Nico Rosberg denied Sebastian Vettel his first pole position of 2014 with a sensational late effort at the Hungaroring. While his teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton endured more qualifying misery, Rosberg kept his head through a rain-affected Q3 to claim his sixth pole position of the season.
For the second race in succession, Hamilton’s qualifying session unravelled in the first eighteen minutes with more Mercedes unreliability costing him dear. Without having registered a lap time, the no.44 crawled into the pitlane in flames and after dominating the first part of the weekend and topping all three practice sessions, Lewis was consigned to a back row start.
He wasn’t the only high-profile casualty in Q1 though with Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus breaking down yet again but another sting in the tail came at the very end of the session. With Hamilton and Maldonado already out, the stronger teams opted to complete Q1 on the prime tyre and having inly clocked a 1:26.792, Kimi Raikkonen was left stranded in the pits when Jules Bianchi usurped him on the softer rubber. The Ferrari driver will start seventeenth as a result with Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson between he and Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Q2 passed largely without incident although Daniil Kvyat threw away a possible place in the top ten by spinning off at turn twelve. The Russian’s error handed a reprieve to Nico Hulkenberg and Kvyat joined Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Romain Grosjean and Jules Bianchi in the drop zone.
An already dramatic qualifying error saw yet another twist in the moments preceding Q3 when a rain shower hit the Hungaroring. With the driest conditions potentially coming at the start, all ten drivers flooded out to set a banker lap but the drizzle intensified at turn one, sending Nico Rosberg dangerously close to the wall. Kevin Magnussen was less lucky though, skating into the tyre barrier at high speed. The Dane stepped out of his McLaren uninjured but he would climb no higher than tenth.
The red flags were brought out while the damaged McLaren was cleared and the delay allowed the rain to pass through and the stage was set for a pole position shootout in dry conditions. Sebastian Vettel was looking increasingly threatening and took provisional pole on a 1:23.415 but Rosberg’s next effort saw him restore order with a 1:23.236. Vettel had one final shot and edged back ahead by three hundredths as the chequered flag flew but Nico’s response was instant and emphatic, clinching pole with a 1:22.715.
Valtteri Bottas pipped Daniel Ricciardo to third, ensuring he will start from the clean side of the grid tomorrow while Fernando Alonso took fifth for Ferrari ahead of Felipe Massa and Jenson Button. Jean-Eric Vergne will line up eighth with Nico Hulkenberg starting next to Kevin Magnussen on row five.
|FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDIJ – QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION|
|1||6. NICO ROSBERG||MERCEDES||SOFT||1:22.715||Q3|
|2||1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||SOFT||1:23.210||Q3|
|3||77. VALTTERI BOTTAS||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SOFT||1:23.354||Q3|
|4||3. DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING RENAULT||SOFT||1:23.391||Q3|
|5||14. FERNANDO ALONSO||FERRARI||SOFT||1:23.909||Q3|
|6||19. FELIPE MASSA||WILLIAMS MERCEDES||SOFT||1:24.223||Q3|
|7||22. JENSON BUTTON||McLAREN MERCEDES||SOFT||1:24.294||Q3|
|8||25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE||STR RENAULT||SOFT||1:24.720||Q3|
|9||27. NICO HULKENBERG||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SOFT||1:24.775||Q3|
|10||20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||McLAREN MERCEDES||NO TIME||Q3|
|11||26. DANIIL KVYAT||STR RENAULT||SOFT||1:24.706||Q2|
|12||99. ADRIAN SUTIL||SAUBER FERRARI||SOFT||1:25.136||Q2|
|13||11. SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA MERCEDES||SOFT||1:25.211||Q2|
|14||21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ||SAUBER FERRARI||SOFT||1:25.260||Q2|
|15||8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN||LOTUS RENAULT||SOFT||1:25.337||Q2|
|16||17. JULES BIANCHI||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SOFT||1:27.419||Q2|
|17||7. KIMI RAIKKONEN||FERRARI||MEDIUM||1:26.792||Q1|
|18||10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI||CATERHAM RENAULT||SOFT||1:27.139||Q1|
|19||4. MAX CHILTON||MARUSSIA FERRARI||SOFT||1:27.819||Q1|
|20||9. MARCUS ERICSSON||CATERHAM RENAULT||SOFT||1:28.643||Q1|
|107% QUALIFYING TIME: 1:30.886|
|21||44. LEWIS HAMILTON||MERCEDES||NO TIME||Q1|
|22||13. PASTOR MALDONADO||LOTUS RENAULT||NO TIME||Q1|