FORMULA 1 PRESS RELEASE
Lewis Hamilton made it a clean sweep of practice and qualifying sessions by taking a comfortable pole position in Hungary on Saturday, finishing over half a second ahead of Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg. It’s Hamilton’s fifth Budapest pole and his ninth P1 start from ten races this season.
Behind the Silver Arrows, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel edged Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo for third on the grid, with Kimi Raikkonen fifth in the second SF15-T. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas completed the top six.
Hamilton, already fastest in FP1, FP2 and FP3, maintained his superiority in the opening Q1 session as, in sweltering conditions, he lapped at the last moment in 1m 22.890s on the soft tyres to edge out Rosberg’s 1m 22.979s by 0.089s. Vettel chased them with 1m 23.312s for Ferrari.
Further back there was brutal disappointment for McLaren’s Jenson Button, who had been third on the soft tyres but suffered an ERS deployment problem when it mattered. His lap of 1m 24.739s on softs was a tenth off Carlos Sainz’s, which meant the Toro Rosso driver got through but the Englishman didn’t.
Marcus Ericsson just edged out Sauber team mate Felipe Nasr for 16th, with 1m 24.843s to 1m 24.997s, as Roberto Merhi outqualified Marussia team mate Will Stevens, 1m 27.416s to 1m 27.949s with a stellar final effort.
McLaren’s joy at getting Fernando Alonso safely through to Q2 evaporated immediately as the Spaniard, 14th in Q1, rolled to a halt close to the pit entry on his out lap at the start of Q2. The session was red flagged as he energetically pushed the car back down the pit lane, and marshals then helped him get it back to the garage. Sadly Alonso’s efforts were in vain as the rules dictated that he was unable to continue, his car having not returned to the garage under its own steam.
Hamilton again went fastest in Q2 despite losing one of his runs because of that incident, with 1m 22.285s to Rosberg’s 1m 22.775s, the German complaining bitterly of understeer throughout. Vettel also did only one run, and was third with 1m 23.168s.
As Romain Grosjean jumped up to 10th for Lotus, Nico Hulkenberg got bumped after posting 1m 23.826s for Force India in the extremely tight midfield. Behind him Sainz also failed to make it for Toro Rosso, with 1m 23.869s. Sergio Perez was 13th with 1m 24.461s in the other Force India, as Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado completed those with a time in 14th on 1m 24.609s.
Hamilton continued to set a blistering pace in Q3, going comfortably fastest on both runs. His first was slightly slower at 1m 22.408s than his Q2 time, but his second was the fastest lap of the weekend in 1m 22.020s. Rosberg improved on his first run time of 1m 22.766s with 1m 22.595s, but it was far from enough and was surprisingly only just out of reach of both Vettel and Ricciardo. The German just held on to third with 1m 22.739s as Ricciardo got his RB11 round in an impressive 1m 22.774s.
Kimi Raikkonen, who was unable to do a soft tyre run in FP3 because of a water leak, had to settle for fifth with 1m 23.020s, and had fellow Finn Bottas for company on the third row after the Williams pilot lapped in 1m 23.222s. Daniil Kvyat in the second Red Bull will line up on row four with Felipe Massa in the other Williams, going round in 1m 23.332s to the Brazilian’s 1m 23.537s. Completing the top 10, Max Verstappen lapped his Toro Rosso in 1m 23.679s for ninth as Grosjean couldn’t better 1m 24.181s in his E23 Hybrid.
Thus the provisional grid will line up: Hamilton, Rosberg; Vettel, Ricciardo; Raikkonen, Bottas; Kvyat, Massa; Verstappen, Grosjean; Hulkenberg, Sainz; Perez, Maldonado; Alonso, Button; Ericsson, Nasr; Merhi, Stevens.