HUNGARIAN GP – Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas by a tenth to secure ninetieth career pole

Testing & Race Reports

Lewis Hamilton has secured his nineteenth career pole after out-qualifying teammate Valtteri Bottas by a tenth of a second for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The six-time champion was four-tenths up following his first run in Q3, Bottas could only get within a tenth on his final attempt.

If Hamilton converts his pole position into a win tomorrow, he will be only the second driver after Michael Schumacher claim eight wins at the same circuit and race. As usual, in Budapest the Englishman was on fire, pulling out a four-tenths lead on his first run in Q3. Bottas’s best effort could only get him to within a tenth.

Mercedes power certainly had the upper hand as Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was third going nine tenths slower than the Mercedes and over a tenth quicker than teammate Sergio Perez. The team remain at the centre of a protest from Renault, who claim their car is a version of last years Mercedes.

Like Mercedes, they managed to set their fastest times in second qualifying on the medium tyre, which they can now use to start the race, as long as it does not rain. Both teams believe this will be an advantage, allowing them to go long into the race tomorrow.

Hamilton told reporters, “I have to pinch myself,” Hamilton said. “It just doesn’t register. It is quite humbling because I get to work with an incredible group of people without who I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so.”

“Valtteri doesn’t make it easy for me at all and it requires absolute perfection when it comes doing laps and qualifying when it is like that is one of the things I enjoy most.”

Ferrari had there best qualifying of the season, however, the Hungaroring is a vastly different circuit to the Red Bull Ring. Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest going eight hundredths quicker than Max Verstappen, with his teammate Charles Leclerc sixth fastest.

Verstappen said: “I don’t know why. Something is clearly not working here. The pace is all very close. We are also not starting on the best tyre, but we will see how we end up.”

Verstappen’s teammate Alex Albon Could only manage thirteenth in what proved to be a difficult afternoon. The British-Thai driver was angry with his team for sending him out into traffic for his final run in Q2, but whether he would have improved is doubtful considering his pace up to that point.

He has been struggling all weekend, balance being his issue the was caught in traffic leaving him two tenths behind the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly and out of qualifying.

Mclaren made it through to Q3 once again with both Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, head of the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly. The Frenchman was unable to set a time in Q3 because of a power unit issue, but is unlikely to incur a penalty at this early phase of the season.

Daniel Ricciardo was unable to improve on his second run in Q2 despite being forced to switch to the soft tyres, but he will have free tyre choice for tomorrow’s race.

Both Williams made it through to Q2 for the first time since Monza 2018, with George Russell equalling his best qualifying in twelfth, his teammate Nicholas Latifi made it through to Q2 for the first time taking fourteenth. They will be spilt by the Renault of Esteban Ocon.

Like Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen and Alpha Tauri’s Daniil Kvyat were unable to improve to get out of Q1. Magnussen was sixteenth and teammate Romain Grosjean eighteenth, with the two Alfa Romeo’s of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the field.



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