Lewis Hamilton Swims to Pole Position at 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

It was more than a little moist in Hungary on Saturday, making for one of the tensest qualifying sessions of the Formula 1 season.

A damp track encouraged teams to run intermediate tires for the beginning of Q1, though complaints from drivers about the dry track and overheating tires were heard up and down the pit lane. With thunder and lightning looming, a handful of drivers tried ultrasoft tires with some success; Carlos Sainz Jr. used them to post two purple sectors in Q1, more than two seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. His success prompted a field-wide swap to slicks with rain expected at any second, resulting in a temporary shakeup of the qualifying order, but the top teams responded and secured their passage to Q2.

Teams were again split at the start of Q2; both Haas drivers entered the track on ultrasofts and Vettel after them on intermediates. Rain in the third sector confirmed Ferrari’s choice and all returned to the pits to rid themselves of slicks. The rain’s severity increased rapidly, turning intermediate tire conditions into full wet-friendly conditions. Those that experimented failed to gain time and Red Bull’s sloppy tire strategy saw Daniel Ricciardo eliminated in the second round—a first since 2015.

Brendon Hartley led the parade exiting the pits, making his first career appearance in Q3, which became a battle on the full-wet tires. Lewis Hamilton emerged triumphantly, teammate Valtteri Bottas alongside, staving off Kimi Räikkönen-led Ferrari where Vettel may play second fiddle come race day.

Full qualifying order for the Hungarian Grand Prix can be found below.

  1. Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes – 1:35.658
  2. Valtteri Bottas/Mercedes – 1:35.918
  3. Kimi Räikkönen/Ferrari – 1:36.186
  4. Sebastian Vettel/Ferrari – 1:36.210
  5. Carlos Sainz Jr./Renault – 1:36.743
  6. Pierre Gasly/Toro Rosso-Honda – 1:37.591
  7. Max Verstappen/Red Bull – 1:38.032
  8. Brendon Hartley/Toro Rosso-Honda – 1:38.128
  9. Kevin Magnussen/Haas – 1:39.858
  10. Romain Grosjean/Haas – 1:40.593
  11. Fernando Alonso/McLaren – 1:35.214
  12. Daniel Ricciardo/Red Bull – 1:36.442
  13. Nico Hülkenberg/Renault – 1:36.506
  14. Marcus Ericsson/Alfa Romeo Sauber – 1:37.075
  15. Lance Stroll/Williams – No Q2 time
  16. Stoffel Vandoorne/McLaren – 1:18.782
  17. Charles Leclerc/Alfa Romeo Sauber – 1:18.817
  18. Esteban Ocon/Force India – 1:19.142
  19. Sergio Perez/Force India – 1:19.200
  20. Sergey Sirotkin/Williams – 1:19.301