Lewis Hamilton claims pole position ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix

31-07-2021 15:15
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Lewis Hamilton claims pole position ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix, beating out Valtteri Bottas in second place and Max Verstappen in third place. The Brit took pole with a lap time of 1:15.419, beating Bottas to the starting spot by 0.315 seconds. The Mercedes driver repeats his success from last season at the Hungaroring and claims a front-row lockout for the German team.

Sergio Perez was the driver to miss out on a top-three finish but will join Verstappen on the second-row of the starting grid for tomorrow's race. Pierre Gasly qualified in fifth, Lando Norris in sixth and Charles Leclerc in seventh. It was the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in eighth and ninth respectively, with Sebastian Vettel rounding out the top 10.

Russell knocked out in Q1 for first time

Yuki Tsunoda was the first driver out on track in qualifying and the Japanese rookie set the first lap time of 1:18.163. Only minutes later and Bottas was on top. A 1:16.610 lap moved the Finn to the top of the timings charts and safely out of Q1 with 10 minutes still to go. It was the first time this weekend that a driver had managed to get into the 1:16's. However, his moment of happiness was soon over as both Hamilton and Verstappen beat Bottas' lap times. 

Perez was unable to find any major speed compared to his teammate, however, was still able to get out of Q1. The Mexican was a second down on Verstappen at the end of the first qualifying session. Daniel Ricciardo was also struggling to find the pace, once again. The McLaren driver was 1.4 seconds down on the leader and 0.6 seconds down on his teammate Lando Norris, with five minutes to go in Q1.

George Russell found himself knocked out in Q1 for the first time this season. The Williams driver was not able to find the speed to move out of the drop zone and ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi. He did, however, still beat his teammate Nicholas Latifi, who qualified one place behind him in P18.

Mick Schumacher was sadly unable to set any times following his crash in FP3, which resulted in a red-flagging of the practice session. The Haas rookie was also handed a five-place grid penalty for having to replace his gearbox.

OUT IN Q1 - Schumacher (no time), Mazepin, Latifi, Russell, Tsunoda

Sainz causes red flag in Q2

Medium tyres were the main choice for all the front runners in Q2. It was Hamilton that was able to find the most speed out of the tyre choice, however. The seven-time World Champion set a lap time of 1:16.553, 0.216 seconds faster than Verstappen, after his first run on the tyres. Perez and Bottas were off the pace with both sitting half a second off the front two. 

Carlos Sainz was a strong candidate for a top finish in qualifying but oversteer and wind on the final corner caused the Spaniard to go flying into the barrier. The crash from the Ferrari driver resulted in a red-flagging of the session. Sainz was fine and walked back to the pits but had to retire his car and will start from P15 tomorrow.

The final five minutes was a total shootout for the drivers vying for a spot in Q3. Perez had to use the soft tyre to get into the top 10, which could be a key factor for his strategy tomorrow. Ricciardo was unable to find the final qualifying session as Vettel beat the Australian by 0.077 seconds. Both Alfa Romeo drivers were off the pace and weren't close to finding a time strong enough for Q3.

OUT IN Q2 - Sainz (no time), Giovinazzi, Raikkonen, Stroll, Ricciardo

Mind games in Q3

After all the drivers' first runs in Q3, it was advantage Mercedes. Hamilton was on provisional pole, after setting a lap time of 1:15.419, ahead of Bottas in second and Verstappen in third. Behind the front three, it was a tight battle between all seven other drivers, with just 0.456 seconds splitting all of them. Norris was the slowest driver after the first runs, sitting 1.458 seconds off Hamilton on pole.

All drivers but Vettel made their way back on track with only two minutes left in qualifying. Hamilton was seen playing mind games with Verstappen and Perez whilst leaving the pit lane and caused the Mexican to miss out on setting another timed lap. This set up a tight finish for the final flying laps and Saturday action.

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