Vettel Snatches Pole in Hungary
Sebastian Vettel returned to being the Red Bull man at the front of the grid, just edging out McLaren on his final run with a time of 1 minute 19.815, just 0.163 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Jenson Button’s late run saw him snatch third while Felipe Massa, running last of the main contenders, pipped Fernando Alonso for the first time this year to clinch fourth, with Mark Webber sixth quickest.
Vettel was the quickest man at the end of the day, which is all that matters, but it probably should have been Hamilton. The McLaren driver was the quickest among the front-runners after their first Q3 runs but was unable to improve his time on the final run when track conditions should have been at their best. Instead it was Vettel who produced the tidiest final lap and with it pole and the clean side of the grid.
Sergio Pérez should be rightly pleased with his excursion into Q3, although Sauber opted to not then contest it – their eye was on tyre wear during the race. However, Force India were braver and Adrian Sutil duly justified the team’s faith in him by splitting the two Mercedes drivers. After an exceedingly poor start to the year were they regularly lost a driver in Q1, Force India have come on strong in order to now challenge up in Q3 with Mercedes.
There’ll be disappointment at McLaren who felt they could have, and probably should have broken Red Bull’s stranglehold on pole position. At the opposite end of the grid, though, it was Jérôme d’Ambrosio left feeling the pain of qualifying behind both HRT drivers – a situation made worse by Sebastien Buemi’s five-place grid penalty. That means that the Toro Rosso driver will split d’Ambrosio from the rest of the “new” teams at the start.
No major upsets but Renault will feel they have a lot of work to do after only qualifying 12th and 14th – to think that after two races some people were bemoaning the lack of Robert Kubica as the team looked like they had a title challenging car!
On a circuit renown for its lack of overtaking, McLaren’s race pace may still trump Vettel’s pole position but who leads that McLaren charge is likely to be decided at the start. Lewis Hamilton holds the advantage for now but will be starting from the dirty side of the grid – challenging the Red Bull driver may therefore have to come second to keeping Jenson Button behind him. In fact, you’d have to go back to 2004 to find the last time that the driver starting from second hadn’t lost at least one place by the end of the first lap. However, with Pirelli expecting as many as three stops for the front-runners, there is still plenty of room for a strategic victory and opportunity to recover lost ground.
|1. Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:19.815|
|2. Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||1:19.978|
|3. Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||1:20.024|
|4. Felipe Massa||Ferrari||1:20.350|
|5. Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||1:20.365|
|6. Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:20.474|
|7. Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||1:21.098|
|8. Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:21.445|
|9. Michael Schumacher||Mercedes||1:21.907|
|10. Sergio Pérez||Sauber-Ferrari No time|
|Q3 cut-off time:||1:23.067|
|11. Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:22.256|
|12. Vitaly Petrov||Renault||1:22.284|
|13. Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||1:22.435|
|14. Nick Heidfeld||Renault||1:22.470|
|15. Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||1:22.684|
|16. Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:22.979|
|17. Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth No time|
|Q2 cut-off time:||1:23.285|
|18. Sebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:24.070|
|19. Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||1:24.362|
|20. Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||1:24.534|
|21. Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||1:26.294|
|22. Tonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||1:26.323|
|23. Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||1:26.479|
|24. Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||1:26.510|
107% time: 1:27.288
* Buemi drops five places after penalty carried forward from Germany
|Sector 1||Sector 2||Sector 3||Speed Trap|
|Massa||28.413 s||Vettel||28.629 s||Hamilton||22.448 s||Schumacher||300.5 km/h|
|Hamilton||28.451 s||Alonso||28.740 s||Button||22.524 s||Rosberg||298.3 km/h|
|Vettel||28.481 s||Hamilton||28.780 s||Vettel||22.550 s||Alonso||298.0 km/h|
Photo: Red Bull Racing/Mark Thompson/Getty Images