Hamilton Takes Comfortable Pole Position in Budapest


Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix on pole position tomorrow after a dominant performance in qualifying.

The 2008 champion was fastest in all three parts of qualifying, and took pole position with a lap that was over four-tenths of a second faster than that of second-placed man Romain Grosjean.

Sebastian Vettel failed to grab a third-successive pole in Hungary, and had to settle for third on the grid. His Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber fared much worse though – he failed to get out of Q2.

Jenson Button will start fourth, Kimi Raikkonen fifth, and Fernando Alonso sixth. Felipe Massa will start from seventh, just ahead of the two Williams drivers, led by Pastor Maldonado.

It was a difficult session for Mercedes, with both cars failing to get out of Q2. Nico Rosberg will start thirteenth, and Michael Schumacher will be down in seventeenth.

Hamilton was on the pace straight away, with a lap of 1:21.794, set on the harder of the two Pirelli tyre compounds, in Q1. The two Lotus drivers, or rather their cars, were enjoying the scorching 30-degrees heat. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, along with Hamilton, were the only drivers who did not feel the need to use a set of the precious soft tyres in Q2.

Paul di Resta, who was second at the end of Q1, Jenson Button, who was third, and Fernando Alonso, in fifth, all felt the need to go out on a set of soft tyres to ensure their place in Q2. Sebastian Vettel finished Q1 down in sixteenth, but was not in any real danger.

It was Daniel Ricciardo who missed out on Q2, along with the usual suspects. The two Caterham drivers, led by Heikki Kovalainen, will start from row 10, the Marussia drivers will be on the row behind, but Charles Pic managed to out-qualify Timo Glock, his more experienced team-mate. Pedro de la Rosa was, once again, faster than Narain Karthikeyan, but neither HRT could find their way off the back row of the grid.

Hamilton was on form again in Q2. On a brand new set of soft tyres, the two-time winner of this grand prix put in an unbeatable lap of 1:21.060.

While Hamilton was looking unbeatable, others were struggling to get into the top ten. Of these, the most notable were the two Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg – who were way off the pace – and Mark Webber, who was only eleventh fastest in Q2.

Webber qualified eleventh, just ahead of Paul di Resta, who missed out on Q3 whilst team-mate Nico Hulkenberg made it through. Rosberg had to settle for thirteenth; Sergio Perez, in fourteenth, qualified just ahead of his Sauber team-mate Kamui Kobayashi; Jean-Eric Vergne was sixteenth and Schumacher was a very disappointing seventeenth.

Hamilton began Q3 as the clear favourite for pole position, but none of the other nine cars were in any particular rush to take the fight to the Brit. Hulkenberg was the first to amble out onto the track – on the harder tyre – followed by the two McLaren drivers, each on a set of the soft tyres.

The two Lotus drivers, and the two Williams, also came out on track within the first couple of minutes of Q3, but Vettel, Alonso and Felipe Massa all chose to hang tight in the pits.

Hamilton and Button both backed out of their first flying lap after making mistakes, so the first driver to put in a semi-competitive lap time was Kimi Raikkonen, with a time of 1:22.717. Hamilton's first lap was a 1:21.260, comfortably beating Raikkonen, but slower than his impressive Q2 time.

Vettel came out of the pits about five minutes before the end of the session. His set his lap – a 1:21.416 – and went back into the pits before the chequered flag could fall.

Hamilton came back out of the pits with 90 seconds of the session to go, ready to defend his provisional pole position. He improved on his first lap, with a time of 1:20.953, but either of his laps would have been good enough for pole position.

Romain Grosjean stole second on the grid from Vettel in the dying moments of the session, but his time of 1:21.366 was still over four-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton.