Pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix secured by Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton fastest in qualifying at the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix

Pole position may not be vital in Hungary with just 13 of the last 29 races being won from pole. But Lewis Hamilton will start the 30th Hungarian Grand Prix from the front, with Nico Rosberg lining up alongside him after the Brit continued his Hungarian Grand Prix clean sweep.

With Hamilton taking pole position, he continues his clean sweep with the championship leader fastest in every session so far. Being fastest in first, second and third free practice will have given Lewis the momentum going into qualifying, and now with pole he sits in a great place to claim his fifth Hungarian Grand Prix win and become the driver with the most Formula One wins at the Hungaroring.

Straight out the block in Q1 Hamilton took the advantage from Rosberg by a second despite Nico using all the available run off at turns two, three and five. Even after improving Rosberg remained behind Hamilton but also slightly behind Vettel in third with Nico also feeling the balance was not there and he was suffering understeer.

As the track temp began to rise to over 50 degrees Celsius, drivers began to make the switch for the far faster soft compound tyres. But before heading to the pit lane, Ricciardo stormed home a final medium compound flyer to slot into second with Red Bull continuing to show potential around the Hungaroring.

At the break, Hamilton’s lead stood at four tenths to Ricciardo in second, and a further 1.7 seconds to the drop zone. But as others improved on the softs, Hamilton slipped down the order with Bottas first to take P1 and force Mercedes’ hand to send Lewis back out but on the softs.

When Lewis began his flying lap, he had fallen down to 10th with Red Bull, Lotus and Williams shooting up the order as the times tumbled. Rosberg also found the gains with the option tyres to move into P1, but despite a poor first sector Hamilton regained the top spot at the flag.

Unfortunately for McLaren, despite everyone finding time Button fell out in Q1 after he was unable to deploy his ERS down the pit straight. If he had been able to deploy the stored energy, he would surely have found the tenth needed to make it into Q2 but unlike Grosjean he remained in the drop zone after taking the chequered flag.

Button was joined out in Q1 by both Sauber’s and Manor’s but that is expected given how the two teams have not been able to develop the car much since the first round of the championship. As for Ricciardo who did make it through, he was the only driver able to save a set of softs and only run the mediums in the first part of qualifying.

Come Q2, Ferrari and Williams broke the silence before Vettel opened the time sheet with the fastest lap. Once again the Williams was unable to stay close to the Ferrari’s time, allowing Raikkonen, Rosberg and Verstappen to slot in between.

But before others could set a time, the red flag was out and so was Alonso when his McLaren came to a holt right before the pit entry. He had not been able to set a time at that stage but the nearby marshals helped push the car back into the pit lane for the mechanics to get to work immediately.

Upon the restart, some drivers needed to burn up another new set of softs after the red flag ended their runs early. Two of those were the Silver Arrows who shot into the top two once again, knocking Vettel down into third.

At the other end of the top ten, Williams sat on the edge of relegation despite completing a run prior to the red flag. Yet that run became irrelevant with both drivers improving. Bottas however was still unable to breach the top five while Massa could only move up to eighth before the chequered flag was out.

But despite Massa only taking eighth, he at least made it into Q3 unlike both Force India’s, Sainz, Maldonado and Alonso. Grosjean almost missed out on a Q3 appearance himself after only being able to take 10th by two hundredths of a second, but he was saved by other drivers not being able to improve enough.

For the pole position shoot-out, Mercedes broke the silence with both drivers heading out early with Rosberg leading Hamilton from the pits for the provisional runs. Both had used option tyres on for this run, despite the first Q3 runs being good enough for Hamilton to secure pole for the Austrian and British Grand Prix’s. However having used tyres on did not stop Lewis going three tenths faster than Nico and five tenths faster than Vettel to take provisional pole.

Next run round, Hamilton once again opted to go out behind his team-mate but this time the field took to the track as a herd. With all 10 cars on track at once, some had to drop back to find space. A big victim of this was Hamilton who was held up by Raikkonen before dropping off, which costs tyre and break temp ahead of the important final run.

Regardless, Hamilton went faster than Rosberg in the first sector before Nico dropped back in the middle sector. A lock up at the penultimate corner lost Rosberg even more time and across the line could only move to within two tenths of Hamilton. Meaning Lewis’ provisional pole time would have been good enough for a third pole in a row but Hamilton continued to push and claimed pole by half a second.

Vettel managed to claim third, but Ricciardo’s storm in the Red Bull was just four hundredths of a second behind the Ferrari while Williams were nowhere to be seen in sixth and eighth.

Nevertheless, Hamilton’s pole leaves him on for the clean sweep and taking his fifth Hungarian Grand Prix win tomorrow to go with his fifth Hungarian Grand Prix pole. If he is to win tomorrow, he may need a better start than at Silverstone to not lose the lead off the line.

Position Driver Best lap
1 Hamilton Q3: 1:22.020
2 Rosberg 1:22.595
3 Vettel 1:22.739
4 Ricciardo 1:22.774
5 Raikkonen 1:23.020
6 Bottas 1:23.222
7 Kvyat 1:23.332
8 Massa 1:23.537
9 Verstappen 1:23.679
10 Grosjean 1:24.181
11 Hulkenberg Q2: 1:23.826
12 Sainz 1:23.869
13 Perez 1:24.461
14 Maldonado 1:24.609
15 Alonso No time set
16 Button Q1: 1:24.739
17 Ericsson 1:24.843
18 Nasr 1:24.997
19 Merhi 1:27.416
20 Stevens 1:27.949