Hamilton on pole for Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Bottas, Verstappen third

An emphatic 101st career pole position at the Hungaroring

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By Olivier Ferret

31 July 2021 - 16:21
Hamilton on pole for Hungarian (...)

Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix from the front of the grid after he grabbed an emphatic 101st career pole position at the Hungaroring beating Mercedes’ team-mate Valtteri Bottas by three tenths of ahead with championship leader Max Verstappen over four tenths of a second off the pace in third.

At the beginning of the hour-long qualifying session the expected frontrunners were quickly into action, with Bottas taking an early P1 with a lap of 1:16.610. However, he was soon demoted by Hamilton who stole top spot thanks to a lap of 1:16.424. Verstappen wasn’t far behind the Mercedes pair on track, though, and the Red Bull driver jumped ahead of both with his opening push lap of 1:16.214.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Pérez looked to be struggling, however. The Mexican opened with a lap of 1:17.300 but as better laps flooded in he soon dropped to ninth place. He opted for a second attempt but only improved to 1:17.233 and still held ninth ahead of the final runs.

Despite the risk to Pérez, Red Bull chose to keep both drivers in the garage for the final runs. And it proved the right choice as there were few improvements in the final moments and Verstappen held top sport as Pérez progressed in P11.

Eliminated at the end of the first session were AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda in P16, Williams’ George Russell and Nicholas Latifi in P17 and P18 respectively and Haas’ Nikita Mazepin in P19. The Russian’s team-mate, Mick Schumacher, didn’t make it out on track in the session with Haas unable to repair his car following an earlier crash in FP3.

At the start of Q2, Hamilton set the pace on medium tyres with a lap of 1:16.553. Verstappen also opted for mediums and slotted into P2 with a time of 1:16.769. However, the Dutchman was pushed to P3 as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, on soft tyres, set an impressive time of 1:16.725.

The session was then halted as Carlos Sainz lost control of his Ferrari in the final corner and slid into the barriers. The red flags were quickly displayed.

After a short delay the action resumed and both Red Bulls mopved to soft tyres. Verstappen jumped to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:15.650 while Pérez went through to Q3 in P4 thanks to an improved time of 1:16.443. Both Mercedes drivers opted to back out of their final laps and after progressing in P6 and P8 will start on medium tyres.

Eliminated at the end of Q2 were 11th placed Danile Ricciardo of McLaren, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi and the unfortunate Sainz.

In the first runs of Q3, Hamilton laid down a tough marker with an opening time of 1:15.419. Bottas followed on 1:15.734 and Max sat in P3 with an opening time of 1:15.984. Verstappen then improved on his final run but the tenth of a second he found was not enough to trouble Hamilton and the Mercedes driver claimed pole position with Bottas second and Vrestappen third.

Pérez claimed fourth place on the grid with his opening run time, while Pierre Gasly put in an impressive lap of 1:16.483 to take fifth place on the grid ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris. Leclerc will start seventh for Ferrari with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Fernando in eighth and ninth. The final top 10 position went to Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.

Pos.DriverTeamQ1 timeQ2 timeQ3 time
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:16.424 1:16.553 1:15.419
02 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:16.569 1:16.702 1:15.734
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:16.214 1:15.650 1:15.840
04 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:17.233 1:16.443 1:16.421
05 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:16.874 1:16.394 1:16.483
06 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:17.081 1:16.385 1:16.489
07 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:17.084 1:16.574 1:16.496
08 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:17.367 1:16.766 1:16.653
09 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:17.123 1:16.541 1:16.715
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:17.105 1:16.794 1:16.750
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:17.664 1:16.871
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:17.038 1:16.893
13 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:17.553 1:17.564
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:17.776 1:17.583
15 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:16.649 -:—.---
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
16 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:17.919
17 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:17.944
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:18.036
19 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:18.922
20 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 -:—.---

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