races of the season. So he drove 8 races of a 17-race season, and there’s your 9 race difference to Hamilton.

70
Spinodontosaurus

Depends what you mean. Hamilton had his first start earlier – the first race of 2007 as opposed to Vettel only taking part in the final third of the season – but Vettel had the odd Free Practice session towards the end of 2006.

71

Lewis had full season 2007 Sebastian only half.

72

Sorry but Vettel has had, for the large majority of races since mid 2009, the quickest car on the grid. It’s not debatable

73

… and Steve S commits logical Seppuku, in full view of all.

74

Sorry, but Vettel has most emphatically NOT had “the quickest car on the grid” since mid 2009. He has not even had “the quickest car on the grid” this season – and he’s still leading the championship.

75

Fastest laps since 2009:

1 Red Bull 34

2 McLaren 16

3 Ferrari 10

4 Brawn GP 4

5 Renault 4

6 Lotus 4

Poles since 2009:

1 Red Bull 49

2 McLaren 14

3 Mercedes 8

4 Brawn GP 5

5 Ferrari 4

Front-row lockouts since 2009:

1 Red Bull 19

2 McLaren 5

3 Mercedes 4

It’s not debateable.

76

Your proof?

77

Well, a Merc pole; as some have pointed out above, why is anybody surprised?

Ross Brawn likely raised on a beach, with is knowledge of sand management.

I’m hoping that Lewis can make it through the first lap in front, and maintain, thereby retarding Vettel’s typical pull away from the crowd, for if he is not impeded, then the race, and championship start to look very predictable and grimly tedious for us, the fans.

I still think Lotus should run Grosjean, the lead qualifier, on a head to head racing strategy against Vettel; he’s got the speed, and the reputation to keep the cocky munchkin in line, no overly optimistic passes on Grosjean.

Likewise, wile who knows what will happen in the first stint, but Kimi will be slowed; so should be on the tire-maximization strategy, risking one less stop then all of the top contenders, except Merc, who will take one more stop than the other top contenders.

I still think Perez is aiming for 4th, and could surprise. Perez is as aggressive as anybody in passing, and should be at it early on; let’s face it, he really has comparatively little to lose; he should be good for providing spectacle in this race.

I expect the Mercs to fizzle in the heat, so it will only be a question of time before Vettel passes, the soonest being on the opening lap, the latest being at the end of Hamilton’s first stint.

Alonso will capitalize, if possible on the Ferrari’s strongest comparative advantage, launch from the line; realistically, Kimi’s best chance is to slot in behind him, close, for the first lap, then hang on a pass him at his first stop, but he’ll have Massa roaring up behind Alonso, so it’s not a good situation for Kimi on the dirty side of the THIRD row, in Hungary.

Besides Perez, I expect Webber to be doing his Aussie balls-to-the-walls aggressive driving, passing as frequently as anyone, from early on.

Go Webbo! anyone who believes the dramatically skewed probability of Webber’s Red Bull always getting the problems, by chance, ought to take a sort refresh on probability to find out that Vettel should be playing the lotteries every week with that kind of ‘luck’, were if for real!

78

Debrief:

Mercedes – one of the greatest results from an open cheat, in recent F1 history; no surprise with Ross Brawn, driving, and Toto Wolfe even Brawn’s approach.

Importantly, Lewis drove a race, worthy of a victory; anybody paying attention could see that.

However, rightly, Mercedes should have been disqualified for the season, instead, the Mercedes-Hamilton package becomes the legitimate title challenger.

The tire construction/compound change has hurt Kimi, but he remains within striking distance. However, with the Mercedes qualifying advantage, the elusive top step is ironically reduced in probability.

What about Grosjean, the best package today.

I’ve not been a great fan of Grosjean, however, it’s starting to look like the entire F1 governing system is aligned untoward, against him. I only saw the coverage that was presented during the race, but it did NOT look like a good call on the drive through, without which, there is a high probability that Grosjean would have won the race.

More interfering favouring Mercedes?

It’s got me wondering.

Great race Lewy.

79

Who knows about the drive-thru for the Massa pass, but he got a 20 sec time penalty for edging into Button (right call, even GRO agrees), so doubt he could’ve won the race.

Grosjean still can’t maintain total focus for a full race distance, methinks. I recall him harrying Lewis in Hungary last year, clearly quicker, but then he made a couple of mistakes while following, and dropped back. Before pre-season started, I would have said that he and Perez were nailed on certs to get their maiden wins this year. But I’m coming ’round to the view that Grosjean just can’t manage it.

80

Well, I recognize your well thought out and coherent opinion; thank you.

I guess I was just so pleased to actually see him doing well; he’s gone through more than most by this stage of a career.

I’m still thinking there’s a Grosjean win before the end of the season; he looked great.

81

Massa is the one to watch off the start line, not Alonso. He easily makes 6-7 places off the start on most days.

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