Verstappen ends Red Bull qualifying drought to take maiden F1 pole in Hungary

by Tom Cairns
Max Verstappen - Aston Martin Red Bull Racing at the 2019 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring - Qualifying

Max Verstappen becomes Formula 1‘s one-hundredth pole sitter in history by taking top spot on the grid for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Halfway through Q1 and and the Dutchman broke the track record on his way to topping the session, half a second quicker than anyone else. A couple of minutes later though saw Charles Leclerc accelerate too early out of the final corner as he was beginning to start a flying lap. Unfortunately he spun into the barrier and sustaining damage to his rear wing and returned to the Scuderia Ferrari garage.

Six minutes remained and Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi, Lance Stroll, Romain Grosjean and Robert Kubica made up the Q1 drop zone. George Russell in an inferior Williams Racing car was fourteenth and over a tenth above sixteenth place Kvyat before the last runs in the first part of qualifying.

Grosjean was the first driver to do his last run and improved to eighth position before the rest of those attempting to survive completed theirs. Alexander Albon was now in the drop zone.

The end of the last runs saw Russell improve with the track evolving, however was knocked out by five-hundredths of a second in sixteenth, his best qualifying of the season. Daniel Ricciardo was the big shock though. He got held up by Sergio Pérez as they were both beginning to start their last laps and the Renault F1 Team driver reluctantly backed out of it and will line up eighteenth. Stroll was also held up by Giovinazzi on his last lap at Turn Five and that incident is under investigation by the stewards.

Q1 saw Russell, Pérez, Ricciardo, Stroll and Kubica eliminated.

Q2 began with Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly on the medium compound to set their first times to try and get into Q3 on to help with race strategy for Sunday. The top five were eight tenths away from the drop zone but Gasly was looking more precarious, with the Frenchman a quarter of the second away from danger.

Six minutes was left in the second session and it was Albon, Kvyat, Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen and Kimi Räikkönen making up the bottom five.

Just like in Q1, Grosjean was the first of the drivers to complete their last runs and he moved out of the drop zone with a better lap than before. The same for Räikkönen sneaking into the top ten but his team-mate Giovinazzi was knocked out in fourteenth and under investigation. Gasly completed a personal best on the soft compound and made it through but will start the race on that set unlike the rest of the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing drivers who will start on the mediums.

Q2 saw Nico Hülkenberg, Albon, Kvyat, Giovinazzi and Magnussen making up positions eleven to fifteen on the grid.

Q3 saw the track temperature drop from forty-five to forty-two degrees centigrade. Unsurprisingly, the times got quicker with Verstappen heading Bottas by nearly two tenths on a 1:14.958 (new track record), with Hamilton a further hundredth behind. Vettel and Leclerc were fourth and fifth and Gasly completing the top six with five minutes to go and time for a last flyer.

The final minute and Leclerc was the first driver to complete his last lap and temporarily went second. Verstappen was next to better his time and broke the new track record with a 1:14.572. Bottas crossed the line to be +0.018 seconds slower, with Hamilton third in front Leclerc and Vettel.

Lando Norris qualified best of the rest in seventh and out-qualifying team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. once again this season.

2019 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring - Qualifying Classification

133Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1:14.572
277Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+0.018
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+0.197
416Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow+0.471
55Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow+0.499
610Pierre GaslyFRAAston Martin Red Bull Racing+0.878
74Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+1.228
855Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team+1.280
98Romain GrosjeanFRARich Energy Haas F1 Team+1.441
107Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing+1.469
1127Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team1:16.565
1223Alexander AlbonTHARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+0.122
1326Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+0.127
1499Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing+0.239
1520Kevin MagnussenDENRich Energy Haas F1 Team+0.516
1663George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing1:17.031
1711Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+0.078
183Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team+0.226
1918Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+0.511
2088Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing+1.293

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