Supreme Hamilton beats Bottas to Hungarian GP pole – Racing Points on second row

Lewis Hamilton continued his mightily impressive form to take pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix as both Mercedes drivers smashed the existing lap record to lock out the front row.

Pole position was Hamilton’s 90th in Formula One, and afterwards he humbly paid tribute to the team that made it possible.

“Crazy,” said Hamilton after stepping from his dream machine and talking to Sky Sports’ Paul di Resta. “I have to pinch myself; it doesn’t register. It’s quite humbling, to be honest, because I get to work with an incredible group of people, who without I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do this, so massively thankful to everyone back home and the guys here who do such an amazing job and Valtteri doesn’t make it easy for me at all, so it requires absolute perfection when doing laps and qualifying like that is one of the things I enjoy most.

“I’m definitely connected with it (the car) she’s definitely not on rails but it looks like that maybe compared to some other people. Really nicely hooked up today and not far off the rails.”

Hamilton will still have his work cut out for the race win, teammate Bottas only 0.107s off his lap time and with a championship lead in the drivers’ standings still to defend.

“I knew in FP3 that it was going to be close, with Lewis at least, so I think as a team again we are on a really strong level and pretty far from other teams which is obviously good for us,” said Bottas. “My laps were okay and at the end my Q3 lap was actually really good, but I really couldn’t go faster so Lewis did a great job today to get the pole. As always, it’s going to be a bit of a drag race into Turn 1 so I look forward to that. If you look at the points it’s good situation, but what I need is to win races to maintain that, so it’s going to be my only goal tomorrow and I’ll try to focus and the first lap will be interesting.”

After Friday’s free practice session, it looked obvious that Racing Point would be the best of the rest and that is what came to pass as Lance Stroll grabbed third on the grid ahead of teammate Sergio Perez, the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc next to give the grid a somewhat of a ‘Noah’s Ark’ look, the teams lining up two by two.

“Very happy at the moment,” said Stroll. “The car was really strong all the way throughout qualifying, throughout the whole weekend, really. We’ve had the pace, it was just about piecing it together during that qualifying session, so yeah, really great job by all the guys’ I’m really pleased with the session and now sights set on tomorrow and I’m going to try and grab some big points.

“It was a gamble (to use mediums in Q2) but that’s going to put us in a good position for tomorrow so I’m really happy we managed to get through on the mediums and my lap at the end really felt like it was spot on so that always feels great when you put it all together at the end of qualifying.”

Somewhat of a surprise was the lack of pace shown by Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen only managing seventh on the grid ahead of the McLarens of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, Alexander Albon only managing 13th on the grid behind the excellent George Russell as both Williams drivers made it into Q2 for the first time since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix.

“The car came alive in qualifying in these cooler conditions and I had a lot of fun out there,” said Russell. “Again, I did not expect to be this fast, the car was feeling great and I had a good rhythm. It was a shame about the Q2 lap, we had some traffic and I think Q3 was possible today, which would have been amazing. But P12, considering where we were last year, was incredible.

“I love driving this track flat out, it was great fun and I’m proud of the boys and girls to get that result again. Fingers crossed we get a bit of rain tomorrow; we could do with that and we could be on for a good result. I am ready to fight, and hopefully we have a successful race.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.