Brought to you by TheJudge13 ‘on track correspondent’: James Parker
Hamilton Surprises Everyone
Under the searing heat of the Hungarian sun, Lewis Hamilton has gone on to claim his 4th pole position of the season producing a last gasp monumental lap to trump the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. 3rd was a transformed figure in Romain Grosjean who made the most of the hot conditions that favour the Lotus E21, to finish ahead of Raikkonen for only the second time this year.
For qualifying, many were talking about conditions that could be possibly the hottest on record in Formula 1 history. A 48c track temperature greeted drivers and the big question being asked was how many of the top runners would risk running the medium tyre in Q1 with a 1.3 second time difference between the two compounds.
With 4 minutes gone, only two drivers had sampled the track conditions with the Sauber of Guttierez the only man to have set a timed lap. Lap times were very much being drip thread through, and by the halfway stage with 10 minutes left, the Williams pair of Bottas and Maldonado topped the time sheets with a 1.21.5 on the softer compound tyre.
It was with only 8 minutes left in Q1 that the big guns decided to take to the track, and not surprisingly none of them thought it was acceptable to test the medium compound. Immediately the times started to fall and Grosjean toppled Vettel to go 1st with a 1.21.4. 3rd was Alonso just a tenth of a second behind the pair.
Impressive laps were being witnessed up and down the grid, with the Williams of Maldonado as high as 6th and Hulkenberg popping up into top 10 with 9th – the Sauber enjoying the new durable construction compounds a lot more it seemed. Mercedes however were proving that missing out on the Young Driver test at Silverstone the week before has had no bearing on their qualifying pace and both Rosberg and Hamilton immediately jumped up to P1 and P2 with 1.20.3’s.
A driver who was not enjoying the new construction compounds however was Paul Di Resta, who simply could not find any balance on any of his runs. With only seconds left, the Scotsman simply could not drag his Force India any higher than 18th, topping off a very frustrating afternoon finishing behind the Sauber of Guttierez who was 17th.
Both Caterhams outqualified both Marussia’s, supporting the view that their development path has really started to push them clear of the Russian team, with Charles Pic claiming the honours.
Q2 started in a much more frantic fashion, with the Lotus of Raikkonen going straight out on a scrubbed set of soft tyres to set a 1.20.9. If Webber thought that after the calamitous German Grand Prix weekend his luck may start to turn a page, he was to be severely disappointed as it was confirmed his RedBull had suffered a KERS failure.
The first runs of the top guns started to filter through and Grosjean who enjoyed P1 with a 1.20.4, who in turn was then displaced by the Mercedes of Hamilton once again. But Vettel, who was the only man on a fresh set of soft tyres maximised the grip available to achieve a magnificent 1.19.9 to lay down the first proper gauntlet with only 6 minutes left.
Ferrari were a team who were not enjoying things however, and both Alonso and Massa were suffering massive amounts of mid corner understeer costing both drivers a lot of time.
Rosberg was quick to make sure his Mercedes team-mate did not have things all his own way and ousted both Vettel and Hamilton to top the time sheets with a very solid 1.19.7.
A heroic lap by Mark Webber managed to see the Australian through in 8th position with a still faltering KERS unit, whilst Ricciardo managed Q3 for the 4th consecutive Grand Prix weekend by scraping through in 9th, finishing ahead of the rebuilt car of Sergio Perez.
Sutil managed to achieve 11th in what was a very downbeat qualifying for them, ahead of the consistent Hulkenberg in 12th. 13th place was a struggling Button who was suffering of yet more understeer issues, whilst Vergne finished 5 tenths off his team-mate in 14th. The Williams pair rounded off Q2 with 15th and 16th.
For the start of Q3, everyone opted for a set of scrubbed soft compounds for their first runs, apart from the Red Bull of Vettel who decided it was time to show his full hand for the first time.
Hamilton led Rosberg with a 1.20.3 after their first timed laps, but this was soon blown away by Vettel who achieved a monumental 1.19.5 to go 8 tenths clear of everyone. Behind it was a case of two by two as Grosjean led Raikkonen and Massa led Alonso in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th.
Vettel’s team-mate Webber was to take no further part in qualifying however, as it was deemed not suitable to continue with the KERS failure meaning he will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix from 10th.
For the second runs, all drivers opted to bolt on a brand new set of soft compound tyres, apart from Perez who decided to run the faster race compound; the medium, in hope of achieving a stronger first stint during tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
Raikkonen was the first to blink, and went 2nd with a 1.20.3, but he was soon toppled by Rosberg and then his team-mate who went 2nd behind Vettel. Alonso was the next to cross the line to save a magnificent 4th place to push the Kimster down to 5th – a very frustrating Saturday for the Lotus driver once again.
But all eyes were on Hamilton, as he produced an absolutely blistering lap to go 2 tenths clear of Vettel with a 1.19.3. Vettel responded, however it was not enough and he had to settle for 2nd behind the Mercedes man 1 tenth off.
Hamilton is the only man to have won from pole position at the Hungaroring in the last 8 years, however if the long run pace on the medium compound is anything to go by, tomorrow may be his toughest challenge to maintain that statistic. But in the process it does mean he becomes the first team-mate of Rosberg’s to have out-qualified him in Hungary since 2006.
Who have you got your money on for tomorrow?
|18||di Resta||Force India|
|20||van der Garde||Caterham|