Hamilton Leads Mercedes 1-2 to Pip Rival Verstappen at Hungarian GP F1 Qualifying

Published 07/31/2021, 10:11 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 31, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during qualifiying REUTERS/Florion Goga


Lewis Hamilton showcased tremendous resilience to secure the pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas locking out an All-Mercedes front row for Sunday’s race. Meanwhile, his 2021 F1 title rival, Max Verstappen, had to settle for P3 after facing unusual struggles during Q3.

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The other Red Bull of Sergio Perez managed to keep himself close behind the top 3, as he grabbed onto P4, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

Carlos Sainz suffered a massive crash around turn 16 during Q2, leaving Ferrari with major concerns over potential damage to the gearbox.

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Q3 – Verstappen vs Hamilton for pole at Hungarian Grand Prix

Hamilton slotted his Mercedes onto provisional pole after setting a target lap time of 1:15:419, lapping over 0.5s quicker than Verstappen. Bottas ended up splitting the two title rivals and placed himself in a rather impressive P2.

However, it was the final Q3 runs that turned a few heads, when Verstappen found himself behind a strolling Hamilton. This ultimately forced the Dutchman to rush into the lap with the clock ticking. However, amidst the chaos, Perez took the worst hit, failing to reach the line before the chequered flag.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 31, 2021 Red Bull’s Sergio Perez during qualifiying REUTERS/David W Cerny

Hence, behind the top 4, Gasly secured P5 for AlphaTauri ahead of the in-form Norris. Leclerc managed to slot his Ferrari into P7 ahead of the Alpine duo, Ocon and Alonso. And finally, Vettel grabbed onto the last spot of Q3.

Q2 – Sainz crashes out as Mercedes F1 driver start on mediums

Mercedes and Red Bull opted to set their lap times on medium tires as opposed to the rest of the grid, who were all running on soft tires. Unsurprisingly, both Verstappen and Hamilton posted good enough lap times on the yellow-marked tires.

But that necessarily wasn’t the case with Perez and Bottas, who found themselves surrounded by mid-field cars, having lapped over 0.5s slower than Hamilton. Then, halfway into the session, arrived a dramatic crash from Sainz.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 31, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during qualifiying REUTERS/Florion Goga

As the Spaniard was into the final corner during his flying lap, his rear snapped, which left the Ferrari gliding into the barriers. The incident did bring out the red flags for a brief amount of time, while the marshals cleared the stranded Ferrari and safety-check the barriers.

Shockingly, as the lights went green, Red Bull drivers rushed onto the track on soft tires and kept themselves safe in the top 10.

However, Ricciardo, Stroll, Raikkonen, and Giovinazzi weren’t as lucky, as they missed out on making it into Q3. Sainz joined the pack, after failing to set a lap time in the session and will start the race from P15.

Q1 – Mr. Saturday fails to make an impression, AlphaTauri F1 misses out

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Tsunoda rushed onto the track as the lights went green to make sure the AlphaTauri was working well. Apparently, the crew had removed and refitted the gearbox during the break between FP3 and the start of qualifying, but his struggles just never seemed to cease.

Further ahead, it was Verstappen, who yet again rose up as the fastest driver, having set a lap time of 1:16:214. Hamilton was the closest driver to the Dutchman, but not close enough, as the Briton ended up being just over 0.2s slower. Behind the top 3, most of the mid-field drivers posted good enough lap times.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – July 30, 2021 Haas’ Mick Schumacher in action during practice REUTERS/Florion Goga

Hence, the top 10 barely stepped out of their garages for the second run, which proved to be the right decision. Tsunoda and Russell failed to make it into Q2 and will slot themselves in P16 and P17. Behind the duo was the other Williams of Latifi, with the final two spots going to the Haas drivers.

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Overall, another interesting session comes to a close at the Hungaroring, with Hamilton and Verstappen securing decent starting positions to the race on Sunday. Are we in for another incredible fight between the title contenders? Will the duo keep it clean this time around? Only time will tell.

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Rohit Kumar

1137 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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