Sebastian Vettel took his second pole position of the season at the Hungaroring in commanding fashion with teammate Kimi Raikkonen making it an all Ferrari front-row.
Before the first qualifying session got underway, there was already plenty of talk in the paddock. Felipe Massa had been taken ill and decided he was too unwell to participate in qualifying which gave Paul Di Resta the opportunity in the Williams FW40.
Having not driven in Formula One since 2013, Di Resta headed out immediately in Q1 to become use to the car’s characteristics. The Scot used all of his previous F1 experience and managed an impressive 19th place, much to the delight of his team.
Both Sauber’s also exited qualifying in the first session along with Di Resta’s teammate Lance Stroll, who appeared to have been blocked in the dying moments of Q1.
Kevin Magnussen agonisingly missed out on making Q2 when he posted the exact same lap time as Force India driver Sergio Perez, but because Perez had set his time first, the Mexican was classified ahead of the Dane. Romain Grosjean couldn’t do much better than his teammate’s 16th place and only managed 15th after squeezing into Q2.
Like Haas, Force India hasn’t looked as competitive as they have in previous rounds and will line up a disappointing 14th and 12th on the grid.
Danill Kvyat was unable to match his teammate in making Q3 and splits the two Force India’s in 13th. Also struggling to match his teammate this season, Renault’s Jolyon Palmer once again was left frustrated, failing to produce a time quick enough to break into the top 10.
Lewis Hamilton struggled in the first part of qualifying, however his true speed came through in the closing stages of Qualifying 2, setting the fastest time and breaking the all time lap record as well.
The team with the most surprising lack of struggles was Mclaren. Both cars were enjoying their best qualifying of the season and both made Q3, with Fernando Alonso just ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne.
The top 10 shootout initially showed the dominance of the Ferrari car. Sebastian Vettel easily went on provisional pole after his first run. Bottas was trying to linger onto Vettel’s car but the prancing horse was in a class of its own. Ricciardo went third on his first run but was unable to repeat the pace that had seen him top both Friday practices.
Hamilton hadn’t looked comfortable this weekend and his first run in Q3 backed that up. Travelling through the fast turn 4, Hamilton lost the rear of his car and ultimately ran wide and aborted his lap. He therefore went out earlier than his rivals in the closing stages of Q3 to cement a solid lap. The Briton did just that and conjured up a lap worthy enough for P3, but Raikkonen’s late improvement to P2 demoted the three-time world champion to fourth for tomorrow’s race.
Unlike his teammate, Bottas was able improve on his second run, but still never really threatened the Ferrari of Vettel. The Finn qualified third and was just under three tenths slower than Vettel.
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo qualified 5th and 6th but were baffled as to where their early weekend pace has gone, as they couldn’t challenge the Ferrari and Mercedes cars.
Despite being quicker in qualifying than his teammate and putting his Renault in 7th position, Nico Hulkenberg will be demoted to 12th, behind his teammate in 11th, due to a gearbox change penalty.
It was smooth sailing for McLaren Honda with their most moral boosting session of the season. Birthday boy Alonso qualified 8th fastest and Vandoorn was close behind in 9th, and the lone Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz rounded off the top 10.
So it’s a Noah’s Ark lineup on the grid tomorrow, with an all Ferrari front row, a Mercedes second row, Red Bull third row, and McLaren fourth row. Who will come out on top in Budapest? Tune into LIVE coverage of the Hungarian GP on @essaarLIVE.