Hamilton untouchable in Hungary takes McLaren’s 150th pole
28 July, 2012
Jul.28 (Apex) Lewis Hamilton, in the McLaren MP4-27, was in scintillating form as he comprehensively outshone his rivals to take pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring – the 150th top spot start by a McLaren driver – and setting himself up as the clear favourite for the race.
Hamilton has been on the boil from the start of the first free practice session on Friday, right until his stunning last lap in qualifying. In fact the slower of his two laps in Q3 would have been enough for pole. But his second flyer – 1 minute 20.953 seconds – made him the only driver to drop into the 80 seconds zone around the Hungaroring this weekend, and was also 0.413 seconds quicker than the next best. The Briton clearly has a one track mind – a repeat of his 2009 victory at the same venue.
“It is great to finally see the the upgrades working and I have been able to put the car where I want to this weekend. We are not saying we are relaxed. We know we have a lot of work to do, starting this weekend,” said Hamilton afterwards.
Romain Grosjean, on a mission to reverse the effecct of his below par weekend in Germany, was second fastest with a storming last lap in the final ten minute frenzy, the Frenchman making the most of the Lotus E20 which has proved to be handy around the twists of Hungaroring.
It was a case of very mixed fortunes for Red Bull pair who had in the morning set the pace, as Sebastian Vettel managed the third best time to head up the second row on the grid, but Mark Webber failed to make it beyond Q2 and will start 11th. The jury is still out on whether the clampdown on their engine maps has impacted on their performance…
Vettel summed up his session, “It has been more a case of it being difficult getting everything to work properly. The speed is there but it has been a struggle to get the balance. I think with the progress we have made we should be in a good position tomorrow.”
McLaren’s other world champion Jenson Button has not been able to match his teammate all weekend in the sister car, but he will be content with fourth place on the grid, well in touch with the two ahead of him on the timing sheets.
A substantial chunk of pre-quali money would have been on Kimi Raikkonen for pole, with a large Finnish contingent in the stands, but in the end the Iceman did not have enough when it mattered, fifth was his reward and again he was out performed by his less experienced teammate.
Next up was German GP pole and race winner Fernando Alonso – amazing the difference a few days can make in F1, who was best of the Ferrari duo with the sixth best time and will share the third row with the (Ice)man he replaced at the Maranello squad.
Felipe Massa was seventh fastest and closer to teammate Alonso than he has been all season.
It was a good session for Williams with both their drivers making it into Q3 for the first time, as Bruno Senna produced his best qualifying showing of the season. But Maldonado was again fractionally faster than the Brazilian with the eighth best time, Senna was next up in ninth.
Others who failed to make it into Q3 and wondering why include:
- Both Mercedes drivers Michael Schumacher (17th) and Nico Rosberg (13th) – their season going from good, to bad and to worse.
- Mark Webber who topped the morning session a couple of hours earlier could only manage 11th.
- The Sauber pair who starred in Germany, but in Hungary Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi could only manage 14th and 15th – another case of what a difference a few days can make in F1…
At the sharp end, Hamilton’s intent is clear, but he will be mindful that pole position does not always translate into victory in Hungary and that the majority of the graft to be done is still ahead on race day, but there is no better place to start from than top spot on the grid no matter where in the world you are!
Subbed by AJN.
Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying – Saturday, 28 July 2012
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:22.948||1:21.407||1:21.416|
|10||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:22.176||1:21.653||1:22.847|
|11||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:22.829||1:21.715|
|12||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:21.912||1:21.813|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:25.916|
- Alonso masters the rain again to take German GP pole at Hockenheim
- Rain master Alonso ends 31 race drought to take pole at soggy Silverstone
- Monaco Qualifying: Schumacher fastest but Webber inherits pole
- Shanghai Qualifying: Rosberg takes his maiden pole as Mercedes dominate
- Sepang Qualifying: Hamilton takes pole from Button and Schumacher