Rosberg on pole as engine fire ends Hamilton’s qualifying chances
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  26 Jul 2014   |  2:32 pm GMT  |  178 comments

Nico Rosberg stormed to his sixth pole position of the season at the Hungaroring as an engine fire wrecked Lewis Hamilton’s chances on his first lap out of the Mercedes garage. The Briton will start the race from the back of the grid.

Joining Rosberg on the front row will be Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel, with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas third ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull.The session was barely five minutes old when Hamilton – exiting Turn 13 on his out lap – radioed his pit wall that he had a fire on board his W05. With the back end of the car engulfed in flames the Briton eventually pulled over at the edge of the pit lane entrance where his car was surrounded by marshals who quickly extinguished the blaze. Mercedes later reported that a fuel leak led to a fire in the engine.

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 14.22.52

Also extinguished were Hamilton’s hopes of a fifth pole position at the Hungaroring, The Mercedes driver will start from the back of the grid.

He will be joined there by Pastor Maldonado. The Lotus driver also failed to set a time during the session, locking up at Turn Five on his out lap out and soon after grinding to a halt at turn 13.

There was more drama at the end of Q1 as Jules Bianchi put in a great lap to demote Kimi Raikkonen to 17th. Ferrari had been trying to get the Finn through the Q2 without resorting to the soft Pirelli tyres but the Finn’s medium-tyre best time of 1:26.792 was not good enough to make it through and he lost out on a Q2 berth by just over six hundredths of a second.

A number of drivers did make it through on medium tyres with Rosberg, the Red Bulls, both Williams driver, both McLarens and Alonso all saving a set of soft tyres and progressing to the next segment.

Also eliminated in the session, in order behind Raikkonen, Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson.

At the top of the Q1 order was Jean-Eric Vergne who set an impressive 1:24.941 on the soft tyre to finish ahead of Rosberg and Vergne’s Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat.

Q2 was less incident-packed, with Rosberg easing through to Q3 in P1 ahead of Vettel, Ricciardo and Bottas.

In the drop zone, however, was Nico Hulkenberg, the only remaining Force India following Sergio Perez’s early exit from the session with a hydraulic problem. With Daniil Kvyat in 10th place and three tenths ahead as the final runs began, Hulkenberg looked to be in trouble.

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 14.25.57

The German delivered a lap of 1:24.647 to dislodge the young Russian but the Force India driver still did not look secure as Kvyat set personal best times through the opening two sectors. However, Kvyat erred late in his lap, losing control under braking into Turn 12 and sliding off circuit. The spin left him in 11th, ahead of Adrian Sutil, Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Romain Grosjean and Bianchi.

As the teams readied their cars for the start of the top-10 shootout, rain began to fall in the pit lane.

Teams rushed to get in a banker but the result was that Rosberg went wide at Turn One on his first run as he ran out of grip and moments later Magnussen lost control in the same spot.

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 14.27.41

While Rosberg carried on, the outcome was worse for the young Dane, however, as he went straight on at the corner and slammed into the tyre barriers at high speed. He was unharmed and soon out of the wrecked car but the session had to be red-flagged as the tyre barrier was rebuilt.

When the session re-started Rosberg seized control, setting a first-run benchmark of 1:23.236 ahead of Vettel and Bottas. The gap to the champion was only two tenths, however. Bottas improved with his final run, jumping into second place with a final lap of 1m23.354s, just 0.118s shy of Rosberg’s time.

Vettel, though, went one better, claiming provisional pole with a time 0.035s ahead of Rosberg’s.

There was no hint of celebration, however, as Rosberg was flying on his final lap. He was 0.2s up after the first sector and he continued to find time across the lap, eventually claiming his sixth pole of the year with a lap of 1:22.715, just under half a second clear of Vettel.

With Bottas third, four hundredths ahead of Ricciardo, fifth place went to Fernando Alonso. Felipe Massa was sixth in the second Williams, ahead of Button and Vergne. The final top-10 places went to Hulkenberg and the unfortunate Magnussen.

Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.227 1:23.310 1:22.715 20
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:25.662 1:23.606 1:23.201 16
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.690 1:23.776 1:23.354 19
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:25.495 1:23.676 1:23.391 18
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.087 1:24.249 1:23.909 17
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:26.592 1:24.030 1:24.223 19
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.612 1:24.502 1:24.294 21
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:24.941 1:24.637 1:24.720 19
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.149 1:24.647 1:24.775 22
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:26.578 1:24.585 13
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:25.361 1:24.706 14
12 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:26.027 1:25.136 12
13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.910 1:25.211 11
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:25.709 1:25.260 10
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:26.136 1:25.337 16
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:26.728 1:27.419 14
17 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.792 5
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:27.139 10
19 Max Chilton Marussia 1:27.819 7
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:28.643 10
21 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes No time 2
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault No time 1

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It’s not telling the story I’d like to see, but the headline photograph for this story is excellent. Right place right time to tell a key story of the year.

Tornillo Amarillo

Yeah, I loved the photo, what a bad luck for HAMILTON!

Sunday is different thanks God.


It is disappointing what has happened to Lewis … again. I think the forecast for the race is for heavy rain, so it could be a blessing in disguise to start from pit lane, and set up the car for fully wet conditions. He can still make the podium, as overtaking is much easier in the wet as people tend to make more errors in the wet. Turn 1 will be an ice skating rink, so passing is definitely possible there, Turn 2 the same, at Turn 3, there is the possibility of running wide and losing a position, so passing could happen there, Turn 4 is possibly the same as Turn 1, Turn 5 possibly the same, although the passing opportunity from that could come at the Turn 6/7 chicane, where errors/mistakes will be made during a wet race, after that for a few corners, it may be tough to pass, although there could be the issue of aquaplaning/touching slippery kerbs/spinning on the exit of Turn 9 and Turn 11, so passing is possible there, Turn 12 will be an ice skating rink, so passing is possible, you can spin at Turn 13 in wet conditions, so passing is possible, and it will be an ice skating rink at Turn 14, so passing is possible, although the overtake may be completed at Turn 1.


This conspiracy theory is too dangerous for a team to consider it. Unfortunately for Lewis, a combination of factors work against him. Despite the situation, best thing he can do is to keep cool and avoid talking, he is not always good at it. Not to mention openly congratulating his team mate, sometimes he really sucks. He is a great driver, nobody is taking that.


I am dying for Nico to break down just to equalise the title fight. This is boring. I WANT to see a Nico Rosberg win the title ONLY under extreme pressure. As I want for ALL titles. Vettel’s titles in 2010 and 2012 mean way more than the easy strolls in the park he had in 2011 and last year.


Sauber *really* need Sutil and Gutiérrez to keep their heads on Sunday and make the most of a rare, tolerably competitive performance at this circuit, by scoring some priceless points…


I truly believe that Sutil would much rather just ruin Lewis’ race, if at all possible. Screw Sauber!

How his turn-in on Lewis last race wasn’t even investigated, I’ll never know.


Did Rosberg “storm” to pole position? Hardly. Rosberg is having the easiest run to the WDC in history. Give Hamilton parity and he’ll smash him all over the park.


Lewis having a fuel leak is not bad luck it ‘s sloppy mechanics, Lewis having slow pit stops compared to Nico is not bad luck its a sloppy team. Lewis having a brake disc failure is sloppy Quality assurance in the team. It seems to me that bad luck is bred by focus going elsewhere in that German team? People say you make your own luck, it occurs to me that LH’s half of the Mercedes garage is manufacturing the bad kind of luck. – They need to get a grip and give LH a car that hangs together…Simples…


i won’t lie i feel beaten, betray and whatever you can had by mercedes behavior but we know why it is like that and we cannot state it. i just hope lewis writes a book before mercedes actually kill him! this made me understand now that senna never fouht prost but he fought the far west and the entire FIA … ouhf! the ballestre time … and carl davidson suffering it in a new form … we know what what when you let lewis race fairly with anyone, it’s suicide. james i know you won’t post most of my comments but that your blog anyway


I think this whole topic is blown out of proportion. Every driver experiences good luck and bad luck. Sometimes these bouts of luck come in bunches, sometimes spread out. A quick look at Nico and Lewis’s F1 careers tells me they have both experienced the same percentages of retires from races (12-13%). We all know the Merc is fast, but somewhat fragile and right now the cards are landing against Lewis. But over the course of a couple of seasons it will even out.


