Hamilton takes pole as Sainz and Gasly star in rainy Hungary

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes his 77th pole position and his 6th at the Hungaroring ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly will line-up 5th and 6th for tomorrow’s race.

28/07/18

After a difficult Friday, Mercedes bounced back to lock-out the front-row of the grid. Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas struggled with the handling of the car, in particular the rear of the W09. Both survived Q1 and managed to survive Q2 as well when the rain intensified. After the first few runs in Q3, it looked like it was advantage Ferrari as Hamilton and Bottas lagged behind. After pitting for a fresh set of Wet tyres, Bottas and Hamilton both improved with Hamilton displacing the Finn of pole.

After FP3, Ferrari looked to be the favourites heading into Qualifying, in the dry conditions that is. Sebastian Vettel topped Q1 and Q2 but was well off the pace of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in Q3. Raikkonen, who was on top until both Mercedes drivers bettered his time, definitely deserved 3rd. For Vettel, he’ll be hoping for a strong race and challenging Mercedes as he trails Hamilton by 17 points.

What a performance by Carlos Sainz. Today was an important session for the Spaniard as his seat at Renault could be in danger for next year but after today’s session, he might just stay at the French outfit. Sainz was 2nd in Q2 and very good laps in Q3 saw the Renault driver qualify in in 5th. Nico Hulkenberg on the other hand was unlucky as he set his lap when the conditions worsened in Q2.

Apart from Mercedes, Toro Rosso were very impressive with both drivers in the top 10. Pierre Gasly was able to out-qualify the Red Bull of Verstappen, which is an incredible achievement. For the first time in his F1 career, Brendon Hartley was able to get into Q3. The New Zealander has had a good weekend so far being close to Gasly and after finishing in 10th in Germany, he is optimistic about the race tomorrow.

You would think that the wet conditions and the nature of the Hungaroring, Max Verstappen would be a contender for pole position. However, the Dutchman seemed to struggle a bit, running wide and off the circuit in the final part of Qualifying. It was much worse for Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian was nearly knocked-out in Q1 after he was one of the last drivers to switch to the dry tyres. He switched to the Soft tyre and after a handful of laps, he was safe. He was one of the last drivers to set a lap on the Intermediate tyres and could only mange 12th.

Another qualifying session and once again both Haas drivers were inside the top 10. Albeit 9th and 10th in the wet conditions at the end, nevertheless, the American team will be hoping for a strong points haul in tomorrow’s race.

At a track where McLaren have gotten some of their best results over the past couple of years, the team will be happy with 11th and 16th. Fernando Alonso, who normally goes well in the wet conditions, qualified in 11th and at one point was sitting in 10th place. Stoffel Vandoorne had a new chassis for this weekend and looked to get in Q2 but ran out of time to set a final lap.

It was a good performance by Marcus Ericsson to get into and to out-qualify Sauber team-mate Charles Leclerc who was knocked-out in Q1. The C37 isn’t quite suited to the tight and twisty nature of the Hungaroring but points maybe on offer tomorrow.

It was another good performance by Lance Stroll to get into Q2. However, the Canadian was caught out by the rain, spun and broke the front wing. He was able to return to the pits and couldn’t get back out to set a timed lap. Sergey Sirotkin couldn’t progress to Q2 and will line-up in 20th.

News broke over Friday night that Force India had been placed into administration as the team owes a huge amount of money to Mercedes and to driver Sergio Perez. Nevertheless, the team and it’s members turned up to the circuit determined to race today. Both drivers struggled with Esteban Ocon suffering a brake failure.

Qualifying Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:35:658
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 1:35:918
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:36:186
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:36:210
  5. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, 1:36:743
  6. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1:37:591
  7. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 1:38:032
  8. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, 1:38:128
  9. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, 1:39:858
  10. Romain Grosjean, Haas, 1:40:593
  11. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:35:214
  12. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:36:442
  13. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1:36:506
  14. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:37:075
  15. Lance Stroll, Williams, no time
  16. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, 1:18:782
  17. Charles Leclerc, Sauber, 1:18:817
  18. Esteban Ocon, Force India, 1:18:914
  19. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:19:200
  20. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, 1:19:301

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