For the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton will start the race from pole position. Hamilton set the fastest time in the final session of qualifying for Mercedes. With Valtteri Bottas in P2, Mercedes have locked out the front row of the grid. The two Red Bull drivers of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will start from row two on the grid. Here’s how all three sessions of qualifying played out.
Max Verstappen got the ball rolling in qualifying by setting the pace in Q1. He was closely followed by the two Mercedes cars. But the bottom five who did not make it through to Q2 were Yuki Tsunoda for AlphaTauri along with the Williams pair of George Russell and Nicolas Latifi. The final row of the grid will see the two Haas cars of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher. The latter did not participate in qualifying after a crash earlier in the morning during practice.
On their first run, Hamilton set the fastest time. But the session was red-flagged after Carlos Sainz on a hot lap spun his Ferrari on the final corner and out of qualifying with less than seven minutes left in the session.
Once the session resumed, all drivers switched to soft tyres, thus Verstappen was the fastest in the session. But Hamilton and Bottas both made it through to Q3 on the medium tyres. The tyres the top 10 use in Q2 is the tyre they start the race with. Thus a mix in strategy is now guaranteed, but it might mean that Red bull is on the back foot compared to Mercedes.
But the bottom five included Daniel Ricciardo for McLaren, Lance Stroll for Aston Martin, the two Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi with Sainz not setting a time. They will start in that order from P11 to P15.
Hamilton squeezed everything from his Mercedes and topped the timesheets with a 1:15.419 for provisional pole. He was a full three tenths faster than Bottas in second. Verstappen with a scrappy lap was over half a second slower.
But on the second run out lap, Hamilton started to play mind games on Verstappen right from the pitlane. Driving slower than necessary with the safety of provisional pole, hoping to break the momentum of the Dutchman behind. The pair continued in that formation through the whole lap. With a few seconds left to the chequered flag, Verstappen just crossed the line to be able to set a time, but Sergio Perez failed to do so.
But track evolution meant that none front running drivers were improving their time. This meant as they crossed the line for the final time, Hamilton claimed pole as Bottas was second for a Mercedes front row. Verstappen also failed to improve his time and will start from third on the grid.
Perez will start from P4 ahead of Gasly in P5 and Norris in P6. Charles Leclerc will start his Hungarian Grand Prix from seventh place on the grid. Behind him will be the two Alpine cars of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in P8 and P9 respectively. Sebastian Vettel will start from P10 for Aston Martin.
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