Hungarian GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report

The Surprise

Lewis Hamilton, Hungarian GP 2013

Lewis Hamilton, Hungarian GP 2013 

 © The Cahier Archive

Lewis Hamilton was surprised when the Mercedes team radioed him that he had won the pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The team was surprise as well.

"I was really surprised," he said, "I was expecting Sebastian to get the pole. And it didn't even feel it was a particularly good lap. I thought he made a mistake, but it's always down to the wire.

"It definitely helps to be on pole because it's hard to follow here. It's a long run into the first corner, but keeping the tires will be a challenge tomorrow. These guys are ridiculously fast on long runs, so it will be tougher to keep them behind."

Sebastian Vettel had been quick in his Red Bull but had to settle for second on the grid.

"There wasn't much missing," he said. "I had two new sets and I went for it. I lost it in S2 on the final run, as I should have been more aggressive there. But there's no point in looking back I'm happy with my lap and we know the Mercedes are very quick, as also Nico is pretty high up the grid, so they're always a factor."

Romain Grosjean was in great form as he qualified his Lotus third.

"I quite like the circuit," he said, "but that doesn't mean much. It's been a good weekend so far, the team has been working well. The last run was pretty good, it was close to the guys ahead but not enough to beat them. Tomorrow we should be strong, the long runs were good on Friday."

Qualifying 1

Esteban Gutierrez, whose Sauber had had mechanical woes in FP3, was the first out on the track as Q1 began. The rest of the drivers stayed in the pits. Gutierrez set the first time – 1:23.998 – for the rest of the drivers to shoot for.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the one-hour session was 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was 109 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius).

Paul di Resta was the next to top the times with a 1:23.484 in his Force India, but then Valterri Bottas set the mark with a 1:21.532 in his Williams.

The drivers were out on a mix of the medium and soft tires.

12 minutes into the 20 minute session, Daniel Ricciardo hurtled to the top with a 1:21.181 in his Toro Rosso. Some of the big guns had yet to go out at this stage. But then they started to trickle out on the track, and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso immediately clocked a 1:20.652 only to be beaten by Lotus driver Romain Grosjean who turned a 1:20.447.

With 2 minutes remaining, Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton topped the screens with times of 1:20.350 and 1:20.363 on the soft tires.

Grosjean, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Alonso, Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) and Jenson Button (McLaren) rounded out the top 10.

The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Gutierrez, di Resta, Charles Pic (Caterham), Guido van der Garde (Caterham), Jules Bianchi (Marussia), and Max Chilton (Marussia).

Qualifying 2

Raikkonen was the first out in the 15-minute session and he clocked a 1:20.987.

Bad news for Mark Webber: his KERS had failed.

There was no messing about with the medium tires this session as everyone was on the softs. Grosjean moved ahead with a 1:20.442, which was .005 quicker than his Q1 time. But Hamilton beat that with a 1:20.303.

With seven minutes remaining, Vettel cracked off a 1:19.992.

With three minutes remaining, Raikkonen moved into third with a 1:20.243.

With less than two minutes remaining, everybody except Vettel and Raikkonen was out on the track. Rosberg set a 1:19.778 to take over first. Hamilton moved into second with a 1:19.862.

Vettel, Grosjean, Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, Webber, Ricciardo and Sergio Perez (McLaren) rounded out the top 10.

The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Adrian Sutil (Force India), Hulkenberg, Button, who had understeer, Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Maldonado and Bottas.

Qualifying 3

The 10-car 10-minute shootout to determine the top 10 grid spots got underway with Australians Webber and Ricciardo heading out first.

Perez set a slow 1:24.852 on medium tires as Webber aborted his run. Rosberg clocked a 1:20.387 and Hamilton beat that with a 1:20.324.

Then Vettel moved ahead with a 1:19.506 on a new set of softs.

Grosjean and Raikkonen were fourth and fifth, and Massa and Alonso were sixth and seventh.

With just under four minutes to go, it was all quiet with the drivers in the pits preparing for one last flying all-out lap.

Perez was the first out – on mediums again. Webber did not go out again as his car without the KERS plus gearbox problems during the up shifts, was too slow.

The final moments were frantic. Raikkonen went from fifth to second to sixth. Rosberg went from fourth to second to fourth. Grosjean went up to second and down to third. Vettel improved his time but went from first to second, and Hamilton grabbed the pole.

The top 10 at the end of Q3 were: Hamilton, Vettel, Grosjean, Rosberg, Alonso, Raikkonen, Massa, Ricciardo, Perez and Webber.


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