Excellent Lap by Alonso in quali

A potential P7 or P8 grid spot has been turned into P5 by Fernando, superb performance.

Lewis have all the bad luck and karma on his back for quite a while, i do not believe in the conspiracy theory. Yet all the reliability woes now make the task difficult for Lewis. I hope he recovers tomorrow and finish in top 5 despite the track does not have too many overtaking spots.

Kudos to Bottas, disappointed with Dan Ricciardo though


Ferrari had been in the top 5 and 6 all weekend in practice, so he’s just where he should be really. Kimi has been up there all weekend also in top 5 or 6 but Ferrari thought it was a good idea to not do another lap. On the option tyres Kimi has been just as quick as Alonso as he can actually get his front tyres warmed up but he struggles on the harder mediums as they don’t warm up as fast and he gets understeer


To be fair, Fernando’s natural position yesterday was 6th, he did a nice lap and was 5th, but there is nothing more he could do.


To all lewis fans

Vettel was P5 in the driver championship standings around the Singapore GP in 2010.

He had another set back in Korea when his Red Bull/Renault caught fire…

So there is still much, much hope for you, unless you think RB was sabotaging Vettel’s car in Melbourne, Bahrain, Barcelona, (Spa,) Korea etc. that year.

But Lewis does not have room for errors anymore like in Q3 in Montreal, Spielberg, Silverstone, but as I wrote, it is not over for him yet.


Yeah, Vettel P5 after the Italian GP of that year. He was 28 pts down on Webber after Belgium (31 back of HAM). Hamilton could be down by that much, or more, after today’s race.

As James has said above, it did help that there were other cars that could win races in 2010, and create some points separation between Vettel and Webber, who were in the best car. I also think Rosberg ’14 is a better driver than Webber ’10 was, though Webber did indeed beat Vettel in straight fights at ESP, MON, and GBR that year. I’m not sure the same can be said about Rosberg this year, vs. Hamilton. Has Nico beaten Lewis in a straight fight, when both have had solid races from the front w/o controversy? Monaco would be the closest thing to it, and that’s the easiest one to control, but of course the Q3 incident, and then the fortunate (for Nico) SC timing, makes me disregard it as a straight fight. Whereas Lewis has beaten Nico is a straight fight in MAL, BHN, and ESP this season. BHN was even tilted against Lewis, with the late SC, and he still won out.

Anyways, Lewis needs to get on another good run, as Vettel did in the last 5 races of 2010 (including the DNF from race lead in KOR), and which Lewis had from MAL-ESP this year. 4 consecutive races not on the front row is simply unforgiveable (ok, two were out of his control, but still). There’s no point in having an amazing car if it doesn’t see the finish. Merc have to get that through their heads.


In 2010 there were 6 cars capable of wins, all taking points off of each other


Meaning there was more preassure for whoever was the leader. Plus, the RB was the fastest of them all, and Mark and Lewis gifted the other contenders with their DNFs at Korea and Singapore respectively.


Indeed, I am a Ferrari fan….but I wish all Lewis fans to keep faith:-) He can still win!

Stephen Taylor

James do you think that drivers who might 1 stop i.e Sergio Perez might prove crucial to how many points if any that Lewis and Kimi score tomorrow? Also do you believe it is crucial to Kimi’s race that he get ahead of the likes of Esteban, Romain and Jules at the start of the race or should he bide his time ?


Grojean will do his utmost to hamper Kimi, as too Perez as you say.

But I think Kimi will be past and up to p10 in 5 laps. After that it is his own team that worries me.

