Mercedes AMG Petronas’ Nico Rosberg beat Lewis Hamilton to take pole position for the Hungarian GP in the qualifying session that was red flagged four times. The German driver snatched the pole position after taking advantage of yellow flags which had slowed his teammate Lewis Hamilton down. Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid after completing the session that began with torrential rain and was stopped by four red flags. Q1 took a total of fifty-two minutes to be completed, the start was delayed by twenty minutes after a heavy downpour of rain. The first of the red flags was brought out after the rain returned which showed to be threatening to eliminate both of the Mercedes who had not been able to set good lap times during the rain. Both Mercedes had got themselves out of the danger zone of being eliminated by the time the second red flag came out for Marcus Ericsson after he crashed out.
Some drivers were able to head out onto the circuit on intermediate tyres when the track was cleared after Ericsson’s crash but Felipe Massa was caught out by one of the white lines at turn four, due to crashing out another red flag was brought out, stopping the session for the third time. When the session was restarted the lap times continued to fall. Rio Haryanto did not get a chance to improve his times before he spun into the wall at turn ten bringing out the final red flag of the session. In the drop zone Pascal Wehrlein, Felipe Massa, Marcus Ericsson, Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen meaning they did not pass through to Q2.
Q2 seemed to run a lot more smoothly although at the end of the session some drivers changed onto slick tyres which saw the order get mixed up even more. Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen had gone the fastest as the chequered flag fell but because he was first across the line he was then shuffled down to fourteenth. As well as Raikkonen, both of the Haas F1 team drivers were knocked out although Romain Grosjean had come within 0.105 seconds of knocking Lewis Hamilton out of Q2. Hamilton was put into the danger zone after locking up at turn one but was just able to get through to Q3. Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez and Williams’ Felipe Nasr were also knocked out of Q2 and were not allowed through to Q3.
In Q3 all drivers were out on super soft tyres, Lewis Hamilton looked to be about to secure pole position after putting in a lap time of 1:20.108 on his first flying lap time. He then went on to go four tenth quicker in the first sector during his final flying lap. The Brit was made to slow after Fernando Alonso spun at turn nine. This made Hamilton abort the lap. Rosberg lifted for the yellow flag sector but the McLaren had already recovered in time for Rosberg to arrive at the scene which left a clear path for him to secure pole with a lap time of 1:19.965. The Red Bull Racing duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen locked out the second row of the grid after Verstappen missed the chequered flag on his final run. Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel qualified fifth with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz alongside in sixth. McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso starts seventh after his spin in Q3 with teammate Jenson Button alongside in eighth. Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified in ninth with Williams Racing’s Valtteri Bottas completes the top ten. Haas’ Romain Grosjean qualified in eleventh with Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat alongside in twelfth. Thirteenth went to Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez with Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen alongside. Fifteenth was Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez. Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was next up in sixteenth with Renault Sport F1’s Jolyon Palmer alongside. Eighteenth on the timing screens was Williams Racing’s Felipe Massa with second Renault Sport F1 driver Kevin Magnussen alongside. Rounding out the top twenty was Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson. Twenty-first on the grid will be Manor Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein with teammate Rio Haryanto finishing off the grid.
©Fay Tilley 24th July 2016.