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