They will do strange things to send him back to p16 by means of strategy !!!


I think Kimi is quite capable to bring himself back to P16 on his own……..


In Hungary kimi will be fighting all race to make it to P10, and im not sure if he will reach that high. Of course, that’s on a dry race, if it rains maybe he DNFs, maybe he wins…


Whilst the original DNF in Australia put Lewis on the back foot the turning point of the season to date was Monaco. Nico was looking groggy from a series of strong races from Lewis and then a ‘mistake’ from Nico gave him pole. It was a low blow, wether deliberate or not, only Rosberg will know. He was completely unabashed by his good fortune, probably benefiting from the polish gained at his Swiss finishing school. Lewis on the other hand looked like a bad looser.

Since then it appears that Lewis has been looking for a knock-out blow in qualifying only to miss the target slip over and for it to go the other way. At least the last two failures were outside his control.

Far from conspiracy I think there must be another reason for Rosberg’s good fortune. With all this talk of Magic buttons in Mercedes I think that they have just not told Lewis where it is.

On the other hand with all of this Magic about it could all be Wizardry. Come to think of it Nico does look a bit like Draco Malfoy. He is driving extremely well but It seems whatever he does his good fortune knows little bounds. It was only the collective will of the crowd at Silverstone that overcame the spell.

I read that most of the Teams in the Paddock and other observers thought that Hamilton should have started from the Pit Lane in Germany. Also I read that Nico changed his rear brakes between qualifying and the race. If the latter were true they should probably have both been started from the Pit Lane. Now that would have been interesting. Perhaps tomorrow…….no Draco, sorry Nico, still has his wand.

Whatever it should be an interesting race, let us hope so.



Earlier weather forecasts had a high probability of rain for Sunday. What are the local weather reports for tomorrow. If it rains… Anything can happen.


Look on the bright side hamilton fans. After all the mistakes and misfortune he’s still only 14 points behind Rosberg. That’s only 6 points in the old, proper, scoring system, which is nothing. When things start to go Hamilton’s way he’ll easily catch up.


“After all the mistakes and misfortune he’s still only 14 points behind Rosberg.”

Except the after effects of today’s qualifying incident have yet to be applied to that figure…


James, you mentioned in the preview that “it’s normal for teams to use an engine which is towards the end of its life – on its third or fourth race”

so … is that possible the Merc team such strategy and backfired today? cheers


Yes Kimi made the mistake of not putting a lap in together! Well, yes all weekend he was struggling on the primes and was pretty comfortable with the Options. But the team should have let him get another lap in. He clearly wanted to!!

Kimi has always been good here coming through the field both times in a Lotus. But a Lotus is a Lotus. With this Ferrari, I hope he gets into the top 10. What are his options? Attacking with the Softs?

Apart from all that, a great edge of the seat Quali session. Make all the conspiracy theories you want. With half of the season and the double-points finale to go, Lewis can surely fight back. It is still going to be close. The Lewis fans have to realize that and stop being bitter just because this year’s campaign is not a walk in the park for Lewis. I mean come on, what did you expect? Lewis would go winning all the races without an ounce of a challenge from Rosberg?? Not to forget, Rosberg was not even intimidated by Schumacher. Do you really think he fears Lewis?

Special mention to Bottas showing Massa who’s boss 🙂 If I am not wrong, he was 9 tenths faster? We keep getting a new talented Finn in every generation of F1. Well done Sebastian to make an all German front row. Loving the 2014 F1 season so far. Bring on the second half!


Yes, Bottas is faster, but not that much. Massa is running this weekend with an old used floor (not sure that’s the proper word, in Brazil it’s called “assoalho”; anyway, it’s some part in the bottom of the car) – Williams didn’t have time enough to fix the damaged one from last race.


The only real chance for Raikkonen is to do the reverse strategy to the boys around him and get as much clean air as he possibly can to jump them in the pits. However, he’s been having a big issue with the LR Medium tire which leads me to believe that he wont have the pace or the degradation to be able to pull it off.

Unless his team can find a workaround Kimi may be stuck up the proverbial without a propulsion device.


