Hungarian GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report
A fire in the engine/gearbox area on Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes during the early minutes of Qualifying 1ended his hopes of winning pole position. That left things clear and easy for his teammate Nico Rosberg to qualify first. A rain shower in Q3 threatened to upset the preordained order, but Rosberg held on to win the pole ‚Äì his 10th in F1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Valtteri Bottas (Williams) qualified second and third.
The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Centigrade.) There was a 30 percent chance of rain.
Kamui Kobayashi was the first out in the 20 minute session. Pastor Maldonado coasted to a stop at Turn 13 as his Lotus broke down on the out lap. Kobayashi clocked a 1:28.755, but Jenson Button beat that with a 1:26.913.
5 minutes into the session there was drama as Lewis Hamilton came into the pits with his Mercedes on fire!
Meanwhile Valtteri Bottas put his Williams on top with a 1:25.690, and Daniel Ricciardo was second in his Red Bull with a 1:25.838.
7 minutes into the session, Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) popped to second with a 1:25.709.
8 minutes into the session, Nico Rosberg took first with a 1:25.353 in his Mercedes while Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) took over second. Then Daniel Ricciardo took that spot with a 1:25.495 in his Red Bull.
11 minutes into the session, the first runs were over and Kobayashi was in 16th place and on the bubble of not making it to Q2 if any of the drivers behind him could go quicker. With Maldonado and Hamilton failing to set times, at least two of the usually slower drivers were going to make it into Q2.
Rosberg had now improved to a 1:25.227.
15 minutes into the session, Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) took 16th place from Kobayashi.
With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Jean-Eric Vergne went quickest in his Toro Rosso with a 124.941 while his teammate Daniil Kvyat was now third behind Rosberg.
In the final seconds Jules Bianchi (Marussia) grabbed second place and demoted Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) to 17th. The latter had not gone out for a second run after his first run on the medium tires, and that strategy had been wrong as Bianchi turned a quick time on the soft tires.
The top six at the end of Q1 were: Vergne, Rosberg, Kvyat, Ricciardo, Vettel and Bottas.
The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Max Chilton (Marussia), Marcus Ericsson (Caterham), Hamilton and Maldonado.
Sergio Perez (Force India) was first out for the 15 minute session that would eliminate six more drivers. Nobody would waste their time with the medium compound tires and so they were all on softs.
With 10 minutes remaining in the session, Kvyat set a 1:24.706 to set the marker for others to shoot at. Bottas promptly beat that with a 1:24.001 while his Williams teammate Felipe Massa moved into second.
With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg turned a 1:23.310 while Fernando Alonso moved his Ferrari into third behind Rosberg and Bottas.
With 7 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel took second with a 1:23.606 and Ricciardo claimed third.
With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Kvyat was 10th and Rosberg 11th. Jenson Button (McLaren) was ninth and Perez 12th. The battle to get into Q1 would closely involve these players. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) was way down in 15th.
With 3 minutes remaining in the session, all the cars were in the pits. Then Massa took to the track for one last run. Others followed. Rosberg and the Red Bull boys stayed in the garages as did Perez.
Hulkenberg went up to ninth and got pushed down to 10th. Kvyat, now 11th, spun at Turn 12. That brought out the yellow flags so drivers had to ease off in that area of the track.
The top six at the end of Q2 were: Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo, Bottas, Massa, Alonso, Button Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) and Hulkenberg.
The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Kvyat, Adrian Sutil (Sauber), Perez, Gutierrez, Grosjean and Bianchi.
Twelve minutes and 9 drivers fighting it out to see who would qualify second through 10th behind Rosberg. And it began to rain making Q3 a lottery.
Everybody headed out on slicks to try get in one good lap before the track got too wet.
Rosberg slid off at Turn 1 while Magnussen crashed into the tire wall at Turn 1. That brought out the red flags to stop the session with nine minutes and 59 seconds remaining. The rain increased over some areas of the track.
The session was stopped for 8 minutes while the marshals removed the McLaren and repaired the barriers.
This was just like qualifying at Silverstone with parts of the track dry and other parts wet. Tire choice was going to be crucial.
Slicks were the choice for Rosberg and Ricciardo and Bottas as the session restarted. Rosberg was on slicks as well.
With 7 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg set a 1:26.488, but Bottas and Ricciardo beat that time. The track was drying and Alonso moved into second.
The drivers were going to push for three laps in a row. It was now Bottas, Ricciardo, Alonso
With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel took the pole.
With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg set a 1:23.236 to take the pole.
The track grip was improving. Whoever was out there in the final seconds would have an advantage. The order was Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas.
Then Vettel took the pole with a 1:23.301. Rosberg beat that with a 1:22.715. Bottas wound up third and Ricciardo fourth. Alonso, Massa, Button, Vergne, Hulkenberg and Magnussen rounded out the top 10.