Nico Rosberg snatched pole position in a dramatic conclusion to qualifying at the Hungaroring, taking advantage of yellow flags which had slowed teammate Lewis Hamilton. The championship leader leads an all-Mercedes front row after a session which started in torrential rain and was halted by the red flags on four separate occasions.
All told, Q1 took 52 minutes to complete and that all came after a 20 minute start delay due to the pre-session downpour. The first red flag, brought out due to a return of the rainfall, threatened to eliminate both Mercedes who languished in the drop zone but the Silver Arrows both scrambled to safety by the time Marcus Ericsson’s crash brought a second halt to proceedings.
The length of the delays meant a selection of drivers ventured straight out on intermediates when the track was cleared but Felipe Massa was caught out by a white line at turn four, bringing hush on the Hungaroring for the third time. The lap times continued to tumble in part four of Q1 but Rio Haryanto didn’t get chance to go any quicker, spinning into the wall at turn ten and with the red flags thrown yet again, his teammate Pascal Wehrlein was stranded in the drop zone along with Massa, Ericsson and the two Renaults.
Q2 ran with relative calm although a late switch to slicks saw the order jumbled in the dying seconds. Kimi Raikkonen had actually gone fastest of all when he took the chequered flag but given he was the first driver to do so, the Finn was shuffled all the way down to fourteenth as the circuit rubbered in. Both Haas drivers were knocked out too, although Romain Grosjean came within 0.105s of eliminating Hamilton who was put in danger by a lock-up at turn one. Completing the six to drop out were Daniil Kvyat, Sergio Perez and Felipe Nasr.
Q3 was ran exclusively on the super-soft tyres and Hamilton looked to heading for pole after clocking a 1:20.108 on his first run before going four tenths faster in the first sector of his final attempt. However the Briton was slowed by a spinning Fernando Alonso at turn nine, forcing him to abort the lap, and while Rosberg did lift for the yellows, the McLaren had recovered by time Nico arrived at the scene, leaving the path clear for him to snatch pole with a 1:19.965.
The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will lock out the second row, the latter having missed the chequered flag for this final run, while Sebastian Vettel lines up fifth ahead of Carlos Sainz’s Toro Rosso. Alonso starts seventh despite his spin, sharing row four with McLaren teammate Jenson Button, while Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas complete the top ten.
FORMULA 1 MAGYAR NAGYDIJ 2016 (QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION)
|1||6. Nico ROSBERG||GER||Mercedes||1:19.965||Q3|
|2||44. Lewis HAMILTON||GBR||Mercedes||1:20.108||Q3|
|3||3. Daniel RICCIARDO||AUS||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:20.280||Q3|
|4||33. Max VERSTAPPEN||NED||Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer||1:20.557||Q3|
|5||5. Sebastian VETTEL||GER||Ferrari||1:20.874||Q3|
|6||55. Carlos SAINZ||SPA||STR Ferrari||1:21.131||Q3|
|7||14. Fernando ALONSO||SPA||McLaren Honda||1:21.211||Q3|
|8||22. Jenson BUTTON||GBR||McLaren Honda||1:21.597||Q3|
|9||27. Nico HULKENBERG||GER||Force India Mercedes||1:21.823||Q3|
|10||77. Valtteri BOTTAS||FIN||Williams Mercedes||1:22.182||Q3|
|11||8. Romain GROSJEAN||FRA||Haas Ferrari||1:24.941||Q2|
|12||26. Daniil KVYAT||RUS||STR Ferrari||1:25.301||Q2|
|13||11. Sergio PEREZ||MEX||Force India Mercedes||1:25.416||Q2|
|14||7. Kimi RAIKKONEN||FIN||Ferrari||1:25.435||Q2|
|15||21. Esteban GUTIERREZ||MEX||Haas Ferrari||1:26.189||Q2|
|16||12. Felipe NASR||BRA||Sauber Ferrari||1:27.063||Q2|
|17||30. Jolyon PALMER||GBR||Renault||1:43.965||Q1|
|18||19. Felipe MASSA||BRA||Williams Mercedes||1:43.999||Q1|
|19||20. Kevin MAGNUSSEN||DEN||Renault||1:44.543||Q1|
|20||9. Marcus ERICSSON||SWE||Sauber Ferrari||1:46.984||Q1|
|21||94. Pascal WEHRLEIN||GER||MRT Mercedes||1:47.343||Q1|
|22||88. Rio HARYANTO||IDN||MRT Mercedes||1:50.189||Q1|