James, will Lewis require a PU/ gearbox change? If so, will he be penalised 1 grid place for this race AND carry over 4 for Spa? How can we check to see how many PUs and gearboxes each driver has used, so far this season? Many thanks


Hi yellow belly,

Checkout this link, it covers the power unit element use, and a bit of discussion on how the penalties apply. Apparently they do carry over.



No penalty is just for one race

Likely to need new PU.


James, can you give us the stats on the number of engines, gearboxes, mgus used by the merc drivers? I wonder if Hamilton has used up more of these resources? If the season’s quota is exhausted before the final race, I understand that penalties would apply. Thank you!


Check the FIA website under event information


James, thanks for the reply. I ask the question because, according to formula : “If the grid penalty imposed cannot be taken in full at one event, the remainder of the penalty is carried over to the following event. For example, if a driver qualifies 15th and is then given a 10-place grid penalty he’ll be dropped seven grid places to 22nd and last at that meeting and then the remaining three grid places from wherever he qualifies at the next event.”


Sick of all the stupid conspiracy theories already. Why would the team sabotage their own car? Come on people, seriously, get real. They moved heaven and earth to get Lewis there, why screw him over now?

In 2005, Raikkonen had many more mechanical failures than Alonso – in fact I remember around this time in the season he was either retiring from the lead or getting grid penalties for failed engines at almost every race! It almost certainly cost him the championship – did anyone at the time chalk it up to anything other than bad luck?

Can’t stand people bashing Nico either – what’s he supposed to do, stand aside and let Lewis win?

I feel sorry for Lewis but it’s not over, not by a long shot.


Good post Tom, alot of the comment is just too focused on conspiracy, and around one driver.

The real conspiracy is Lotus on Maldonado, the things they’ve done to make sure he doesn’t win, phew!



Do you really expect us to believe that Mercedes did not set fire to LH’s car in order to stop his getting pole and guaranteeing his win tomorrow.

Next you will be telling us that aliens don’t travel billions of light years across the universe just to do donuts in a crop field, stick a probe up the behind of a gentleman who lives in a log cabin, and zap a page 3 girls t#t’s.

Give yourself a good slap and get on board with the “the are out to stop Lewis train”.

You would have thought that after winning the World Cup, the Germans would let Lewis have a fair crack at the WDC!



You see it all so clearly 🙂


Yay… Finally someone with some common sense!


Rosberg will probably win this year judging by how the luck seems to be panning out, but I don’t think he’s going to get much credit for it.

I don’t buy the conspiracy theories though. There is no way Merc would deliberately do this, it’s making them look like purveyors of total junk at the moment. Even if they did want to sabotage Hamilton (and I really don’t think they would), there are much more subtle tweaks that would take 0.5s off without having the embarrassment and damage to your reputation that these spectacular failures have produced, not to mention the huge risk to the driver of brake disks exploding or engines catching fire.

They really do need to get their act together, because Hamilton will be back at McLaren if it carries on like this.


Its better to have bad luck in qualifying rather than having it during the race.

Hamilton still has the chance to minimum finish at P2 and still be in the hunt for WDC.


Minimum P2?!? So I’m guessing you think he still has a chance at the win?!?! There’s no way he can win at the Hungaroring if it’s a normal race … that’s just plain impossible. To win, he would need either 1) Nico to DNF, 2) benefit from a SC, or 3) rain to cause havoc in the race, and more than likely a combination of two or more of those.

Anything’s possible I suppose, but the probability of it all coming together for him is very, very low. But still that’s why we watch … to see that 1 in 50 freak race.



Re-read your comment 😀

Fantastic race that was.


That… Was… hilarious! Oh the drama! Lewis has sulked on and off this season…I think at one point his PR team told him to tone it down but here we go again. Maybe Lewis should go tell Nico about how he’s not really German again… Or how he was spoiled as a child and doesn’t want it enough. Yes… That must be the answer.

All these fans acting like he’s the least lucky guy on earth… Really, has anyone read the news? He had a brake failure last time in qualy so why act like it was the worst outcome… If it happened in the race he’d have zero points. Instead he finished 3rd. Same goes for today… At least it didn’t happen in the race! He could still win and Nico might get another gearbox failure. But as is apparent… Someone get the violin out… its all over.


This kind of comment I can understand, you’re not a great lover of Hamilton….that’s plain.

But yes you’re right …’s only quali… could rain tomorrow….etc.

Following Lewis as a fan is a roller coaster of emotions……we’ve had the downs….the ups are coming.

Fast fast fast!

@Gazza – And I wouldn’t have it any other way! That’s why for me, Lewis is the most interesting and most exciting driver on the grid today. He’s not a bad driver either. The only driver who has won a GP in all his years in F1 and the only driver who has equalled or beaten two world champions, both defending champs the year Lewis raced against them. No, he’s not the best but I root for him each and every Sunday. If it wasn’t for Lewis’ DNFs and his ability to bounce back from it, what a yawn current F1 would be. Can’t wait until Abu Double!

Drgraham lewis

You might wish to read my other comments. Luck has nothing to do with it. Success has a lot to do with it frankly and a lack of focus other than one car is ok – must be luck…

By the way have you ever had brake failure in a racing scenario or a car catch fire with a fuel leak? It would seem not according to your comments.

Its a life a death issue – I would suggest even your bravado would take a knock after a couple of such incidents in a fortnight.

The truth is one side of the two car team is not performing as well.

You will of course suggest its Hamilton – you know the chap with the best strike rate here of anyone and fastest in all practices.

Rather than assume Mercs focus on all equality etc is actually beyond their organisational structure and resources and as such quite possibly creating these issues. It must be Hamilton and his ability that’s the issue?

Of course the only other team professing such (but with 40 years of managing such) is doing really well too…


My prophetic powers tell me no Mercedes on the podium in Hungary. I see red of car 44 in top three.

This is the best chance of the year for Alonso to win!

alexander supertramp

No no, you said it! Car 44 on the podium it is!


Pardon my mistake, car 14 !!!


WIth the benefit of hindsight, both car #14 and #44 ended up on the podium.

So what’s the score for the next round? 😉


Did Hamilton use the power unit from German GP where he recovered two dozen of places? May be the resource of the unit just ended? Hungarian GP is known for the use of used engines.


If Lewis pulls this WDC out of the fire (excuse the pun) it should go down in F1 history as one of the all-time great F1 triumphs over adversity.

Mentally speaking, it has to be very challenging to keep coming back to the track on Sunday mornings projecting a positive mindset, for the team, fans (and especially the world media) after being sucker-punched by bad fortune on the Saturday.

Whilst glancing over at your rival, floating on a white, fluffy, cloud of good fortune, weekend after weekend!


“If Lewis pulls this WDC out of the fire (excuse the pun) it should go down in F1 history as one of the all-time great F1 triumphs over adversity.”

2010 ring any bells?


In one of the bbc podcasts – I remember James saying at the beginning of the year that this championship will come down to reliability.

how true is it becomming…

But he also said HAM should win this year. So far 1 out 2 is true lets see what happens.


He still has plenty of time and double points (ugh!) at one of his strongest tracks Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.

He’s very strong on most of the Tilke tracks at the end of the year, so plenty of time to recover. It’s not over yet


I like your “ugh!” there, James 😉


Hamilton’s strongest track is not a predictor that he will do well- don’t be “fooled by randomness” – if you know what I mean.


James, to be clear – I do agree with you, completely the same opinion, but I have to say that this year “he strongest track” just doesn’t work. Rosberg was winning at his strongest track this year.


Maybe he used up all his championship-winning luck on that last lap in Interlagos 🙂

The thing about conspiracies is that they are clearly ridiculous, except that Singapore 2008 happened…

Then again, Nico Rosberg is not very marketable compared to Hamilton and none of my German friends consider him German so as a conspiracy it doesn’t really make sense, especially since the entire team is based in England and senior management is Austrian!

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