Hamilton takes Hungary pole
Briton Lewis Hamilton confirmed that he and McLaren have recovered their form when he swept to a dominant pole position in a closely-fought qualifying session for today’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Driving with supreme speed and consistency, the 27-year-old Briton clocked a best time of one minute and 20.953 seconds to top the times ahead of nearest rival Frenchman Romain Grosjean in a Lotus.
Grosjean secured his front row starting position with a fast lap in the final seconds of a tight session to move ahead of third-placed defending champion Sebastian Vettel, of Red Bull, and Hamilton’s team-mate and compatriot Jenson Button.
Kimi Raikkonen was fifth in the second Lotus ahead of championship leader Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa.
For Hamilton, it was a third pole of the year and the 22nd of his career.
On a hot afternoon at the Hungaroring, the track temperature was 45 degrees Celsius when qualifying began, with Grosjean one of the first men out.
The morning had been dominated by paddock gossip about another controversy surrounding the Red Bull team who, it was claimed, had been told to remove a device that allowed them to adjust their front ride-height by hand.
The claim came from the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport which said also that the incident happened following the Canadian Grand Prix.
The opening session saw Hamilton on top with the two Red Bulls struggling to avoid an embarrassing early cut, Webber winding up in 16th place and Vettel 17th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, of Toro Rosso, who had his worst qualifying of the year.
In Q2, Grosjean was out early again to go top before he was replaced by Raikkonen. Then Hamilton, in blistering form, shot to the top in 1:21.060, half a second faster than the Finn.
The final minutes saw some dramatic scrapping for positions before, unexpectedly, Webber was unable to beat the cut and was eliminated in 11th place along with Briton Paul Di Resta of Force India who was 12th.
Also out went Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, Sergio Perez and his Sauber team-mate Japanese Kamui Kobayashi, Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, of Germany, who was 17th in the second Mercedes.
All this left Hamilton fastest again and looking supremely fast ahead of Vettel and Maldonado as they began their final countdown for the top ten shootout.
But when the final Q3 action began, Hamilton had to pull out of a fast lap when the back end of his McLaren appeared to twitch before he clocked a fastest lap to set the pace.
After that it was down to the rest to try and catch him.
1. L. Hamilton (McLaren) - 1:20.953
2. R. Grosjean (Lotus) - 1:21.366
3. S. Vettel (Red Bull) - 1:21.416
4. J. Button (McLaren) - 1:21.583
5. K. Raikkonen (Lotus) - 1:21.730
6. F. Alonso (Ferrari) - 1:21.844
7. F. Massa (Ferrari) - 1:21.900
8. P. Maldonado (Williams) - 1:21.939
9. B. Senna (Williams) - 1:22.343
10. N. Hulkenberg (F. India) - 1:22.847
11. M. Webber (Red Bull) - 1:21.715
12. P. di Resta (F. India) - 1:21.813
13. N. Rosberg (Mercedes) - 1:21.895
14. S. Perez (Sauber) - 1:21.895
15. K. Kobayashi (Sauber) - 1:22.300
16. J.E. Vergne (Toro Rosso) - 1:22.380
17. M. Schumacher (Mercedes) - 1:22.723
18. D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) - 1:23.250
19. H. Kovalainen (Caterham) - 1:23.576
20. V. Petrov (Caterham) - 1:24.167
21. C. Pic (Marussia) - 1:25.244
22. T. Glock (Marussia) - 1:25.476
23. P. de la Rosa (HRT) - 1:25.916
24. N. Karthikeyan (HRT) - 1:26.178
Top 10 drivers
1. Alonso (ESP) 154 pts, 2. Webber (AUS) 120, 3. Vettel (GER) 110, 4. Raikkonen (FIN) 98, 5. Hamilton (GBR) 92, 6. Rosberg (GER) 76, 7. Button (GBR) 68, 8. Grosjean (FRA) 61, 9. Perez (MEX) 47, 10. Kobayashi (JPN) 33.
Belgium GP on September 2.