Lewis Hamilton looked set to dominate the Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying session. Yet once again, it wasn’t to be the case. Before Hamilton could even set a flying lap in Q1, his car caught alight.
With flames tailing his Silver Arrow, he managed to make it back to the pits but by the time he did it was already too late.
As one Mercedes was now out, attention quickly turned to Nico Rosberg, yet all eyes just as quickly turned to the clouds above as well. By the start of Q3 rain had begun to fall yet unfortunately the cars had already left the pits on slicks.
Little grip down the main straight caused Rosberg to run off on the first corner, yet he managed to keep it away from the wall. Kevin Magnussen wouldn’t be so lucky.
Magnussen applied the breaks at the end of the straight yet his McLaren only stopped when it had come into contact with a tyre barrier off the track, the incident causing qualifying to be red flagged.
The track was cleared soon after and so to did the skies.
Though Q3 was interrupted by rain, and subsequently the red flag brought on by Magnussen’s crash, Rosberg still managed to put his Mercedes on pole when the qualifying was under way once again. Unfortunately, Hamilton’s car catching fire will see him starting from the back of the grid.
Red Bull seemed to be the only team able to even think of taking pole away from Mercedes, and they nearly did so, even if it was only for a few seconds. Sebastian Vettel took provisional pole on his flying lap yet was picked off the pedestal by Rosberg soon after and will now start from second. Daniel Ricciardo, coming off an impressive drive last week in Germany, wasn’t able to mimic his team mates quickness in Q3 yet still managed P4.
Valteri Bottas continues to shine with yet another fantastic qualifying session, the Finn taking the front of the second row whilst Felipe Massa will be starting in sixth and no doubt hoping for a clean no incident race start tomorrow.
Though P5 isn’t something a team like Ferrari would usually be happy about, Fernando Alonso’s qualifying session wasn’t all that bad considering that its number one driver declared earlier in the week that the team was going backwards. Well, though it wasn’t true for Alonso, the same can’t be said for Kimi Raikkonen, who, after a bad call from the team, will start from a lowly P17.
Heading into the summer break, those at McLaren can happily say that they managed to get both of its drivers into Q3; Jenson Button in P7 and Kevin Magnussen in P10. Yet the triumph is bitter sweet, as even though Button’s mechanics can enjoy a night off, Magnussen’s mechanics on the other hand will probably be up to the middle of the night repairing his car. A top ten finish for both drivers in tomorrow’s race will no doubt boost moral going into the break.
The sister team of Red Bull is now proving it’s a serious midfield contender with consistent and solid qualifying sessions. Jean-Eric Vergne managed a respectable P8 whilst the rookie driver Daniil Kvyat just missed out taking a top ten position with P11.
Nico Hulkenberg, everyone’s favourite driver who can’t get a drive in a top team due to him being too tall, once again proved that he’s deserving of a race seat higher up the field with a solid P9. His team mate, Sergio Perez, however could only manage P13 as he was forced to retire with a hydraulic issue.
Sauber have been a midfield runner for a few seasons now and unfortunately they have made little progress this year as well. Though in qualifying and in races they have been consistent, barring any incidents, they are in a position which may soon see them being challenged by the backmarkers. Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez qualified P12 and P14 respectively.
Unlike Sauber, Lotus is being challenged by the backmarkers. Romain Grosjean was only able to take P15 and his team mate, Pastor Maldonado, was forced to park his car off the track before he had even set a time in Q1. Beyond 2015, Lotus may be non existent as it continues to fall further from grace as each race weekend goes by.
Jules Bianchi, the man rumoured to be in serious contention for a future Ferrari drive, was able to further his chances of such an occurrence happening by out qualifying Raikkonen and not only that, but also making it into Q2 as well. However, Marussia played it smart and instead of letting Bianchi waste tyres chasing the midfield, they halted his run and as such he will start in a respectable P16. Max Chilton had no such luck, being able to only capture P19.
New owners, same results. Though Caterham’s future in Formula 1 is now far more stable than it was two weeks ago, its new owners, whoever they may be, have a tall ladder to climb to reach success within the sport. For now though, its business as usual with Kamui Kobayashi in P18 and Marcus Ericsson in P20. However, at the very least, Caterham can take some comfort knowing that they won’t be starting at the back of the field due to Hamilton and Maldonado filling those two spots respectively.